Trigger warning: some of the following content might be difficult to read, as it pertains to violence/the use of guns.
On June 12, 2016, I woke up after a peaceful night’s sleep in Orlando, FL.
See, it was the day before my birthday, and my closest friends and I had stayed up late enjoying the way late night in your twenties just feels so alive. I remember making an offhand comment as sirens raced past, breaking the silence of pre-dawn.
I woke up that morning, after sleeping soundly only 10 minutes away from the then-greatest massacre, and became conscious of the peculiar way that violation has an intimacy. It doesn’t seduce you, but slowly trickles from somewhere deep within and makes you into an hourglass with it’s essence- each casualty snuffed out a pound of sand added to your weight- and you’re now the quicksand and the helpless animal caught in it. I struggled and rebelled against the feeling- ’til this day I still scan every face of every movie theater I go into and I refused to let that sort of fear kick it’s legs up against my ribcage and make itself at home ever again- but how do you reconcile that sort of havoc?
We painted rainbows across our #OrlandoStrong streets and amphitheaters, and we called it pride and resilience and everything but war paint. Yes, we recovered as best we could, but there is no mistaking the way recovery feels an awful lot like being on the offensive.
So when I woke up a few days ago and saw the red way Las Vegas, city of sin, had it’s innocence stolen from it, I expected to let that stupid, dumbfounded river of sorrow carve me out again- and believe me, I felt the tears pinprick, but it was a needle in a haystack of pain that I just couldn’t find- but when I felt emotion finally run through me again, all I felt was rage.
How dare we let this happen again?
Across the world, America polices democracy and freedom, and acts appalled at genocide, and fights evil like it’s our birthright, but when it’s at home, we suddenly forget just how freedom is fought for. There are no prayers and love or a collective group of soldiers using telepathy on battlefields to drop mortars of goodness onto ravaged lands. No! There are guns. Because guns kill people, and there’s no argument against that statement of fact that will ever suffice in my eyes.
“But, guns don’t kill people, people kill-“ shut up, shut up, shut up!
What on this freaking planet were guns created to do then? Act as the inspiration for launching t-shirts into crowds at NBA games?
Before we had our Second Amendment rights, we had something a bit more profound, and meaningful: the self-evident truth that all are entitled to LIFE. Now, I know that there is this fear that gun control means that guns will be taken away, and I empathize with the fact that a good number of my American brothers and sisters consider the right to bear arms a fundamental part of what makes them American, but isn’t enough enough?
This is a political moment, because politics is emotional. Because I’m sick and tired of it being easy to talk away death like people are only statistics to go down in the history books as the unfortunate souls that nothing could be done to save. Unfortunately, it is to late for Aurora and Columbine and Sandy Hook and all of the other headstone headlines. I do not have enough flowers of grief to lay across my computer screen as I glimpse snapshots of people who have been reduced to bullet hole scars in the lives of those they love.
Aren’t we tired of funerals? And being afraid of sending our kids to school? Doesn’t it sink down on you like the way summer does, all hot and unbearable?
This is the moment where we’ve been beaten bloody and need to fight back. This is not the first moment, but I understand that it’s scary sometimes and hard to turn the mirror inward and see what needs fixed.
We have all read the stories of the complete strangers coming together to do the right thing to save lives as the shooting unfolded, so why can’t we do that now?
“There’s nothing to be done,” sounds easy enough to say when it’s a blanket statement about a problem that hasn’t directly affected you, but just for a moment imagine if those words were being told to you by a trauma surgeon as you stand outside an OR suite waiting to hear if your loved one would live to see morning.
It’s not about gun rights, but the right to live. It’s about trying our damnedest to never let this happen again. This isn’t one of those scenarios where what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas: this is a plague of epidemic proportions.
So please, let our country have this discussion already, and call your representatives to ensure that this tragedy is the last, worst devastation of it’s kind.
To find your Representative:
To find your Senator:
I'm a 24 year-old entrepreneur living in Orlando, FL. I'm a muslim-american-cat mom, and I firmly believe that the meaning of life is all about the little things.