Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. After opening fire on the crowd, an individual named Omar Mateen had taken hostages and was ultimately killed in a stand-off with police; Mateen had called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the massacre. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency, and the massacre is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The victims' names were released by the city of Orlando on its website as their next of kin were informed. Here are some ways to help the Orlando shooting victims and their loved ones; you can also donate to the victims' fund, as well as express your solidarity with the LGBTQ community by posting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: Early Sunday morning, June 12, there was a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida at the PULSE nightclub. It's being described by authorities as an act of domestic terrorism. The violent attack took approximately 50 lives and left over 50 injured, making it the worst mass shooting in American history. Roughly 100 people were inside the gay club when the shooting occurred and the gunman has also been confirmed dead.
In the wake of the horror, the hashtag #PrayForOrlando has been trending on Twitter, and many have taken to their social media platforms to not only show their support for the victims, but to analyze the issues that may have caused such an incident to occur in the first place. Primarily, the problem with gun control in America.
On Sunday, writer and editor Mathew Rodriguez started a thread on his Twitter feed regarding the shooting, stating that his main issue isn't with the shooter per se, but with the lack of gun control in the U.S. that can lead to these types of events.
Rodriguez began by tweeting, "I want to know why in America you can carry a gun into a room full of queer people and go awf." He continued to make point after valid point about the lack of safety for marginalized groups because of poor gun control. His point is double barreled: The tragic events that transpired at PULSE are not only about the danger of gun violence in America, but about the people who are so often targeted by these crimes.
But one specific tweet in the thread makes a salient point.
As Rodriguez pointed out, this wasn't seemingly violence for the sake of violence. This was "a shooting at a Latino night at a gay bar during Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month." A motive for the shooter has not yet been released.
Through lack of proper gun control, minority and marginalized groups in society often suffer most, as proven by the events at PULSE nightclub as well as statistics for gun violence in 2015, which reveal that Black men in particular are "disproportionately affected by gun violence."
Filmmaker Michael Moore put it perfectly in 2015 when he coopted the National Rifle Association's slogan, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Moore changed the motto to, "Guns don't kill people, Americans kill people." Based on the events at PULSE nightclub, it seems he was right. Mediaite reported that the shooter was an American resident, born in New York City.