Orlando shootings: Love is still the answer.
That is the number of people I know who are missing and presumed dead.
That one person is my cousin Ashley Simpson.
Fifty is the number of dead at the hands of a deranged gunman in Orlando, Florida.
Fifty-three is the number of wounded in that horrific act, a senseless rat-a-tat-ta of a man who wanted to kill people for no other reason than they chose different people to love.
Regardless of whether we mourn the one or the many, we are living in a war zone, and waging a war against an evil we cannot defeat, an evil bred from the brain or the loins, an evil that has no respect for humanity.
There is no difference between the ONE we are mourning and/or remembering and the 50/53.
We are all fighting the same battle.
We are all quietly weeping, feeling helpless against the rage of the beast the lies inside men and women who chose to kill, and maim and dismember.
But we must remember.
We are not helpless.
We are powerful.
And our voices need to be heard.
We must rise up against evil at every turn.
Whether it is to quash the bully in pre-school, or defeat a maniac in the polls.
We join hands, in love, and faith, and truth.
In the face of hate, we chose love.
In the face of violence, we choose peace.
And in the presence of evil, we choose good.
We cannot make sense of what is nonsensical.
But we can, each and everyone of us, choose the path of the righteous, the path of kindness, the path of collective friendship.
It is far too easy to lay blame, to categorize an act in one way or another.
It is too easy to blame religion or zealotry.
It's all the same.
They are all hate crimes committed by bigots or religious fanatics or by those possessed by psychopathy.
Let us not engage in a war of words or engulf ourselves in political fanaticism.
We can choose to love, we can choose to hate, or best of all, we can choose to join together in a collective voice, to love everyone as we would love ourselves and our families.
Out of chaos and out of evil, we will emerge victorious.
It's hard to imagine on a day like this.
But love is still the answer.