Last week, a terrible tragedy unfolded in Orlando in the early hours of the morning. As the rest of us slept in our beds, innocent lives were being taken one by one as a madman unleashed his anger in a popular nightclub. The death toll reached 49 with 53 wounded.
When I first heard about the incident on Friday, the facts weren’t so clear. I must be getting desensitized to the term “shooting” because it didn’t sink in right away, and I just went about my business as usual. It seems there is a shooting every single day somewhere in our country. When I turned on my normal radio station, and heard the morning DJ’s were still on the air in the afternoon talking about this tragedy and “bringing us the latest”, I knew something terrible had happened.
Before long we learned that a single shooter had performed this hateful crime, travelling from Ft. Pierce to target a popular gay club in Orlando. The reality of what happened- people gathering for no reason other than to dance and have fun, being killed for being who they are…. their lives ended and families torn apart… mothers frantically looking for their sons and daughters… is heartbreaking. Devastating. Just…. why?
For me, the feeling is very similar to that after 9/11. I just can’t comprehend the evil. When I think about those who lost a loved one or friend, I start to cry. It feels selfish to say so but I am just glad that no one I knew was involved that night. It’s horrible enough as an outsider. No one really knows what to say, or how to feel. We all know that Orlando will forever be different after this. In the past we have been known for Disney, water parks, beaches, and family fun. Now we have gotten the label of the place of the deadliest mass shooting in US history. It’s just surreal.
One uplifting part of this tragedy is that the community has come together in a way I have never seen before. Outpourings of support for the victims families’, people standing in line for hours in the hot sun to donate blood, to the point where blood banks were at capacity. People are looking for a way to help and heal, and that’s a good thing to see. It helps a little.
The truth is that, we all have jobs to do, kids to care for, bills to pay. While inside I’d still like to crawl into a hole, I know that doesn’t solve anything or help anyone. So I’m back to what I do- working out, having a fun summer with my kids, planning weddings, working my itworks business… but I don’t know that things will never be quite the same again. Should it be?