It’s been over a month since the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. A shooting that took the lives of 49 people becoming the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States. That night we lost friends, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. It’s a night that has changed many of us forever.
Since that night I have paid two visits to Pulse to pay respects for those lost including three of my friends. What was once a place for fun, dancing and togetherness has become a place of mourning.
Pulse Nightclub has become an Orlando destination. It’s become a place people want to visit, to come together. To pay respects.
To many this is what Pulse has become. To others, it’s become an “I was there” destination.
This past Tuesday, the Orlando Sentinel posted an article discussing the rise in visitors to Pulse Nightclub, discussing it becoming a “Tragedy Tourist Destination”. This all makes sense to me. We saw this in Boston at the finish line following the bombings. It happens still at the World Trade Center in New York City.
This all makes sense to me.
The picture the Sentinel decided to publish alongside this article makes no sense to me. Here it is:
I don’t know what troubles me more. This moment. This moment being captured. Or this moment being published as a featured image.
I searched it. There is a rising trend and, as a result, a rising argument about snapping a selfie at a “serious” location.
A seflie in and of itself is a “look at me” cry for attention. The subject is the center of attention and always usually smiling and cheerful. It’s almost always an attempt to show your best self.
In this sense, a selfie at Pulse is wildly inappropriate. Pulse isn’t about you. Pulse isn’t a subject to be shared haphazardly. A visit to Pulse right now is about remembering the dead, supporting the wounded and reflecting on the evil that was perpetrated there.
This is what I wish people would take some time to think about. It’s not about the latest hashtag or running out to buy a shirt, bracelet, necklace. It’s not about being able to say “I was there!”
This is a tragedy that has affected so many of us in ways that can’t be fully described.
This isn’t just a trending topic, this is real life.