There are approximately 50 innocent people dead this week, all their dreams and goals unrealized, family and friends devastated, and many rocked with horror, disbelief, and grief.
Of course, we’re speaking of the blood bath at a gay night club in Orlando, Fla. June 12, where a domestic terrorist opened fire and killed or maimed more than 100 people – all because of hate.
As we mourn the loss of all those people and struggle to make sense of what has been the deadliest shooting in modern American history – some good is beginning to transcend this tragedy.
We’re seeing people uniting. There are people around the globe coming together with a common voice. They’re all calling for an end to such hatred and pleading for people to be kind to each other.
It seems love is prevailing – even here in the Comox Valley.
Will flying the pride flag – a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community – at schools and Town offices undo the damage done by Omar Mateen and his weaponry? No.
Will signing mass online “postcards of empathy,” or painting a sidewalk the colours of a rainbow bring back all those young people – many in their 20s and 30s? Obviously not.
But, a little paint on the street, a little extra colour in our lives can’t hurt, either.
What it can do is turn the spotlight on the need for tolerance, acceptance, and love. It can be a symbol that hatred and bullying will not be tolerated.
It’s up to us to make this massacre count. It’s up to us to make this world a better place, and to rise above all the hatred. The flags, sidewalks and postcards are nice, but we can do more.
Let’s face it; we all have our fears, our phobias, our misplaced judgements. But it’s another thing altogether to live in fear because of who you are, who you love, who you pray to, or the colour of your skin.
It’s up to us to demand change, and do our part to live our beliefs, showing compassion and kindness for others.
It all starts from within. The next time you see someone being treated unfairly, simply because of who he or she is, put yourself in their place. Do that, and chances are you will intervene. And once one person intervenes, others will follow.
Talking change is a good thing. Creating change is a great thing. Let’s be great.