14 June 2016

Remember Leroy

I do not want to know any more about the murderer of the 50 people killed in Orlando.

I do not want to know his name. Or his son's name. I do not want to hear of his father or his ex-wife. Or his current one. 

I do not want to know his story. 

I do not care to talk of his religion or otherwise. 

I do not want to give his life an importance or a relevance that exist outside of the facts. 

A man bought some weapons and killed 50 people he didn't know, injured over 50 more and blew apart the lives of thousands of people connected to the 300 members of the LGBTI community that were dancing in the club that night. 

It was an act of hatred. And terror. 

But not because he maybe had religion. But because what could be more terrifying than realising that you are being shot at while you are dancing with your friends. 

What could be more terrifyingly heartbreaking than a text from your child saying "I love you Mommy" and knowing that there was nothing you could do to sooth his worries, take away his fears and make it all better for him. 


But in our haste to point fingers and condemn and try and understand the inexplicable, we inadvertently immortalise the name of the murderer giving him a place in history and in our memories that he doesn't deserve. 

His story and his picture appear at the start of every story - even the stories that are paying tribute to the victims. The names we remember should be those of Luis and Eddy and Mercedez and Edward and Stanley and Franky and Alejandro and Javier and Jason and Deonka and Brenda and Amanda and Enrique and... well here - read about them yourselves right here.

Read their stories. Really read them. And take the time to remember just one of their stories, one of their names. Remember how their parents and families and friends spoke of them. Remember just one person and how much they were loved and focus on that. Remember Leroy who was ace at hair, loved his mum and was killed alongside his partner Xavier, a talented dancer and the father of a four year old boy of whom he was inordinately proud.

They are the stories of love that should be told. 

It is horrible that their lives, their ordinary every day lives are now stories but they are all love stories. And we do more to change the world by remembering them then their murderer.

Because they matter. They are not just statistics. They are not just victims. They are not political point scoring. They are not hateful texts from politicians or arseholes.

The lives of the injured should not be defined in the context of the event, but in the context of how this act of senseless violence impacts them and their families and friends. 

The worth of these individuals does not lie in how they died but rather in how they lived. 

They are people. They are our families. They are our friends.  They are loved.

They deserve to be remembered far more than he does. 

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