I Can’t Watch the News Today

 

 

I’m normally a news junkie. National news, political news, local news. If I watched the news today I could get it all in one after the Orlando shooting.

orlando shooting four

 

I used to live a block from the club where the shooting took place. It was an eclectic neighborhood. A combination of older homes built in the mid 1900’s and newer homes and condos with a Mediterranean flair. Less than 2 miles from downtown, there was an air of gentrification along with elderly homeowners that had watched the neighborhood change with the times.

orlando shooting neighborhood too

Thru an otherwise quiet neighborhood runs Orange Avenue. Lots of shops, a major hospital a few blocks away, a gym and immediately across from the club there’s a Wendy’s and on another corner a Dunkin’ Donuts. I confess I used to walk to both far too frequently.

Dunkin Donuts

The nightclub “Pulse” was a neighbor too. I admit the music was loud, carrying thru the neighborhood on weekend nights. Dance music, house music, and sometimes salsa. I imagine the noise may have bothered some, to me it was just part of the weekend on my block.

 

There wasn’t enough parking in the Pulse lot. Club goers would park on the neighboring side streets including mine and it wasn’t unusual to bump into patrons on their way into the club. I didn’t see many on their way out as the club let out late. They were generally very polite, they asked if we minded if they parked in front of our house, and incidentally they were gay.

Orlando shooting neighborhood

I won’t watch the news today because I don’t want to view the endless speculation that accompanies these things. They’ll guess as to motive, some stations will steer the conversation to radicalism instead of homophobia. They’ll bring on experts, comments from politicians, tweets from Trump. Someone will blame Obama.

The NRA will close ranks and insist that guns for everyone, everywhere is the answer. If only there were more “good guys with guns”. Others will call for “common sense” gun reform and background checks but they’ll ultimately be ignored. They will speak to survivors of previous shootings. They’ll speak to witnesses and relatives. There will be tears. The cycle is predictable and goes on and on.

orlando shooting witnesses

I was in Atlanta when the bombing took place during the Olympics. I’d been near the location a couple hours before the blast. I was in New York when the twin towers came down. When I saw the hole a year later I was numb. I’m not afraid for myself, I know there are yet things for me to do so I worry not. I do fear for my children and grandchildren. What kind of country do we live in? What kind of world? I learned Facebook has an app to let people know you are safe when there’s a shooting near you. What kind of world?

When I was young. I could ride my bike or take the bus all over town. During the summer I would leave my home precisely at 9 in the morning, to return only for food or before the street lamps came on. I felt safe. It was safe. My children’s children will not know that kind of freedom, nor safety.

I won’t watch the news today, maybe not tomorrow. I know what they’re saying. They’ve said it all before.