Since Sunday, June 12th, 2016, I have strolled the streets of my hometown feeling weighed down. I have walked with a heavy heart. I live about 2 hours from Orlando, Florida. My father routinely goes to Orlando for business. Just 3 weeks ago I laughed and danced around Universal with my school group. To think that a place I reside so close to, a place that I frequently visit and explore, is under distress is something that just doesn’t seem to register in my mind. You see things on TV- a massacre here, a breakout in gun violence there, oh and just a couple flaming riots in that town across the country- but you never expect something to happen to you. To your people. Media allows us to separate ourselves from events and immediately place the blame on someone else. But that has not been the case recently. On Sunday there was a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people. 50 people who had lives, who had families, who had people who loved them more than life itself. It baffles me that a human would actually murder another human being- let alone a group of human beings. Where was the compassion your parents raised you with? Am I naive for assuming your parents raised you with any qualities at all? Do I have false expectations of society or has society just sunk to a new low in this case? In my mind Love is Love, no matter who is involved in it. Love is a state of being that can’t be policed by human notions of right and wrong. You can’t help who you fall in love with- point blank- and you shouldn’t have to. So to commit a mass murder in the name of something as trivial as homophobia is ridiculous. It was a cowardly act that resulted in the deaths of innocent people who deserved nothing less than safety, confidence and compassion. So I walk around knowing that I could have known people in that nightclub and that under different circumstances I could have been inside of it. That there is always a possibility that someone- anyone- could snap at any moment- costing a person or even people, their lives. I walk with understanding- for I finally see the world as it is. I walk with anxiety, I walk with despair. But I do not walk in fear. I stroll these streets of my hometown slowly, for my heart is scraping the concrete, eternally weighing me down.