With the recent events in Vegas weighing heavily on my mind, I've been stuck between trying to figure out if I should do a post on Facebook, Instagram, nothing at all, etc. I realized that my blog, while it could definitely have no reach whatsoever, is also my outlet for my feelings. I'm covering a lot here, I hope you can follow it.
I was on Twitter at midnight, scrolling through my timeline and trying to process everything that was happening in Vegas. I watched the news and videos on Instagram on what was happening because I needed to know. As I absorbed everything, I kept seeing messages from users asking others to not make this a political issue right now. I read messages asking everyone to take a break from gun control messaging and policy reforms.
One tweet stood out to me the most; "The bodies are still warm. Could you not make this a political issue right now. Have some courtesy."
The second I read that I was pissed. This isn't about courtesy. Yeah the bodies are still warm, because they just got killed. They're warm and lifeless, what the hell is "courtesy" going to do for them? It would have been "courtesy" to not shoot them, but we're past it. Do you know what else would have been courtesy? Having gun control, because maybe then this could have been avoided entirely.
Do people think we want to be saying the same damn thing over and over again? No, but nobody is willing to listen. Nobody is willing to listen and make the change that we need.
I know some will think I'm disrespectful for saying all of this but I am mad. I am angry and I am scared. Being vocal is hard,yes, and it may make you a target, but silence is complacency. Silence is complacency, please understand that. And stop coming for us for being vocal, do not attack us for how we process and grieve. Half of those affected are asking for prayers, yes, but the other half is asking for change.
"Not at this time," is a phrase that is being overused and it is under serving the issue at hand. In the past X-amount of issues relating to gun violence, we've been told that there won't be a talk on gun control "at this time." When will it be time? I'm sorry, but I'm officially over anyone who wants to get all 2nd Amendment with me because at the end of the day, this is doing more harm than good. You don't believe me? Think about the 50+ people who lost their lives because someone just needed the right to bear arms. Think about Pulse, think about San Bernadino, Virginia Tech, Columbine, the list goes on, This. Is. The Time.
Also, call it for what it is - Terrorism. This was an act of terrorism. It's absolutely infuriating that this entire issue was deemed down to be a "pure act of evil," as if Satan himself decided to take over the body of Stephen Paddock. And yes, I'm saying his name because Stephen Paddock, in my mind, was a terrorist. I don't know how this may affect me, and I'm honestly scared for writing this, but we need to call it for what it is. Are we really going to absolve this person of the title because of a textbook definition?
By definition (federally), terrorism is "the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims." While a motive may still be uncertain, it's baffling that we technically can't call this a terrorist attack, despite the fact that terror has been spread so far beyond Las Vegas. If we can't call him that then how do we live in this gray area?
Mind you, Nevada law clearly defines this as terrorism.
If Nevada classifies this as terrorism, yet the LVPD hasn't classified Stephen as a terrorist because of lack of motive, then what is this middle we're living in?
What do we call this limbo if it's not terrorism?
And don't accept how the media is portraying this issue. I've read articles with Paddock's brother, and while i completely understand where he's coming from, I truly do, his reiteration of "something just incredibly wrong happened to my brother," is null and void, I'm sorry, I truly am because I can't imagine how it would feel to hear that your own family member did this, but you need to accept that it happened. Whatever happened to Stephen, this was 100% preventable and we need to accept what happened and stop trying to humanize him. Stop trying to humanize him because if this was a person of color, the first we'd see is their criminal record, even if it was as low as smoking weed.
Every article that I've read has taken its time to talk about Stephen in the most human way possible. It references his life, how he's been lonely, his struggles, etc. As if these are supposed to mean something to us. As if these are somehow supposed to exonerate him from the crime?
My friend posted on Facebook earlier, "Let's all be mindful of how this is framed when it's a non person of color who committed the crime," and I truly can't say it better myself. It's tired to say this, but it's true in every case we have. Stephen, despite having just executed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, is being categorized as a "lone wolf," something we have used culturally as a badge of honor and pride - we all love the lone wolf in a movie. How the fuck are we going to title him with something that his synonymous with a positive type of connotation in our culture? This isn't a Western film, this is life and we need to see more than humanization. We need to see change and we need to see policy.
Let me be clear, I have so much sadness about what happened. I've heard people say they're unsympathetic simply because it was a Country Music Festival and that has certain connotations. I say fuck that. I would never wish this on anybody and what festival it was shouldn't mean a damn thing. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. This is a tragedy and I won't even try to understand how anyone affected is feeling. But my heart hurts, it is crying for families and people who lost the ones they love. As always, these moments put things into perspective and I can't help but reflect. I reflect because that's how I process, but those in power need to process and make change.
I'm truly sorry if this offended anyone, this was not my intention in the slightest. These views reflected are mine and only mine. I hope you may understand where I'm coming from and can meet me halfway. If you feel differently, please share your feelings to. We are not here to be divisive, we are here to unite and find middle ground. Let's find it together.