Book Review: Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin

As I’ve reported here on the blog, I’ve made some major changes in diet and lifestyle. I was always a skinny youth. They called me twiggy in high school and college. I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease at twenty-one. I had a hyperthyroid and could eat anything in sight without gaining an ounce. I was 115 pounds in the fifth grade and 115 pounds the day after my third child was born. My doctor told me that my thyroid would someday wear out from overworking.

I developed terrible eating habits as a result and when that thyroid did wear out at age fifty, I quickly went to 230 pounds. Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes was my wake-up call. With diet and lifestyle changes I’ve managed to lose forty pounds. Even though I’ve slipped from time to time, I’ve only gained back about four pounds and I have my diabetes controlled down to where the figures indicate pre-diabetes. But my youngest son is not so lucky.

At sixteen, and nearing three-hundred and 5”6 inches, and dependent on inhalers for weight related asthma, he was fat-shamed, bullied and had his life threatened more than once. Dropping out of his Georgia high school is how he chose to handle the situation when he could not get support from school officials. Sitting at home playing video games, he fell deeper and deeper into the abyss, became horribly socially anxious, and his dad became his only friend, bringing him fast food and chicken wings by the pounds every evening. My son is a sweet-hearted guy who takes care of his grandparents and their farm as well as his ailing father.

I was living in Florida and felt helpless, powerless to do anything to improve his situation.

 

Carrie Rubin’s book, Eating Bull, is a medical thriller that addresses the food industry’s part in the staggering statistics of obesity in this country. Salt, fat and sugar…body altering oils that humans should never ingest, much less fry food in, are used to perpetuate a diet that cannot sustain life for many generations without disastrous consequences. The processed foods we enjoy are slowly but surely killing us and her book sheds light on both the emotional and physical challenges we face, while providing an edge of the seat thriller involving a mentally disturbed serial killer who is targeting the obese. I give this book four stars.

Click book to purchase

Click book to purchase

 

Blurb:

 

2016 Silver IPPY Award winner in Great Lakes Best Regional Fiction*

 

A fight against the food industry turns deadly.

 

Jeremy, a lonely and obese teenager, shoots into the limelight when a headstrong public health nurse persuades him to sue the food industry. Tossed into a storm of media buzz and bullying, the teen draws the attention of a serial killer who’s targeting the obese. Soon the boy, the nurse, and their loved ones take center stage in a delusional man’s drama.
In this novel of suspense, Eating Bull explores the real-life issues of bullying, fat-shaming, food addiction, and the food industry’s role in obesity.

  

“A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Book Review:

The plot in this book was brilliantly executed, however, the first half of Eating Bull was very difficult for me to get through. Although well-written, the main character’s dilemmas really hit home and my empathy for him was almost too much to bear. Having a close family member who suffered as Jeremy suffered made this a most painful and powerful read. Carrie Rubin is a physician who knows, all too well, the physical and emotional trauma of obesity and its consequences on children and adults. Her characters were so well-drawn and real that I could not help but realize this is a topic she feels strongly about.

Sue, the nurse who brings a law suit against the food industry, is, indeed, a warrior woman and well represents the myriad of people determined to change the world, one patient at a time. I did feel too much time was spent in her head and caused the story to lag a bit as a result. The ancillary characters and dysfunctional family members were equally as well-drawn and remarkably real.

With a deranged serial killer suffering from severe mental illness, another light shines on how little we understand and do for the mentally ill in this country. This all culminates into an action packed plot in a most believable thriller that I could see unfolding in real life with our reality TV dominating our current culture.

I wasn’t able to get into the book and enjoy it until about the half way mark when things began to turn around for Jeremy and the action picked up. I was thrilled to see the Native American spin and applaud how that entered the book. The ending was most satisfying. The food industry, like any other, is out to make money, but it makes me sad that individuals buy into unhealthy addictions. I enjoyed Seneca Scourge, as well, and look forward to Dr. Rubin’s next release.

Ten Rationales for Atypical Florida Criminals

Florida is notorious for it’s crazy, whacked-out criminals and bizarre news headlines. Almost everybody has heard about Florida Man…

If you haven’t, you can read all about him here: Tremendous Things Florida Men Accomplished this Year.

And another run down here catches quite a few more: Year in Florida Man 2015.

He’s not one guy. He’s the beginning of many of the bizarre news headlines that come out of Florida or other places where Florida Man has visited.

