I grieve for the 49 victims, many of them young people, whose lives were ended too soon. I grieve for the 53 others whose lives are forever changed. I grieve for all the friends and families who surely were unable to work today.
I can't stop thinking of the mother who received texts from her child right before he was slain, telling her that he was about to die. I can't imagine how painful and saddening it must be to receive that text message. I have no idea what it's like to be a parent, but I do have a heart, and today it is breaking.
I am also scared. There is no reason this couldn't have happened on 4th Street here in Austin or Montrose in Houston. Only sheer luck prevented me and loved ones from being one of the victims. Homophobia still runs strong in this country, and I could be slain with an assault rifle any time I visit a crowded public space.
My grief is slowly becoming rage at the heterosexual, white, cisgender, privileged male politicians who care more about NRA campaign contributions than protecting their constituents from gun violence. Rage that they think people really need assault weapons to hunt or defend themselves. Rage this has happened so many times, and yet, people just offer "thoughts and prayers."
I don't need your thoughts and prayers. I need you to do your effing job, and pass sensible legislation to prevent these events from happening and to lessen the effects of future attacks.
We are the only advanced country in the world that has this level of gun violence. You can't convince me that our government cannot do more to protect us. So I'll be writing tear-stained letters to my elected officials. I invite everyone else to do the same.