Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning atOrlando'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 byposting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: As soon as news broke about Sunday morning's shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, people have been reacting to the tragedy on social media. The incident has been declared the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history, leaving 50 people deceased and more than 50 in the hospital. Although messages of support are appreciated, one Twitter user is brilliantly calling out the hypocrisy of certain politicians by contrasting their tweets of sympathy regarding the shooting with their lack of actually taking action to strengthen gun control.
The Twitter user, Igor Volsky, is tweeting directly at these politicians and using stats to back up his points. For example, Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black tweeted,
Heartbreaking news out of Orlando. We are praying for the first responders, for families who have lost loved ones, and for the many victims.
In response, Volsky wrote, "Heartbreaking that you took $7,500 from @NRA and now won't stand up to their opposition of all sensible gun laws." During her time on congress, Black has accepted thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association in donations and vocalized her support of the Second Amendment. Black shares her stance on gun control on her website: "I am committed to doing everything in my power to safeguard Americans’ constitutionally protected freedom to keep and bear arms."
Of course, there's no denying this Orlando news is heartbreaking and politicians should rightfully express their sympathies. However, it is frustrating that when they post messages about how horrific the news is, their time in congress reflects a lack of doing something about it. As powerful as prayers may be, it's not the same as enacting legislation and creating concrete regulations to hopefully prevent such tragedies in the future.
Here are a few more examples of Volsky's tweets:
It's easy to be outraged when such acts of senseless violence occur, but it's another to take action. Volsky's tweets, which use numbers to back them up, accomplish a lot more than just typing messages of frustration out into an abyss. He's clearly done his homework and props to him for speaking out.
If tweeting at congresspeople isn't your go-to way to spark change, there are plenty of ways you can help the victims in Orlando. Whether donating blood or spreading the word about the city's crisis phone number (407-246-4357), it's possible to make a difference no matter where you're located.