Leadership & the Laws of Magick: Bring Back Public Shunning

I was really surprised about the popularity of my latest blog Money, Magick, & Bullshit: Do the F**king Work! This had led me to think about leadership and the Laws of Magick.

I often refer to Bonewits when I discuss the Laws of Magick because he was the first person I ever read on the topic and, in truth, the only author I knew who reviewed and discussed them in such length.

One of the arguments that seems to have rankled many around pagan leadership is the term Elder. These arguments have come around a discussion of a person who teaches at Cherry Hill Seminary and this persons stance against transwomen, stating blatantly that transwomen aren’t really “women,” but men attempting to use some ruse to steal power from women. (Wild Hunt; June 12, 2016)

I do not support this particular person’s claim to eldership, leadership or, even priestess-hood. The exclusion of transwomen in women’s mysteries and rites is simply unacceptable and contrary to paganism as I practice and teach. I would call such an exclusion an “act unbecoming,” negative behavior that I find to be outside the boundaries of spiritual calling and rooted in ego and unresolved personal issues.

What is curious to me is how the Laws of Magick get twisted and used to support acts unbecoming and those who teach them. The most common law is The Law of Names.

The Law of Names

Turning once again to Bonewits, we receive this information:

This works because a name is a definition (yes, even “Harold,” “Marie,” “Xunte,” and “Jasmine” were at one time) as well as a contagion link. Perhaps more importantly, it works because knowing the complete and “true” name of something or someone means that you have achieved a complete understanding of its or his [or her] nature. This is why, in most pre-industrial cultures, people are given “secret names” as well as “public names,” and why the sharing of a secret name is such an act of trust – because the secret name is consider to be very close to, if not identical with, the person’s true name.

The generation before mine was and can still be very stuck upon names like High Priestess and High Priest and Elder. These names were more than a title, following the Laws of Magick, they were an admission of a definition. At the heart of this definition is the suggestion of knowledge, power and correctness or rightness. If we defer to someone as an “elder” or a “high priest” or a “high priestess” we are in essence feeding into the energy that suggests, according to the laws of magick, that a person is literally powerful, correct and knowledgeable.

There are two inherent errors with this type of thinking, one on the part of those who wield the terms for themselves and one on the part of those who use these terms for others.

Not My Elder

Courtney Weber, author and pagan journalist, wrote a rebuttal against transphobic elders called Not My ElderAt the time, even I cringed, at the thought. Here in the South, titles have a distinct cultural significance that goes well beyond how someone acts and speaks and is related to Southern hospitality. Elder, in the South is any person of an older age, who by virtue of their age alone, has earned the right to a little respect. It is the antithesis of being mean to someone who is old just because they are old and pass their “prime.”

However, when we move into magickal circles, the term Elder becomes something more and those of us who were indoctrinated to have manners first and think it through later, have to pull ourselves up short and look critically at our conditioning.

About Religion has an excellent article on a definition of Pagan Elder that is worth a read; however, it too is linked to age. The Elder title that someone like Weber talks about isn’t necessarily linked to age, it is linked to perceived and real contributions to paganism in some form.  When researching the person above, I expected the person to have many actual degrees. In actuality, the person only holds one in Folk History from 1976. The person is also a founding member of a significant pagan tradition that is feminist based and has a long history of artistic work and writings around feminism and spirituality. The term “elder” has been applied to her based upon this body work.


Here is the thing. Elder in the pagan community is based upon the idea that the person has given a significant contribution to the pagan community. The person reference above has. Agree with the person or not, you cannot deny that contribution.

And, yet, pagan elderalso implies power and right and correctness. It is this implication of rightness and correctness that Weber is addressing.

Weber brings us to an understanding that the power the term Elder can have when applied to the above person, can be diminished by public outcry. The verbal denial of that type of speech is an active magickal act.  The person above may be accepted by many feminist pagans as an elder, and as Weber so eloquently states, this doesn’t make that person Weber’s Elder. Weber is using the Laws of Magick to fight trans-phobic speech that has no place of acceptance in the paganism Weber practices. Weber is actively fighting the idea that the person in question has any power, right, or correctness.

