The recent shooting in Orlando, Florida has been a quaking realization for all of us. It brings many various types of reactions across the nation from heated anger to despair and sorrow. Everyone has their opinion on the matter and a proposal for what should be done. When these things happen segregation follows, we are all put into different categories depending on religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political views, race, and/or personal beliefs. That is one of the farthest reaching tragedies of this grievous act. The fact that it segregates us all and pits us against one another in trying to consolidate the pain that we have felt. We can all take turns at identifying the various aspects of the shooter and the specific race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and personal beliefs he had, and then reject all others who fit that description. We can even take it so far as to look at all these factors and categorize everyone within that shared sphere as “evil”, but doing so would accomplish exactly what these type of people are aiming for; hatred of our fellow friends and neighbors.
Every enemy knows that the best time to attack a stronghold is when the people within it are divided. The people who are seeking to injure us as a country know that they will never be able to win with sheer numbers alone, and so they take advantage of the age old saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and by doing so, slither their way into our society causing each of us to lash out against our would be brothers and sisters causing each and every one of us, in some form, to aid their cause. Once again, this is the true tragedy of the Orlando attack. We have politicians who are urging for the illegalization of a large group of people immigrating into the country simply because they belong to a specific religious tradition. We have another large community of people who fight tooth and nail against anyone who does not share their same personal beliefs on sexual orientation, and the opposing group condemns this group, as it were, to damnation for the very same thing. People are still discriminated for their race in a country that has fought so hard for equality. A mother pulls her young child close to her in fear on a subway simply because another person who is different than she sits next to her. The true weapon in this war is not guns or knives, but misunderstanding and fear. The shooting in Orlando did not spark these problems, but it certainly has fueled the flame. So what can we do about it? This war of hatred and fear within our very own homeland and even within ourselves? John F. Kennedy had a wise answer to this question when he stated “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” That is exactly what this is, an opportunity. An opportunity to come together regardless our differences of opinion and demographics. It may sound cliché and slightly cheesy, but this country needs to look at one another as neighbors and friends. We need to look at each other as fellow human beings and respect that. We may not agree on everything, but we can still listen to one another without cutting the other off and have an educated conversation without emotions being damaged. There must be a reason why we were born with two ears and only one mouth, that is a way of saying that we need to listen twice as much as we speak. How much better off would the human race be if we actually listened to one another, something far more than just hearing. So in that effort we unite hands with any who will join us as we send an outpouring of love to all those who have been affected by this terrible crime, not against a specific demographic of people, but to all of humanity. We stand by you and mourn your loss by your side. We may have differences but that is not troubling to us, diversity is what brings such beauty to this world. We will always be here to reach out whenever you are in need. We pray for Orlando, we are Orlando.