“Florida Man Throws Alligator into Wendy’s Drive Thru Window”

“Florida Man Tries to Rob Liquor Store with Dead Sting Ray”

“Florida Man Arrested in Utah After Calling 911 Eighty Times to Report Chicken McNuggets Shortage”

“Florida Man Breaks into Jail to Visit Friends”

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But he’s not alone. He’s in the company of quite a few Florida Women as you can see here: 50 Most Insane Florida News Headlines of All Times.

And if you would like to keep up with the latest, you can follow @_FloridaMan and @_FloridaWoman on Twitter.

Other states have weirdos, but Florida seems to produce them quicker than feral cats multiply. Why?

Let’s look at the possibilities:

  1. The weather is too nice to stay in school, so ignorance is rampant.
  2. Intense exposure to sunshine fries brain cells.
  3. Governor Rick Scott refuses to accept Federal aid for mental health.
  4. Sand in their underwear causes constant irritation.
  5. There is more alcohol consumed than water.
  6. There is meth in the salt shakers.
  7. Other states give their criminals bus tickets to Florida upon release.
  8. Pesticides and herbicides from all the golf courses have warped their DNA.
  9. Lightening causes an altered acceptable level of reality.
  10. Our jail cells are more comfortable than our affordable hotels or homeless shelters.

I’m not sure if any of my theories are correct, but I’m positive it’s never going to change. These bizarre criminals are getting younger and younger. Since 2011, there have been three stories of teens dressing up as physicians and working in hospital E.R.s and CCUs, even OB/GYN clinics and getting away with it for months…not days, but months.

How do we let this happen?

Seriously. We’re as messed up as the criminals.

What’s your theory?

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating by Steven Kerry Brown

As you may have guessed, I’m in my reading mode again. I seriously can’t read and write at the same time. I have a couple more fiction books I’d like to read, then I’m on to a non-fiction.

I don’t usually write reviews for non-fiction books, but I might with this one. It was written by Steven Kerry Brown, a Private Investigator I met at Sleuthfest. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating.

3rd edition Click here to buy.

3rd edition Click here to buy.

He began his career as a special agent for the FBI. During his eleven years with the F.B.I., he was assigned to a multitude of cases, ranging from bank robberies and theft of Government property, to foreign counterintelligence and foreign and domestic terrorism. He learned a great deal about homicides and worked on three Indian Reservations. I’m particularly interested in his work on Indian Reservations as it pertains to my next novel.

For the last twenty-eight years, he has successfully managed his own private investigator firm. His cases are fascinating and as varied as you could imagine. That’s one of the things that makes the P.I. role so very interesting to me. During his P.I. years, his clients have called on his expertise for everything from pre-employment background checks to sophisticated white-collar crime thefts, from murders designed as suicides to the return of parentally abducted children from foreign lands.

For one corporate client, Brown located (skip traced) 2,000 people each month. He has followed and photographed wayward husbands and wives in the Pacific Northwest, by boat in the Bahamas, and on the beaches of the Virgin Islands.

I’d be inclined to make him Richard Noggin’s mentor, if he’d allow me the honor.

He’s very keen on mistakes people make in writing the P.I. character.

He has published non-fiction articles in Gambling Times and has been mentioned professionally in newspapers across the nation and in national magazines such as Businessweek.  His appearances include local and national television, including Hard Copy and A Current Affair. He appeared with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. He lectures regularly around the country.

He’s also authoring a series of P.I. novels set in St Augustine, FL. He’s very helpful to fellow writers. I’m taking notes. He keeps his book revised and updated. After finishing this book, I’d love to pick his brain in an interview.

As he says it, “Today’s complete idiot is tomorrow’s expert.”

Book Review: Wings of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Crime writer Sue Coletta has an informative Murder Blog where she talks all things crime from forensics and case studies, to the craft of creating a premium crime novel, researching her material through some of the best sources in the business. Although I write soft-core crime, unlike the hardcore, gritty crime we see in Wings of Mayhem, I feel privileged to have run across her blog and always learn something useful with every post. She operates the Crime Lovers Lounge on Facebook and  helps moderate  on on Twitter where you can post questions for the experts anytime that will be answered on Wednesday evenings. She also offers a couple of free books on her website, Crime Writer’s Research and 60 ways to Murder Your Character. You couldn’t meet anyone more professional or better prepared to introduce you to the crime genre. She also has a crime novel out called Marred. I give Wings of Mayhem five stars and can’t wait to move on to Marred.

