As a gay blogger, I feel that I have the responsibility to write about the ‘2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting,’ as Wikipedia has labeled it. This post’s sole purpose is not to be informative because you can look up-to-date information about it for yourself. Information about the tragedy is still organic — growing and changing by the minute, and I wouldn’t want to misinform or simply be outdated in the information I would provide.
However, this post will contain information that is given to date.
Perhaps nobody will ever know what was going on in Omar Mateen’s head, and one’s guess is only as good as another’s. But here are some information that had been released.
- He as born an American citizen on Long Island, New Hyde Park, New York to Afghan parents
- He’s been married twice, having a young son
- He held an active firearms license and security guard license, having worked as a prison guard and a security guard for respective employers as early as 2006
- Twice, he had been a person of interest to the FBI for links with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and a suicide bomber; however, both cases were closed
- Omar purchased the two firearms (SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and 9mm Glock 17 handgun) used in the attack two weeks prior to the incident
Initially, Omar’s father had mentioned that his son may have been triggered to action when he saw a gay couple kissing in front of his family months earlier. However, after allegations of Omar’s repressed homosexual tendencies, he’s been sheepish about his stance.
Allegations include numerous mentions of him interacting within the homosexual scene. Pulse regulars stated that they’ve seen Omar frequent the nightclub. Omar had been mentioned using Jack’d, Grindr, and Adam4Adam to communicate with gay men online. A police academy classmate also mentioned that Omar had been smitten of him, and his second wife admitted to driving Omar to the Pulse to scope it out.
Events at the gay nightclub Pulse occurred in relatively the following order on Latin Night Saturday, June 12th.
- Around 2:00AM – Last call for drinks amongst the 320 patrons.
- 2:02AM – Security guard and Omar engage in shooting. Two other officers got involved as Omar proceeded in the nightclub and shot patrons.
- 2:09AM – Pulse posted on Facebook “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”
- 2:22AM – Omar talks to the police via 911, making references to the Boston marathon bombers, Al-Nusra Front, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and a suicide bomber he had been previously linked to
- 3:58AM – Orlando Police Department publicly announce the ongoing tragedy
- 5:00AM – SWAT drove through the wall and engaged in a gunfight with Omar, officially confirming his death at 5:53AM
It had been noted that people hid under victims’ bodies, in dressing rooms, underneath the glass bar and the bathroom. Patrons trapped inside whilst Omar was still at large called and messages friends and family. Thirty patrons were freed after Omar’s death.
However, the tragedy left 49 deceased and 53 injured. The victims aged between 18 to 50 years old.
These Words are My Own
First off, I want to express great sadness to hear about such tragedy. It’s crazy to think that I was writing my previous post about verbal hatred within the LGBT community and was posting it when the shooting was publicly announced. My prayers are with every single person affected by this tragedy, including the friends and families of the victims and the other 300+ people present at the nightclub at the time.
I feel that this tragedy has already been molested by several people to promote their own agendas. I’ve seen CNN had created a video and posted tweets about every single victim from the tragedy, which really focused on the incident itself and the points that matter. Shows and programs in tribute to the those affected by the Orlando shootings are also well-received, such as the Tony Awards and Adele’s performance in dedication. However, a lot of media outlets and social media entities are not so focused.
With the tragedy, both presumed runners for POTUS Clinton and Trump had their say. They didn’t merely just expressed their deepest sorrows, but pushed their own agendas (“As they should,” some would say). Clinton pressed for more gun control, better affiliation with minorities overall, and that she’s “always been a LGBT supporter.” Trump pressed for tighter and higher restriction on immigration and opposed further gun control.
Direct mudslinging didn’t occur during their speeches, but apparently Twitter is the go-to for politicians, particularly Trump. As communication processes works, it’s probably an intern, volunteer or publicist that actually controls the Twitter handle, but the words may come from the public figure themselves (maybe not, though). This is where Trump and Clinton both have had their gloves off, directly fighting each other. Obama even took a couple of hits, which he stooped down to reply to orally in a speech.
These class acts that use the tragedy as a footnote actually pisses me off. They’re pointing everything towards them (including the POTUS himself), and it’s pretty disgusting. I understand that they must talk about the issues, that they want people to know where they sit and what “they’d do as POTUS,” but the continuation of hating on each other isn’t cute.
Which leads me to the hypocrisy of the LGBT community. As it is June, we see a lot of #LoveIsLove, #PrideMonth, #LoveWins, #Equality, and several other hashtags that wants to promote all kinds of love. However, the minute after the tragedy, I saw members of the LGBT community taking to social media to hate on everyone, including fellow LGBT. One hostile person stated, “With what has happened today, hatred is the farthest thing on my mind” but every action they performed, every word they typed, was with hatred of the other person in mind.
