A few days ago a man named Omar Mateen walked into a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured almost twice that number. Omar Mateen was a murderer and an AR-15 rifle was his accomplice. Since the incident, numerous people have moved to politicise Mateen’s attack to boost their support in polls; many on the left have once again called for the United States to adopt stricter gun laws, many on the right have taken Mateen’s religion as proof that “Muslims are the problem” and some even went so far as to suggest that Mateen’s actions were caused by his gender.

Here’s the thing though; no one seems to care that 49 people lost their lives at the hands of another. Almost as soon as news of the attack broke a line of politicians, pundits and columnists were ready to explain why it happened and what to do, but where was the acknowledgement of the people who died? Omar Mateen has become a name known worldwide, do you know the names of even two of the people killed in the massacre? I don’t. I just google’d it and almost every news article on the first three pages of results talks about Omar Mateen, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the NRA.

Omar Mateen was a vile human being, by all accounts he was a misogynist and potentially a sexually confused person. That doesn’t change the fact that 49 people’s lives were ended in absolute terror as a result of Mateen’s actions. It doesn’t change the fact that politicians elected to represent those 50 people would rather drop soundbites to help their standing in the polls than to actually offer a solution and it doesn’t change the fact that as a society we would rather pay attention to the horrible human being that committed this act than the victims. Even as you read this, I myself am guilty of not naming the victims, when I have named the man who committed this atrocity multiple times.

It is with my deepest sympathies as a human being that I dedicate this article to the memories and families of those killed in the attack on Pulse Nightclub on the 12th of June 2016. I did not know you, I will never know you and I will never be able to understand what you felt on that night, but I dedicate this piece to you, to know that your passing will not be silently used to bolster the political aspirations of others, that your deaths will not be ignored or excused by those responsible for allowing your killer to freely arm himself and that you will not be forgotten this day. May you rest in peace;
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old


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