Now one of the owners of the nightclub is leading an effort to develop a memorial and a museum. The memorial is promised to be a “sanctuary of hope” honoring the lives lost, the other victims, families of victims, survivors, first responders, and involved health care professionals. The museum’s goal is to educate and inspire, to “start conversations that will change mindsets.”
Who could argue against such noble goals? Certainly not I. Nevertheless, the project has its detractors, some saying a museum where items are sold is inappropriate.
I have reservations also, but they arise from a different point of view. Over the period of a couple of weeks my local newspaper included the following headlines:
- 23-year-old man killed in Mercy Drive shooting
- Woman injured in shooting in Winter Park neighborhood
- Man injured in shooting after argument at west Orlando pool hall
- 2 people, suspect injured after shooting outside west Orlando home
- 1 dead, another detained in east Orange domestic shooting
At this rate, spread over a year, the local shootings would mount to well over 100. The actual figures are more dire. Statistics report at least 358 people were shot and killed in Orlando during a five-year period stretching from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018. Another 687 were injured. That’s a 209 average per year!
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, the heartache and trauma and long-term problems associated with each of these undoubtedly are as severe as for the victims of mass shootings. But we’re immune to the daily reports where “only” one or two are victims. We read the headlines and move on to the sports section. It takes the murder of a dozen or more to catch our interest these days and ignite the concern for survivors, to initiate fund raising and counseling efforts, to recognize the heartbreak, to start to talk about a memorial.
It got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the memorial honored all victims of gun violence? In a way that emphasizes the threat to civilization of our unchecked love affair with guns. Sort of like the Ann Frank house in Amsterdam deals with the horrors of all victims of Nazi extremism and prejudice in any form.
This may well be a part of the goal of the proposed memorial, but what I’ve read shows the main concentration is on the victims of the tragic Pulse shooting. And if that’s what is created, so be it and I will honor it with the respect it deserves.
Suppose, though, that the roughly $45 million expected cost is indeed employed to create a memorial honoring all who have died or been injured by guns. Wouldn’t that be an even greater legacy of those who died or were injured at Pulse?