Blurb:

Shawnee Daniels – computer forensics specialist/hacker for RPD by day, cat burglar by night – always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When she hacks a confiscated hard drive at the Revere P.D., she focuses on a white-collar criminal accused of embezzlement. To teach him a lesson and recoup the funds she breaks into his massive contemporary in Bear Clave Estates. Jack has even more secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.

A CAT BURGLAR PICKS THE WRONG HOUSE TO ROB…

Shawnee thinks she made it out clean until a deadly package arrives at her door soon after. He’s found her. As a glowing eagle taunts her Skype screen, Jack tells her she stole his precious trophy box — and he wants it back!

THEIR LIVES COLLIDE…

When her “helpful” best friend convinces her to date charismatic Detective Levaughn Samuels, her two worlds threaten to implode. Ordinarily Shawnee keeps a firm line between her professions, but dating Levaughn might help her get this psycho off her tail.

AND NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE…

In this lightning-fast-paced psychological thriller of secrets and lies, Shawnee juggles being stalked by a serial killer, dating the lead detective on the case, and tap dancing around her librarian best friend.

If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t expose her secrets and lies, more will die. And if she does, she could lose her freedom and everyone she holds dear.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Jackson, Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter thrillers, crime fiction with an edge, or psychological thrillers, mystery, and suspense, then Wings of Mayhem is for you.

Click pic to buy the book

Click pic to buy the book

Book Review:

Wings of Mayhem is a book you will not let go of until the last page is read. Gripping, lightning paced action leads you through a storm of murder upon murder. Silence of the Lambs came to mind after a short jaunt into the first few pages. Not quite as cerebral, but filled with the same terrorizing suspense at the turn of nearly every page.

Police Department computer hacker by day, cat burglar by night, Shawnee Daniels leads a double life and pulls a heist she soon regrets when she ends up with a serial killer’s trophy box. Her life and habits closely parallel that of this most artistically sadistic serial killer who also leads a double life. They both love animals, him dogs, her cats. They challenge and tease each other in an emotional game of wit and courage where the stakes rise at every turn. Bone chilling descriptions of the serial killer’s MO resound, framing a most formidable foe.

There are twists and turns throughout, leaving Shawnee clueless who to trust and forced to make some tough decisions. She’s a young woman with issues and, at times, I wanted to yank her by the hair and ask, “Are you crazy?” And truth is, yes, she is, a little bit so, in a way you can’t help but love. Jack Delsin is a serial killer Shawnee understands so well but, in the end, you’ll wonder who really wins the game.

Sue Coletta has carefully crafted characters with agency, an ability to make decisions, affect the story and drive the plot. Wings of Mayhem is a multi-dimensional psychological crime thriller that will curdle your blood. Gruesome and graphic. Not to be read with the lights off.

Book Review: Fulcrum of Malice by Patrick W. O’Bryon

Patrick O’Bryon is one of my most favorite authors. I love his writing style and highly anticipated Fulcrum of Malice. I’ve posted reviews to the first two books in his Corridors trilogy. His award winning Corridor of Darkness and his amazing follow-up Beacon of Vengeance. This is the wrap-up finale and I give this final volume four stars. Not quite as enthralled as I was with the first two, but well worth every moment of my time. If you like pre-WWII stories and espionage, you will love this trilogy.

Blurb: NAZI GERMANY – AUTUMN 1941 Europe lies in chains at Hitler’s feet as midnight approaches in the dark heart of the Reich. Leaving his friends to fight the Nazis in Occupied France, Ryan Lemmon returns to Berlin. Deep in this ominous city of shadows, the American agent conspires with a powerful German spymaster to subvert Hitler’s state. His personal goal: save the life of a loving friend. But threading his way through the menacing streets with a target on his back, Ryan suspects he may have to buy her release with his own death. Fulcrum of Malice is the final volume in the Corridor of Darkness trilogy.

 

Click Pic to Purchase

Click Pic to Purchase

Book Review:

O’Bryon has a superb knack for creating scene and mood in his work. The characters come to life on a stage that has been set to recreate moments in time, both beautiful and heinous. I’ve enjoyed this trilogy immensely.

The dashing Ryan Lemmon and the hideous von Kredow are etched into my memory as unforgettable players in a pre-war world filled with charm and bounty which quickly evolves to one full of danger and despair. In this final volume, we reach the pivotal point of involving the U.S. and have followed the lives of many seeking to thwart the inevitable and save their own souls and the ones they care for. This final volume was slower in action than the previous two, but the twists and turns kept me glued to the pages.

