As of Monday, itís been a year since the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. It is the worst mass shooting in American history, with 50 dead and more than 50 injured.
Itís no secret that we have a problem with madmen having access to guns in our country, but this column isnít about that. This column is dedicated to those 50 lives we lost last year.
When a mass shooting happens, it seems we go through the same process. The story is splashed all over the news. Somebody says it happened because of guns. Somebody says it would have happened with any other weapon. Most people say we should remember the victims, but months pass by and another mass shooting happens and we forget.
I donít want to forget about this shooting or any other act of senseless violence that has happened in America. The people who died at Pulse were sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. They had significant others and friends who can never forget what happened in that nightclub, because it happened to somebody they loved.
We shouldnít forget, either. I donít know about you, but I donít want to start caring about the lives lost to gun violence when it directly affects me. I want to be compassionate and caring toward those I have never met Ö and, in this case, the loved ones they left behind. Mass shootings happen far too regularly in our country. If we donít remember the lives lost, weíll never be able to grasp the severity of these kinds of tragedies.
We can start by remembering their names: Stanley Almodovar III, Amanda Alvear, Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, Martin Benitez Torres, Antonio D. Brown, Darryl R. Burt II, Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, Juan Chevez-Martinez, Luis D. Conde, Cory J. Connell, Tevin E. Crosby, Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, Deonka D. Drayton, Mercedez M. Flores, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Juan R. Guerrero, Paul T. Henry, Frank Hernandez, Miguel A. Honorato, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jason B. Josaphat, Eddie J. Justice, Anthony L. Laureano Disla, Christopher A. Leinonen, Brenda L. Marquez McCool, Jean C. Mendez
Perez, Akyra Monet Murray, Kimberly Morris, Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Enrique L. Rios Jr., Juan P. Rivera Velasquez, Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, Christopher J. Sanfeliz, Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Shane E. Tomlinson, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Luis S. Vielma, Luis D. Wilson-Leon and Jerald A. Wright.
Thatís 50 lives Ö 50 people between 18 and 50. Some of them were so young they never got to vote in a general election. All of them had loved ones who cared about them and surely think of them daily.
Today, I hope you think about them, too. Remember those lives, and keep their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Life is so precious. We should never forget that.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.