These victims all have a story to be told, they were all people, human beings, some with future plans, others with optimistic outlooks on lives, most lived it large and all were loved by family and friends. These people were honest, caring individuals who had much more to give to the world.
From just a young 18-year-old, right up to a 50-year-old, these victims did not deserve to die. The youngest was Akyra Monet Murray, who was on a family vacation celebrating her graduation. She had just been offered a full basketball scholarship. Amanda Alvear, 25, was a nursing student, had lost 180Ib and was a fashionista, best friend to Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26, a Target employee who wanted to become a party planner. Miguel Angel Honorato, 30, was a father of three and also had seven siblings, he managed four restaurants and a catering business. Paul Terrell Henry, 41, was a father of two, and loved to dance and sing and play the piano. Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33, was a singer, and had just performed on stage as lead vocalist for the band Frequency at the Blue Martini Club, before attending Pulse.
Couples were killed too, these included: Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and Juan Ramon Guerrero, 32 & 22 respectively, they had been dating for two years and were planning on getting married soon; instead they will be buried together. Partners for six years, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35, and Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, found love at the perfume store where the former worked; as for the latter, he moved from Puerto Rico in 2004, barely spoke English but learnt within six months, he was quickly promoted to manager of a shoe store. McDonald’s manager Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31, and his partner Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26, leave behind three Chihuahuas, they had just got back from Niagara Falls. Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25, had recently been dating dancer Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35, who left behind a young son.
Many more victims also didn’t survive, these included: Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49, who had raised 12 children and fought cancer twice and won twice. Captain Antonio Davon Brown, 29, had served in the Army Reserve and had been deployed to Kuwait for just under a year. The oldest victim was Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50, who was a visual merchandiser for Forever 21. So many more victims, all with their own personal backstory, each of which should be known by the world.
These people were just enjoying their night out, unwinding, celebrating, having a bit of fun and letting it all go. Gay nightclubs are a place within the heart of the LGBT community, a place where people can have a good night and be themselves, with rarely any judgements or discrimination. On that Saturday night, Pulse nightclub was anything but that, with people fearing for their lives.
The LGBT community and the world as a whole, have come out in full force proving that love is stronger than hate, and that many people are standing up for what is right and are in support of the LGBT community, the people of Orlando and especially the family and friends who have lost their loved ones.
Vigils have taken place globally in respect for the victims, proving that we all stand together, side by side, and that an attack this major affects us all, no matter what our sexual orientation is.
The killer has been announced as Omar Mateen, 29, born and raised in America, he was killed during a shootout with police. As to why he did this, there are many speculations, but whether we will get a concrete answer is debatable. He had pledged alliance with jihadist group ISIL, as well as the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian al-Qaeda branch. Witnesses have also suggested that Omar Mateen was a regular at Pulse, with some of them mentioning that he used gay dating apps.
The attack is officially the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the United States history. The deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in the United States history. The largest targeted mass killing on the LGBT community in the western world since the Holocaust. And the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 11 September 2001.
The world is still in shock from this devastating occurrence. But together we stand, in support of the victims. Love is stronger than hate.
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