But The Person is an ELDER!  Presidency v Ladyship

Let’s break this down some. Titles can be honorific or denote a sacred office. I agreed with nothing President George W. Bush ever said on foreign policy. I actively demonstrated against what I saw as illegal military action by the United States in direct defiance and disagreement with the Command In Chief. However, if I had met or ever met President Bush, I would not say, “Yo, George, you are an f**cking asshole personally responsible for the loss of American military personnel and innocent people in an unjustified military conflict that you actively lied to the American people about, you f**cking dickhead.”

I would still address him with good manners and by the title President because the American people voted for him, their bad judgement not withstanding, and the office of President has also been held by past and living persons whom I admire and respect. It isn’t because I like President Bush that I refer to him as President Bush. It is because I respect the office of the Presidency and what it magickally represents for the republic of America.

When dealing with pagan elders, high priests and high priestess, we should remember the totality of what the title means. The Law of Names tells us that by giving someone a title we are energetically imbuing them with the power of that office as we perceive it. We are saying that someone is demonstrating holy spiritual knowledge, power and correctness on behalf of our religious representation. This is how Act Unbecoming came to be.

Acts UnBecoming

There is no central body that puts out pagan elders and verifies that they are actual qualified to do jack. Given that, the titles adopted by pagan leaders are honorary and only have the power we ascribe. However, most of us have met people we would gladly give the title Lord or Lady or Elder to.

It is because these people, for each of us individually, represent what a person would behave like if they had been ordained by Divinity as we understand Divinity. This also means that there will be plenty of leaders of all types that we do not recognize as being worthy that other people will. I reject evangelical teachings and find that most of what they teach is dangerous and divisive; however, this doesn’t negate that evangelical leaders have a falling that far surpasses mine mostly because they are followed by people or spiritually and politically agree with them. Still not my reverend.

This is the beautiful, complicated and difficult part bound up in freedom of religion and speech.

Mistake of Pagan “Elders” “High Priests” “High Priestesses” or “Clergy”

There is a belief among some pagan leadership that the title makes the person.

The title doesn’t make you.

An emphasis on legitimacy in The Craft through the ordination or recognition by outside human sources has lead to a clamoring of persons demanding to be recognized as an “elder,” “high priest,” or “high priestess.” It has also lead to those who have the suggested “legitimacy” of elevation by a Wiccan or witchcraft tradition or sect, demanding everyone honor their title and elevations.

Because these human sources are often NOT regulated at all and vary wildly from group to group, what one person did to earn the title “high priestess” is NOT going to comparable to what someone else did to earn the same title. The general pagan population knows this.

Further, even if you have a masters or doctorate in some specialty, it isn’t your knowledge that people are worried about, it is your presentation.

How you behave. How you handle conflict. How you deal with people who disagree with you adamantly. How you process and empower people who are under educated about the topic you teach.

Paganism values inclusivity. What today’s pagan leaders are trying to wrangle is how we can remain inclusive while paganism as a culture defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This means, the general pagan population is not going to wowed and ahhed by the enforcement of titles, degrees or education unless the above are wielded with a deft hand.

“The athame should be use like a scalpel,” a former high priestess told me, “When too often it is used just to maim.”

The athame represents a leaders knowledge, power, and righteousness given to them by the gods and goddesses they serve. Too often, our pagan leaders look to conquer through the force of their words and their divisive and demeaning rhetoric. All this type of behavior does is suggest the pagan leader is unbecoming any title they claim.

I would assert, and many pagan leaders do, that no title should be necessary. If a pagan is an elder, high priest or high priestess there is no need for them to announce it. Their very life will do that for them. The Law of Knowledge, Power, and Self Knowledge will be all the magickal confirmation they will ever need of their title.

Still Not My Elder: Bringing Back Public Shunning

You read this whole blog and are thinking, “Okay, Dia, I agree with you and I still don’t like that woman you mentioned above and can think of several other pagans whose behavior I abhor. What do I do?”

There are for me personally, a couple of leaders who fall into a category of “beyond redemption.” Their acts unbecoming are so heinous that their association with The Craft is dangerous to the craft and to pagans. I have a little list going in my head. I personally, have decided that not only will I not feed their power by agreeing they are an elder, high priest, or high priestess, I will literally deny them any energy at all.

