The tragedy in Orlando’s Pulse Club reminded me of Freddie Mercury’s iconic performance during the video and Queen tours of the song The Show Must Go On. He had been fighting HIV/AIDS for a long time and we didn’t even know how close we were to losing him. Mercury was a symbol of the struggles faced by what is now a very proud tight knit LGBTQIA community. He united the world with music, entertaining full stadiums while putting on a brave face. I wonder how many people at Pulse’s Latin Night on June 11th knew the song and were proud to carry on in a world that hated and alienated them for being gay. I wonder how many people will turn to this song while mourning for their gunned down loved ones. At the time of this post the shooter’s motive is still unknown.
Was it a hate crime? An act of terrorism? Did God/Allah or (insert your deity here) send the gunman as an emissary to warn the “gays” about their unholy ways? Was this another attempt to prove ISIS, aka the Islamic State, is out to kill Americans and destroy their perceived Sodom and Gomorrahs? Could it have been race motivated too? After all many of the victims are of Puerto Rican descent or were born in the island, and had migrated to the area during the last decade or so due to the economic crisis.
The sad truth is that after the gunfire ended and the rescue teams extracted the survivors we are left with all these questions and guilt. The survivors will have a tough road ahead because they get to live and fight another day but their friends didn’t. The onlookers will feel guilty because they are relieved they weren’t there. People like me will feel guilty of going out dancing on Latin Night because we are not a target; we are not gay and we don’t own AR-15s nor have a need to for self defense. The public is split between those who say that the club goers deserved this for being homosexual and those who see them as Americans attacked in their own homeland. When will the violence end?
It ends with us. With the many that believe we need to do right by them so this doesn’t happen again; the people writing petitions to the government to ban assault weapons. We must enact our own social change and continue to educate those who seem to be behind the times. If your savior asks that you kill others because they are against the laws of your God, you need a new religion. What if this had happened to you? No mother should receive a text from her son letting her know he is about to be killed for being at a nightclub at a time when a madman decided to shower the patrons with bullets just because of some need to prove himself and his state superior. The Constitution protects our right to live, and to not be gunned down. My life trumps your right to own a weapon of mass destruction.
My heart goes out to those who have to go on with a heavier heart. As a person who has lost dear ones to violence, I can tell you that you never truly heal but that it gets easier. Revel in the memories of the good times and the love shared. Keep their legacy going and their essence alive by reminding others about their deeds and actions. Put a brave face to the world and use this moment to teach others about your ordeal. Fight so that no one else has to go through this nonsense. We’ll be right alongside you waving our flags.
May they rest in peace.