Wrapping my head and heart around the murder of 49 queer people while they were dancing in a gay bar in Orlando, beneath the familiar numb feeling accompanying another story of loss, horror, and violence, is survivor’s guilt. I feel an enormous teary affection for all us struggling to digest the consequences of so many queer lives lost in the very place that is supposed to be our haven, and by someone who, had he allowed it, might so easily have been one of us.
National parks provide nature in its full glory and reality, but they do so while providing a measure of security and comfort that visitors would not naturally encounter without the institution. Such a paradox is not a logical impossibility, but an operation and a strategy. And as much as that sounds like a game, the stakes can be as real as the ground under foot.