If I were to ever see these people, I will simply behave as if they do not exist. I won’t speak their names unless I am absolutely forced to for the safety of others. I will not acknowledge their existence except in relationship to discussing other more important issues. I will not name them.

I will send them private letters with my concerns and give a list of things I think the person should do in order to find my acceptance in the future. I will not engage in public open bashing of them as a human being or person.

Now, really, who cares what I do? I am just one person in Georgia.

Imagine a speech given by the person I fail to mention by name in this article. People show up, stand in mass and literally give their back to the speaker while putting on head phones. An act of civil disobedience that actively works against transphobia while silently holding signs of support for our trans-sisters and trans-brothers?

Imagine a seminar at your favorite gathering where a well known and married couple are forced to deal with persons in headphones, holding signs exposing the dangers of a pagan consent culture and demanding pagan leadership that teach responsibility when it comes to sexuality and paganism.

Imagine picketing a Red Tent that is trans-exclusive. Silent protesters with head phones filled with chants to the Goddess and signs that say exclusivity should be behavior, not gender based.

Imagine civil disobedience that doesn’t rely on trolling but is active and real and impactful. Civil disobedience where your voice and place in shaping pagan values is assured while allowing groups to continue to hold great festivals and not be penalized by the teachings of gatherings’ poor seminar choices?

At each of these places and times, a clear list of how to end the shunning is displayed. For the person above it might read: “Stop your transphobic speech and saying that that hate speech is holy and spiritual and feminist.”

The married couple might be asked to “Admit past teachings have had a real detrimental  effect on sexual consent in paganism and on individuals who have been assaulted in the name of The Craft. Freely admit that you do not have any training in sexuality as it pertains to assault victims and are not qualified to teach sexuality due to your lack of psychological understanding and training.”

Real Pagans Consent

To Asatru groups who exclude specefic races it might read: “Stop spreading racism in the name of paganism and saying that racism is holy and sacred.”

Real Pagans Racism

Imagine memes that take over your social media feeds that say:

“Real Pagans Are Not Racist.”

“Real Goddess Worshipers Worship with Transwomen.”

“Real Pagans do not condone or teach rape.”

“Real Pagans say, “If you cannot dance in the circle – we will push you or give you a chair and drum!”


One More Thing

Real pagans also create communities where trans acceptance is an actual communal out put. Communities where many races and cultures are represented. Communities where sexuality is taught in healthy and psychological sound ways. Communities where protecting the community is the top priority and making room for those who come in love and trust and honor is also a priority.

As we wrangle with this difficult time in Paganism where pagan values as a culture are identified and refined, we must also be focused on community creation.

If we aren’t tending to the inclusiveness of pagan communities there is no energy powerful enough to counteract the useless jesters our empty words become.




Magick, Money & Bullshit: Do the F**King Work


I always pay attention when I see themes running around in my life. Themes in those I minister to and themes in those who are in my community usually point to a life lesson on magick and leadership and are well worth paying attention to.

Recently the theme has been around money, housing, and how to become a stable productive member of society.

What magickal practitioners often overlook in our magickal equations are the influences, the energetic influences, created by other members of faith in our society. Christianity being the most prolific in the United State and therefore, the most energetic significant.

Right now there is a huge trend in Christian teachings called “Prosperity Gospel.” And I am beginning to see the influence of Prosperity Gospel in the thinking of pagans and Wiccans. Nothing could annoy me more. Having lived as a religiously devout Christian, the Prosperity Gospel is an affront to everything I believed about Christianity. Its infection into paganism and Wicca is simply another great travesty.

Prosperity Gospel

Prosperity theology is defined by Wikipedia as:

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) is a religious belief among some Christians that financial blessing is the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations (possibly to Christian ministries) will increase one’s material wealth. They are based on interpretations of the Bible traditional in Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver his promises of security and prosperity. Confessing these promises to be true is perceived as an act of faith, which God will honor.(“Prosperity Theology” 2016)

As a magickal practitioner I am not going to miss the fact that this teaching is tied into the Laws of Magick, which leads me to another disturbing trend amongst Pagans and Wiccans. The lack of an understanding and study of the Laws of Magick.

