On Grief

After a Tragedy, How Do We Feel Safe?

As you undoubtedly know by now, yesterday a gunman opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs, resulting in 5 known fatalities and at least 25 injuries. They were members of our community spending some time together in a place they thought was safe.

The worst part? We know it will happen again. Maybe in two weeks, maybe in a month. But it is guaranteed to happen again. In our helplessness, we know this. This is the country we live in. We know this.

So what do we do with that grief and anger? What can we do? What’s actually constructive at this point, in a dying country that will never change in any meaningful way?

We hold each other close.

I know it seems stupid and corny to say, but what else is there? Community can’t protect us from everything, but it can save us.

A few weeks ago, I found myself having a series of conversations about community. What does it mean, for instance, to create community without building it around bars and drinks? What does it mean to create community in a country that’s in denial about the pandemic still going on? What does it mean to create global community?

This is what I want to focus on, rather than entering into the old “thoughts and prayers” cycle. I want us to think about how we can find each other outside of bars, outside of Twitter, outside of spaces that make us feel vulnerable. How can we do it? What makes us feel safe?

Entering into the holiday season, it’s important to think about how we can find spaces—IRL and virtual—that help us create togetherness. In the struggle against gun violence, against anti-trans and anti-queer legislation, we are in many ways alone. But we can find each other and hold each other still. A gun can kill us, but it can’t change that.

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