Nelba Marquez-Greene has lived the nightmare that the parents and loved ones of the victims of the Pulse domestic terror attack. Her daughter, only 6 years old, was among those mere babes gunned down in the Sandy Hook massacre. A tragedy that just wasn’t “enough” to change anything meaningful that would have prevented future tragedies like the deadliest mass shooting by a single sick individual in US history.
The pain in the long letter is evident:
My first reaction was visceral. I know the horror of waiting to hear. A helicopter flew overhead. It made everything too real. Too familiar. I panicked. I called my friend. I cried. Fifty people. I am reliving being one of the family members in wait. …
I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I am sorry that our tragedy here in Sandy hook wasn’t enough to save your loved ones.
Twenty children murdered at Sandy Hook wasn’t where the multiple casualty events ended. And despite there being so many, from a movie theater to the Pulse Nightclub we have done NOTHING to curb people who are known to be disturbed or involved with hate groups and terrorist organizations from buying guns without a single question asked.
This is the definition of insanity, not only are we not doing the very minimum we could do, we are expecting different results having literally done nothing different.
Mass killings that target a single group, like this attack and the murder of 9 black human beings in a church, last year, which Marquez-Greene notes was “the 17th of June,” are especially baffling to the general public. Why would anyone just decide to take a gun and kill someone for no other reason than they don’t agree with that person, or they think that person is different?
Though we can’t understand it, we know it happens, and we know there are nearly always signs before these attacks. Yet we do nothing to restrict their access to guns.
And then she told me. An attack against people who are gay. A specific group. Just like last year around this time. The 17th of June. A Black church. My head is spinning.
I am tired. I just got back from Canada. And tomorrow is Wisconsin but now I am scared. I want to crawl up in a fetal position on the sofa and watch Harry Potter movies with my son. Perhaps I will build a bullet proof barrier around my house and just order groceries from Peapod all summer. Or for the rest of our lives.
Moving forward has never been easy, and the fact that our Congress refused to even attempt to make a killing like this more difficult for an insane person to do even as recently as 6 months ago makes it even more difficult. The right-wing heaps hate on anyone who would ever dare to take on the multi-million dollar gun lobby, lead by the NRA, and even on the survivors of victims.
We can not let them continue to blame others for what we have done, we own not making it more difficult for people on watch lists, people with domestic violence issues, people who have connections to hate groups, to buy weapons. We all own the Congress decision to not protect the men and women killed in Orlando — these men and women need to lose their place in the government.
We also own the decision about how we go on from here, and Marquez-Greene has some powerful words about that:
I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I am sorry that our tragedy here in Sandy hook wasn’t enough to save your loved ones. I tried and I won’t stop trying. Don’t you dare even listen to even ONE person who may insinuate that somehow this is your loved ones fault because they were gay or any other reason. Nor is it God’s wrath.
They did that to us on Sandy Hook- too. And it broke my heart. You will receive love from a million places. Embrace it. Take good care of yourself. This will be a forever journey. Some ugly will come your way too. Delete. Ignore. Let it go.
Your loss today will bring out the worst AND the best in all of us. May we commit to being our best selves in honor of what you now bear.
I am going to Wisconsin to spread the message that love wins. In honor of your loved ones. Because hate, ugly, evil and prejudice cannot silence love, courage, good.
Messages of hope and unity, and stories of this tragedy actually stopping bigotry in its tracks, like on a crowded NY subway car, are already pouring out from people who are tired of the tears, tired of the feeling of helplessness and ready to BE the change they wish to see.
Today is the day that Americans need to say, we won’t take no for an answer. We won’t say, “we can’t,” or “our votes don’t matter anyway.” It is time that we hold our lawmakers accountable for the fact that there are basically no protections for our people at all, even simple things like background checks and waiting periods.
Here is the Facebook post in its entirety :
Featured image via John Moore/Getty Images