Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando

I was on the treadmill at my gym and happened to look outside. It looked like just another Monday morning in Orlando.

But it's not.

The story coming out of this part of the world is horrific. By this time you've heard the news. 49 confirmed dead, many more wounded, from the worst mass shooting in US history.

The worst mass shooting in US history.

Orlando is not my home but it is. Let me explain. I moved here 12 years ago from New York. I still read The Times, still root for the Yankees, still call myself a New Yorker, but I'll say this: if I never live anywhere else I'm more than fine with that. There are wonderful people here. It's the land of please and thank you, of have a nice day, and so much more.

I lived in New York during 9/11. I saw the towers go down, as we all did. I was on CBS then and when we got back on the air it was the only time you could cry, on the air, whenever.

Awful and so sad.

Orlando.

I woke up Sunday to the news and I turned on the television to see wall to wall coverage. To see survivors dazed, to see people crying.  I watched until I couldn't watch anymore. Too emotional. Too much of trying to process something and getting nowhere.

The headlines keep saying the shooting happened in a gay nightclub.

Let me tell you a story.

I'm named for my Uncle Mark. He was one of those people who aren't really your uncle but you call them that. He was my father's best friend. Uncle Mark was white. He was also gay. He and my father went to Officer Candidate School in the 50s. A story I heard early in life is that they both went to the Officers Club back then and the powers that be stopped my Dad at the door. Wouldn't let him in because he was black. My Uncle Mark was incensed, put his finger in the face of the guy at the door and proceeded to tell him my father was his guest, was an officer and was going inside. He also said he'd have the guy's... if he didn't. The guy let my Dad go in.

A story like that goes a long way.

I tell you that because it doesn't matter what a person is, it's what's in their heart, how they are to you. Good people are good people. Bad people are bad people.

Orlando.

A friend of mine said her son was at the club and left a half an hour before the shooting began. A friend of my wife's was outside and left because it was too crowded. They were lucky. My heart goes out to the ones who weren't so lucky. And to their families and friends.

Awful and so sad.

It's sunny today and there are few clouds in the sky.

But it's raining.

A rain of tears.


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