Saturday night, after a day of driving across Florida, Big Daddy and I arrived in Orlando. We picked up a pizza and collapsed into bed in our hotel around midnight. Just a couple hours later, twenty miles away 49 innocent souls would lose their lives and thousands of others would die in a million other small ways as well.
That day, sunny and bright, we passed news vans and crime scene vans making their way to report and to help. We saw helicopters circling in the distance. The weight of the awfulness was unbearable. What else can it be? We saw the phone clenched in the hand of a desperate mother. “Mommy, I love you”. Yes, he wasnt a kid, but those words twisted into my stomach like a knife, reminiscent of the texts the Princess sends when things aren’t quite going her way. I can’t think about it too long or too hard. His fear and her desperation are too big for me to even comprehend.
The end of the story is that he died. Eddie Justice’s mommy was never able to help her son. He was 30. And to her he was probably 30 and not 30 all at the same time but I can’t spend too much time thinking about that either. Not because Eddie and Mina Justice don’t deserve my time, sorrow and tears. They do. I’m afraid if I start crying; out of anger and fear and frustration and sorrow that I won’t be able to stop. I’m afraid if I stop to consider the dear ones of mine that could be those 49 dead or 53 injured or thousands who will never be the same, I feel myself begin to crumple.
So, what then? What will this be? Another tragedy where we scream and tear at our hair and beat our breasts and cry until we run dry but, in the end, do nothing? Because, that seems to be our thing. The world watches us. What will we do?
I mean, that’s status quo, right? 30 little children shot to death and nothing. 50 people who did nothing wrong but show up to Latin night dead and nothing, because that’s what it will be. Prayers offered and people who are on federal no fly lists or FBI watch lists able to legally buy weapons and, as quickly as they can can squeeze the trigger, exterminate as many people as their magazine can hold. And we will do nothing.
I’m sorry, mama, that you lost your child and I weap for you and your sorrow buries into my soul, but we will do nothing. We won’t give you a silver lining or the ability to say that your baby died, but at least this will never happen to anyone else. That won’t come because people with more money than sense have convinced others that it’s more important to be able to empty their 30 rounds in fifteen seconds into a target for the benefit of their machismo than it is to admit that they’re wrong. To admit that their desire to possess something is more important than healing and protection and love and life. All that. That the ability to target shoot is more important than you saying to a grieving parent, separated from their dead child by days because they lay in midst of a crime scene, that giving up your semi-automatic weapon is the least you can do out of love and respect and care for them or as tribute for their loved one. That you value life and loss so little.
Maybe that idea makes you mad. That I believe you value life and loss so little. But, all I have are your actions and your words and your pictures of your gun that is the same gun that killed 30 little children and dozens of innocent adults. What else should I think?
To, the hurting I send love and a promise that I will not only love bigger and care more but I will raise my children to do the same.