Whitewashing a building or fence is a tedious process: the wash is thin, the wood will barely soak up the many coats that are needed, oh and it takes far too many coats to look even halfway decent. Perhaps that was why Tom Sawyer felt so disdainful of the task in the eponymous book. In fact he disliked it so much so that he put substantial effort into convincing Ben Rogers that whitewashing was really more fun than enjoying himself down at the swimming hole.
A lot of the same can be said of whitewashing an extreme tragedy, manipulating the words used to convey sad facts to make them fit neatly into a political framework. It is dirty work, and it's not the type of dirt that anybody of real import wants to have staining their hands. Already in the few days since the massacre at the Orlando gay night club Pulse, the news outlets and politicians have been in a fervor to point the blame anywhere other than the hatred we've quite capably brewed in our own country over hundreds of years. That this horrible thing happened at a gay club and targeted gay people quickly receded from the spotlight.
Enough has been released to let us paint a picture of the hatred this attacker held in his heart. It's more important to remember what was lost: the very human toll this takes upon those whose lives he mercilessly ended, and the families that will forever feel the impact of his actions. The victims are all human, and to obsess over the attacker like some fictional CSI narrative distracts from the loss of these people. When the tears have dried, and the sadness turns to anger, we must do something to start changing the course of this hateful atrocity. To use the deaths of all these people as a springboard to gain the highest political office would be a truly disgusting act.
Never forget the beautiful humans who were killed that night. Never forget that we, the LGBTQ+ community, were targeted. Never be afraid to meet a friend for drinks because some asshole might show up with a gun. Never be afraid to say "never again". Never be afraid to demand that those who represent us enact real, meaningful changes to hate crime laws and weapon regulation.
Never take anyone's shit when they ask why we still need pride parades. Be loud. Be defiant. Be proud. Be loved.
Look for the light in humanity and foster that warm glow with all the love we can muster. Don't let the game players normalize yet another horrible incident; we can't afford to let these actions become the whitewashed fences that define our lives.