Hi everyone. Like several other cities worldwide, hundreds of El Pasoans came together at San Jacinto Plaza and the El Paso County Courthouse on Sunday. The crowd mourned the loss of the 50 people who were shot and killed at the gay Orlando nightclub, Pulse Sunday morning. Fifty three patrons were also injured during the mass shooting. I watched the local videos online. The events were beautiful yet tear jerking. Bag pipers played “Amazing Grace” and local LGBTQ leaders spoke about the day’s tragic events and uniting as a country. June 12, 2016 goes down as the worst mass shooting on United States soil.
I had to explain to my son what was going on. Being the curious kid he is, he kept asking me questions like “Why did this happen?” “Who did they do this to and where?” I did the best I could to answer his questions. I showed him a photo of the gunman, Omar Mateen on my phone. I told him he shot people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. My son already knows what gay, bisexual and straight means. I told him Mateen didn’t like people who belong to the LGBTQ community. He asked me why he didn’t like them. I said because he was probably raised not to like them because they weren’t like him. I told my son there is no reason to dislike people who are different. Since he was small, I’ve always told him it’s alright to like men or women. These were very hard questions to answer but I tried my best.
My friend Tommy belongs to El Paso’s LGBTQ community. He had the following to say about Sunday’s horrific events:
This morning I’m heartbroken and deeply saddened by the tragic news coming from Florida. The terror is being described as the worst mass shooting in American history. Fifty are dead and 53 are injured from a shooting at a popular gay nightclub, Pulse. It’s still early in the investigative stages. It is obvious that the attacker chose to perpetrate his violence at the LGBT community. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to ALL of the victims, their family and friends, as well as to the entire Orlando community!
This senseless madness is designed to strike fear and terror in our hearts. AS AN AMERICAN, I CAN TELL YOU IT WILL NOT! The way I see it, it was an act of terrorism. In watching the news and hearing informants, this individual was preparing for a manslaughter and he succeeded. As Americans, whether LGBT or not, WE MUST COME TOGETHER AND STAND STRONG IN DEFIANCE. OUR FELLOW AMERICAN BROTHERS & SISTERS LIVES MUST NOT BE IN VAIN! We must address the hatred revolving around this nation. We are all equal and share the same blood. We should be United and embrace all kinds of people, no matter their skin color, race, gender or sexual orientation. God made us to love one another. We must stand up and stop this hatred and this uncalled for violence.