In Response to Tragedy

I spent a good part of my Sunday watching reporters rehash the events of, “The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S history.” Words like gunman, open fire, assault and death toll trampled across my screen with a crude force I can’t fully comprehend. How many times will we have to hear those words, see the vulgar juxtaposition of tragic stories sprinkled between car commercials and ads about online dating? How many times will we feel the vibration of hatred as the cold acts of terrorists shake our lives?

Who can say?

Fifty club-goers confirmed dead in Orlando as I type this. Suffering is a sweeping flame. Who can say where the fire will burn?

I’m angry, aching, yet roughly unaffected. I understand this as my fingers bend around my warm ceramic mug, the aroma of a bold brew rising to meet my senses. My teen sprawls on the sofa, engrossed in some YouTube video that’s playing on his device. But tragedy… so I ask: What’s fair about life?

Not a damn thing.

And nothing can change that. We can reconstruct crime scenes, solve mysteries, fill courtrooms with criminals, but we cannot make life fair.

But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Hell no. That would be lunacy.

I sit here knowing we cannot undo what’s been done. So what should I say? This entire letter is constructed of cliches, words we beat and rebirth when grief pounds a fist in our faces. “We’re not promised tomorrow.” Yup we know.

But that doesn’t mean we stop saying it. God no. That too would be lunacy.

No, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, whether monotony or mayhem. So let’s open the locked boxes of our humanity. Let’s unpack the kind words we reserve for greeting cards and commemorative speeches. Set them free. Let them fill the spaces between us. Let frozen tears fall and burned bridges be rebuilt.

There’s no time for hate. No space for silence. Even if we’ve said it all before, say it again.

If you love someone, say so.   

We’ve seen the explosion of blame on social media, the lambasting of religion, Islam, and even the gay community. Nonsense. If hate is the problem, how can it possibly be our solution? While the fog of tragedy still hangs thick in the air, speak love. Live love. It may be our only weapon. We can do this one thing: affect the atmosphere within our own homes, within our own hearts.

  • Bren Pace
    June 13, 2016

    Hey Rica,

    I couldn’t agree with your words more. I actually wrote about the tragic loss today, despite my better judgment. I’m angered, sad, frustrated, and infuriated all at once. I’m not a just play victim type gal. I’m ready to kick someone’s ass! However, I know the powers that need to be, don’t feel the same.

    These heinous acts need to stop, as well as these “gun free zones”. The Government is rendering people helpless this way. Just imagine if one of the clubers was armed? Food for thought, right?

    Oy veh…… has me in such a funk today.

    Great read and thank you for putting it out there.


    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      It’s funny that you say that, Bren. I made the same comment about “just one club-goer having a gun.” How many lives could have been saved if one person of the hundreds in that club would have been armed and able to shoot the assassin? I swear I don’t know whether guns are the problem or the solution. It’s such a tough call. Thanks for your comment, Bren. All the best to you.

  • Dom
    June 13, 2016

    What a fantastic post. Beautifully written. I tell ya. The world is in a sorry state of affairs. I’m so thankful every day that my family and friends are safe.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      Thanks so much, Dom. This was the hardest post I’ve written in a while. I honestly had writer’s block for the first time in forever. It’s so hard to form an intelligent opinion when you’re busy being disgusted. I’m not so sure any of this even made sense. I just felt compelled to share it. Thanks again for reading.

  • Dannie
    June 13, 2016

    This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for writing. In light of this darkness, it’s good to know there are people who still care, who still love, and more. It’s like Fred Rogers said: look for the helpers. That’s what I’m doing.


    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      What an amazing perspective, Dannie. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Terri Webster Schrandt
    June 13, 2016

    Your words on this subject are relevant and meaningful. Thank you for posting about this. Hate is just not an option. We were out of town camping all weekend and came home to all of this. Prayers for all the families involved.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      Hi Terri, good to hear you had some nice family time away this weekend. Thank you for reading.

  • Elaine Mansfield
    June 13, 2016

    Thank you for writing this, Rica. I haven’t written about the tragedy. I read about it in the New York Times which usually doesn’t indulge in making things worse than they already are. I haven’t watched the endless TV or online news about this, geared to fire everyone up, make us all afraid and angry, and encourage us to feed the bad vibes by watching more news. I carry the tragedy in my heart and feel deeply for everyone involved. I’ve contacted close friends who are Middle Eastern or LGBT. Hate and prejudice are lunacy as you say. We’re unhinged. There are fanatics, fundamentalists, and lunatics in all religions, all races, all colors, all nations. Wishing for light and love and a little consciousness in his world. I appreciate your tackling this head on.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      Thank you so much for your kind comments, Elaine. If anyone can speak on tragedy with eloquence and grace, it is indeed you. I wish for light and love too, and for the strength to continue seeking it, no matter what happens.

  • Laurie
    June 13, 2016

    Rica, There’s a feeling of unreality in this latest shooting. One more crime scene. One more list of heartbreakingly young people taken too soon. Its beyond comprehension and your post is raw and powerful. Thank you.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      Thank you, Laurie. I agree there is a sense of “unreality.” People taken too soon indeed. 🙁

  • Shann
    June 13, 2016

    Yes, love is definitely the answer. Out of all the tragedy, the only good thing is to see the communities pulling together, donating blood, and helping each other recover. I still can’t make sense of it all, as I’m sure no one can.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 13, 2016

      Yes, it is good to see people pulling together, Shann. Thanks for reading!

  • Amber-Lee Schneider
    June 13, 2016

    Lovely words. Hate is never the answer. Love is the only thing string enough to stop this epidemic.


  • Carol Cassara
    June 13, 2016

    No time for hate. Exactly right. I have been horrified at some of what I am seeing online. Blessings to you and to all on this horrible day and in this week of fear and reckoning.

  • Jennifer
    June 14, 2016

    As Lin-Manuel Miranda said
    When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
    That nothing here is promised, not one day.
    This show is proof that history remembers
    We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
    We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
    And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

    • Rica Lewis
      June 14, 2016

      Phenomenal! Thanks so much for sharing those powerful words, Jennifer!

  • Shirley Corder
    June 14, 2016

    Thank you for helping us see this tragedy through other spectacles! I read about the shooting on Facebook, it didn’t even make our TV news or newspapers here in South Africa.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 14, 2016

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Shirley!

  • Jessica
    June 15, 2016

    So much heartbreak and tragedy going on right now, it breaks my heart to turn on the news.

  • kereta sewa subang
    June 17, 2016

    just discover this site from somewhere. great sharing story & experiences. i will recommend this site to my friends out there.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 18, 2016

      Why thank you, Kereta! So glad you found me 🙂

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