June 13, 2016

The Worst Attack Since 9/11

When I woke up Sunday morning, Orlando filled my newsfeeds. When I woke up, there were still the stories reporting 20 dead, 43 injured. It was only later that those headlines changed to 49 dead. Plus at least 53 more injured. Plus hundreds who now endure the trauma of the event as it unfolded. Plus millions who now live in more fear than ever before.
My community held a candlelight vigil Sunday night, which I heard about afterwards - still,
hundreds of residents came.
Photo by Todd Gill at the Fayetteville Flyer
The shooter had been interviewed by the FBI twice and and had been on a terrorist watch list. It's illegal for a gay man to donate blood to the victims. It is legal to buy an AR-15 assault rifle. It was legal for the shooter to purchase his assault weapon within the two week period prior to the massacre.

When the investigators were at the scene of the crime they were haunted by cellphones sounding off on all of the bodies - loved ones trying to make sure the dead had made it out safely.

Mothers received texts as their sons set their last messages, fearing for their lives.

This was at a nightclub... can you imagine the fear that will fill you while being in an active shooter situation intoxicated?

We aren't safe at schools. We aren't safe at churches. We aren't safe at movie theaters. We aren't safe at concerts and nightclubs. I'm at a loss for words when I try to understand... when will enough be enough? When will enough people die to have done something? How many times must these horrors occur, mourn, time passes, forget, horrors occur, mourn, time passes, forget, horrors occur, mourn, time passes, forget... before we stop forgetting?
I was never particularly political as a child, or a teen... things started to pick up during college, when I was given much more to read and think about. When I became more aware of current events. It began to unleash something in my heart that had always been there. Sandy Hook was the ultimate turning point for me. And Sandy Hook - six adult staff and TWENTY 6-7 year old children - was not enough to do something. And now 50 more individuals are dead (making it the worst shooting in our country's history) - of a race and sexuality that many in our country already have a "distaste" for. (I wonder if we'll have those moments of silence and Never Forget's for them.) What will be done? What does it take?

There was an armed officer at the club. Someone (sober & trained & purposefully there for protecting others) had a gun - and was not prepared for someone with a weapon whose only intent is to kill. Donald Trump has suggested our President has allowed these terrorist attacks to keep happening rather than take a good hard look at his friends at the NRA. He also had the nerve to THANK supporters praising him "for being right" following this horrific event:

Did I mention this guy is a confirmed nominee for President?

I must admit: I'm losing hope. I don't know at this point what it will take to get anything done. I fear for my life and the lives of others so long as the purchase of military-style guns is legal. I have watched videos on what to do in an active shooter situation. I have had nightmares. I am trying very hard to look for the helpers.

It was this date in 1942 that Anne Frank received a diary for her birthday before another horrific massacre occurred by the hand of a self-proclaimed Christian. Her diary instills hope for others when all seems lost.

I am tired of my fellow citizens praying for victims & families after every murder. Prayer is lovely, but we have to do something if we really care about what has happened to these people and want to stop it. You can't pray for God to burn your fat away, you have to do the work. You can't pray for God to end world hunger and war, these are human-created issues. We must take action. We must elect those officials who will take action. We need background checks on firearms and ammunition, liability insurance, ballistic registries. We need to eliminate gun-fetishism.

Fayetteville has their pride events this approaching weekend, as I'm sure many cities around the country will during this month of pride. It is okay for those who feel unsafe, who do not wish to express their pain publicly for fear of coming out or for fear of their own safety. You do not need to do anything. You need to meet your own needs, however that can be done for you.

There are going to be lots of fingers pointing. Let us not forget where to put our focus - on mourning the victims, supporting their families, on gun control - not on the radical man who committed the crime, for there are so many more white, Christian males to take his place. Let us not get distracted and treat Muslims as our enemies because of one, just as our brothers and sisters don't treat us as enemies because of the KKK. There will always be extremists and we must remember that they do not represent others as a whole.

Let us not forget the hate that had been instilled in this man, his motivations for the attack.

It was Latin night at a gay club. It was both a racial and homophobic issue - this shooter was known for both mindsets. This was a hate crime. Think of the hate many notable leaders have instilled in our neighbors, so similar to his hatred. On Sunday, another man was on his way to harm the gay pride parade in LA - thankfully, he was stopped before anything happened. While no gun law can prevent all future attacks, it will stop some of them - and I am happy with each. murder. prevented. Just as this man was stopped Sunday.

I don't think I could've said it better than Jeremy Moss, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives:

But let's not finish this rant with spite. Let's remember the right names - not the shooter. Let's remember the victims:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

My heart is breaking for you. My tears have been shed for you. And I will not forget you.

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