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, a mass shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida at a nightclub called PULSE. With 50 reported dead and over 50 injured, the tragedy has resulted in the deadliest mass shooting in American history. However, it is by no means the first mass shooting of the year.
With approximately 100 people at the venue before the attack — which is being treated as an act of domestic terrorism — the shooting reportedly resulted in a hostage situation, according to CNN. Police entered the scene with an armored vehicle and released 30 hostages. The gunman has been confirmed dead.
Unfortunately for America, as well as the rest of the world, mass shootings like these are no less terrifying but much more common than ever before. PBS reported that 2015 saw 372 mass shootings in the U.S. alone; meaning there was approximately one mass shooting per calendar day. Although none were as deadly as the events that transpired in Orlando early Sunday morning, there is no doubt that gun violence in America doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
The amount of mass shootings in the country this year are already rivaling last year's horrifying figures. The Gun Violence Archive reports that there have been 133 mass shootings in 2016 already. Considering there have only been 162 days in this year so far, it seems likely that, once again, mass shootings will be entering the territories of one-a-day.
The Gun Violence Archive uses the FBI definition for classifying a mass shooting. A statement on the website defines a mass shooting as, "Four or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter.'"
"We do not count the shooter among the victims when determining if a shooting reaches the threshold of Mass Shooting," the site continues. "It insures a clear separation between victims of a shooting and those who perpetrate the crime. GVA also does not parse the definition to exclude any type of gun violence such as gang shooting or domestic violence. The definition is purely numerical and reflects ALL shootings which reach that statistical threshold."
These statistics are chilling, to say the least; but indicative of the simple truth that changes in gun control policies are needed now more than ever in our nation.