Have you ever gone out for a drink or to the movie theater and casually made silent notes to yourself of each exit? Which is closest, which would be most crowded in case you have to make a quick escape for any reason? This is a thing I do with alarming regularity now. 10, 15 years ago this might have seemed unreasonably cautious but I don’t think many would agree that it is now. In fact I think it really started the first time I went to a movie theater last year after Pulse. They actually had a slide amongst the advertisements for nearby restaurants and upcoming movies that suggested knowing where each exit was located. That was the moment when I realized that in our collective Orlandoan consciousness, we would never really feel 100% safe in public spaces again.
We live in a world where going out for a night and enjoying yourself can be the last thing you ever do. Let that sink in. Leaving the house is a calculated risk. I mean, it always was to a degree – with the rates of car accidents what they are that alone is more likely to kill me than most things I would think. But that is just that, an accident. No one went out and planned to take/ruin the lives of people gathered just to have fun.
Death is death though (is what I will tell myself). Whether you’re the victim of a drunk driver, a drive-by, a mass shooting or a terrorist attack you’re still just as dead. But it isn’t really about the dead person I guess. It’s about the ones they leave behind and how they make meaning of the whole situation. And there’s just something inherently more terrible about being shot or blown up for no reason other than that you were gathered with a bunch of other people having a good time.
I feel like my bar for expectation of basic humanity is already so stupidly low. Every time I have to lower it further I think “surely this is rock bottom”. But that’s humanity for you, eh? Always the innovator.
Anyway, we know the drill by now don’t we? Thoughtful Facebook status sending thoughts and prayers, change the filter on your profile pic, express your outrage, then wait for it to happen again. I’ll be satisfied enough that I got my thoughts out in this post and move on with my life as normal. This is the world we live in now.