Warning: Some people will find this footage disturbing.
I know most of us just want to cover our eyes and our ears and pretend we don't live in a country where the caliber of violence witnessed in Orlando is possible.
But we do live in that country, and we have to face it.
These shootings are real, whether we like it or not, and we can't just wait for the shock to pass this time. We can't just wait for our politicians to start yelling at each other in voices loud enough for everyone to hear and change the conversation. We can't just let this stop being real again.
The footage you're about to see is heartbreaking. It terrified me.
In it, we see Amanda Alvear, 25, sharing Snapchat videos of herself and friends at Pulse nightclub. In the last clip uploaded, however, gunshots suddenly echo out in rapid, brutal succession. She turns to look as the video cuts out.
There is nothing more disgusting than the sound of gunfire in a place of safety.
Watch it if you want, don't if it's too difficult. But please, let us, for once, figuratively or literally just stop looking away. Let us, for once, stop abandoning the victims of gun violence to our unwillingness to see the ugliness of this country and to our unwillingness to actually do anything more difficult than pray for the ugliness to go away.
Hate crimes are, by definition, acts of terror, and we have been growing terrorists of this ilk for centuries.
This is not an Islamic problem. This is an American problem. Please, don't give in to that distraction, no matter how painful this is or how seductive it feels to simply blame it on outside influences.
The truth is, this country has taught many of us to hate and despise the LGBTQ+ community. This country sanctioned the withholding of their rights. This country has, whether we like it or not, brainwashed many of our men to violently attack that community, and this country has seen fit to arm those men with AR-15s.
Today, Amanda Alvear was confirmed as one of those killed in the attack.
Citations: Daily Mail