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All of us Must be Helpers Now

The crime scene at Pulse Nightclub
The crime scene at Pulse Nightclub

Last week, which feels like a million years ago, WMFE presented a live talk with Diane Rehm. In the Q&A period, an audience member asked Rehm who she thought was her best teacher, and she promptly replied, “Fred Rogers.”

Maybe that’s why as shock escalated to terror on Sunday, June 12, I thought of the story Mr. Rogers often told of his mother’s advice for confronting “scary things”: “Always look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help.” When he did, he saw that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police, firemen, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in and help when things go wrong.

In the past days, while *some* elected officials seemed reluctant to call this an attack on the gay community, while our local blood banks still turn away most gay donors, while the NRA blames “political correctness” for this heinous massacre, the true helpers were everywhere.

Our first responders and medical personnel wore themselves out saving and protecting victims. Our media began documenting and disseminating facts. And our friends and neighbors rose up to do anything they could for each other, whether that was to donate blood or money or food or pet care or mental health counseling or translation services for some friends and family of the mostly Hispanic victims.

Forty-nine of us are gone forever. But all of us have been harmed. And all of us must be helpers now.