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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

Still Thinking about Orlando

Driving up the road to the Smithville farmers market,  I wasn’t paying much attention to NPR morning edition until I heard that people in the 100s were standing outside the funeral of one of the young men murdered at Pulse singing Amazing Grace in order to block the chants of anti-gay protestors. I thought I must have heard wrong, I’d only tuned in to the last few sentences and then turned off the radio as I pulled into the old school lot where the market is. But later in the day the same news story came on again, stating simply that the “anti-gay protestors”  shouted slogans of hate were being blocked by the men and women acting as buffers.

As if it is fathomable that any one could be an anti gay protestor. As if anyone could be an anti gay protestor outside a funeral. As if it were just a fact of record that a group of people could be spewing anti-gay slogans outside a funeral of someone who was murdered because they were gay in a gay bar in the line of fire of crazy and hate paired with an automatic weapon.

Access to that weapon was questioned, as I believe it needs to be, but where was the outrage about people who claim riotousness but yell hate at anguish and heartache? As if there were nothing fundamentally wrong about this, as if a sing out of Amazing Grace could act as a shield protecting those inside mourning the loss of loved ones. As if any of this made any sense in anyway whatsoever.

It’s taken me almost two week to be able to unravel my disbelief about “protestors” being allowed outside funerals of those massacred in Orlando to begin to write about it. Still, I cannot begin to fathom how one can shout hate filled slogans into the maws of grief and no one stops to ask how is this possible? How can you be human and so transgress on love?

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