ORLANDO - He had come with a bag of groceries to the LGBT center on North Mills Avenue, the ground zero of the relief effort for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

But the door was locked. Almost everyone had left for the evening vigil downtown.

Ian Blake, 34, kept knocking. He went around to the back, just to make sure.

He wanted to do something, whatever he could.

This is Orlando now.

And these are opening scenes in the terrible script we have collectively written - the one we follow in the aftermath of the increasingly common American experience: the mass shooting.

People doing whatever they can to keep from drowning in the horror inflicted on their city. People doing what they can because they need to do something, anything.

And that was how it was all across Orlando on Monday, as a city of sunshine opened its eyes from the shock of a nightmare and realized it wasn't going away.

It was that way at The Center, as the place where Blake came knocking with his groceries is known. The Center has long been the welcoming hub of the local LGBT community. Now, it's a place of grief and pain - and a place where people are determined to move forward, stronger. A place of action.

Since Sunday morning, volunteers have packed into the storefront center, the latest set in this theater of American tragedy. Where volunteer Beau Patrick stood in his straw hat, checking the bags of all who entered. The police said it would be wise to do so.

The food, water, and other donations, like area fans for the stifling heat, come in quicker than they can go out. When center officials put out a call on social media for counselors, over 200 volunteered.

"Everyone has put their emotions on the shelf and jumped into action," said Rob Domenico, a board member at the center, who is originally from Vineland, N.J.

It was that way, too, in the sad scenes that played out at a senior center near Pulse, which served as a gathering spot for families awaiting news of their loved ones.

Inside, officials read aloud the names of the dead. Outside, volunteers shielded family members from the sun - and from the shouting reporters lined up deep along the fence - with large black umbrellas as they walked away into new, fractured lives.

"We are here to weep with those weeping," said Angel Marcial, one of the volunteers.

It was that way on all of the store marquees, like the one outside Floyd's 99 Barbershop, bearing the latest variation of a wounded city's noble pledge of strength: "Orlando Strong."

"It pisses me off," said the barbershop manager, Toni Grabowski. "How dare you do this to my city?"

And it could be heard in the honking at the busy downtown intersection of Rosalind and South, where an "inspiration garden" of homemade signs of strength had sprung up, encouraging rush-hour drivers to blow their horns in support.

"We are the city of Disney and this is in our backyard now," said Gil Ramos, who said he had come up with the idea for the garden because, well, he had to do something.

It was visible in the tears of the quiet, steely, crowd that filled the grand lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the evening vigil. There, family members of the dead laid flowers and kissed photos of loved ones killed by a terrorist with a gun meant for a battlefield not a nightclub. A violinist played the U2 song "All I Want Is You."

The script is familiar now. It is one only we can change, by finally taking meaningful action to prevent those who want to harm us the most from getting the guns that can do us the most harm. By embracing our essential goodness and not giving into the gripping fear.

Like earlier Monday night, when Ian Blake kept knocking on The Center's closed door. He wanted to drop off his donations in time to make the vigil. Finally, someone opened the door. They thanked him for doing what he could do.