When you think of the City of Orlando there are several things that come to mind: Disney World, Universal Studios, theme parks,the Magic, House of Blues, and more. A Florida city highly driven by tourism, Orlando is a city where people can come to enjoy everything from familial entertainment to a night out on the town. Unfortunately, those ideas have drastically changed over the past two days.
In just one weekend, Orlando has been a trending topic regarding tragedy with two high profile gun-related situations. On Friday June 10, 2016, singer Christina Grimmie was shot while signing autographs after her concert at the Plaza Live in Orlando. Her killer was identified as a St. Petersburg man by the name of Kevin James Loibl. There is still no understanding of any type of connection between Loibl and Grimmie, but what we do know is that this man entered an area with a loaded gun, and began to fire as soon as he had visual contact with Grimmie. Loibl then shot himself and took his own life after being tackled by Grimmie’s brother, Marcus. Christina Grimmie was immediately transported to the hospital where she died. It was later discovered that the shooter, Loibl, had two handguns and a knife in his possession, yet it is still unclear as to how he was able to pass security with his weapons
The weekend had not come to a close before tragedy struck the City of Orlando again. This time on a larger scale. Early this morning, a man who was identified as Omar S. Mateen, entered the gay night-club, Pulse, and opened fire on everyone inside of the club. Mateen’s actions resulted in dozens of injured victims and ultimately 50 were killed, dubbing this the most devastating mass shooting in U.S. History. That’s right, the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. The description of the crime scene given by police is beyond disturbing. Dozens of dead bodies slowly being identified fill the nightclub floors, with cell phones ringing with loved ones on the other end desperate to see if they are dead or alive.
Although both incidents in Orlando this weekend may have occurred for different reasons, there is one thing in common – gun violence. Government officials are quick to assume that the white man shooter has mental health issues, and that a Muslim man must have ties to Islamic radicalism. They are quick to blind the public by drowning them in xenophobic accusations, above anything else. Both are acts of terror, both are acts of gun violence.
President Barack Obama addressed the nation today regarding the Orlando shooting, making this his 18th address related to gun-violence and mass shootings during his two terms as President. He, along with government officials and presidential candidates, have released statements labeling this as an act of terrorism. It is time to address the issue for what it really is. There is an epidemic in gun related violence. Guns are getting into the hands of the wrong people, regardless of race OR religion. No war fought with more hate will ever be won.