Steven W. Thrasher is an at large American reporter for the British paper The Guardian. He has a sense of personal loss and sorrow over what happened at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last weekend, because he is gay. He is also black, which means he has a thorough understanding of what it means to be hated in America.
Thrasher posted a video commentary about the massacre, and what we need to do moving forward, on The Guardian’s website. His suggestions for pushing back against the forces that were responsible for allowing the carnage in Orlando to happen are simple. He says we need to be angry.
The video was shot outside of Orlando’s Parliament House, which Thrasher identifies as the city’s main gay club now that the Pulse is closed. He says that over the past few days Parliament House has been “home to all manner of queer life coming together.” He says that the coming together has been important for him, and goes on to describe how his heart “has been breaking” as he has traveled around the country, hearing stories of violence that have happened to “queer people and people of color, and people who are queer and people of color.”
Thrasher goes on to say that after events such as the Orlando shooting, people are often told to be “strong.” He says that right now, gay people — everybody really — needs “love and tenderness.” But, he says, we need more. We need to be angry.
“We need to tap into a very deep sense of anger, to make change,” he says. Love is important, he says, but “we need to take that love, and match it with anger.”
Where does Thrasher want the anger of the gay community directed? Not at other citizens, not at Muslims, but at the people who have the power to prevent anything like the Orlando incident from ever happening again: elected officials. He says:
We have to be very angry at our elected officials and the money they take from defense contractors, and the money that they take from arms manufacturers, and the ways they are complicit in perpetuating American violence.
Thrasher isn’t talking about anger that spawns violence. He is talking about anger that motivates people to look at an issue and rise up to do something about it.
Can you imagine what it would look like, if we were able to band together as a community, and bring together our Muslim brothers and sisters, and black and white and Asian and Christian and Jewish and atheist Americans, together on the National Mall and demand reform for gun laws?
It would be an amazing sight. Think of the scene on that mall when Martin Luther King spoke there over 50 years ago. That day was the start of a serious push for civil rights. Now imagine filling the mall again with hundreds of thousands of people, all demanding action on guns. It would send a loud message to politicians that we are fed up, and that they need to take action, or lose their jobs. It can be done.
But the question is, are we there yet? We weren’t there after Columbine. We weren’t there after Sandy Hook. We weren’t there after Aurora or Virginia Tech. When do we reach the breaking point that sends us en masse to that mall? Will we have to wait until literally everyone in the Unites States of America has been personally touched by gun violence? If that is what it takes — for every man, woman and child in the country to know someone who has been killed or injured in one of these horrific attacks — at the current rate we’ll be there soon.
Here are Steven W. Thrasher’s thoughts via The Guardian:
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