the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

On what not to do.

Bee ButlerComment

I have seen a million and one things about the Orlando mass shooting, all of them URGENT or SHOCKING or some other drastic-sounding blurb designed to catch attention, as if the bloody murder of 50 innocent people as a hate crime/terrorist attack can be anything BUT attention catching, but there is one thing I cannot deal with. The back story for this guy reads like a conspiracy theorist's dream. His father falsely claimed to be the President of Afghanistan on a television program. He may or may not have been gay. He made comments to numerous people that were charged with racial slurs. He made it known to his parents that he hated the sight of two men kissing. He scared a coworker so badly that he was repeatedly reported to his boss for violent hate speech. He was abusive and his wife divorced him. He was obsessed with the NYPD. He was a for-hire security guard. He was on a terror watch list for a period of time. He allegedly mentioned Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the same claim for his motives, even though the two are at war and don't have anything to do with the other, and an actual militant would've known that. The FBI and Homeland Security flagged him as a threat in the past. Sources report that he made a call to 911 proclaiming to work for ISIS. Nobody has released the 911 tape, which is abnormal in this type of situation. Sources also report that he posted on Facebook that he was going to kill people because the U.S. continues to bomb the Middle East. Nobody reporting that has used screenshots, which is also abnormal in this situation. He may or may not have been hanging around the nightclub in recent weeks. He may or may not have been kicked out of that nightclub for pulling a knife on someone. He may or may not have gone there to get drunk in secret because he could not at home. He may or may not have been a devout Muslim. He single-handedly killed 50 people and injured 53 more using a semi-automatic weapon, even though it is seems physically impossible for him to have smuggled that many rounds and magazines into a nightclub in public in the middle of June without being caught. An eyewitness and shooting victim even came out today saying that he had snipers and other gunmen, that he didn't hate black people and felt bad for them, and that he was doing all of this while speaking Arabic frantically and proclaiming that the U.S. deserved this and prohibiting people from using their phones.

Holy shit, there is a ton of conflicting, insane, creepy, inexplicable information out there. In the coming days, weeks, and months, I'm sure it will all be unpacked and examined, and eventually a theory will be released by the government. I highly doubt that any legislation on gun control will pass, but everyone will talk about it endlessly for a few more weeks, at least. It's a lot to process and think about, and it's a graphic, dramatic, scary, infuriating situation, and talking about it seems to be the only way to deal with these crazy feelings that have come up as a result. You can believe what you want about motives and methods, and you can fight and argue and push until your head explodes. These things remain:

It is not okay to shout "it was a hoax!" as though these people are not, in fact, dead and injured and achingly absent from the world. Just like with Sandy Hook, there are people crawling out of the woodwork to make sure everyone knows that people were plants, people were running the wrong way, blah blah blah. PEOPLE ARE DEAD AND YOU COULD AT LEAST PRETEND TO BE SENSITIVE WHILE YOU CONDUCT YOUR LOONEY BUSINESS.

It is not okay to blame this on the Muslim community, as though they all mysteriously communicate telepathically or have rosters in their mosques for who is and who isn't going to bomb the U.S. for the "motherland", as if they all have a shared "motherland", as though the Muslim community was not already suffering from an absurd amount of abuse from racist people and xenophobic people like Donald Trump, as if being Muslim intrinsically makes you a terrorist. MUSLIM PEOPLE ARE HUMAN BEINGS WHO WORSHIP A GOD THE SAME WAY YOU DO, AND THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEIR RELIGION DOES NOT, IN FACT, MAKE IT SCARY AND EVIL AND THREATEN YOUR COUNTRY AND WAY OF LIFE.

It is not okay to act like this wasn't perpetrated DIRECTLY against the LGBT community, and it would do you well to realize that they are suffering immensely and in even more fear than normal that they could be harmed for who they are and how they feel, which they could no more change than you could change the fact that you breathe oxygen. LGBT people get enough shit on a regular basis, and right now, in the wake of transgender bathroom laws and not even a year into same-sex marriage legalization, the feelings of unwelcomeness and anger being beamed their way have got to be overwhelming. This happened to their community. This affects their community. THE FBI CLASSIFIED THIS AS A HATE CRIME AND YOU WILL RESPECT THE FACT THAT HATE CRIMES TARGET MARGINALIZED PEOPLE AND WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE ACT TOWARDS THOSE GROUPS.

It is not okay to parade around saying you feel terrible for "the gays" as though you magically give a shit about them when last week you were screaming for someone to shoot all the lady-boys in the wrong restroom, making this all the more disgusting than it already was. You don't get to carry around a token gay friend like you've already done with your token black friend and excuse your latent homo/transphobia with a falsified humbleness and respect for lives lost in the wake of a tragedy, as though your actions did not condone this exact event only a few days before. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM IF YOUR ACTIONS AND WORDS THIS WEEK DO NOT MATCH YOUR ACTIONS AND WORDS LAST WEEK. THIS IS NOT A CAUSE TO PICK UP AND PUT DOWN AT YOUR CONVENIENCE. YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED FOR YOUR HORRIBLE BEHAVIOR BY DECRYING A "BAD GUY" WHO MADE THEM HIS TARGET WHEN THEY WERE YOUR TARGET ALREADY.

It is not okay to pretend that praying about this is enough to fix it. It is not okay to act like speaking to who or whatever you believe in excuses you from taking action against a brutal and horrific tragedy. God is not going to walk down here and magically revive these people because you gave Him a little lipservice. Praying is great, and I'm so glad you took time to remember this event in your conversation with a deity, but you have to do something, or you need to shut up. PRAYING AND THEN REFUSING TO TAKE ACTION IS ASININE. CONTACT YOUR SENATOR OVER GUN CONTROL, OR SEND MONEY TO AN LGBT CHARITY, OR CONTRIBUTE TO A GOFUNDME FOR A VICTIM, OR CHECK YOURSELF AND RECOGNIZE YOUR PRIVILEGE AND CORRECT YOUR BEHAVIOR. JESUS TOLD YOU TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, AND GOSSIPING TO HIS DAD ABOUT THEM DOESN'T COUNT.

I am at a loss for what to do or think or feel, but I know that the above mentioned things are not it. Now, get yourself together and make things better, even if it's just for today. There has been enough loss and pain. Do some good, watch yourself, and remember that it could've been you, and next time, it might be, so your response should probably reflect what you'd want if that happened.