The music thumped, the sun shone, and my hubby and I were in full vacation mode. Bright colors decorated every possible surface; flags and banners waved from tent poles and participant’s bodies. We strolled from booth to booth, soaking up the fun, having a grand old time after stumbling into the festival on our way to visit the Newseum in Washington D.C.

Street view of Washington D.C.'s Capital Pride Festival down Pennsylvania Avenue, toward the Capitol.
View of Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival from the Newseum. Credit: Leah Nyfeler

Later, watching President Obama address the nation, I turned from the Newseum’s big screen to gaze out the windows at the joyous event on Pennsylvania Avenue. The news had been so fresh we hadn’t previously made the connection between those horrific wee morning hours in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and the activity below. With sick dread, I thought, “Dear God, please, please, please let there be no trouble here.”

How Bad Must an American Massacre Be Before Change?

Almost one year ago to the very day, I published my post “Charleston: Hate and Terrorism in America.” Yes, one year ago, a shocking mass killing of everyday Americans going about their everyday lives was in the news.

I’m sick and tired of thinking, “Surely, THIS

the murder of children at school,

the slaughter of people at worship,

the shooting of people at work,

the massacre of people at a club

will bring us together to demand change.”

It’s why I understand Rep. Jim Himes’ (D-Connecticut) walkout during Congress’s moment of prayer for the Orlando victims. I want to scream at the weird tragedy compliance that kicks into effect when these horrific episodes of domestic terrorism occur. Everybody, it seems, is willing to do the easy work of honoring the dead with roll calls and candlelight vigils and impromptu memorials and respectful hashtags. But where is the hard work to honor the living, the relatives who wail “why my child?” Where is the hard work of fruitful action that spares others from ever knowing this tragedy? Where is the hard work that denies haters—of any nationality, race, gender, religion—easy access to weapons designed to efficiently and effectively kill people?

Why is there such reluctance to curtail American terrorists’ access to weapons?

I can only guess that average citizens, like me, aren’t screaming loudly enough.

On that sunny Sunday afternoon in D.C., the best I could do was return to the festival. It was important to physically assert that we stand together as one America, that hate doesn’t win, and we won’t be cowed.

Now if only we average citizens could actually stand together and demand governmental action that prevents further unnecessary loss of more American’s lives.


The Ferris Wheel in National Harbor is lit in rainbow colors at sunset to remember Orlando shooting victims.
The Ferris Wheel at National Harbor, lit to honor the Orlando domestic terrorism victims, at sunset on June 13. Credit: Leah Nyfeler


Do you want to take a stand? Here are a few ways to make your views heard: “7 Actions You Can Take to End Gun Violence After the Orlando Shooting”

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

One thought on “#NotOneMore

  1. Well said! It was pretty amazing to be on Twitter last night (until 2 a.m.!) reading all the live tweeting about the filibuster. Also seems like a good sign that senators\’ voice mailboxes across the country were apparently full (including Cornyn\’s and Cruz\’s). Cautiously optimistic.

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