This post may seem incongruous in line with my previous post regarding rape culture and specifically my rage at the sentencing of Brock Turner.
This post is about something else, related perhaps in that it is about violence, but different. I am responding to the terror attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of June 12th. As of the most recent numbers I have seen, 50 people have been killed and 53 injured. There had been about 350 people in the club enjoying their Saturday night out with friends and loved ones. And then a man walked into a bar and nothing funny happened. As far as is currently known, he specifically chose the target because it was a gay club.
This was the worst mass shooting in American history. And it happened at a QUILTBAG establishment. Our brothers and sisters were enjoying themselves, and then someone full of hate, for whatever reason, decided for himself that they didn't deserve to live.
My first instinct when I started reading about the attack, the very first emotion I had, was hurt. All I could think about were those people hurt and killed for no reason other than being who they were, with people who loved them for it. I didn't know the suspects name or what his reasoning was, and even now I'm really uninterested in learning more about him, he's dead and will never tell his story. What I wanted to do was hold onto the victims and their families and loved ones and tell them that I love them. That there are so many people who love them. That we won't let hate win.
The reason behind the shooting was hate. Very rarely does anyone kill someone out of true honest love. The only answer to this violence, the only way to prevent it from repeating or spreading, is love.
You don't have to like everyone. You don't have to tolerate the things they do. But you have to recognize the shared humanity that we all experience. I am a female liberal Democrat feminist vegetarian attachment parenting pan-sexual divorcee. How many ways do you think I can be hated for simply existing? The thing is absolutely nothing that I just labelled myself affects anyone else's life other than my child, anyone I have a relationship with, and the animals I don't eat. Me being a Democrat is simply how I view and identify with the current political spectrum. I believe in social programs and equity. I am pro-choice and pro-sexual education. I believe that we can be better. I am a feminist because I believe that men and women and those that lay between the binary are all worthy of respect and equitable treatment in our society. I don't hate men. I don't want all men to disappear or stop being men. I simply do not believe that women are a second class of humans and that we have just as much right to personal autonomy as men. I am vegetarian because if I eat meat I get deathly ill and I think that current farming standards are disgusting. I chose attachment style parenting because I knew my daughter would be my only child, and I needed to make every second count as much as possible and it made sense to me. I am pan-sexual because that's how I was born. I simply refuse to not acknowledge that I could fall for a person of any sex or gender identity. And I'm divorced because my ex-husband was an abusive alcoholic who was killing me slowly, but some people would still say I should have stayed.
There are so many reasons there someone who focuses only labels could choose from for which to hate me. But what about how I go through my daily life? I try to be a better person each day than I was the day before. Given an opportunity to be kind, versus being selfish, I do my best to be kind. I'm not perfect, and there are days when I'm lost in my own little world of concerns, but it is my goal to live in a way that teaches my daughter to be a good and kind person.
Love really is the shorthand answer. And it doesn't have to be an all encompassing divine love of all with no recognition of the self. It just has to be a basic respect that we are all in this together. Men and women, straight and queer and liberal and conservative and all the fucking colours of the fucking rainbow... We are sharing this blue marble hurtling through space. Our lives are sparks in the cosmic wonder of existence.
Love would allow us to work through the mental health system in this country and find and fix the flaws.
Love would allow us to acknowledge that a person's Second Amendment Right does not make gun control legislation a violation of civil liberties.
Love would allow us to recognize that honestly, no one needs an assault rifle to protect their home.
Love would help us work together to find common sense solutions that would keep our loved ones safer at schools and movie theaters and restaurants and clubs.
Love would ensure that people who should not have easy access to weapons, would not have easy access to weapons.
Love would put our children and brethren first, before inanimate objects and the perceived power they bestow upon the bearer.
Love would give people the opportunity to see the victims as the people they are, and not the labels that could be pasted upon them.
Love would bring communities together and let us say "enough" of the divisions.
Love would let us reach out to a person in need because it is the right thing to do, regardless of the labels.
Love is the answer.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.