The Laws of Magick

Just because you are a person who doesn’t identify as magickal practitioner or witch or Wiccan or whatever you want to label yourself as, doesn’t meant that you aren’t affected by the Laws of Magick. If you are a pagan and you perform any simple or elaborate spiritual practice. Or if you attend one or two gatherings a year and that is the extent of the time and energy you put into being pagan, the Laws of Magick are acting upon your life. In fact, most would argue, whether we know it or believe it or not, the Laws of Magick are acting upon all of our lives. The Laws of Magick can be compared to the Law of Gravity. Most of us do not understand the mathematical formula that proves Gravity; however, none of us can escape gravity’s affect upon us.

It is the same for The Laws of Magick. Understanding the Laws of Magick helps make us better people NOT just magicians.

Laws of magick

For me Isaac Bonewits is the go to author around the Laws of Magick, although, I am sure there are others who have written on the subject with great effect. If we do a simple Google search, we are quickly directed to Bonewit’s website (“Authentic Thaumaturgy: The Laws of Magic” 2016) which has an excellent simple discussion about the Laws of Magick as he understands them.

The Prosperity Gospel intersects with the magickal laws of Similarity, Association, Contagion, Names, Words of Power and more than likely many, many more that I am not going to get into.

The foundation for the Prosperity Gospel is based upon The Law of Names. There are plenty of Bible verses about the Christian God’s people crying out to him and him delivering them from whatever ails them. It is a basic tenant in Christianity. Christianity says, “Do you have a problem?” If you do then the answer is to give it to God and God will find a solution, a miracle, like magick, if you will.

The next thing that magick needs are the actual workings of a spell. The Prosperity Gospel teaches the spell that giving to the Church brings prosperity. Giving “until it hurts” is a common belief in The Prosperity Gospel. Based upon the magickal laws of Similarity, Association, and Contagion, this spell is created to demonstrate your faith in the Christian God to give back to you what you willingly give to the Church. The more you give to the church, in the construct of the spell, the more that the Christian God will give back to you.

What the Prosperity Gospel misses in the construction of this spell is the fact that all magick works upon the physical laws of the Universe. The Universe doesn’t peddle in money, literally. There is no currency for God, the Christian God or any other God that I am aware of. When a congregation gives up money, it is unlikely that money is going to appear in your bank account or somehow your bills are going to just magickally be paid. This is tied to The Law of True Falsehoods which states “It’s possible for a concept or act to violate the truth patterns of a given universe (including an individual’s or group’s part of a consensus reality) and yet to still be “true,” provided that it “works” in a specific context (“Authentic Thaumaturgy: The Laws of Magic” 2016).”

This leads me to one of my favorite movies Leap of Faith (“Leap of Faith (Film)” 1992). In this movie Steve Martin plays a tent preacher who isn’t really a preacher at all. He peddles in miracles and magick and showmanship. During the course of the movie, Martin’s character peddles the idea of Prosperity Gospel asking people to donate to his tent rival. Then he has his ushers, who are all converted pick pockets, to slip money into the pockets and purses of those who donated, more money than they donated. This “miracle” sets up the small town to give money they don’t have to a preacher who doesn’t even believe in the God he is preaching about.

The Law of True Falsehoods is why this miracle is accepted by the townspeople. There is no plausible explanation so it must mean that God had magically found money to put into their pockets because of their act of faith. The falsehood in the prosperity gospel is you can receive money from nothing. In Leap of Faith the circumstances created a true falsehood through he magick of pick pockets.

The Problems

Something for Nothing

I am by no means some great magickal practitioner. I think I have learned over my years that what I am is the granddaughter of a pragmatic farmer and his wife. I grew up understanding you had to have a rooster to get eggs. If you wanted crops to grow you had to fertilize and tend and plant and tend and work hard from before sunup to after sundown. There is a price to be paid in order to be a farmer that makes a living – not even a farmer that is wealthy, there are not many of those. To be a farmer that can keep his land and continue to plant crops and sell crops, means lots of hard, hard, hard work.

After all the work, praying for rain was the least the Good Lord could answer because the farmer had done everything else. And if praying to the Good Lord didn’t cut it, sneaking out when the moon was high to beseech the Great Spirit, our ancestor’s God, that was alright if no one else knew.

