Victims of Orlando Shooting No Strangers to Violence

OrlandoUnited_FountainThe motives for the deadliest shooting in US history have yet to be fully uncovered.  With 50 dead and 53 wounded according to current estimates, the gruesome attack that took place at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning blurred the lines between hate crime and terrorism.

The ongoing investigation has so far revealed that suspected shooter Omar Mateen had a history of domestic violence, homophobic speech, and connections to suspected terrorists.  As of this morning however, investigators also announced that Mateen had frequented the nightclub for several years and even contacted some of its patrons on a gay dating app.

Regardless of why Mateen chose to end the lives of so many innocent and overwhelmingly young men and women, his actions will have profound and long-lasting affects on three distinct minority groups: the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, Hispanic Americans, and American Muslims.

Pulse Nightclub catered primarily to members of the LGBT community, a minority that has long been the target of violence and hate crimes.  “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2015”, a report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, provides context and statistical information on crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the hours leading up to the shooting, Pulse hosted a Latin-themed night.  So far, the names of victims that have been released to the public are predominantly Hispanic, placing the attack within a wider trend of violence against the largest ethnic minority in the US.  “Understanding Trends in Hate Crimes Against Immigrants and Hispanic-Americans” examines the relationship between anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-Hispanic violence and analyzes the frequency of hate crimes over time.

Finally, in the wake of attacks linked to radical Islamism, American Muslims often experience backlash. “We Fear for our Lives: Offline and Online Experiences of Anti-Muslim Hostility” details and analyzes the experiences of Muslims that have experienced verbal and physical hostility.

Communities across the US and around the world have shown solidarity with the victims and their families by donating blood, contributing funds to offset funeral and medical costs, and attending vigils.  As the nation continues to mourn this tragic loss, the resounding message is that this attack was neither pro-Islam nor anti-gay or anti-Latino; it was simply anti-American.

Note: you may need to login to the HSDL to view some resources mentioned in the blog.

Need help finding something?  Ask our librarians for assistance!

Scroll to Top