By Gwyneth Allred
It was a regular night at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida on June 12th. It was Latin night and people were having fun.
Omar Mateen, a young Muslim man supposedly pledged to ISIS, walked in with an AR 15 and began unloading into the crowd. People fell to the floor. Gunshots fired repeatedly and at random. Those who could escape crawled out of the back entrance on their hands and knees. He held whoever remained hostage for 3 hours until police stormed the club and killed him. Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting and the worst terror attack in the United States since 9/11.
Horror. Carnage. Blood. These all describe what transposed that night.
This massacre was an immense tragedy and an absolute outrage. Because you don’t agree with the way that a group of people live their lives, you’re entitled to kill them? No. Absolutely not.
In such a dark, dark time in history, there is some hope. Since this incident, I’ve seen some miracles unfold. Since this calamity, there has been an overflow of support worldwide and nationwide for those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones. This love and charity in the aftermath has been an emotional journey to witness.
I’ve seen Muslims, Christians, and many more, who homosexuality isn’t agreeable for religious reasons, come together to mourn and remember those who lost their lives in this tragedy.
Americans are known as many things, but the bottom and most deeply-rooted trait that we have is our differences. It’s what our country was founded on and is protected as an unalienable right in the Declaration of Independence: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
Not everyone lives the same way or with the same values, but when that isn’t infringing on other’s rights, they are entitled to it, and we must respect this. Though this clearly wasn’t the way that Omar Mateen saw things, the outpour of sympathy and compassion shows that we are not afraid and no one ever stands alone.
To victims in the insidious Orlando shooting and their families and friends: our prayers are with you. We will stand with you. We will fight evil with you. And you will not ever be alone.
Image taken from chapelboro.com