I’m struggling, friends. My heart is heavy, my body is exhausted, and my mind is fighting to remain at a safe distance from the Dark Place. I need to be reminded of the good in the world. Tell me something beautiful, that will restore my faith in magic. Help me remember my profound belief in the power of love, kindness, and human decency.
Right now, it feels like each day – each breath – is a struggle.
Last week, I began writing about my thoughts regarding the Stanford rape case. As a woman, as a trauma and assault survivor, as the best friend of women who are also rape survivors – this story hit closer to home than I was prepared to handle. My level of rage towards the attacker, his measly six-month sentence, the cavalier attitude of his father, and the sympathy of the judge – caused me to feel physically ill.
On the other side of that fury, is my overwhelming empathy and heartache for the nameless survivor, and my additional anger on her behalf for the defilement of her body against her will, and for the injustice of the ruling.
I was in the midst of writing a blog solely devoted to this case, when I happened to be listening to NPR and I learned of the night club massacre in Orlando. Otherwise classified as the largest mass shooting in United States history, the perpetrator opened fire with an assault rifle and claimed the lives of 49 innocent victims. Take a moment and allow that to resonate.
In a world where poverty and disease devastate entire populations; where children die from starvation and lack of access to clean water – I just cannot wrap my brain around any justification for directing violence towards love, in any form.
I’m at a loss for words on this issue, so I’m going to reference the words of one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. Former President Jimmy Carter said:
“Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned.”
The current Pope is calling on the Catholic Church to formally apologize to the LGBT Community – and we have mass shootings taking place in the name of religion. AND in the wake of this, we’re fighting about gun control.
I just can’t.
To the Stanford rapist – you will likely never read these words; but I’m speaking directly to you, and every sniveling coward like you. You piece of shit, you son of a bitch. You vile, pathetic excuse for a human being. I don’t give a damn about your future as a swimmer, or any other future you have in mind for yourself.
You raped a woman. You violated her body and you stole her power, you crushed her spirit, and you’ve scarred her heart forever. Your “twenty minutes of action,” will haunt her for the rest of her life and affect her in ways you’ll never understand. You made the choice to do this (drunk or not, I don’t care), so now you need to fucking OWN that choice. Be responsible, be accountable, and don’t you dare think the pitiful sentence you’ll serve will somehow alleviate the damage you’ve caused.
You should be rotting in jail for the next decade or longer, hearing a recording of the survivor’s letter to you on 24-hour auto repeat. And if the punishment really fit the crime? Well. You can use your imagination on that one – if you even have one. For some reason, the film Deliverance is coming to the forefront of my mind.
To my conservative friends – you know me, and you know I’m a political lefty. But you also know (at least you should) that I’m typically always willing to listen to alternate perspectives with an open mind so that I can attempt to understand where you’re coming from. Even if we ultimately can’t reach an agreement on a given issue, I have never felt like this is grounds for disrespect.
I also feel like if we spent more time actively listening to one another – instead of fighting to be right – the amount of political discord between the parties would be drastically reduced.
Having said this, I’m truly baffled by the amount of spite I’ve seen directed at those who are in favor of stricter gun control. We don’t want to eliminate the Second Amendment, nor do we want to ‘take away your guns.’
We want it to be significantly harder for individuals (such as the Orlando shooter) to obtain assault weapons. It’s. That. Simple.
I’m a fan of guns. I learned how to shoot when I was in my early twenties, and I bought my first handgun when I was 25 – trust me. I am in FULL support of everyone having the right to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. I also feel like we’re capable of achieving self-protection with pistols, handguns, rifles and shotguns – why are you clinging to the need for military level assault weapons?
I’m genuinely asking.
A friend of mine shared that, as a law abiding citizen, he feels strongly that no one has the right to dictate how he lives his life or what type of weapon he chooses to own. He’s never harmed anyone, therefore if he wants to own an AR-15 – he can.
His argument, along with many others I’ve seen in regards to this issue, also states that cars, tobacco, and obesity kill more people per year than guns.
This is absolutely true, and I respect the logic.
Are we going to also ban automobiles, cigarettes, and fast food? How about kitchen knives and hammers, as those can also be turned into deadly weapons in the wrong hands? Rocks? Prescription meds? Anyone… Bueller?
What I don’t understand about this argument, is how it relates to a mentally unstable individual (who was suspected of terrorist group involvement) was able to waltz into a gun store and leave with an assault weapon in less than ten minutes. The weapon that would subsequently end the lives of 49 innocent human beings, nonetheless.
Truly – help me understand how my need to drive myself to work each day is tantamount to the need to own an AK-47. I’m all ears.
What I told this friend of mine, whom I do respect and want the best for – is that there needs to be willingness to compromise on both sides of the political fence. We’re never going to accomplish anything if one side is pushing for major change, while the other side is blatantly refusing to even acknowledge that a change is necessary. And I believe we all have room to grow, whether you’re liberal, conservative, moderate, or anything in between.
I know I’m spinning, and I know this post is disjointed – but that’s how my mind feels these days. Grasping for meaning, struggling for daily inspiration, and only seeing evidence of everything that’s wrong with the world.
Remind me. Remind me of what matters. Tell me about something tangible and meaningful.
Take my mind away from the sadness for my fellow human beings who are targeted for violence based on who they love – and essentially persecuted for being born.
Distract me from the sorrow I feel for sexual assault survivors – those who remain silent, and those who bravely choose to speak. And when they do speak, are then forced to experience further torment courtesy of our legal system.
Give me a glimpse of magic, a ray of light to bring me out of the dark.
I need to know that the fate of our world – and the inherent goodness in humans – is still worth believing in.
And I really, really need a giant hug, a back massage, and a tall glass of wine.