I would have loved to have followed the journey of Erika and Rene more closely, but there is only so much of a story a book can hold. Marita’s story broke my heart as I thought of the many who lived her pain in real life. As much as I adore Ryan Lemmon, I would have liked to have seen more of him in this final volume and felt the hero’s journey a bit lacking in the end. All in all, it was a very good read. I am certain that I will read this trilogy again and highly recommend it.

Can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next!

A Little Progress After a Very Emotional Week

It’s taken a good week to clear my head after the tragic shooting. How close to home it was – I nearly lost my daughter and son-in-law, my grandchildren could have been parent-less – in ways that would have changed my life dramatically. I keep the deceased in mind, but I also keep reminding myself that two-hundred seventy people there that night lived. It has changed my life. I went to the vigil downtown at Lake Eola. I felt surrounded by compassionate people, yet feared the very crowd there to offer support.

Vigil

I already have some social anxieties. I despise small talk with superficial people. Small groups of twenty or thirty don’t bother me, but crowds of hundreds of thousands make my knees weak. There were over 50,000 at the vigil. We were on the far side of the lake, but could still hear the speakers and the music. The music touched me deeply and made me cry. But I wasn’t the only one. I’ve never seen so many people in one place crying so many tears. To hear the talk, it wasn’t simply the forty-nine lost, it’s the direction of the nation that makes people sad. And then, there were the many tears of joy in seeing so much support.

Today, I am back at my computer and working on getting my files resubmitted to CreateSpace. I’ve chosen a template, though it wasn’t ideal, I think it will work. The fonts for the suggested “Mystery/Thriller/Suspense” genre called “Edgy, Bold and Unexpected” were way over-the-top and looked more like sci-fi. I went with one under “Modern, Clean and Contemporary”. I’m not impressed with the scene break fleuron, three small blocks. I won’t have chapter titles, just large numerals placed off to the right side of the chapter pages. Under this package, you’re not allowed to change anything, substitute fonts, fleurons or lay-outs in any way.

CSOption

I liked the lay-out and fleuron best under one of the “Edgy, Bold, and Unexpected”…but the fonts were all wrong. The “Steelfish” font of the option I liked best was just too futuristic.

Steelfish

I guess it’s trade-offs to get it done as simply, affordably, and painlessly as possible.

I’m only allowed one interior image, so I’m using my Book Imprint image on the title page. I won’t have an author photo. I use my initials to publish in order to prevent people from instantly being turned off by a female author. No need to have the author image there. Anybody wants to know, they can go to my author page or see my image on Amazon. My bio is a bit generic, but I do mention my husband.

My husband is also mentioned in my dedication this time. He’s been super supportive.

I have a special acknowledgement, then there are more acknowledgements in the back.

I’m waiting now for a couple of endorsements from other authors who have read the book. Those will go on the back cover, or front cover depending on what the cover designer has to say. He’s eagerly waiting in the wings. Of course, I have to acquire the page count and specs from finishing the interior before he can make the spine to the necessary specs.

I submitted interior files to CreateSpace, but had a blank page with the words “blank page” written on it. They rejected it and told me to correct it. Hmmm…I was like, “You can just delete that and move on?”, but apparently the file owner has to make all the changes with this package. I had some page breaks to add also. Hoping this one goes through.

It’s progress.

The nice thing is that I am finally to a point with this where I feel comfortable starting the next project. I’m torn between two stories as to which to produce next. One involves an ecological issue concerning Reedy Creek (a man-made creek Disney started when draining swamp land) and murder and the other missing persons. Either book will carry over some on-going material from the first book. Though the missing persons story seems like it will be more fun to write, the ecological issue/murder really takes precedence in the story arch.

As things are falling into place with Naked Alliances, I’m feeling a strong sense of relief. It’s been a long haul. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

We are Orlando. Let us Grieve.

I’ve lived in the Orlando area since 1997. From a small town in GA, when I came here, I spent my first three years closed up in my little house, afraid. I was scared to venture out beyond the confines of my little world. I came from a place where everyone knew each other’s name and I had dozens of friends. Here, there were only strangers. I made a few friends at the resort where I was living and they insisted on taking me out to see the city.

