Monday evening I attended, at Dupont Circle in Washington DC, the Candlelight Service for Victims of the Pulse Orlando terror attack on 2016/07/12, one year to the date of the attack, which had started at 2.02 AM EDT.
The event was in part sponsored by the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, whose link is here.
A male speaker for the fund said he had served in the Army in Iraq and made the argument that military weapons have no place in civilian hands. The speaker also noted that the event at Pulse that night had been intended as a Latino party.
Later Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke.
A family member of one of the victims spoke, and she rebutted the argument that had patrons of the bar been armed, they could have defended themselves. Of course, this might not work against military weapons and no business owner (of a bar or movie theater) wants to allow weapons on the premises. But she said that the idea that you think you need to carry a weapon is an admission of fear, an existential statement that you are on your own, and that you live in a precarious, unstable society based on the use of force. That idea can be a predecessor of fascism.
The Washington DC Gay Men’s Chorus sung twice.
There was a reading of the victims’ names, 49 deaths, with a bell ring for each one. I do not normally name victims in my own blog postings or videos unless I have a separate personal connection to the person. This has to do with my own personal values; I don’t want to “sell” victimization.
There was also mention of the medical expenses of some of the injured. Florida does have a crime victims’ compensation fund which as covered a lot of this. I had said before that civilians injured by military weapons should have access to US military surgeons and rehab if medically necessary. Does that let the rest of us off the hook?
Speakers did try to encourage people to join the Pride Fund. There was also mention of some specific partisan political races and their behavior with regard to the NRA. While I am happy to link to organizations online, I generally don't film or report or urge detailed fundraising myself, especially for partisan political purposes, in my own reporting.
There is more video that I took at this Wordpress location.
The Pulse property will become a museum and memorial, here. It is not clear if the club will reopen at a different location as a disco.
I had visited the club on July 12, 2015, eleven months before, leaving around 2 AM, so this could have happened to me (I was on a visit to Orlando to visit Disney and Universal). A good friend had been there just two weeks before the attack. It can happen to anyone.