A Heavy Heart for Orlando

June 13, 2016 12:12am
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This has been a real shitty weekend.

Friday night saw the death of YouTube musician Christina Grimmie who was shot while she was signing autographs outside of the venue where she had just performed.

And then Saturday night brought the worst mass shooting in US history as a man walked into a gay nightclub and gunned down 50 people, presumably because he was homophobic and possibly had ties to ISIS.

A lot of words want to come out, but none of them feel quite right.

I’ve spent a bunch of time watching social media scroll past the last couple of days as these events have unfolded just an hour’s drive from my home, and I know that in the past I’ve occasionally mused about whether I should’ve gone into journalism instead of the path that I’m on now, but in watching all that’s transpired this weekend, I say with great sincerity that I don’t know if I could do it.

Watching these people trying to sort out fact from rumor, all while everyone around them is screaming for answers and they’re fighting the misinformation spread by colleagues who might subscribe to less stringent journalistic standards like getting one’s facts straight and not just using each other as news sources to push their headlines … in world where less people want the answer as opposed to just an answer that they can like on Facebook before moving on to the next thing in their news feed, often times it seems like it would be such a thankless job for such a huge emotional toil…

…and here, I just write jokes about poopy diapers and funny names to call to your own farts. 😛

My sister, who recently moved to Orlando, pointed out how scary it all is because it just shows how things like this can really happen anywhere – you never know when you’re out to have a good time and a crazy person shows up with a gun under their coat, looking to take out their frustrations in life on a crowd of innocent people. I live in Tampa with my family, but we spend enough time in Orlando to be considered part-time residents anyways and this kind of thing could’ve just as easily took place at Disney Springs or at one of the new attractions on I-Drive, or even at the local mall down the street from our house.

It just makes you feel so helpless because you can’t do anything to prevent what happened – that’s all said and done. And you can’t stop your own life out of fear because what’s the point of living if you don’t get out and actually live your life?

So instead we cry, and we hold hands, and we do our best to honor the victims through vigils and prayers and happy thoughts in the face of this cowardly evil. Whether it’s enough or not is kind of irrelevant because at the end of the day, it’s all that we can do until we’re ready to exercise anything that we’ve learned from these events to change the political side … if there’s even anything that can be done, anyways.

Through it all, I would say that there have been a few shining lights this weekend that I’ve personally observed myself:

  • The journalists who take pride in what they do to share the facts and not let all of the rumor and assumption get in the way of that effort as they strive to inform the people in the best way they know how.
  • The people who lined up across social media to share all of their kind words about the talented Christina Grimmie, and then literally lined up around the block today to give blood which has been in short supply after the shooting.
  • The people of Orlando who take pride in their city and just wanted to share their support – a slideshow of scenes from the various theme parks with all of the employees and characters sending their love was one of my favorites!
  • And lastly, believe it or not, the politicians who offered their condolences without taking advantage of these horrific incidents. There will be a time and a place where we’ll expect actions and words, but those that weren’t boisterous get an extra point in my book today.

I admittedly don’t really know how to end this, so I’ll wrap things up with a couple of choice tweets that I liked this evening…

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