Tomorrow is a week since I began crying and couldn’t seem to regain control of my emotions. Last Sunday evening, a long awaited visit for dinner by two gay friends accidentally coincided with the news horror about Orlando. The hearth in the living room was ablaze with candles – one for each victim of the murderous hate played out with an assault rifle. Our welcoming embrace dissolved into tears and trembling.
I know what a list of names looks like with 49 names. Four dozen, we say…thinking of eggs, or birthday candles. I know how reading that many
lives names aloud, hearing a voice laughing – and stilled, seeing a face in the mind’s eye as the lights wink out – makes the voice begin to crack and fray. Monday is the Summer Solstice and the Full Moon. Public workings and private plans for magic for the dead and the wounded survivors are listed here and there around the internet. The pagan community writhes with the same convulsions of grief and anger and …well, for me? A kind of numb lack of understanding, like a child too young to know what death really means: how can any person murder half a hundred and leave another half hundred bleeding and injured?
I am not a pacific person; I am passion filled and storm tossed. But I love life — I love seeing it on younger faces and older, all around me. I like the dance of it, the wrinkles and the wild youth of it. I love the twined hands of lovers walking before me in the park; I don’t care what gender the lovers are or what race or age. It is the dance of life and love I see blossoming like rainbows after the storms of ordinary life.
Ah, yes, rainbows. That flag, that shimmer in the air. I was crying so much that I took out a pair of very cheap sunglasses for all public outings. A woman my age is no longer pretty in tears, I look red eyed and mascara-raddled. So dark, dark glasses. I had no idea how cheap they were, having not worn them before — the emergency pair in the glove compartment. Everything I look at, in the sunshine – whether a dark car, shiny leaves on a summer tree – takes on the sheen of costly “glass-coat” paint jobs. The cars fluoresce into rainbow hues, as do trees and shop windows. Rainbows dance wherever my eyes turn! I cried more at first. But then it struck me as a defiant dance of conspiracy in cahoots with my grief and shock. Nothing can stop the rainbows!
I stopped speculating about whether the shooter was or was not a self-hating gay man. How tragic, if he was, and led my the religious mania of monotheistic faiths, he so hated himself that he had to clear his conscience with blood. I told myself to stop thinking about that so-called “minister” who wants a theocracy that can line gays up for shooting. I am grateful I don’t live where he lives, or getting my need to break his jaw out of my head would be so much more difficult – I told you I am no pacifist. Why such hate speech should get a free pass in the name of freedom of religion is beyond me.
The hardest bit to purge is the handy ammo these deaths give to the likes of Donald Trump — the “terrorist” label is so convenient. I have long said that the group called ISIL ( I refuse to defile the ancient name of a goddess with their acronym!) draws many kinds of malcontents who will accept that black banner as an excuse to destroy and kill. And not because they believe in the “caliphate” — but because they want freedom to be murderers, misogynists, rapists, and destroyers-at-large. I believe that the shooter in Orlando cast about for a justification, found it and took it to revenge himself on everyone that ever rejected him.
I cannot defuse my anger that more and more Americans die at the hands of men arming themselves with weapons from battlefields. Half of Congress is unwilling to do anything about it: the alleged meaning of the 2nd Amendment trumping the promise of “life” in the Declaration of Independence. There is to be a vote on Monday, because the Democrats refused to step down their filibuster until that was agreed upon. But will there be change, or does the break again come on party lines — declaring the right of the gun nuts to randomly murder at will while those of us in love with the dance of life wring our hands in futile rage?
Because of that vote, I don’t think I can wait until Monday night to put my acts of will and magic out there in the world. I need to at least attempt to put the idea out there that putting assault rifle ownership ahead of American lives is wrong. And the idea that calling it religious righteousness means the lives of 49 people dying at a “gay” club has less impact than 49 “other” lives. Because that is hypocrisy, isn’t it? Twenty children died and nothing changed. Nine people in church died, praying – and nothing changed. Who is perfect enough to not have their brutal bloody death dismissed?
I must make candles in rainbow hues, for the 49 innocents shot to death. I want to hold them in my heart, in my ethereal arms, and weep –by the waxing moon tonight!