Well, here I am sitting in another airport after doing some redemptive sight-seeing, attending a beautiful wedding, and learning of two mass shootings. The mix of emotions that I am experiencing in this moment is, to say the least, complex. My world has changed so much since I made that last trip to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. At that time, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there could be a world available to me in which I could live openly as my authentic self without fear of being terminated from my job or ostracized by my family. I now take those things as given factors in my life. In 2007, as I navigated the streets of San Francisco with friends from my former church in Zanesville, I never could have conceived that I would return to the city 12 years later to attend the wedding of a dear friend to his husband. Sadly, in 2007, 8 years after the shooting at Columbine High School, I could conceive of that it was to experience the shock of the headlines following a mass shooting.
Now, I am sitting in the dizzying swirl of messages that consistently follow these horrific events: the calls from those with progressive leanings, myself included, who are asking for some measure of reasonable gun legislation only to hear those calls interpreted by more conservative ears as a call to confiscate all firearms. Those same conservative voices want to place the blame on those with a mental health diagnosis. Not everyone with a mental health diagnosis is unsafe to own a weapon. Additionally, the very presence of these mass shootings in our lives is certainly a contributing factor to the increasing number of anxiety and depression diagnoses. Additionally, the environment and national security concerns related to climate change tell us that our world will likely only become more violent as long as we continue on current trajectory.
My head and my heart are heavy today. I had planned that this post that would be written would be a long and joyous one filled with more photos from the weekend. That just doesn’t seem appropriate this morning. Take care of yourself today. Show love to those around you today, and, if the opportunity presents itself, show love to someone that you barely or don’t even know. Stricter, more reasonable laws would help, but, ultimately, it is a greater love for each other and a greater appreciation for the connection that exists between all of us that will enable us to truly create something better and to alter that trajectory of our world.
With love to you all…