Three U.S. Representatives from Central Florida have introduced a bill that would make the Pulse nightclub in Orlando a national monument, just like the Grand Canyon, George Washington’s Birthplace and the Mill Springs Battlefield
Well, maybe “just like” is the wrong term. If Pulse were to become a monument, it wouldn’t be to mark a cherished topographical anomaly or a destination for history buffs.
No, like other world-famous American landmarks such as Columbine, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Sandy Hook, Pulse was the location of a mass shooting, and this week marked the third anniversary (leather!).
The sponsors of the Pulse National Monument legislation, Darren Soto, Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy (unsurprisingly, all Democrats), want to “honor the 49 victims of the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in the history of the country.”
Well, okay. But it was also the second deadliest act of violence against any kind of people in the history of the country, unless you count events like 9/11 and the Civil War. But those already have monuments. And besides, we’re talking about single shooter deadly acts here.
First on the “deadly act of violence” hit parade is the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which was also the deadliest act of violence against country music fans in the history of the country. On the list below Pulse, we have the deadliest acts of violence against college students, against young children, against Christians, against McDonalds patrons, against high school students, against Batman fans, against civil servants, against Jews and so on.
The point being that, by focusing on the type of people being killed, the Florida Representatives are neglecting the type of weapon being used, and how all these monument-deserving atrocities were largely preventable.
Many of those deadliest acts have monuments in various stages of planning or fundraising and, really, they should get those memorials up sooner rather than later, because more monument sites are being created all the time and I’d hate to see the legislators have to play catch-up. (Get going, Virginia Beach!)
I’m sure that, in the near future, you’ll be able to take a Deadliest Act Monument bus tour to visit some of the sites:
Day Three, Austin TX: Visit the memorial to the mass shooting at the University of Texas in 1966, recognized by deadly act experts as the first modern-day mass shooting in America. Sixteen were killed and at least 30 wounded by Charles Whitman, who was shooting from a tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day, but they have not been commemorated here. After viewing the sacred site, spend the afternoon at leisure, browsing Austin’s hip shopping district.
In my opinion, all of America’s deadly act memorials should look like a barn door. Because the horse has surely bolted–over and over again– and we still haven’t closed that door.
Sure, go ahead and propose a National Monument in Congress, as opposed to legislation to, oh, I don’t know, maybe impose gun restrictions?
“The memorial,” said Rep. Soto, “will serve as a reminder of the remarkable way our community came together to heal and overcome hate.”
I don’t know how to tell you this, Congressman, but I don’t think hate has been overcome, as commemorated by all the mass shootings against various groups that have happened in the three years since the one at Pulse.
What the Pulse monument–and all the other deadly act monuments across America are reminders of–is that we have allowed an awful lot of people to get killed without doing anything about it.
See you soon.
P.S. The photos in this post (except the one of the University of Texas memorial) are to demonstrate that, if you are going to build monuments, don’t give us rocks with names engraved on them. Instead, put a protective dome over the makeshift memorials that sprout up in the immediate aftermath of these things–the only way to truly remember how the community–whichever community got murdered that day–came together.