Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's the difference between a bullet and a virus?

I have cried about the killings in Orlando. How could I not? I despair for the friend and families of the gone; it has hurt to think of the empty chairs at dinner tables in Orlando since the shooting. But some of the responses, I have to say, have disturbed me.

The tweets of celebrities were the first to offend, so full of hashtags and clich├ęd sentiments. What the fuck does tweeting "Pray for Orlando"to strangers do for these people who use tragedies to turn attention to themselves. ("What can I write in 40 characters that will get me noticed in the press?")

There have been, of course, moving reactions from people such as Lin-Manuel Miranda and his sonnet and Anderson Cooper's reading of the names of the victims that have eloquently honoured the victims and brought solace to us, but the outpouring of grief for murdered gay men disturbs me when I think of the reactions I witnessed to the deaths by AIDS of many gay friends when the epidemic broke.

I am deeply moved by the honourable responses of so many to the horrid murders but I cannot stop thinking of the friends and families of so many gay men who died in the early days of AIDS who were blamed for their deaths. What's the difference between a bullet and a virus? Why the differing reactions to dying from a virus received from a lover and dying from a bullet received from a psychopath?

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