The Final Word: No more hashtags, no more ribbons. How about some real action?

fla shootingI’m tired.

Tired of the candlelight vigils, which serve a useful purpose of bringing people together to explore their own individual grief and making them understand They Are Not Alone.

Tired of the hashtags, such as #BostonStrong or #OrlandoStrong or #FillintheBlankStrong, which allow people to express their feelings to an event or a cause and showing they are connected globally to others who share similar feelings.


Tired of the ribbons, which at the moment of impact are on trees and signposts and lapel pins but eventually fade with time, almost to the point of having people say, “How did that get there.”

Tired of the dismissive attitude and the sheer lack of desire when it comes to grasping the history of violence and hatred being perpetrated against the LGBT community. UpStairs Lounge ring a bell? Anyone?

Tired of the prayer, unless it is part of a bigger picture where you seek guidance and comfort from the Lord with the understanding that we — not just the politicians, not the ubiquitous “they” but our own, perceived-as-insignificant selves — have to do something. It’s time to do some heavy lifting. We can no longer depend on someone else to figure it out. We can’t adopt a “pray and walk away” attitude. 

I don’t want to take your weapons, if you have them for a valid purpose. Of course, determining what is a valid purpose is another story. I know someone with an open-carry permit. You know when he packs his pistol? When he’s cutting his lawn. Or playing with his young son. In a violence-free neighborhood. He might feel safer. I sure as hell don’t.

I don’t claim to understand why someone needs an AK-47, unless you are a soldier or work in law enforcement. And I understand even less why someone claims to need this, as a “private citizen.” Oh, yeah. If They take away the AK-47s, They’ll take hunting rifles, pistols, sticks and stones, too. (Thank you, fearmongers).

No more hatred: How about some compassion, understanding for our LGBT friends?

I don’t know why the mere fact someone is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender precludes them from being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The other day, I was in East Lansing, where I noticed two young women walking down the street, holding hands. I was happy to see that, thinking  I was glad I was in a town so accepting and safe.

Almost as quickly, it made me sad to think what the response would be in another location, five miles away. Or 50 miles away. Or 500 miles away. Other places might not be so accepting.

After the Orlando shooting, something was pointed out to me that I had not seen yet in media coverage.

How many people were outed on Sunday morning? Just like some communities are not accepting of the LGBT community, some families are not, also.

(By the way, love your children. And then, for good measure, love them some more. Accept you kids’ choices, and if you don’t understand, take the time to learn more. Oh, and love them regardless).

If this seems like a mixture of random thoughts and emotions, cascading faster than I can process this savage attack, it is. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fix gun violence. Or how to make people realize very few Muslims (gasp!) support terrorism. Or, very simply, how to have people love and respect each other, regardless or sexuality or religion or any other reason.

All I know is I’m tired.

Rick Schulte is editor for The Record and is also director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. He can be reached at