On Sunday morning 49 people were gunned down for having the audacity to be in a gay club.
The media circus that followed was sickeningly familiar. Lives picked over, facts glossed over, other facts studied to an absurd degree. Bombastic statements made. Sympathies offered, sometimes by those who spend a significant amount of their political collateral in sidelining and victimising those who had been wounded or killed.
It happened because there's easy access to two things in the US: assault weapons and homophobia.
I know I'm going to get flak for that first bit, but - if you aren't in the army, you don't need an assault weapon. Talk about the dubious right to own firearms if you wish. Nobody needs an AR-15 unless they are going to war, and that should tell you something about anyone that wants to own one. I put them in the same camp as high explosives. No, you don't get the question-free right to own something that can end so many lives so easily just because you think you are entitled to it.
That second bit is the killer.
When a significant proportion of those in power at every stage of one's life think that non-hetero individuals aren't as deserving of freedom as the rest of us, an environment is created in which it is easier to believe that lie than to fight against it. In a media wherein a distinct effort is made to make LGBTQA individuals vanish, or appear inferior or comical, an atmosphere of intolerance is easy to nurture. It isn't the actions of those Westboro nutcases that really crushes the illusion of equality - it is the quiet backroom intolerance of the majority, that still makes anti-gay jokes and wonders why Pride is a thing.
This is priviledge; this is the priviledge of never having to worry if holding your loved one's hand will end up with you being berated, or beaten, or worse. This is the priviledge of not needing a Pride weekend because EVERY WEEKEND IS A HETERO PRIDE WEEKEND. This is the priviledge of knowing it is someone else that is hated by the real bigots, that you won't have to weather their hatred, that's a burden for the other guy to bear.
49 of the other guys bore that burden to their grave. Another 53 bore it to the hospital.
I have LGBTQA friends and loved ones. I care about them, and I love them, and I want them to be safe and happy. Do I love them because they aren't hetero? No. I love them because they're people, like me, and they deserve love. To think they may be gunned down by a killer with an assault weapon because they chose to go to a club where they feel safe makes me feel sick, and sad, and angry.
Sick and sad and angry. That sums up how I feel about this entire thing.
If America is unwilling to address its gun problem, then at the very least it needs to address its bigotry problem. The two of them in concert allowed this slaughter to happen, and I hate the fact that they are allowed to continue to exist.
My FRIENDS should continue to exist, you bastards. PEOPLE are more important than YOUR right to use "gay" as a synonym for "stupid" and YOUR right to carry a gun designed to kill an entire room in seconds.
Fuck any one of you that disagrees.