Sunday morning was not some knuckle head popping off a couple of rounds in drunken celebration, but an intentional act to eradicate as many people as possible in a club of smiling, happy, dancing people for no other reason than the patronage of Pulse, where Sunday’s massacre happened, are known to be gay. It’s no coincidence Mateen’s attack took place where it did and when it did, he had been there before and knew he would find a lot of people there.
That he was on a federal watch list yet was able to purchase his assault rifle and handgun legally. This post is not about gun control. This nation still argues over the accessibility of guns and I will leave that there with them.
On its website, Pulse, describes itself as “a place of fun and fantasy.” It was anything but as Omar Siddiqui Mateen killed at least 50 people and wounded 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in US history. We have a history of attacks against the gay community – Roanoke, VA 2000, Atlanta 1997, New Orleans 1973, Stonewall 1969 – those are the major news making events, but there are countless others; some make the headlines, but the majority of the day-to-day-to-day conflicts do not.
The news reports are quick to report Omar Siddiqui Mateen’s Islamic ties; but his religion had nothing to do with his actions. They also report how he was born in New York – as though that should automatically negate his potential to hate gays; I wish. Omar’s father is quoted as saying he was shocked and saddened to learn that his only son is behind the carnage at Pulse. He does not believe his son was radicalized. Apparently, the final straw for Omar Mateen was walking along the street and seeing two men kissing. So whether Mateen’s killings were a product of religious leanings or abject homophobia it is undeniably a hate crime. And that is where history repeats itself anew.
We repeat these histories through the generations in finding different ways to spread the same hates. Not always recognizing it for what it is until the damage is done. Still we try to do better. And for the most part we do succeed. It is why when the horrible things such as Orlando happen we do recognize it for what it is. We know that this is not our norm and we can/should do better.
That this attack occurs at a time when the country is celebrating LGBT Pride month, is another twist of the dagger in the collective hearts of those of us who mourn for Orlando. In the wake of this, it’s a given LGBT venues across the country will be tightening their security in preparation for Pride celebrations.
While Mateen’s killing spree was focused on the LGBT community, it affects us all because what he did attacks what we hold most dear – the right to live freely, the right to live openly. The right to go out and party without fear is a pursuit of happiness.
Whether one believes that the LGBT community is sinning against God or believes that people love who they love and it’s all good is not at the issue here. Agree or disagree, that is fine. We don’t have to like it, but we don’t need to hate it.
Omar Siddiqui Mateen damn sure did not need to repeat history, hating it to the point that he felt the only recourse is to murder these people:
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
“They are more than a list of names. They are people who loved and who were loved.”
— Anderson Cooper
“Love is love is love is love is love,
and love cannot be killed or swept aside.
Fill the world with music, love and pride.”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda