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: Many politicians have taken to Twitter this morning to respond to the tragic mass shooting at gay night club Pulse in Orlando that left 50 deceased and another 53 injured, which marks the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. In the wake of the tragedy, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has posted multiple tweets about the Orlando shooting, the most recent of which about "radical Islamic terrorism" — not entirely surprising, given his reactions to high profile mass shootings in the past, but nonetheless upsetting.
Trump already received backlash on Twitter this morning when he initially reacted to the attacks, and then followed it up with a tweet criticizing Hillary Clinton about a "false ad" an hour later. He soon posted yet another tweet about the attacks, calling it a "horrific incident" and saying he was "praying for all the victims." Seeing as Trump has used similar tragedies to attempt to bolster his campaign in the past (his response to the Paris attacks was to tweet "Isn’t it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world?"), his lack of commentary on the subject was surprising for those following the reactions of politicians on Twitter. Predictably, Trump amended that situation within a few hours, now using the attack as a platform to support his anti-Islamic sentiments.
Here is Donald Trump's most recent tweet:
And here are the other tweets he posted this morning, in order from first to most recent:
There has been a lot of controversy online this morning in the wake of this tragedy about whether or not it's OK to politicize the incident — but the truth is, there are good reasons to politicize this. The number of mass shootings in the U.S. outnumber that of any other country, and yet we have had very little progress in legislation toward gun control laws. As a lot of people are pointing out today, if this isn't the time to politicize it, when is?
However, the way Trump has chosen to politicize this incident is the entirely wrong reaction to have. Never mind that it is upsettingly self-congratulatory, in the wake of 50 people's deaths — it is attitudes like his that contribute to pervasive and incredibly dangerous anti-Islamic sentiments in the U.S., and make this country an unsafe place for Muslims to live. While Trump was drafting this incredibly offensive tweet, the Muslim community swiftly condemned these attacks on Twitter, standing in solidarity with the LGBT community and encouraging people to donate blood to help the victims. We already live in a country were anti-Islamic attitudes exist, a country where American Muslims feel obligated to condemn attacks such as these when they had nothing to do with them; with high profile politicians like Trump pointing fingers in the wrong direction, he has only served to worsen these attitudes.
People have taken to Twitter to express their outrage at his tweet:
While there are many ways we can help prevent these kinds of attacks from happening — namely, tighter gun control restrictions in the U.S. — Trump's tweet will only serve to damage this nation even further than these attacks already have.