There were 2453 dead, innocent souls in the shooting in Orlando.
Gay souls. Our brothers and sisters. But more than anything, innocent.
The statistics say 50 dead. A flat, even, cold number. But a sadly inaccurate one. One that completely fails to convey the true cost in life from one man's closeted and impotent rage. When I calculate it, I see 2453.
One mother told NBC Today that if she had known her son was bleeding out on the floor, she would have gone in the club with the killer in there with no equipment or protection and dragged him on her back and to the trauma center. One look in her eyes and you knew it was the truth.
That is a soul that is dead inside. A life taken. Her husband, his father, another soul.
In yet another news clip, focused on a grieving mother, we see a devoted and devastated sister in the side of the frame. It made me think of how I would feel if my brother was taken in this way. I have no idea how I would go on. Another soul.
Two of the dead were planning to be married. Now they will be buried together. We have lost the children they would have had together...two more souls. And the grandchildren...four more souls. Their great grandchildren...eight more souls.
Every time this happens, we have to accept that, for every dead victim, there are a dozen souls who may as well be dead, or who will never be born.
And it's not just the massive events, where 50 becomes 2453, it is the daily trickle...one dead, two dead, three dead. Acknowledge it for what it is: a dozen dead, two dozen dead, three dozen dead. Memorial weekend in Chicago...a thousand souls.
Until our society is willing to acknowledge the true cost of our complacency, of allowing any angry, confused, and sociopathic person to grab a military weapon, drive two hours, and rend thousands of lives apart, until we tabulate the real loss from our collective inaction, we will be unable to calculate the true cost of doing nothing.
And nothing will change.
This post was co-authored by Paul Grossinger and Heidi Lehmann