I’ve cried a few times today.
Thankfully, none of my friends that still party were partying in Orlando last night, but the acknowledgment of how easily they could have been has been almost unbearable. (Some of my friends still regularly party or perform in Orlando). My heart is with the loved ones of last night’s victims and survivors.
I was once a queer kid in my early 20’s, out partying with other queer kids in search of an acceptance that was once even rarer than it was last night when a shooter in Orlando shot more than 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
In response to the news that more than 50 of our queer brothers and sisters had been massacred and wounded just 2 hours away from us, one of those friends I’ve partied with asked me,
What would be a viable solution for folks that are here, within our boarders that have known ties to terrorism and are on look out lists?
As much as I wanted to have an answer, I didn’t. All I had was a heavy heart and a multi-pronged solution.
In an age where we’re used to a Big Mac being the same in every city and state, we’ve forgotten that we’re not corporate products that you can buy replacement parts for. We’ve forgotten that there’s no one size fits all solution for what ails our communities.
“It’s not one simple answer,” I told him.
It’s a multitude of things. While working on overturning our interventionist policies and retreating from our entanglements, we hafta build actual community *here*, so… these people [mass murderers] feel like they’re a part of something and those that are already here are looking out for one another. Looking out for their neighbors. Seeing people like him that are about to snap. And for the people like that, that we catch in advance, it boils down to a compassion-based brainwashing. Aggression doesn’t work. It breeds more of this. When you fuck up or you are full of hate and people steadfastly refuse to dehumanize you, having your humanity reflected back to you breaks you down to the core to a depth that torture and prison can by their nature NEVER reach.
The planned killings of people [execution] leaves blood on our hands and holes in our hearts.
To see evidence of how effective humanity is for dealing with hate, look to former white supremacists in this country and perpetrators of genocide from foreign regimes who’ve done a 180 (as in they used to systematically kill people, themselves).
There’s a reason that paramilitaries feed and educate people when they’re fighting governments. When you ‘win hearts and minds’, you’re feeding people’s souls and allowing your ideology to take root in their minds and hearts. It’s basically brainwashing that fulfills people’s bottom of the pyramid needs while also hitting their higher aspirations.
Seriously. That feeding the hearts and minds thing… It’s exactly why people of color, poor people and other marginalized people still vote Democrat today, despite policies being made against these groups that Democrats don’t fight against. It’s because Democrats won their hearts and minds a long time ago.
We can’t combat these hate-fueled killings and demagoguery with aggression. We have to use compassion. Education. Dialogue. Grace. Love.
My friend was frustrated and ready to fight, so I knew this isn’t what he wanted to hear, but it was and is what I believe. Just in case he was still looking for an excuse to fight, I asked him this question that I’ll leave you with:
If you think that’s too woo woo and not practical, well how the fuck is all this aggression working out for us?