Before I post this evening’s motorcycle road trip post, I feel it necessary to say something about the horrors from this past weekend.
I was enjoying a pretty unplugged weekend, so I wasn’t listening to the radio or watching TV. When I saw a headline go by on one of my news feeds on my phone Sunday morning about “Orlando Shooting” I assumed (because I didn’t open it right away) that it was a follow up story on the senseless killing of pop star Christina Grimmie on Friday night in the same city. It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized that a second tragic event had taken place in the same city.
I’m going to state right up front that I don’t have any answers. Certainly no more than anyone else has at this point. I could say a lot about the various sides of this situation, but frankly all of the various blowhard politicians, newscasters and other “pundits” are saying plenty and creating a lot of noise.
I’m sad today. I was really in no mood to ride today and I’ve made the decision to re-route the remainder of my trip on as much of a direct bee-line home to Portland as I can. I just want to get back at this point.
I’m sad because of the senseless tragedy and death. I’m sad because it’s not the first and won’t be the last and I’m now convinced that this is what America looks like from now on.
But mostly I’m sad because I’m also pissed off and angry tonight. I’m in Virginia right now and have been all day. I’m sure that not all Virginians are thoughtless, cruel, troglodytes, but today, in a number of locations I’ve stopped, I’ve been overhearing conversations between people regarding the Orlando massacre that just confirm the stupidity, hatred and bigotry of a large, large number of people in this country – and I’m sorry to say, pretty much anyone that puts a “Trump” bumper sticker on their damned car or truck. If it were a comedy sketch it would almost be funny – these assholes are having a hard time deciding if they should make jokes about 50 “queers” getting dead or about Muslims. “Looks like somebody down south had a problem with Queers over the weekend – ha ha ha – wonder how many got the bullets up the ass HA HA HA!!” “well, maybe there is sumpin’ good about them mozzlems after all – I mean, mohammad-bin-a-hab there took out 50 of them fucks.”
I wish I was kidding about what I just wrote, or that it was hyperbole or over exaggeration. But I’m not and it wasn’t. This is an example of the stuff I actually heard today, spoken by people people who live here Virginia – shopkeepers and their local customers. Most of it said while being accompanied by great gales of laughter.
50 human beings (I guess only 49 from the latest news – well, gosh, that’s better …) in the prime of their lives, doing nothing more than enjoying a fun evening out were murdered in cold blood by what appears to be a person so filled with hatred that he found this to be the best way to lash out. And it doesn’t matter if the hatred is born of radical teachings or traditional ol’ homophobia, it’s still hatred and it was still acted upon through the trigger of an automatic weapon. But it doesn’t matter – the racist backward assholes in this country, it’s all a great big joke. Don’t even begin to try to tell me that we live in some kind of a post-racist, post-hatred nation. It’s all still there – it may be hidden in some places, but it’s all still there. We haven’t learned a damned thing in the last 150 years.
50 innocent human beings. Add these bodies to the innocent little school children in Connecticut, the innocent movie goers in Colorado, the innocents in Kansas, California, Georgia, Oregon, Maryland, Illinois … or the bodies from all of the 138 mass shooting incidents in America SO FAR IN 2016. I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure who does. I’m damned sure there isn’t one single “solution” no matter how the various talking heads bloviate. But if we, as a nation, don’t start coming together to find a way to end this, we won’t have much of a nation anymore.