I was all set to write another quirky post, couldn’t make up my mind whether it was about writing or anything buzzing about my head.

Then over the course of our late morning and into early evening the news out of Orlando has been coming in.

Folk out for the night, just having a good time and suddenly Orlando takes its place in the tragic list of places associated with violent ends to innocent lives. One person lost in their  malignant vision of the world, rationalising hatred, giving into the Easy Way of ignorance, letting their own frustrations become a breeding place for a more dread weed. Willing to do the bidding of masters of a  vile distorted outlook.

There is the sobering reflection that this weight of loss is a regular occurrence across the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan; rates often five minutes at the most on the news broadcasts. But, let us be seriously honest, we have a capacity for compartmentalising; it’s the way we cope. Those lands are far away, and there is much violence, so the event is tragic, but we tell ourselves ‘it happens’ and we shift the burden onto to others, because we say, in all innocence ‘What can I do?’ The answer to that is for another post, another place, another time.

Orlando is closer to home, either physically, or culturally. Sitting in the UK, say. It’s easy to envisage a vibrant night-life in a nightclub. Folk out, having fun. Then the shooter arrives and Hell’s gates are opened; One Hundred killed and wounded, add to that number those who were there and escaped injury, then multiply by the number of friends & family, follow on to the emergency responders and their families, consider the shock wave progressing through the city, and ripples spreading out across the land. USA, France, UK, Norway, Spain have all witnessed mass death in this and the previous decade.

And so come the aftershocks. The anger, the hate, the abuse, the accusations. It’s Guns, it’s Race, it’s Religion, it’s a Conspiracy.

And we say “But it’s not my fault!!”

Of course it’s not…. This time, maybe…..

Remember, all of these acts have their roots in The Anger, The Hate, The Ignorance, The Intolerance which we are all prey to, mostly in small and hopefully slightly comic degrees (just listen to yourselves in mid-rant sometimes). These are caustic, corrosive things, and if we are not careful they settle and fester, becoming our new Normal. The world become a narrow place filled with twisted jagged visions, in which there are no hues, no shading; all is livid; a place where there is only the roaring of hate and words are hammered into points to suit loathing.

Guard against this. For know this and know it well; I can tell you how very damn easy it is to slip into the dank fogged pathway that would eventually lead to the type of horror you have read about.

And I’ll cite you a personal experience of late. To repeat; my politics are left-wing; to my American friends the best of way of describing would be ‘Mr Sanders. Nice guy, but a bit too moderate for my tastes’. Anyway; Facebook, I joined a few UK socialist groups. Over the weeks I became aware of no simple didactic objections to opposing views, but sheer vitriolic, profanity-ridden hate. Willing to visit hate? What happened to progressive enlightenment?  It soured me, I am still left-wing, but don’t count me with anyone. Can’t go for all that hate.

And Orlando.To be starkly brutal the perpetrator is dead. So mourn for the innocent dead, injured, survivors and all those affected, help if you are able. And now is the time for Compassion, Respect and Tolerance, they are fragile flowers growing but once established will spread.

And we are writers, commentators, progenitors of the message. Take up your torch, light up the way. The world needs you right now.

God protect you all.




34 thoughts on “Orlando

  1. Thank you Roger!

    This is a very poignant and thoughtful piece. Yes, you are right, cooler heads must prevail and we all have to do what we can, as peacefullly as we can.

    Unfortunately, I have spent much of the morning feverishly tweeting, talking and writing about my anger. I am tired of losing our babies. I take it so personally because I have one child who is the same age as those babies who were killed at Sandy hook and I have an older child who is the same age as the young people who were killed last night and the night before if you count the young lady, Christina Grimmie, who was shot to death as she signed autographs.

