50 People Killed in Mass Shooting at Orlando Nightclub This Morning

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police-lineEarly this morning an armed gunman opened fire at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, killing at least 50 people and injuring 53 more before being killed by police. It’s the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, and police are calling it an act of domestic terror.

According to NBC News, the alleged shooter was a 29-year-old from outside Orlando, who has been identified but who will not be named here. If he wanted fame or infamy for this, I’m not going to participate in giving it to him. His name isn’t important. Fuck his name.

Police say the shooter had active licenses for his guns. The shooter’s parents say they are stunned and horrified by the attack, and his father said that his son’s horrible actions had “nothing to do with religion.” He did tell the police that his son had become very angry a few months ago at the sight of two men kissing. Pulse is a gay nightclub and it’s currently the middle of Pride in Orlando. It does not take any stretch of the imagination to see this as a violent terrorist attack targeting the gay community.

This attack is horrifying and heartbreaking. It was meant to instill terror, and it has done so. Like the shooting at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs earlier this year, this was an ideologically motivated act of terror. It probably will not be the last.

A young man named Eddie was at Pulse last night. Reporters found his mother, Mina Justice, outside the club looking for him. She said Eddie had texted her from inside the club to tell her there was a shooter and to call the police.

Mina Justice told reporters that Eddie had run into a bathroom with some of the other patrons in an attempt to hide from the shooter, but he later texted her that the gunman had come into the room.

There are screenshots of their texts on The Daily Mail, and they will break your heart.

“I love you mommy,” he wrote first. Then he told her there was a shooter at the club.

Mina Justice texted back to ask if he was OK, and he said he was trapped in the bathroom and to call the police.

“Call them mommy,” he wrote. “Now.”

“The next text said: ‘He has us, and he’s in here with us,'” Mina Justice said to reporters on the scene. “That was the last conversation.”

That poor woman. It’s a tragedy that we live in a world in which our friends and family and children can be killed in a shower of violence just for going out dancing or going to school or doing any one of a million other innocuous things that we should be able to do without fear.

A homophobic man with access to assault rifles just murdered 50 people. I don’t know what we can do to stop this from happening again, but I do know that if I see one more politician Tweet out some useless pablum about “thoughts and prayers” I’m going to scream.

There is one thing that can be done immediately, though. At least 53 people were injured in the attack, and One Blood has put out an urgent call for blood donations, especially for people with type 0 negative, 0 positive, and AB blood.

If you decide to give blood, you might be in for a bit of a wait, because lines to do so are wrapping around the block in some locations. Thousands of people are coming out to try to help however they can. In the words of the great Fred Rogers, look for them: