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Taking Our Pulse in Orlando

The immigrant from South Africa, the native from Connecticut. The youngest was 19, the oldest 50. They were pharmacy techs, travel agents, entrepreneurs, students, and church-goers. Many were gay, lesbian, or transgender; all were someone's son or daughter.
--The Daily Beast

I’ve been reading some poetry this morning. A Catholic friend is reading the Bible and posting verses on Facebook. JetBlue, a corporation with a conscience, is offering free air travel to friends and families of the victims. The President has spoken--yet again-- with strength and dignity about a massacre, grief and shock.

This horrible event in Orlando has an historical and political context; it does not stand alone. And though it is impossible, even futile, to try to understand how a single person can hate and kill and gather guns to kill, we can also have compassion for his parents. He was a son, too, a son with promise born on democratic American soil. Think about his Dari-speaking Afghan immigrant parents. How relieved they must have been to escape a war zone. Did they take that trauma with them? Undoubtedly.

Certainly, something went terribly wrong with their son.

Even Hitler was a baby once upon a time. A baby who grew into a man infected by a coarse and dangerous ideology. A baby who grew into a killing machine. First came propaganda, then a book, then the final solution.

A home-grown terrorist. We don’t have to look overseas to ISIS to find a hate- driven ideology. Donald Trump’s foul mouth twists words and distorts truth. His angry face fills our television screens every day. If he were our leader, how many people would say “heil” to him?

Let us not let him stop us from thinking clearly, feeling deeply, or sounding our own carefully chosen words with honor. Let us celebrate our heartfelt human response to this tragedy.

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