 

I fell in love with the beautiful city. Each enclave offered its lakes and parks, alfresco cafes, and night spots. At thirty-six, with a good career in nursing, single, and an extroverted personality, I made a world of friends. These were people with all sorts of backgrounds, from millionaires to paupers, every race, creed, culture, and gender imaginable. The diversity was part of the beauty of it. The people were warm, accepting and caring, always treating each other with respect. Beautiful people accepting me without question. So many people from so many places.

 

There were a couple of neighborhoods I was warned to stay away from because I was told crime was rampant and it wasn’t safe. I didn’t venture there. I went to “safe” places. I went to clubs like Blackfin, Sky Sixty, Cactus Club, Pulse, The Peacock Room, Embers and Tabu. These weren’t “gay” clubs, but due to the fact that Orlando has high population of LGBT people, the clubs were frequented by a variety of people. Yes, you heard that right, Pulse is not a gay club. It is an Orlando Nightclub…like dozens of others, where gay and straight people mingle, share hopes and dreams, talk about life, dance and drink, socialize, and come to know that we aren’t so very different.

 

We don’t ask people what their sexual orientation or gender identity is before we take the cab they’re driving, before they bag our groceries, pour our drink, take our food order, assign our hotel room, draw our blood, prescribe our medication, or sell us a house. It’s not something we think about as we go about our daily living. It doesn’t matter. We come to realize that we are them and they are us.

 

We live, play, work, and socialize together, and we are safe, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity. We are around beautiful, accepting, loving individuals who support each other. That’s the Orlando I have learned to love.

 

The traffic is awful, the city is crowded, particularly in winter, crime creeps out of the ghettos from time to time, the bus schedule is terrible, we can wait over an hour for a cab—as  a city, it has its share of problems—sexual orientation and gender identity do not factor into Orlando’s list of problems. To the contrary, we’re all working together to resolve any problems we have in this city.

 

I’m a grandmother now, no longer out in the clubbing scene. My children are in their thirties. My daughter and son-in-law have reached maturity here. Their friends are as diverse as my own. My son-in-law works downtown at various restaurants and has become acquainted with many.

 

Saturday, June 12th, was my son-in-law’s birthday. I agreed to keep the grandkids so they could go out on the town to celebrate. The three kids were to spend the night with me. Daddy and Mama went to a scheduled concert. They love music and dancing. After the concert they took a cab to SkySixty and danced a while. They went to Pulse, as it was a mere half mile from their home.

 

They arrived at 1:00 am. They had a couple of drinks, but the dance floor was crowded and the Latin Reggae was loud. I had texted them that my grandson was crying for his mama and daddy. They both got on the phone to console him. They decided not to stay for last call. They left and stopped by Walgreen’s on Michigan on the way home. Their receipt reads 1:55 am.

 

Sunday morning, I logged onto FaceBook and saw the breaking news. I dropped my coffee cup and grabbed the phone. I had not heard from my daughter since that phone call after 1:00 am. I called her number. It went straight to voice mail. I called my son-in-law’s number and it, too, went to voice mail.

 

I got into my car and drove the ten blocks to their house and banged on the door. No answer. I called my husband in tears. He told me to come home. I sat for hours waiting to hear something while the kids slept in the next room.

 

At 11:30 am I saw a FB post from my s-i-l saying they had been at Pulse 15 minutes before the tragedy. I called again and finally reached my daughter. She was home safe and had not heard me knocking. Her sleep had been disrupted by the helicopters flying overhead all night. She was unaware of what had happened at Pulse only minutes after they had left until her husband told her. She rushed to my home to hug her kids…to hug her kids like so many weren’t able to do that morning. My few hours of wondering and waiting are nothing compared to the despair of the hundreds that never made contact, they will never see their loved ones alive again.

 

My s-i-l and daughter had seen the man in a dark shirt and pants who looked out of place, off by himself, sipping a drink. Not mingling with the crowd, not dressed like the crowd. He stood out to them. He calmly scanned the room as if he were waiting on someone. They remember the faces of people talking, laughing, dancing, and having a good time.

 

I was saddened, but felt relief at the same time. How dare I?

 

Gratitude mingled with a darker, deeper pain than I had felt in my entire life.

 

Today. Another day that many won’t be able to share in.

 

Today. Through the tears, the eyes of Orlandoans speak to each other now of shared pain, loss, deep sadness, disbelief — and support. We’re sharing our soul with the world.

