We've Come Home to Orlando


LGBT vigil in Rome near the Colosseum.
Getty Images, NYT, June 14, 2016
I am wide awake at 3:00 a.m., having fallen asleep right after Earl and I shared a pick-up supper of salmon sandwiches. I was way too tired by 5:00 p.m. to cook anything. Jet lag is seriously messing with me. Is it more acute because of my advanced age? I simply cannot stay awake at the right times, so that my body can readjust to the Texas time zone. I am still on Roman time, awake and reading on-line NYT and New Yorker articles about the Orlando massacre.
The more I read, the angrier I am at our Congress, which refuses to take any steps towards gun control. Ever. The talk instead is about Muslims and terrorism. The real issue here is the accessibility of military weapons that no citizen should ever be able to purchase. No citizen should be able to kill the numbers of human beings that an AR-15 assault rifle will take down. Orlando is about guns and hate, not Muslims and ISIS terrorists.
Candlelight vigil in Seoul, South Korea. Reuters.
I am also wrung out by Donald Trump. What an unsavory bully he is, belligerently and cavalierly tossing off remarks about Muslims and Mexicans and once again, disrespecting President Obama. Trump is a thug. He is the Id of America. I cannot believe he will be the Republican nominee for President of these United States. He is a dangerous joke. Italian cab drivers in both Rome and Naples asked us about Trump. We flailed our arms and said, "No, no, no Trump." And then, "Hillary. She's the one."
We are back in America. Our plane landed in Houston on Saturday afternoon, just hours before the shooting began in Orlando. It is humid and rainy here in this part of Texas. Five weeks of rain and flash floods and overflowing rivers and bayous. Global warming?
Yet, it is comforting and wonderful to be in my own house again. But outside this house? The freeways are still all rush, fender benders and sudden road rage. I see a gray grimness in folks at the grocery store, dry cleaners and gas station. Folks seem weary, just doing their job, even when, or especially when they finish our transaction with, "Have a wonderful day." We are back.
Today, the NYT writes that the Orlando attack strikes familiar chords across the world. Orlando is seen as another Brussels, Paris, Beruit.
"In an interconnected world, what seems most relevant was what bound together the satirists of Charlie Hebdo, the rock music fans at the Bataclan, the tourists at the Brussels airport and the young people dancing early Sunday at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando - not what divided them and their societies."
Other countries are mourning with Americans, holding vigils, lighting public buildings in remembrance. Here in these United States, we are mourning, holding vigils and lighting public buildings. Of course we are. But many of us are beset with rage and recrimination about the wrong stuff. My mother's mother, Della Hawn Bain, used to say, "It's a long road that doesn't have a turn."
I am looking for 'the turn".




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