This has left me scratching my head in perplexity that pagan magickal practitioners who should understand the basic Laws of Nature, the Laws of our Universe that govern and control all The Laws of Magick and they too seem to have a strange belief of a pagan prosperity gospel.

Having spent most of my youth on the farm, my assumption was that pagans were going to be hard working people because people close to the land understand inherently how much time and energy tending the land requires.

But The Prosperity Gospel’s  most secular and prominent incarnation is The Secret (“The Secret (Book)” 2006). Based upon the magickal Law of Attraction, it focuses on living with a mindset that magickally creates money and wealth. I have watched the DVD of The Secret and read the book. Here is what most people miss about that book – work, actual real work, is still required.

The Prosperity Gospel and the Secret seem to push a belief that actual real work is not necessary. Like magick, it is an unseen thing that you can send into The Universe and then suddenly it will happen.

$20 Angel & Tables Without Food

In college, when I was still a Christian, my friends joked that I had a $20 angel. I would be out of money and start praying for $20. I would see myself picking up $20. I would walk around for days broke, going about my business, walking to school if I had to all while praying and visualizing $20. Just when things were about to be critical, invariably my $20 Angel would deliver enough money to feed myself. This example makes it seem like I am manifesting money out of thin air. I am not. I was living in my head a reality where my needs were taken care of. There was no room for me to be hungry or homeless again. There was only a consistent belief that all would be provided. And it was, every single time.

Once, my $20 Angel didn’t come through. I literally had no food. So I started setting an elaborate table setting as if some huge feast was going to be prepared in my barren kitchen. I went outside to the cow pasture and picked weeds that flowered and put them in a glass. I spent time cleaning the table and the house, all preparing for this big meal I was absolutely going to be eating. Just as I set a glass of water on my table, a knock came to my door. I thought to myself, “Oh look, dinner is here.” I opened the door to find my favorite professor carrying four bags in her tiny arms. I took what I could and let her in my little one room crap hole of an apartment which was immaculately clean.

We went straight to the kitchen and started putting up groceries and cooking a traditional Palestine meal that required her to teach me how to clean a whole fish. Sometime during the cooking she noticed my set table. She looked at me in horror, “Why did you set a table when you had no food?”

“I did have food,” I said, “It just hadn’t gotten here yet.”

“How did you know I was coming?” she asked.

“I didn’t,” I replied, “I believed.”

Both of these stories seem to demonstrate a person or God manifesting money or food out of absolutely nothing.

Nothing is further from the truth. I invested time and energy and prayer and visualization. I practiced living in a place where all my needs are met, period. End of story. I lived in a place in my mind and heart where everything I needed would always be provided for. And it always has been.

Time and Energetic Cost of Magick

The Kitten and the Lottery

I had a good friend who did two spells on the full moon. One was to get an animal guide, preferable a kitten. The other was to win the lottery. The next morning, my friend went to retrieve his paper and there was a kitten on his door step so young they had to buy formula and hand rear that kitten for the next four weeks. The kitten’s eyes weren’t even open. That cat follows him around to this day. He never won the lottery.

He was musing about why he didn’t also win the lottery, even after going to buy a ticket that next day, and his partner said, “Lots of kittens, little chances of winning the lottery.”

What his partner meant was there are a ton of homeless kittens who would love to be someone’s animal familiar. And the chances of winning the lottery is less than getting struck by lightning. Doing one spell on one night, no matter how powerful is not likely to be enough to create the kind of universal movement on the physical plane to manifest a lottery win. Still most pagans do a one-night spell and then assume that is all they need to do.

If you want to manifest something that has to have lots of things come together to make it happen, it requires more energy than a one-night spell. I walked around when I got down to my last $5 in college, starting to pray for wherever my next money was going to come from. If I wasn’t studying I was actively putting energy into my $20 Angel. I actively avoided any thoughts or feelings of self-pity or doubt. When I got down to rock bottom, I set my table anyway. I was fully prepared to sit at the table and eat an imaginary meal if I had to. I was going to prove to the Universe that I believed the Universe, God, was going to provide for me, even if I died of hunger. I was willing to go all the way in my mind and heart and body to manifest my magick.

