Heroes Emerge Out of Orlando Tragedy

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – In the wee hours of the morning of June 12, a tragedy occurred in Orlando, Florida. A shooter entered a nightclub and gunned down over 50 victims. Almost immediately, social media sites exploded with arguments about gun control and anti-Muslim sentiments as some chose to use the tragedy to promote their own agendas. More quietly and even more quickly, however, heroes and helpers began to emerge. Stories are even now unfolding of those who risked their own lives to help others, as in the case of Joshua McGill, who escaped the scene and found a gunshot victim just outside. McGill used his own shirt and that of the victim to treat wounds until they could be transported via cop car to the hospital. “I felt God put me at the club and made me stay behind to help a complete stranger. For whatever reason that may be…hopefully to save his life,” McGill commented on his personal Facebook page.

Other heroes emerged en masse to answer a call by the local hospital for blood donations. The line wrapped clear down the block and around the corner as people chose to help in this small but profound way. Heather Anne Naples, one of the donors, posted a photo of the line and commented, “In the wake of a horrible, hate filled tragedy this line represents nothing but love.” Local community members arrived to provide snacks and drinks for the donors as they waited in line.

Heather Anne Naples

Fox News tweeted images of a vigil at Orlando’s Lake Eola, where people gathered to honor the victims and provide love and support for one another in the wake of this tragic incident. Other vigils took place in Orlando, as well as around the world.

An outpouring of love and support continues from around the world as people from Paris to Australia show their support and send their love and prayers to the people of Orlando, the victims, and their families using the hashtags #Orlando and #OrlandoUnited.

Perhaps one of the most striking and least publicized outpourings of support was from the Muslim community at large. Dozens and even hundreds of Muslims expressed their outrage against the act and sympathy and support for the victims and their families.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations issued this statement: “We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

” The Orlando Police force has also received assistance and support from a variety of sources. Orlando Police Chief John Mina expressed his gratitude in a letter posted to the Orlando Police Department Facebook page: “We’ve received an enormous amount of tactical Law Enforcement support from local, state and Federal agencies. The outpouring we have received from our Central Florida community and Law Enforcement across the nation and the world has overwhelmed me with gratitude. I know that you have all been affected today by the tragic actions of a lone terrorist who cut short the lives of so many. Our community, our City, and our Department will be grieving in the days, weeks and months to come.

But on a day like today – and every day – I couldn’t be more proud to be your Chief. Please hug your families tonight. And be safe out there.”

Header photo – Orlando nightclub massacre – Fox News Photo

About Micki Ericksen

Micki Ericksen is a Southern Utah native and has lived in Enterprise for three years. She earned her Bachelors degree in English Education from Dixie State University and now teaches high school English at Enterprise High. She has published works in various newspapers and magazines locally and nationally. Micki has always enjoyed writing and worked as an editor for Dixie State's newspaper, The Dixie Sun, as well as editor and Creative Director for Dixie State's literary magazine, The Southern Quill.
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