Angel Santiago Jr. is sitting upright in a hospital bed, his head against a white pillow. Three days ago he was lying in a dirty puddle of blood next to a friend in an Orlando nightclub. A club whose name actually promises life, not death: “Pulse”. “I was bleeding, Jeff was bleeding profusely. The blood had to be from him. I saw the gunshot wound in his chest, he was sweating and looked like he was in great pain. But everyone tried to stay as quiet as possible. Nobody wanted the assassin to come back, ”he says.
Angel Santiago was there when Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 in a gay and lesbian club last Sunday before he was shot by special forces. The act is considered to be the bloodiest single perpetrator massacre in US history.
With the act of Omar Mateen, three of the most contentious issues in US society now collide: terrorism, homosexual rights and gun laws. Semi-automatic rifles like the one Omar Mateen used can be bought by US citizens as sporting weapons.
Two days after the crime, Jeff Prystajko is standing in front of the Orange County Administration Building, where the city council around Mayor Teresa Jacobs will meet in 40 minutes. Prystajko is a board member of “Come Out With Pride Orlando”, an organization that holds an annual Pride Parade and “advocates for the LGBTQ + community.” LGBTQ + stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer. The plus stands for all other forms of sexuality. “I have no idea why you should own an assault rifle. Except for one reason: If you want to kill someone, ”he says. Rainbow flags flutter everywhere. Candles and condolences are on display, people hug.
Prystajko, with a short haircut, shirt in his pants, a briefcase in his arms, begins to talk. From the community, how big but how small it is in Orlando. You know each other, you support each other. Now more than ever. The response from the rest of the population was overwhelming: “The Stonewall uprisings 40 years ago could not have cared less for the world,” he says. Back then, gays and lesbians took to the streets near the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York against discrimination and homophobia. Every year, Christopher Street Day commemorates this. “Today we see how the whole world …
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