Recently my co-priestess, Disa, moved into a beautiful half million-dollar home. The community walked around in awe during her house blessing, clearly shocked at her seemingly magickal good fortune. Since that house blessing, I find myself having conversations that reveal the two years of magickal working Disa did to secure her dream home. I tell them that her home is available to her now because of a devastating and permanent injury she suffered in a car accident. She is literally paying a price in PAIN to live in the house she magickally manifested. The accident afforded her funding that she would have never had to be able to afford the house she wanted. I talk about her working weekends and nights at a crap job to make ends meet while her husband started their business. I talk about the hours she works in the early morning and late evening and the out of town trips her husband takes regularly to continue to have the income necessary to afford the payments on their dream home. I talk about the continued magick she does to keep her “prosperity” secure.

As Above, So Below; As WITHIN, So WITHOUT

Not only is energy applied across a period of time required for something big, like a half million-dollar home, there must be a tenacity and stubborn refusal to believe that any other outcome is an acceptable outcome based upon the magick you have done. You have to live the magick you have done.

What others do not realize about Disa, and I was honored to have witness, was her consistent statements when it seemed like she would never manifest her house.

“I don’t understand,” she would say, “I know that the house is out there and it is mine. I know I am going to have it and NAME OBSTACLE HERE is in my goddamn way. The HOUSE IS MINE!”

Sometimes she would call me angry at her husband because he was talking negatively about the possibility of them getting their dream home. She would tell me how she had to talk him out of that energy and get him back into the head space of absolute belief that the house would manifest.

Then I would listen as she and her husband worked around the obstacle or over the obstacle or through the obstacle. She would make phone calls and she would talk to banks and she would talk to lawyers and go to doctors. The whole time with a tenacious hold upon the reality that she was going to have the house of her dreams. Her WITHIN was always, every day, every second of every day, reflecting the WITHOUT even when the WITHOUT seemed to being saying, “HELL NO!”

Magick isn’t something you do.

Magick is something YOU ARE. How you think. How you live. How you love. How you behave all affect any magickal working you perform.

Do the Fucking Work

Long, long ago in gathering place called Dragon Hills, I can remember a priestess running around screaming, “Do the fucking work! Do the fucking work!”

At the time I was baffled by this declaration and now I understand.

If you want a better job, do the spell and then do the fucking work. Write a new resume. Send a resume a day to open positions. Do research on the Internet. Live a life in your head that supports the reality of a new job. Fight all feelings and thoughts that are contrary to what it is you want to manifest.

Do the fucking work.

If you want a book published, do the spell and then WRITE THE BOOK. Then send out letters to publishers and get rejected. Send out more. Get rejected some more. Re-write the book. Send more letters out. Meditate with your gods or goddesses about what you should be writing and re-write the book again. Live in a reality where you are a published author and fight all thoughts and feelings that are contrary to what it is you want to manifest.

Do the fucking work.

If you do not have a job, do the spell and then FIX YOUR RESUME. Send it out. Apply every day for a different job. Live in your head seeing yourself working the type of job you desire and living the life you desire. Fight off all thoughts and feelings that are contrary to what it is you want to manifest. If you want a very specific job, then spend more than one spell on the effort. Do a spell overtime or do a series of spells based upon the jobs’ manifestation.

Do the fucking work.

If you look at your life and it is in chaos, do the spell and then work on how you think about yourself. How you react to your emotions. Seek counseling. Meditate every day. Say mantras every day.

Do the fucking work.

If you think you need some guidance from spirit or someone else. STOP LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DO YOUR WORK. Meditate every day. Adopt mantras. Visualize the reality you want to live in. Make a plan to manifest that reality. Work the plan.


If you need prosperity in your life, then by all means do everything in your power to manifest that prosperity, including spell work, then get out from behind the TV or the phone or the computer or the gaming console and help the universe manifest the prosperity you need in your life.

Anything else is bullshit.

Orlando and Grief

We all grieve differently.

Make some room to grieve.

Laid down the arguments about guns, rightness, wrongness, religious beliefs and motivations and the horrible discrimination against the LGBT community.

Light a candle.

Light 49.

Light another.

Light 53.

Don’t take to twitter in anger demanding why someone isn’t posting like you think or supporting your belief.

Breathe a moment and don’t speak.

When you open your mouth, let it be filled with the names of the dead or wounded. Let the words reflect the horror and sadness that drives you to lash out in anger. Let it be filled with the reflection of grief within yourself.

