Orlando Massacre: We Are all To Blame

Silence, blame

Blame. It’s easy to throw around. Most people throw it as far from themselves as possible not wanting to take responsibility for their actions. This week blame has been flying like shrapnel in a war zone.

Guns. Muslims. Democrats. Religion. Media. Isis. Conservatives. Parents. Trump. (I’m afraid I could go on forever.)

I have heard each one of these blamed for the Orlando Massacre. What an easy out. People cast their blame like trash in a dumpster. Wad it up, toss it in, and throw it away…as far away as possible. You see, by disposing of their blame into one of these receptacles they don’t have to own it. This makes it all too easy. It’s akin to blaming the French fries for making you fat. I serious doubt those French fries jumped in your mouth, and I seriously doubt any of these groups can be solely held to blame for the Orlando massacre. It’s just not that simple.

The way I see it…WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.

I know what you’re thinking. “This is bullshit. I didn’t have anything to do with the massacre.” You’re right to a point. You did not research the nightclub; scoping it out to see when it would be at its busiest. You did not buy the AR-15 used to strike down 102 innocent people. Killing 49. You did not pull the trigger. You did not.

Sadly, WE ARE ALL TO BLAME. We are all to blame for the silence. We are all to blame for the hate. We are all to blame for the intolerance. We are all to blame for the ignorance.

Have you ever listened intently while a friend or colleague told an anti-gay joke; laughing at the punch line. I mean everyone enjoys a good joke, right? At the expense of others? Have you stopped to think about the prejudices that are exposed in you by being a part of this derogatory humor? Oh sure, you were just listening…you didn’t actually tell the joke. I get it. You were silent.

My favorite is when someone reacts to something by saying, “that’s gay.” Hmmm. Fifty years ago “that’s gay” was used to describe something as happy. I think we can all be honest about its meaning today. You might throw that expression out not even thinking about it, but it is showing your true colors.

Pray for the victims! Pray for Orlando! Hashtag Pray! Prayers have been flooding every possible outlet since Monday. I can’t open my social media pages without seeing a “copy and paste” prayer. Hollow…cavernous prayers. Seriously. Praying out of one side of your mouth, and hating out of the other is not how this works. If you are going to “pray for Orlando”, and “pray for the victims” be ALL IN. Do not flip-flop.

Are you talking to your children? Really talking to them? Are you asking the important questions? Are you answering the important questions? Education, no matter the topic, starts at home. Let me tell you…if you are not having these important discussions with your kids…someone else will. Are you teaching your children to be compassionate and loving to all they meet? They learn from example. Are you setting the right example; an example you are proud of?

Do you speak up when you hear casual conversations ridiculing others for their way of life? Or, do you blow it off as “not my business”? That’s a hard call isn’t it. I mean “they are JUST talking”. By not speaking up you are in a sense condoning their words. your silence speaks volumes, I’m afraid.

Do you have a family member or friend in the gay community? Have you reached out to them? Have you comforted them? Have you said, “I’m here for you.”? They are fighting a war they never sought. They are in unimaginable pain. Can you imagine being hated this degree? Can you imagine people wanting you dead? Dead for loving someone. Think about it. Can you imagine being afraid to go to work, afraid to go out in public, afraid to live. I implore you to reach out.

I am to blame as well. I am embarrassed that I have coward down in some of these very same circumstances. Afraid to speak my mind. Afraid to rock the boat. Me, I have a son who happens to be gay, and I was afraid to rock the boat. I cannot alter my past behavior, my silence. But, I can tell you I won’t be silent anymore. I’m going to rock the boat, and if you get whacked with a paddle so be it.

Have you noticed that people are never shy about sharing their disdain for something? They tell jokes, they mock, they hide behind their hateful posts online. Why do we allow this in our lives?

Why are we so meek? Why do we yield to the “haters”?

Are we afraid we will “make them mad”? Ok, be mad. I don’t give a shit.

Are we afraid of what others will think? High school for me was almost 30 years ago…I’m so over caring about what you think of me.

Are we afraid of losing friends? If I lose a friend over this; I’m afraid we weren’t very good friends to begin with.

Now, I’m no fool. I know that for the most part people are going to disagree on the issue of homosexuality until the end of time. It’s ok to disagree. The hate, however, is not ok. It’s not ok to hate someone simply because they are different than you. It is not ok to fuel this fire. Why is this such a difficult concept?

I know you are thinking, “I’m just one person. How can I make a difference?” You have a voice, don’t you? Use your voice to educate, to provide compassion, to speak out. It takes just one spark to light a fire. One. Use your voice, people.

If you are not part of the solution; you ARE the problem.