Much—probably too much—has already been written and said about what happened and didn’t happen at the night club in Orlando, FL, a few days ago. In a way that borders on the offensive, score cards have been recorded and posted. Privacy has been breached, lives have been destroyed. Politicians of all stripes have spent energy at new decibel levels.
But tucked away for a couple of days in some obscure corner of Facebook on the internet was an experience and some thoughts worth pondering and repeating. It has since gone “viral,” as they say in that world, but it is still worth considering. It is the one little bit from the Orlando carnage and coverage that seems to make sense.
Paired with a few words on the computer screen is a simple photograph, a snapshot, probably taken on a phone camera, of a pair of shoes, the kind of shoes young professionals wear these days, some sort of hybrid of athletic shoes and work shoes, designed for endurance and comfort: Air Jordans, Nikes or New Balance or something of the sort. What makes them unusual is the blood stains, somewhere between red and brown, spattered, splattered on the fabric and the laces and the soles. It is inescapable.
The shoes belong to Dr. Joshua Corsa, a physician, a senior resident surgeon at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where the Orlando shooting victims were brought and where people like Dr. Corsa applied the art and science of life saving in heroic proportions.
“These are my work shoes from Saturday night,” he wrote below the photograph. “They are brand new, not even a week old. I came to work this morning and saw these in the corner [of ]my call room, next to the pile of dirty scrubs.
“I had forgotten about them until now. On these shoes, soaked between its fibers, is the blood of 54 innocent human beings.
“I don’t know which were straight, which were gay, which were black, or which were Hispanic. What I do know is that they came to us in wave upon wave of suffering, screaming, and death.
“And somehow, in that chaos, doctors, nurses, technicians, police, paramedics, and others, performed super human feats of compassion and care.
“This blood, which poured out of those patients and soaked through my scrubs and shoes, will stain me forever. In these Rorschach patterns of red I will forever see their faces and the faces of those that gave everything they had in those dark hours.
“There is still an enormous amount of work to be done. Some of that work will never end. And while I work I will continue to wear these shoes. And when the last patient leaves our hospital, I will take them off, and I will keep them in my office.
“I want to see them in front of me every time I go to work. For on June 12, after the worst of humanity reared its evil head, I saw the best of humanity come fighting right back.
“I never want to forget that night.”
Thank you, Dr. Corsa. Absolutely no more need be said.
Ed Breen, co-host of “Good Morning Grant County” on WBAT radio, has been reporting on life in Indiana for 49 years.