Pulse nightclub survivor ‘lost’ in Texas elementary school massacre

ORLANDO, Fla. — A survivor of Wednesday’s Pulse nightclub massacre said he was “lost” by the Texas elementary school massacre that left 21 people dead.

“Twenty-one people have been murdered,” Equality Florida publicist Brandon Wolf said in a statement he sent to The Washington Blade a day after a gunman killed 21 people at the interior of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. “Nineteen of them were children – babies. That means 19 families sent their primary-age children to school only to receive the worst news: that their babies would be leaving class in body bags.

Wolf was inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, when a gunman opened fire and killed 49 people. Her two close friends – Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and her fiancé, Juan Guerrero – were among those killed.

Wolf in his statement noted that “right-wing politicians have spent the last year insisting that the greatest threats our children face is the potential that they will learn that this nation was built on the backs of the enslaved blacks or their teacher uses them/them pronouns.”

“They banned books, censored programs and bastardized history lessons,” Wolf said. “All this time they haven’t lifted a finger to protect children from what’s killing them.”

Equality Florida echoed Wolf’s sentiments.

“I am heartbroken for broken families,” added Wolf. “Grieving for these stolen lives. And enraged at the power-hungry leaders who have repeatedly chosen to sacrifice this country’s most vulnerable in exchange for a boost on the scale of their own ambitions.

Axel Rodríguez’s friend Xavier Serrano Rosado died inside the Pulse nightclub.

Rodríguez told The Blade that Tuesday was “such a dad’s day for us here” in Orlando.

“It’s like going through the same emotions we felt during the Pulse attack, but it’s even worse because we’re talking about kids,” he said. “When will our government stop thinking about money and stop this madness? Anyone can now get a gun anywhere. I just can’t understand this at all.

The Pulse nightclub massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history until a gunman on October 1, 2017 killed 60 people at a concert in Las Vegas .

On February 14, 2018, a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Twenty children and six adults died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. 2012.

The Robb Elementary School massacre took place less than three years after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

“There are no words,” tweeted the Pride Center San Antonio, which is about 90 minutes east of Robb Elementary School, on Wednesday.

“Our hearts are with the Uvalde community,” Equality Texas said Tuesday. “Every child deserves to be safe and free at school.”

Jerry C. Greiner