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.