Today, someone had created the hashtag #LGBTHatesTrumpParty. For a community that wants others to understand our love, that wants to use love in our motto and our core values, how can we now promote hate towards anyone? Going beyond this hashtag, how can we verbally, physically and cyber-bully people just because they disagree with us? I would think that as a community that tries to protect our members from bullying of any sort, we’d think twice before starting to bully others, but I guess I’ve been proven wrong.
I am a gay man in love with another man; therefore, I’m a part of the LGBT community and I find it distasteful that my community as a whole is linked with hatred at a time like this. Why not #StraightsHateLGBTParty? Or #LGBTHatesMuslimParty? Both are disgusting examples of #LGBTHatesTrumpParty, but they don’t find the latter as disgusting because it’s widely accepted? Fucking crazy.
And apparently, a lot of people are widely accepting of more gun control — particularly, more hoops to jump to get a gun. When thinking about it — Alright, a little tighter security on selling guns can be taken. I can see the benefits of the restriction of gun sales to those on terrorist watch list; however, such a restriction would not have helped in this situation. Omar has been taken off the watch list when his case was closed.
There has been public figures that have expressed that guns should be outlawed. That our second amendment right should be abolished and that guns should not be legally bought. To these statements, I say horses shit.
As a son of an ex-Navy Seal, I am a proud Lifetime “Concealed Carry Permit” holder. My family’s not moonshine-drinking, overall-wearing hillbillies in the countryside, but my 4 siblings and I have been around guns since infancy. When I was young, the guns were kept right beside my toy chest in my playroom and computer room. I was raised with guns in mind, with protection in mind and I never have regretted it.
As I agree with a notch of tightening on gun control, I would never agree with anyone that our guns should be taken from people who rightly have them. It’s crazy that people were just praising the fact that Obama has lifted the embargo of lethal weapons to Vietnam, but want to restrict our own weapons. Any restriction to buying guns legally opens the door to black markets selling guns illegally and creating an even more fucked up nation. If terrorists (or anyone, really) are already thinking of breaking the law to kill, they obviously won’t mind breaking the law to get a gun.
At the time of writing this, another shooting has been confirmed in Oakland, with one victim and 3 injured. Again, on Twitter, people hashtag #PrayForOakland with GUN CONTROL as the major trend included. People treat guns like they’re wild buffalo, thinking that they need to be controlled because it’s in their intellectual capacity to kill. It’s the people, and a person is the one that pulled the trigger of the shaped metal.
I also want to express sadness to those affected by Christina Grimmie‘s passing. A night prior to the Pulse shooting, Grimmie had been shot to death by an apparent stalker. It’s a lost to many, including those involved in The Voice as well as the music industry as a whole.
A lot of people claim that they’ve had epiphanies since the tragedy of June 12th. Some public figures are coming out as gay, others are saying they’re allies of the LGBT community now, and some are using it as inspiration for their artistic talents. For me, it just makes me want to unify as a nation — as people of one nation, not as persons of a community.
It’s claimed that Omar had his sexuality repressed, that he was living a lie of homosexuality. There are reasons why people come out of the closet, to be true to yourself and be open to anyone in the public of your love life and sexual intimacies. Omar wanted to express his true self and wasn’t accepted, or didn’t believe he would be accepted, if the information is right. I’m not trying to side with Omar, but maybe Omar was just dealing with all gay people had to deal with in a terrible way. He went to a dark place and couldn’t get out, and this is what happened.
I’m not really one to scream PRIDE and LOVE, ever, but in a time like now, I truly think that we should have a loving outlook on everyone — to make sure that everyone’s feeling loved and accepted, and that they have a safe place to be themselves. If we preach that love is love as the LGBT community, we should try to stop playing sheep and only love those that agree with us, that side with us and love EVERY SINGLE PERSON. “Allies of LGBT” are the social majority in America now, so let’s stop being assholes and actually love now.
If we want to compare this to September 11, 2001 (which, most of the victims don’t remember), can we please build back up as we did back then, or has the 15 years of technology and rebellion fucked us up completely? For the week after 9/11, we had our vigils, had our prayers, had our memorials and our news coverage, but there wasn’t any politicians ruining it all. There wasn’t any public figures shining for attention. There were real people, real tears, real genuine love.
We rebuilt after September 11 into a stronger, unified country. Can we say we did after June 12th too?