 

The eyes meet, and there is an instant and undeniable bonding. Family, friends, acquaintances, total strangers on the street, people sitting in a McDonalds, seeking guidance in a house of worship, in line at a blood bank, dropping flowers at a vigil, delivering pizzas to volunteers around hospitals, mayors, cops, people just out wandering because they don’t know what else to do, journalists…all of us.

 

We look at each other, and we know. We’re in this together: our flesh, our blood, our very lives; even now, the fear that someone we know, or the possibility that we already know of someone we know, was ruthlessly, meaninglessly, terrifyingly, tragically attacked when a man entered a nightclub with guns and shot and shot and shot.

 

It’s personal here.

This is so unexpected.

 

Not the attack. I think every American wonders today if they’ll be in that school or theater or office or post office or church or nightclub when that guy, heavily armed and bent on horror, enters. We all knew it could happen here. We might in our wildest nightmares never have thought it could be so awful. But the sad truth is, it was no surprise.

 

What is so unexpected is the widespread phenomena we’re witnessing of ordinary Orlandoans speaking to each other through those eyes, past the tears, with that look that says, we’re in this together.

 

“So, where are you from?”

 

We’re from here now, baby, Orlando, the City Beautiful. The City Sad.

 

And that soul, yeah, it’s here. How else could a simple nod make strangers feel like brothers and sisters? We’re in this together.

 

From Kissimmee to Sanford, Bithlo to Clermont and especially in the neighborhoods of the city proper, the Soul of Orlando is baring itself.

 

It’s tough yet open, forced to be dynamic and flexible because of all the new people arriving, because of the need to make close friends quickly with people from anywhere, and of any background. It’s willing to embrace people it did not know, and new places and new things.

 

Yes, Orlando is a city of theme parks and hotels and restaurants and all kinds of touristy things. They’re not for Orlandoans. They’re where Orlandoans work. That maid in the hotel: she might be from Puerto Rico. She might have lost her son Sunday morning. And if so, when she’s done making beds, she’ll go home to her little house in Azalea Park and cry, just as she did all day Sunday. That waiter in the restaurant: he might be from a small town in Arkansas. He might have lost his partner or spouse Sunday morning. And if so, after he’s done serving $30 steaks to conventioneers on expense accounts, he’ll go home to his bungalow in Thornton Park and cry. That Cinderella: she might be an actress from Chicago. She might have lost her best friend Sunday morning. And if so, when she’s done smiling for pictures with a hundred more children who need only for her to smile, she’ll go home to her apartment in Dr. Phillips and cry.

 

With luck, their neighbors, the bank tellers and office managers and appliance salesmen whom the out-of-towners will never meet, will come over with casseroles or bottles, hugs and tissues. They all are bound by the Soul of Orlando. They are Orlando.

 

So America, just talk to us like we’re humans, not votes. We’re just flesh and blood, as you can see. 

 

The talk from the local leaders when they’re not saying the obligatory things about the facts of the case, when they’re talking about what they really want to talk about, it’s about Orlando togetherness, and community. It’s talk about how the community came together with nourishment, water, and blood…and most significantly, love.

 

It’s not just words. It’s balm, from one Orlandoan to another.

 

Some other people, mostly from out of town, already are making the Pulse nightclub massacre about issues such as radical Islamic terrorism, the need for gun control, open carry, immigration, hateful things about gays, red meat for the partisan base, and, ultimately, elections.

 

To them, we Orlandoans say, with no due respect whatsoever, STFU. More politely, that means, stop. Please. And the lieutenant governor of Texas can go to hell. Trump and Hillary can go to hell…already pledging to attack Isis, when there is no evidence that Isis or Syria was involved in the design of this attack. Yes, the killer had influences. He was psychologically deranged. We all have influences. Don’t use them to be like him.

 

Orlandoans are not ready for any of that yet. The rest of America might be, but the rest of America is not Orlando, where we’re in shock, where we’re hurting in a way we could have never imagined. America, we just need you to give us a moment.

 

Let us grieve for a while before you make it about whatever it is you want to make it about.

 

This is a community mourning 49 dead, 53 wounded, and more than a million hearts with holes in them. It’s a lot of partners and spouses, family and friends, co-workers and neighbors of the dead and wounded, who need nothing more than support. And it’s the rest of us grappling with what we can do, whom we can help, how we can be there for all the rest, and how, in the meantime, we can address these holes in our own hearts. Because we’re all Orlandoans now. A nod’s a good start. A hug. A tissue. A shared cry.

 

And we know it won’t end there. Maybe for the first time, for the worst possible reason, we know:

We are Orlando.

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