Orlando, Florida and Pulse Nightclub. Familiar words aren’t they? Unfortunately, they’ve become so familiar for the wrong reasons, and sadly, it made the whole world see that there are folks that think if love was a crime. How can that be a crime? How? Is that even a real way of thinking or even living life? Without love, life feels a whole lot empty, you feel with less power, you feel different. You’re basically lacking on one of the best things people can ever have: LOVE!
This whole situation just leaves me with a lot of mixed emotions. In one hand, I’m thankful for the country I am, that with all and all, and the harsh treatment the LGBTQI+ community as a whole receives from many Dominicans (trust me, we’re hated AF) here in the island. And it’s to the point where you reach levels of incomprehension because, us Dominicans here in DR we’re hypocritical AF. I am not joking on that.
On the other hand, I have lots of sadness for fellow LGBTQI+ folks like me, or anyone if so who reads this. This is sad. It’s devastating. Depressing. Astonishing. Scary. Lots of feelings altogether, it’s difficult to express with words how many feelings just the fact about of just think on this event, the lives lost and the circumstances surrounding it, I can simply say that are ambiguous, concerning, and just ruthless erratic behavior at its finest.
Authorities in the freaking FBI knew about how crazy that shooter was, what kind of stuff was surrounding his mentality, his life, even former neighbors say bad stuff about this guy. And out of all possible things you can imagine that a lone wolf in a complex society might do, one of the last ones you’d think about is: BUYING A GUN! When people with those kind of issues have free access to these type of weapons, or basically just weapons overall, the consequences are just somber and dangerous.
Speaking from the soil of a heavily armed population, like in the Dominican Republic, anyone over the age of 18 has access to guns. It’s all about getting the paperwork done, which you can buy through smugglers available at any public office in the country, and most importantly, have enough money to buy guns. AR-15 rifles are rare to find on civilians, to be honest, as anything in this country is absurdly expensive, guns are expensive AF too, and I’m not joking. A .09mm gun can easily cost DOP $20,000 (approximately USD $500) or even more. Seeing arms in the streets is not a novelty for us, but due our tremendous lack of homeland security, any person can be armed, anyone can shoot at you to either rob you, kill you, or just because “I’m a lunatic let me shoot at ‘ya just because”, and well, that sucks. And being blatantly honest to all of you, here in the DR you can easily get shot for the dumbest and lamest reasons, just check our local news.
Mass shootings are just rare. We’ve seen those, but most related to drug trafficking than as we see in the U.S. since they happen because lunatics buy guns and release their hate on society by attacking them in randomly or especially selected locations. Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, and now which will be the next of these events next? And at least, when massacres like the one at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando happen, CONVERSATION surges among the political activists about these issues. Unfortunately, Obama’s administration has been damaged by gun control as Congress has been unable to join forces to find a solution to this dramatic issue.
In the end, we just need to live our lives authentically as we can. No fear, no judgement, no prejudice. There’s no need to hate on someone just because they’re different, everyone’s differences are what makes each and every single one of us unique and special, and by appreciating them we can have more open and honest conversations about any issues that happen to be on the hot plate.
So, you know what, let’s see more kisses and love than hate and prejudice. Let’s start changing the conversation, and look for ways to be more comprehensive of one another. As #LoveIsLove and #LoveAlwaysWins.
I now share with you some impressions of a vigil in remembrance for the victims of the Orlando shooting, which took place on June 14, 2016 at Parque Duarte, a known location for the Dominican LGBT community right in the middle of Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone. Organized by an organization that I’m really happy to be a member of, called Universitarios por la Diversidad (UNIDI). It was also attended by leaders of fellow LGBT organizations in the country, as well as by James Brewster, Ambassador of the United States for the Dominican Republic, and his husband Bob Satawake.
Last but not least, below are the faces of those lives lost back on June 12 inside that nightclub. Hoping and praying that these events do come to an end. We need more compassion and humanity among us. Let’s start switching the page and give the conversation a whole new meaning.
May all these beautiful souls rest in peace.