Terror, Community, and Blood — Updated
Update: I’m shutting down the comments on this post.
If someone wants to, they can (and should!) write a Ant-/Pro Gun Control post, or a Why Muslims Are Good/Bad post, or a This Is Why The Other Team Sucks post. Or, if they want, one of the other Eds can just put up a post so everyone can pick up where they left off here, only under the byline of someone who isn’t me.
I asked one favor for these threads, and that was that people here not use this horrific tragedy as a lucky and fortuitous springboard for telling other people here why they sucked. Something something can’t have nice things, I suppose. For those that did refrain, thank you. Know that this isn’t directed at you. For those that didn’t, as I said, there are score of other posts on this site as well as the whole damn Internet for you to go throw your bombs. Have at it.
But these threads are closed.
As most of you know by now, less than 24 hours ago Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, suffered the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, and the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
I keep trying to find the words to describe my horror, my grief, my anger. But for the life of me I just can’t. So, so awful.
Regular readers know that I am a believer in the Columbine Rule, which, simply stated, is this: 90% of the details being reported now will likely turn out to be incorrect. Or at least, all of the unimportant details will be. The only truly important detail we already know with absolute certainty: More than 50 wonderful, unique, loving, bright, perfectly imperfect lights of humanity have been violently taken away from us before their time.
I know I speak for all the editors, writers, and indeed the entire OT community when I say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.
And if you are one who thinks “thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough? Awesome. I have some additional requests of you.
First, please consider donating blood today. There’s a real shortage right now, and it’s badly needed. A decade ago, after I got my 10 Gallon pin from the Red Cross, I decided I had given enough blood for one lifetime. Today, I have decided that I haven’t given nearly enough. If you want to join me, you can find a location near you here.
Second, I am going to ask you to contact your local Senator and Congressperson tomorrow morning, and ask them to remove the ban on LGBTs donating blood. For those straight people who don’t know this, there is no disease that our LGBT brothers and sisters can contact that we can’t and don’t contract as well. What’s more, all donated blood is tested for HIV and other blood borne pathogens. There is literally zero reason for this law to still be on the books. That those who are members of the victims’ LGBT community are not allowed to donate blood is unconscionable.
If you’ll looking for something good to come out of such a horrific event, may I suggest the removal of this ban is a great way to start.
Finally, I am going to ask the OT community a favor.
As always, there are a lot of theories going around right now as to the exact motive of the shooter. But really, the sad truth is that sane or mentally ill, political or apolitical, man of faith or atheist, we already know exactly what the shooter’s motive was. The shooter killed more than 50 human beings because he decided that a community of people who absolutely was not his enemy was, in fact, his enemy.
If you need to use these threads to howl at the moon, gnash your teeth, and let loose primal screams, please do. That is, at least partially, what we’re here for. We are a community, after all, and communities should allow for grieving and outpourings of emotion. But please remember that the other people in these threads aren’t your enemies. They’re just people who don’t always agree with you.
And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go hug the fish out of my kids.