We still don’t know a whole lot about the early morning shootings at Orlando’s Pulse, a popular LGBT nightclub, except that at least 50 people were killed and about as many injured. There was apparently a single shooter–police killed him after a prolonged stand-off. Though the FBI interviewed the alleged shooter in 2013 and 2014 on alleged terrorist ties, he was able to purchase the two guns he used in the Pulse attack legally, the ATF has said.
Attacks on LGBT individuals are neither new nor rare. As this detailed Wikipedia list makes clear, they happen often, and can be quite bloody.
Here in Hawaii, LGBT officials reacted to the attack with sadness and defiance.
“We stand united with our LGBT ‘ohana members and their family and friends in Orlando that are the victims and survivors of this horrific hate crime,” said Michael Golojuch, Jr., the chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s LGBT caucus. “We will not let this hate crime stop us from living our lives as out and proud members of society. These acts of violence seek to silence us, but they will not deter us from fighting for justice and equality for the LGBTQ community, for immigrants, for women, for the poor or any other minority–for we are not equal until all are equal.”
These attacks are terrifying–hence, “terrorism.” The urge to call for greater “security” is powerful, as this statement from LGBT Hawaii‘s co-founder Scott Foster makes clear:
“With LGBT Pride events now taking place around the world, this is a heartbreaking day for us, the LGBT community in Hawaii and worldwide. We call on LGBTs everywhere to once again stand together to help fight this latest evil and to urge authorities worldwide to implement appropriate security measures.”
Seeking to reassure the state as a whole, Hawaii Gov. David Ige specifically rejected letting “fear and hostility” guide our response to the attacks:
“We see on the news today yet another horrific instance of man’s inhumanity to man, triggered by the fear of differences. Let us reject fear and hostility. Let us embrace diversity. Let us affirm life.
“Hawaii has some of the toughest laws regulating gun ownership in the nation. This presumed act of terror is a reminder that we cannot become complacent. We must do all that we can to ensure the public’s safety.”
The Governor’s office said the U.S. and state flags will be flown at half-staff at all state offices through June 16. Though there are a few candlelight vigils scheduled for Honolulu tonight,
we’ve not heard of any as yet for Maui County. there will be one in Kihei on the night of Monday, June 13, according to Paul Tonnessen, the president of Maui Pride. All who wish to hold a vigil are inviting to the beach fronting the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort (551 S. Kihei Rd.) at 5:30PM tonight.
“We will be holding a vigil to remember all the beautiful lives lost in Orlando and stand in solidarity with our community,” Tonnessen said in a June 13 email.
Maui Pride VP Chuck Spence elaborated on the event, which at press time is still evolving.
“So far the plans are for Kaniela Ing and other govt officials to speak,” he said in a June 13 email. “Deborah Vial (of Deborah Vial Band) will sing Amazing Grace and lead the community in song. We will have spiritual leaders leading us in prayer and moments of silence for the victims of Orlando. A timeline of events will be coming out later today.”
Hotel parking is limited, so please carpool and park along South Kihei Road.
Photo: Ludovic Berton/Wikimedia Commons