    But your words are calming and they are wise. I will use them to temper my anger.
    Thanks again my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Gwin.
      It’s not easy. I wrote that to get my own demons kicked out by their filthy little backsides.
      To call them all ‘our babies’ is a wonderfully moving term. I have children 43, 40 & 34 so contemporaries would have been at Orlando, I have grandchildren 20, 18, 10, 5 & 2, so yes. And yes poor Christina Grimmie who I knew nothing about, until she became another victim.
      There is no easy solution.
      Let us all hold together.
      Take care of yourself my friend.
      Best wishes to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know about God’s protection, Roger; it’s been woefully inadequate, conservatively speaking, over the millennia, but to the topic, a topical quote: “We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.” – from the movie, “Midnight in Paris.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well said guys. This morning, I prayed for God to teach us (everyone) to Love. Love is the greatest power in existence; this is my new mantra until love is proven to be ineffective in causing positive change. MLK once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Dermott.
      That’s a useful tip.
      I should amble over there and maybe get some structure.
      (When it comes to writing I’m still in a 1960s mode of ‘Hey man. Like I just write, y’know man. Like, y’know man. Editing, publishing, I dunno man,’- Which is kind of fun, but there again….. Y’know man?).
      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am to the right of conservative, yet I appreciate your post and its wisdom. I only ask how you would stop Hitler and all of his machinations without buckling down and destroying everything Nazi. We cannot allow radical hatred to take over the entire world. Believe me, that is the aim of these jihadists. We all have to stand arm-in-arm against these barbaric killers. I will stand with you. Will you stand with me?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi
      This is the very fine line where we walk between the compassion, respect and tolerance for the individual and the iron determination to fight against those who would bring violence to us.
      I hold to a Just War theory originated with classical Greek and Roman philosophers like Plato and Cicero and were added to by Christian theologians like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.
      With a heavy heart and a conflicted view. If it has to be done, let it be done. WWII is our example in this area.
      I have read much military history and it seems that when the aggressor comes to us and will not stop we have a right to defend ourselves.
      This I have also learnt, wars can be avoided if those with great responsibility look far ahead enough. Sadly they do not and it is the ordinary person who pays the price.
      So yes, in defence of our democracies. I would stand with you; fighting against a destructive system, but not a people.
      With a heavy heart, for people will die, children will cry, families will mourn.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I love this post, Roger. I so agree that we must guard against hate, a symptom of fear that our leaders often capitalize on. Love, compassion, kindness and curiosity are the antidotes and we each have a free unlimited supply.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good post, Roger. Good point about listening to ourselves mid-rant – not getting caught up in the same vitriol. I see you’re also preaching the same gospel of compassion, respect and tolerance that I preach (when I’m not ranting against the Catholic Church – some things cannot be tolerated). I lived close enough to the Orlando area for 15-20 years that I still think of it in many ways as home. All my friends checked in as “safe,” thank goodness. Anyway, thank you for your post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Louise. Thanks for your kind comment. So glad to read all your friends are safe, must have been a very worrying time for you.
      Annddd guess what….
      Roman Catholic (laughing away here; it’s a British thing). Not the least bit offended. I believe in the Faith but have a lot of issues with The Church, or a big chunk of its establishment.
      We walk different paths, but as long as we are going in the same direction…..It’s all cool.
      Best wishes

      Liked by 2 people

  7. A moving and stirring post, Roger. The US is now so polarized and hate-filled that there is no communication. We know the problems, but not the solutions. Right now I believe that everyone should sit back and listen.
    Thanks for the likes. I’ll soon have a book about my birth families. I never learned much about them until I was 70. Mostly because of jealousy, another form of hatred and intolerance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Paula. Yes we should all sit back and listen (I had my own melt down yesterday in the wake of a killing of one of our young caring politicians).
      That would be an interesting book, I do like reading the posts about your forebears, hard times. It seems that no country has a spotless record. (I’ve just been reading one about the Wars of The Roses and the instances where foreign were attacked purely because of suspicion-and the cynical prodding of those in power).
      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerry.
      But you didn’t hear me yesterday after seeing a news clip of a drunken English males in France throwing missiles at three small refugee boys, and then hearing of the murder of Jo Cox; nor saw my comments of Facebook or probably not read some of my remarks in WordPress when putting comments on other bloggers’ posts.
      Not too pleased with myself, now as the anger (and Hate) dies down.
      I guess that’s why I wrote that….personal experience of how easily it flares (a long old problem of mine- ).
      Take care of yourself and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you. Is it a selective memory or were the 60s/70s a more tolerant time? Do the forces of darkness seem more prevalent now? It is a struggle to fathom what is happening to our world, but without an accurate diagnosis we don’t know where to put the sticking plaster.
    I will think on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Memory is a dangerous thing, it can either haunt us or we filter out what we wish. Here are a few selected comments
      I divide them up; the 60s has this ‘flower power’, ‘swinging UK’ image. Yet the Ulster civil war started then, revolution became fashionable and people played at being horrified by normal life. Racism was alive & well, but not covered by the media. We had adolescent idiots in the form of Mods & Rockers. Mao’s China fell into an episode of what was effectively a civil war (and a bloody one at that)
      1970s, the play-time revolutionist got into full swing with The Angry Brigade, various german groups, The Red Army Faction et al. Flower power had degenerated into drug fuelled self-indulgence. There were various bloody wars. Trade unions lost the perspective on how to organise effectively & strategically. The artistic world viewed anything as freaky and violent as being ‘free’.
      I think there is more awareness of what is going on because of the onset of the Internet; the downside of this being that those who grumbled and muttered away in the worst of bars, pubs, rented halls, or someone’s bed-sit flat now can create their own world-wide audience.
      In my own opinion: WWIII was the Cold War (not so cold if the US & USSR decided to have a contest in your land). WWIV has gradually grown as those who were the once very disaffected of The Third World no longer use old rifles, sticks and stones and homemade petrol bombs but most of the ‘good’ stuff on offer and thus are very high profile. We try and blame it on Islam but miss the point- a large part of the world is still dealing with post-colonial fall-out.
      In the meanwhile, us in the West think that if we go back to some time with only existed in a toxic mix of imagination and selected memories all will be fine and jim-dandy.
      To put this world on a steady course needs a lot of hard work, more talk and less shouting. Otherwise, well ready your histories, particularly the military ones.
      Err…I didn’t intend to rant on; sorry ’bout that.
      Yes indeed, think on. Thinking is not something very much in vogue these days, on either side of the political divide.


  9. Yup. When I’ve given it a good coat of thinking about I will burst forth in a blog. My immediate response is the same as yours – we have to find a way of understanding not condemning or we come across as exactly the same as those we accuse. But it does hurt to say it.

    Liked by 1 person

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