When the dead are buried or burned to ash, then –  then –  we can argue about policy and the sanctioned discrimination turned against our fellow humans.

But when those discussions are begun – later after the dead have been buried or burned – let the names of the dead and injured remain

as prepositions



in our discussion…..



“Mass shootings are horrible things. Edward Sotomayor Jr. right Stanley Almodovar III own guns is protected by Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo Second Amendment. Luis S. Vielma Juan Ramon Guerrero right Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera love Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz marry whomever we choose. Our brothers Kimberly Morris sisters who are transgender are Mercedez Marisol Flores being targeted. When will Deonka Deidra Drayton policies Eddie Jamoldroy Justice discussions move Enrique Rios stop Anthony Luis Laureanodisla hate speech Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega end Cory James Connell deaths Mercedez Marisol Flores beloved Americans?

How can Miguel Angel Honorato as Jason Benjamin Josaphat nation continue Darryl Roman Burt II permit such record violence Alejandro Barrios Martinez occur? Jean Carlos Mendez Perez 2016, there have been 179 number Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez mass shootings Amanda Alvear 287 people Martin Benitez Torres dead because Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon them. Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado what about Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez hate speech Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez has been propagated Oscar A Aracena-Montero some Americans? Javier Jorge-Reyes idea that because Joel Rayon Paniagua don’t like someone’s life style Juan P. Rivera Velazquez their sexual orientation Luis Daniel Conde their gender orientation Shane Evan Tomlinson somehow devalues them as Juan Chevez-Martinez human being? Jerald Arthur Wright Americans Leroy Valentin Fernandez pursuit Tevin Eugene Crosby happiness is guarantee, Jean C. Nives Rodriguez yet, some Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala our society continue Brenda Lee Marquez McCool persist with Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan idea Christopher Andrew Leinonen only Angel L. Candelario-Padro definition Frank Hernandez happiness is allowed. Why is that? We call Paul Terrell Henry less government Edward Sotomayor Jr. then worry about Stanley Almodovar III someone marries Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo how someone chooses Luis S. Vielma identify. Juan Ramon Guerrero these things make right Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera American happy Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz in Kimberly Morris pursuit Mercedez Marisol Flores their Deonka Deidra Drayton happiness Deonka Deidra Drayton is cause no harm, then why do we allow politicians Eddie Jamoldroy Justice pundits Enrique Rios even comment?

And what about us, each one of us? What can we do?

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla can watch what Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega say Mercedez Marisol Flores how Miguel Angel Honorato think.

Jason Benjamin Josaphat basis Darryl Roman Burt II all acts Alejandro Barrios Martinez violence begin Jean Carlos Mendez Perez words exchanged Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez ideas promoted Amanda Alvear better Martin Benitez Torres more right than others. Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon when Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado express some deeply held opinion Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez belief, we may need speech Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez ask ourselves Oscar A Aracena-Montero what we are saying is promoting violence Javier Jorge-Reyes some unwitting person dancing Joel Rayon Paniagua Juan P. Rivera Velazquez night club? Are our words small micro aggressions perpetrated Luis Daniel Conde some need Shane Evan Tomlinson make ourselves feel holier Shane Evan Tomlinson more righteous? When Juan Chevez-Martinez speak is our words directing Luis Daniel Conde tolerance Shane Evan Tomlinson love that is reflected Juan Chevez-Martinez all of Jerald Arthur Wright world’s major Leroy Valentin Fernandez minor religions? Do our words harbor some secret hope Tevin Eugene Crosby others will die Jean C. Nives Rodriguez a mass shooting like what just happened Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala Orlando?

Instead Brenda Lee Marquez McCool praying for Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan dead, could we be promoting on Christopher Andrew Leinonen daily basis Angel L. Candelario-Padro idea that what may be happiness Frank Hernandez others may not be happiness Paul Terrell Henry ourselves but the pursuit Edward Sotomayor Jr. happiness is not exclusive. Our happiness Stanley Almodovar III other people’s happiness are not reliant upon each other. Others can find peace Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo happiness without violence even if what makes Luis S. Vielma happy is not what makes Juan Ramon Guerrero happy.”

*Numbers provided by Mass Shooting Tracker