The little one woke up at about 2, and stayed awake until about 4. At one point, after we tucked her in again, she sat upright in bed and said “Hey guys!”, and I wanted to laugh, but I knew if I did, I would never sleep again.
Lindsay let me sleep in and made breakfast because we thought it was Father’s Day. I went in the backyard with my coffee when I finally got out of bed. I had checked my phone, and was rapt with the mass-shooting in Orlando. I thought about how Albuquerque had her Pride parade the day before, how we were supposed to go, but were handling business. I thought about dancing with your friends, becoming comfortable with your identity, and having a monster deliberately take it away.
We went to church for the first time since moving here. We had pre-scouted churches online, and had decided on this one. It was bigger than our last church, but the people were friendly. Like our last church, it was nearly absent of millennials, especially millennial couples with kids, who would be our ideal peers.
After church I took the car to get a tire replaced-I took a curb WAY too hard, and blew the tire out. We’d been driving on a spacesaver. Getting it swapped out took longer than expected. We were planning to take a scenic drive, and I was worried we wouldn’t be able to. It worked out.
After a vegan (but not gross) dinner, we hit the road, headed for the East Mountains. We saw some of ABQ’s more colorful residents out and about. As we left the city, I saw a sign that said “Slow Down To 45 MPH To Hear Song”. There was a rumble strip, and as we drove over it, the cabin filled with the tune of the first line of America The Beautiful. It was an amazing, unexpected delight.
We continued to ramble along Route 66, through luxurious enclaves and rough places. We took a side street and found a gated community which gave me a strong White Supremacy Nudist vibe. We left.
Later we saw a sign that said “City Hall and Fire Department”. I turned off, and saw a group of Native teens cross the street. Passing by later, they were hanging out in a house which was under construction. The area was isolated, and the houses had the ingenuity of the poor/desperate. A street up, a man was shooting stuff with his shotgun.
We went home, a few minutes ahead of sunset. There were few streetlights, and I didn’t want to mess with rural freeways in the dark. More street people were out by this time. We looked for a Dairy Queen for a few minutes, finally using the GPS, and realized the one we were looking for was in a mall. Nevermind. We went home.
I feel comfortable in this city. I’m starting to be able to drive without using GPS all the time, and I like that there are (a lot of) other brown folk here. I like the food. I don’t like sweating constantly, but I don’t hate it. I am upset I donated 2 pairs of linen pants to Goodwill right before we moved here. The pants would be useful.
Still, the whole time I was thinking about Orlando, about how people politicize tragedy, about dead gay boys, most of them Latino, enough to fill a small graveyard. I thought about Florida, and refugees, and guns, and what America means, and I’m hurt and full of rage at this cowardly, vile act.
What’s the most empathetic, useful response? Praying is not enough. Giving blood here in Albuquerque wouldn’t help. Me being angry does’t help, unless my anger catalyzes a solution, and I don’t see how it could.
I’m going to be carrying this around for a long time. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was a wifebeater, and he killed 50 people during Ramadan for being gay.
I think about mass shootings often, and for a while, was worried about being shot in such and incident. I think about the ensuing media circus each time, about the weeping and gnashing of teeth and thoughts and prayers. I think about how it’s forgotten, and nothing is done to prevent future massacres. Nothing. Maybe a small initiative by companies or private citizens, but nothing is done from a regulatory standpoint to address this public health crisis.
And just like how I don’t know how to ease suffering, how I don’t know of a panacea for widespread fuck-upedness, I don’t know what to do about gun violence. I don’t want all guns banned. I don’t want more people to be armed, either. My talking and freting is still inaction.
Here’s the thing, though- in a representative democracy, we hire smart people to make tough decisions and do hard stuff.
Only, they aren’t. They’re shutting down the government, voting for their own pay raises, constantly vacationing, throwing a nearly decade-long tantrum, then campaign for us to give them more responsibilities.