June 12, 2016

No Words

UPDATE: Days later, as the House Democrats sit in to stand up against gun violence, it is incredible to hear voice after voice call for action—and speak out against the moment of silence—more eloquently than my own post did.

When a terrorist attack happens in the United States, we hold a minute of silence.

Silence, because the devastated can't speak, and those celebrating know to whisper.

And then, numb from the constant tragedy—from the shootings, and the rapes, and the racial & religious persecution that currently defines this country—we move on.

We move on...most of us never speaking about the traumatic reality, and determinedly ignoring those who do.

Because the alternative is breaking down from the overwhelming heartbreak. Because being destroyed by the horror of our reality is "weakness," and returning to a complacent norm is "strength."

Because while the devastated are still piecing themselves back together, vocal hostility swells to fill the silent void. And the silent just hope that the hatred will magically shout itself away.

Over twenty years ago, faced with an overwhelming likelihood of being attacked in our home or shot on the streets, without anyone speaking up, we moved to the United States for safety. But with a United States bullied and distracted (cat video, anyone?) into silence in the face of hatred, where can any of us turn now?

I can't find the words, but I know we can't stay silent.


  1. With all the shouting going on in social media from all directions, it's hard for me to see that anyone's staying silent. I think the problem is that no one's listening. They're all just shouting.

    1. That's interesting, I've seen very little. A few arguments, yes, and a few idiots, of course, but especially right afterward, most of what I saw from people were the usual everyday posts. In some cases, there was an acknowledgement of the tragedy amid 10 other regular posts. Some shared articles about what happened, but if you compare to the time of the Paris attacks?

      Most of what I see is people too inured to the idea that, yep, there was another mass shooting in the US. So they just go on with their everyday lives. I've also seen some LGBTQ+ people angry that the majority of their contacts, their social media "friends," have stayed completely silent.

      Granted, I would hope at least some of the conversation is happening off of social media, and of course things like the filibuster will help spark more discussion (and hopefully change), but still—most of what I've seen is a "stick my head in the sand" approach. And I don't know if it's because of numbness, helplessness, apathy, survival instincts, or what.

    2. Okay, I see what you're saying - the level of the expressed shock & sadness lowers with each incident. For me, it's like this - I don't take Twitter/Facebook/Instagram all that seriously. They're not places I'd go to express how I feel about serious issues. I use them for entertainment. So maybe there's less talk regarding Orlando because people are feeling it more acutely. But I saw the rainbow ribbons all over Facebook, and that was nice.

      The blogs are different. I've read some great, heartfelt posts about the horror at Pulse, especially from people in Florida. Off the web, I've been involved in all kinds of conversations at home, at work, out with friends, via text. So, I know people are feeling it and talking about it - we haven't turned into zombies...yet.

    3. Not sure if you had the chance to watch the Democrat sit-in feed, but I am heartened to hear the same frustration with the useless moments of silence from voice after voice. I hope this leads toward real discussion, and real change.