The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando stands out among the many high-profile slayings this country has had the misfortune of watching unfold in the media over the last several years.
It was the largest — 49 dead and more than 50 wounded — targeted the LGBTQ and largely Hispanic community and reportedly involved just one man with an assault rifle, handgun and likely mental illness.
The shooter claimed in a phone call to a 911 operator that he carried out this slaying for ISIS, the extremist group gladly taking any kind of credit for such a tragic loss of American lives.
Sadly, this tragedy also can be juxtaposed with the terrible state of our political system.
While the LGBTQ community has made many strides over the last few decades, backsliding legislation like that of North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law and a similar initiative — I-1515 — in Washington shows we as a country are still far from achieving equality in this arena.
On the racist front, burnt sienna crayon and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is using the Pulse nightclub attack as an argument for keeping Muslims out of the United States.
Most people know by now that fanatics like the person who committed this heinous crime do not represent this country’s greater Muslim population.
But every time someone claiming allegiance to ISIS carries out a massacre like what occurred in Orlando, many of these Muslims, who are just trying to live their lives in peace, are put on the offensive, looked at by religious conservatives as being suspect. This does not hold true every time someone goes on a rampage in the name of Christianity.
It’s unclear whether the fact that so many who lost their lives were Latinos will keep Trump from running his mouth for a while about building the greatest wall of intolerance around this country to save all the jobs, but we’re sure the slightest setback in the Trump University civil case will quickly remove whatever passes for restraint in that creamsicle head of his.
One of the country’s gayest and openly proud cities, Seattle showed Sunday night that sometimes the best thing to do is to light a candle, sing songs, hold each other and deliver a message of love.
Sure, there was a fine contingent of politicians who came out to Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill — sometimes described as Seattle’s “gayborhood” — but their remarks were short and sweet.
What started out as a somber night — many breaking into tears as the crowd counted out the number of lives lost in the Pulse massacre — did not go on without some laughter and regalia. Flowers were sprinkled onto a large rainbow flag and waved by participants holding the cloth from all sides, bringing smiles to faces that had earlier been wincing back tears.
After all, this is Pride Month in Seattle, and to let a deranged gunman ruin that would be accepting that his violence and bigotry can silence love and acceptance. As allies, we can’t and shouldn’t speak for the LGBTQ community; it’s not our right. Right now, all we can do is show our support during this month-long celebration and look forward to the day when we can report that being openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is no longer a brave act; that it is simply someone being themselves, and no one has a problem with that.