I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”. We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.
There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.
ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE
It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.
The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages. He was killed by police.
I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.
First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people. But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!
Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.
If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man. He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay. Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change! However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!
CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME
The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).
After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.
Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:
Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”
Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”
Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered. It was because of who they were!
Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies. The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.
When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”
In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners. The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.
Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.
In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country. We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution. This means all of us.
There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control. Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.
I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun. I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.
I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting. But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15! None!!!
But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.
Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.
They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47. He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”
My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!
The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.
LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY
In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again. (This will open in a new window.)
A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY
There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones. This one really breaks my heart.
32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.
Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other. It’s a little comforting that they died together.”
Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”. This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.
As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.
The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.
LOVE IS LOVE
Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile. I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.
Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.
Make sure the person you love knows it everyday! Life is too short.
Ray, I love you!
GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED
Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub. Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.
The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”
She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”
ON A LIGHTER NOTE….
JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)
If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember. I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.
We might have been born at night, but not last night!
Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH
As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.
Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!
Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”
He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”
Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!
So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂
By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer. You can read about that harrowing experience here. (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)
NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC
People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!
Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.
Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.
As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year. I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.
I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli. It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.
Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.
Martha Washington: A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.
Abigail Adams: Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.
Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.
Dolley Madison: Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.
Elizabeth Monroe: Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.
Louisa Adams: Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.
Rachel Jackson: She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.
Hannah Van Buren: She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.
Anna Harrison: She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison. While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.
Letitia Tyler: She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).
I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.
ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE
Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.
Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.
His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.
He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.
Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.
Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.
Take care of yourself and those around you.
Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me. If we disagree, do it diplomatically. More gets resolved that way.
Have a great weekend!