On Saturday night, Omar Mateen, a US-born citizen of Afghan origin shot dead 50 people and injured 53 more at a gay nightclub in Orlando before he himself fell to a hail of bullets from SWAT shooters. The tragedy has renewed debates about the rising specter of Islamism in the US and the role of jihadi groups like the ISIS in flaming it.
But while the nation grapples with radical Islam and thinks up ways to protect its people from lone wolf attackers like Omar Mateen, we forget that we also have to discuss the pain and anguish of the relatives and friends of the victims. Throughout the US, citizen groups are holding candle light marches and vigils to commemorate the victims of the recent attack. This is also happening in far away San Antonio.
Hundreds gather at Crockett park to show unity with the victims of Saturday's tragedy
Hundreds of the city's residents gathered at downtown's Crockett park to pay their respects to the victims of Saturday's night shooting incident. The meeting was organized by Equality Texas, which supports the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer and transgender people.
Omar Mateen, the gunman, worked as a security guard at a correctional facility for delinquent children in Orlando. He had friends in the police force and wanted to be a policeman. His ex-wife, Sitora Yusifiy, said that Omar Mateen was a religious man but did not show any signs of radicalization during the time she was with him. But she did say that Omar had mental disorders and also used steroids.
The Orlando shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in the US. Many elected officials from San Antonio were present at the meeting in Crockett park. Julian Castro, former mayor of the city and current Secretary of Housing and urban Development was also present
Former mayor says the US must take steps to prevent such incidents from occurring again
He said that these incidents were happening too often and it was time to do something about it. He said he was at the meeting to lend his support to the LGBT community during this dark period. He also said, it was wonderful to see that so many people had come to the meeting though they may have their differences.
Equality Texas, Vice Chairman, Julian Tovar later read some names of the victims from the shooting. As he read the names, many people bowed their heads. Others raised their candles. Many held up their signs and posters. After the end of the vigil, the people who had gathered at the park, convened and walked down the street, holding another rally.