Friday, June 10th I was at work, chatting with a co-worker about the local music scene here in Orlando, and recommended The Plaza Live venue on Bumby and Colonial. I’ve been to the venue a couple of times – not a lot – and had a good time. It’s one of those venues where not-super-famous acts go and that’s super intimate.
Later that night a gunman walked into The Plaza and shot, and killed, singer Christina Grimmie.
Saturday morning, waking up to that news, I couldn’t believe it happened in Orlando. But for some reason I was able to rationalize it as a one-off incident… a crazed fan… something that could have happened at her previous show or the next one… not something that would typically happen in Orlando and not something likely to happen again in Orlando.
Saturday night I randomly ended up in Lake Nona with my bestie Tracy for dinner and a girl’s night out. We talked about the shooting and how nuts it was – I mentioned how my stepmom goes everywhere with a gun strapped to her ankle and this happening in Orlando would only justify that behavior.
When we realized our tickets for The Orlando Improv were no-good for a Saturday, we decided to go to the gay bar instead. I rattled off the names of the gay bars in Orlando – Parliment House, Savoy, Pulse, Southern Nights is open again and Vince’s hair dresser works the door there.
We decided on P-House because it’s near Fairvilla and, hey it was girl’s night so a fancy dinner, the toy store, and a gay bar sounded just about perfect.
Let’s face it – there is no safer, more welcoming, more comfortable and fun place in the world for a straight woman than a gay bar.
But not last night… last night Pulse was the scene or terrorism. The deadliest mass shooting in US History and the deadliest act of terrorism since 9/11.
Thankfully us girls spent too long at Fairvilla and decided to pass on hitting P-House or any other gay bar downtown. But I was only one decision – one silly, random, fun, in-the-moment decision – away from being at Pulse.
I can’t understand how this is still possible in America. I know this will get real political, real quick. I know people will say that if someone in the bar had been armed, they could have shot the gunman and saved all those lives.
Florida’s Concealed Carry Weapons Permit (CCW) specifically restricts you from carrying a gun into any – ANY – venue that serves alcohol. So even the theoretically armed, law abiding citizen would have been unarmed in the most perfect scenario.
I DO have / own guns. My husband DOES have a CCW. I carry a 2 million watt tazer with me when I go out.
And there’s NO way I could have protected myself or anyone had I made a different decision and ended up at Pulse last night. Or had I been at The Plaza the night before.
What will it take, America? What can we do? How can we fix this? How can we prevent JUST ONE of these mass shootings?
Two nights, back to back, in my little-big-city. And I was one decision away from being there…. terrorism has officially come to Orlando.
Now what do we do?