In light of the tragic events of last week in Orlando, with the massacre at Pulse Night Club, where most of the victims were Latino and LGBT community, this week I want to give up my blog space to my colleague who was touched by that dreadful massacre, Dakar Lanzino:
“The massacre at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, despite having made history as the largest loss of life with a firearms, sadly is nothing new in this country. This act of terror at the hands of a Muslim-American, has relaunched the great debate about firearms, how to fight terrorism, while at the same time, honoring the sacrosanct values of this country: freedom of religion, inclusion, and diversity. However, as someone who lived and grew up in Orlando, as a Latino and a member of the LGBT community, nothing takes away the deep pain that these events of last Sunday have caused.
It is no secret that the aversion against gays is held in many public forums, including churches of all religions and denominations. For these reasons, it is very difficult to find places where, as gay people, we feel comfortable without having to defend ourselves every minute. This club was one of two establishments in the city of Orlando where we could go, enjoy and relax, as many do, and party with our partners, friends and allies.
That night, 49 people, including two friends of mine were killed and massacred by a person who does not deserve to be mentioned. 49 people with brothers and sisters, parents, friends, sons and daughters.
Another 53 people ended up injured, with several bullets in their bodies, wounds that will heal but physical and psychological scars which will live forever. 200 others are afraid to sleep because when they close their eyes all they hear are gun shots, and the cries of their friends being massacred in a place where they were supposed to feel safe.
This type of massacre is nothing new. We saw the same thing in Aurora, Colorado, and at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and most recently in Oregon. On all these occasions, and now in Orlando -the deadliest massacre in the history of this country – the same weapon was used to kill innocent people, a high capacity assault rifle AR -15. A weapon that can be purchased by anyone without a significant verification systems or back ground check to see if that person is capable of possessing such a deadly weapon.
Sometimes it seems that in the United States the right to bear arms trumps the right to life. We know it is a right given to us by the Constitution, but this right should not be more important than the right of my friends and the other victims to a safe and healthy life.
With their conspiracy theories, those who lobby for more gun have instilled fear in the hearts of people, in order to sell more weapons. They have been so indoctrinated that these people have lost common sense when it comes to laws that can save lives.
We do not need weapons that fire 45 rounds per minute to hunt or defend ourselves. Inaction by our government in the face of the gun crisis in this country is negligent. We can do better and while Orlando recovers, the fight to save lives has just begun.”
You can find the original article on The Washington Hispanic