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The Biggest Mass Shooting...Until The Next One

Fitness. People often take the term itself for granted, but what does it mean? Lifting weights? Bending steel in front of an audience? Doing thumb pushups until the joints in my hands can’t take anymore?

No, fitness means health, and that includes the health of the mind. There is a rampant mental health problem in America, and it’s two fold.

In Orlando, Florida, 50 lives were snuffed like a candle by an “AR-15 style assault weapon”, with another 53 injured.

Let me clarify: an AR-15 has a firing range of 400-600 meters, a velocity of 975m/s, and in a target rich environment like a Florida night club, it can easily spray 45-60rpm, assuming there are no modifications.

Most of those people were probably lost in the time it takes to urinate.

For a person to step into a nightclub and open fire like it’s rabbit season is obviously mental health problem of its own, and the experts and analysts will take plenty of time trying to pinpoint the shooter’s health history, relationships, and motives.

But there’s a second side to that coin - the desensitization of the mass shooting.

Think about it. Virginia Tech was the largest mass shooting in the country with 32 victims. Then Sandy Hook was considered the most tragic mass shooting after 20 of the 26 victims were children. But now this nightclub slaughterfest brings the number to 50...and not a damn thing will truly be done about it.

This shooting, as each other, will be taken in every direction that loosely pertains without addressing the core issue. Radical Islam, mental health, and “investigating whether or not this was an act of terror.”

I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but my gut says that if over 100 people were shot in a nightclub, investigation over, it’s an act of terror.

But what is at the heart of the issue? The hearts of Americans. It seems surprising and sometimes downright shocking to people to even imagine that this country was built on a legacy of hate, so of course any and all measures will be taken to make this shooting seem like the isolated madness of a lone shooter, or to pin the issue on gun control policy.

I’m not here for the politics, I’m here for the pain.

And pain is what I truly feel about the incident...yet even my pain feels hypocritical. I see all over social media sites about people who are “sending [their hearts] out to the victims’ families and praying for them.” I think when we live in a country that can desensitize the murders of children in elementary school, the time for prayers and status updates is over.

I mean, what am I really sending my heart out to? The daedric god of guilt, so that I’m absolved of the gravity of my conscience once I have 37 likes to show for my feelings?

No, my heart is going out like a loud cry in the night; booming and distant, but instantaneous.

The time now is for action. For writing and discussion, yes, but also for the asphalt to feel the weight of my soles moving across the Earth like a juggernaut. To protest on main streets, yes, but also to step into the smaller streets in the dead of night and knock on doors.

What do I mean? I mean a revolution of love. Until we address the history of hatred within our borders, we will surely be doomed to repeat it until the last two hands are raised in the air, begging not to be shot.

Until we take love into our own hands, we’ll be fated to send hearts out from a space station until the gaping holes in our chests can offer nothing more than a place to fill with concrete.

I don’t mean it’s time for everyone to go down to Florida and raise hell until we see heaven. I mean it’s time to do that at home.

Who are your neighbors? Time to find out. Share meals and tips. Offer relationship advice or a simple hug. Mow a lawn or two and get some fresh exercise. Have a town meeting to discuss the local potluck, not just the politics.

Everyone seems to live anonymously until their paths are marked with death. We aren’t dealing with Robert Paulson here, we’re dealing with the people we see everyday who interact with, and sometimes are, our families.

“Love your neighbor” does not, and has never meant “love your friends and family.” It means “love your NEIGHBOR.”  

Perhaps one day, we’ll stop looking outwardly for the enemy in order to look inward for the kin, but it won’t happen with a protest or a tweet. You won’t see it with a status or a senator.

You’ll see it when your mirror learns to smile.

My heart goes out like a cry in the night, but beware...because my feet will follow closely after.


A final note: this was a hate crime, plain and simple. Act of terror, yes, tragedy, yes, but at it's core, it was a man who walked into a gay club, saw men dancing and kissing each other, and felt it appropriate to open fire. This was a hate crime, and the only true weapon for hate is love.

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This was absolutely incredible to read. You shed amazing light on the entirety of the situation and what the public's reaction is. This is an amazing piece …

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