After Orlando, I'll Always Be Looking Over My Shoulder
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Politics and Activism

After Orlando, I'll Always Be Looking Over My Shoulder

The feeling of safety: Is it there or has it gone?

After Orlando, I'll Always Be Looking Over My Shoulder

I have lived through the Sandy Hook shooting; the San Bernardino shooting; while I was only 3 years old, a shooting at a public school just 30 minutes from my hometown and many more mass shootings in the United States since 1995. Every time these shootings happened, I would watch the news report, sit and just imagine what those families are going through. I would get on Facebook, and my news feed would be blowing up with political rampage over gun control, how President Obama will not do anything about these mass shootings and how Obama wants to take away our guns. To be honest, I just ignored it all and went on about my life, just like I do about every other opinion or argument I see on Facebook.

As I woke up on the morning of June 12, 2016, scrolling through my Facebook news feed, all I could see were news reports of a mass shooting in Orlando. Further research on Google led me to find out that a man had opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, specifically an LGBT nightclub, killing 50 and injuring 53 innocent people.

As you would think, I would just scroll through Facebook and roll my eyes at all of the political rampage and irrelevant arguments that people were bringing up, but this mass shooting was different than all of the others. This mass shooting hit home. A lot of the news reports and Facebook posts were going back and forth asking the questions, "Was this a hate crime?" "Is this the rise of radical Islam?" Then I saw some people were talking about posts about how the people of this lifestyle deserved it, "It was the wrath of God," as these people would say. Whether or not you think this was a hate crime, the rise of radical Islam or the wrath of God, this was an attack on American people, our brothers and sisters, our homeland.

It has been a week since this tragedy has happened, and this event is still hanging around in the back of my mind. This shooting struck people I closely identify with; we are in the same community. Up until this point, I have never felt unsafe whenever I stepped foot outside of my house; I have never felt as if there is someone out there trying to attack me because of the "lifestyle" that I live. I think what is striking to me is that these people were in a place where they felt the safest. They were around people they could connect with and feel as if nothing in the world was wrong. While I am not the one to party and go to nightclubs on the regular, I just sit and think what if that could have been me or even my boyfriend? I can just imagine the anger and sadness my family would feel, how lost they would feel, the closure that my family would want that they wouldn't be able to get. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach that someone would do this to a group of people who were in a place where they felt the safest.

My boyfriend and I are not the type of couple to overdo PDA. We keep to ourselves and save that stuff for when we are alone. You probably would not even be able to tell that we are a couple if you saw us out in public. We are not the type to feel suppressed or feel like we cannot achieve anything that the next couple can achieve all because we live a "different lifestyle." However, I just wonder if we happened to hold hands in public if someone would want to hurt us, want to cause us harm, condemn us or preach hate to us. All of those things make me over-think to the point where it seems as if I am sometimes looking over my shoulder whenever I step foot outside of my front door.

Now I am, however, a strong defender of the Second Amendment. I live in the south where everyone and their mom has a gun locked away in their home. Everyone has a right to own a gun, and I just do not believe in gun control. However, I believe something needs to be done, whether it be taking on ISIS face-to-face or making it completely impossible for "questionable" people to buy a gun. I want something to be done, not just for the safety of the LGBT community, but for every American citizen. I not only want myself to feel safe whenever I step foot out of my front door or step foot into a nightclub, library, etc., but I also want everyone who is driving with me on the highway, everyone I pass walking down the street, everyone who comes into the restaurant I work at — I want them to be safe as well.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and individuals who are involved in this tragedy, and I hope America can come to its senses and put a stop to all of this.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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