June 12, 2016, Prescott-  My week was largely occupied with helping to man a shelter, for some 37 people who were evacuated from two communities, Yarnell and Peeples Valley, once again threatened by fire.  This time, no one died.  This time, there was minimal property damage.  This time, the fire was taken seriously, from the get-go.

The shelter closed this morning.  I helped with the breakdown, helped inventory the necessities.  Then, I went to the Raven Cafe, had brunch and came home.  My middle brother, in the course of a phone conversation, told me of Orlando.  He told me there were 50 dead.  He told me there were 50 other people, whose lives were in the balance.  He told me of the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil, since 9/11/2001.

Orlando/Beirut:  Many dead, in the former; many terrified, in the latter.  Two fine cities, united by atrocity.  The list of affected cities and towns grows.  The list of innocent victims multiplies. The hate continues.

Three years ago, when I was in yet another of the fogs that come with grief, and was making some terrible choices, one person came to my aid. One person called me and said, directly and convincingly, “This needs to stop.  You are acting crazy and it’s not going to end well.”  That person reset my mental clock.  That person, as fine a friend as I’ve ever known, is a member of the LGBT community.  That person and his fellows deserve all the respect and human dignity that those of us who are heterosexual, cissexual, or any other designation, can possibly muster.

Pulse is now a place of mourning.  Orlando is now a city dealing with two shocks: One small in scale; the other, the worst firearms attack in American history, outside of war.  Both shatter the convoluted logic that, if only good people had firearms, the bad would be at a disadvantage.  Yes, quick, decisive action by police officers did prevent more lives from being lost, in both incidents.  Yet, both shooters reportedly acquired their weapons legally.

So, our choice is this: 1. Honour the souls who have gone on, and not make excuses, as we have done- every single time before, including after 9/11 (“That Frenchman said the U.S. Government did it.”) and after Newtown (“Don’t you know those kids are in hiding.  Nobody really died, except Lanza.”)

2.  Stay in the mindset of ignorance, and denial, and watch, “helplessly”, as the carnage goes on, and gets worse, and comes to a theater near you.

I am listening, thinking, waiting- and mourning.  I will not stand idly by, if a demon rages  in my view.

11 thoughts on “Pulse

  1. I am in shock over this as I am every time this happens. It is madness and lawlessness in the midst of too many laws. Laws used to enable the power of those not worthy of such. “Where is the warmth of Thy love, O Light of the world?”. May we be united at least in our grief.


  2. I am glad that the fire in Yarnell has been extinguished and that people were not hurt this time as they fought the fire. It seems, though, that we go from one crisis to another these days. I think there are many more choices than those you mention — fantasized excuses are not an option in my mind, and I believe the ignorance and denial and helplessness are countered by awareness and action and cautious continuation of our lives.


    • Thank you, Janet. I am sure creative solutions will be, must be, offered, beyond the generalized responses offered in the past. Yes, I have heard the fantasies mentioned above- and am still hearing them, with respect to 9/11. Fantasies are a substitute for action, and are usually the mode chosen by those who are too timid to actually do anything constructive. I favour the path chosen by the average citizens of Israel: Go on with life, and refuse to be intimidated by the delirious, twisted souls who carry out terrorism.


      • Hmm — I wonder what’s wrong with the path chosen by the average citizen of the US — go on with life and refuse to be intimidated ~ ~ ~


  3. I am sorry Gary, I was not aware of the Yarnell fire. But I am glad you were able to help out. But then you had to hear the news of the Orlando. I know, it is a shock, and no matter how many times it happens, it will always leave one feeling helpless. I know the American’s are doing their best to remain strong in these circumstances.


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