Don’t Turn My Tragedy Into Your Trend


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:

Pictures: Tourists visit Pulse nightclub
(Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)


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, and long after you’re done posting your selfies and hashtagging for the cause- there are still people hurting, still people fighting. It doesn’t end just because the news stopped covering it. Remember that now, remember that tomorrow.

15 comments on “Don’t Turn My Tragedy Into Your Trend”

  1. I agree with you in that it’s a personal human tragedy that affects the lgbt community greatly. But we all mourn in different ways. I know that you find this inappropriate but not everyone thinks like you or feels the same as you. Yes some people may go there for selfish reasons but how about the reasons that mean so much more. Like honoring and paying homage to the dead. It brings a spotlight to the lgbt community and humanists us instead of marginalizing us. There is more good in this world than bad and I know that more people go there for good reasons rather than bad ones. Don’t let the darkness cover the light don’t let the hate push out the love. Much more love is given than hate. Please try to understand that.


  2. Some people use tragedy for their self worth, however immature they are, this is their way of saying hey look at me I am here where it all happened. This is so sad and at the same token it hasn’t stopped there, many more have lost their lives since this horrible tragedy. The people in this world have gone bonkers and have no remorse for lost of life or taking them. These senseless acts are signs of what this world is coming to. People wake up and take action.


  3. I can an agree that Pulse, or any other tragedy site, is not a place for selfies or the ‘I was there’ moment.

    But traveling to these places oit of respect and purchasing a shirt or using a hashtag is not wrong. It shows support, love and in a way says ‘we can not stand for this’.

    There will always be those who will flock to a place like Pulse for the morbid fascination, it is human nature to some. But don’t be so general about all things. Much good has come from campaigns launched from the Pulse tragedy.

    One in particular is the #hugsnothate campaign. It is simple, effective, has spread beyond Miami, and has helped many of the victims families find a bit of hope in this horrible event.


  4. This is spoken truth from the heart Josh! Makes me so sick to my stomach thinking people are so unthoughtful and self absorbed to think this is ok.


  5. I Totally Agree With You. This is where we go to mourn. Not a day goes by I don’t think about the ones that died and the survivors. It has forever put a scar on my heart. This was my brothers and sisters in there and furthermore it was an attack against Latinos and I am married to a Latino man that I love with all my heart. So to laugh while taking a selfie there is disrespectful. #LoveWinsOverHate


  6. I drove by about a week after the shooting to see people taking photos, not sure for selfies because you couldn’t really get to it. I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t get the feeling it was for the people whom died, I got the, look where I’ve been feeling. I voiced my opinion to another friend and the response was, people deal with tragedy differently. I get that, but I don’t like it.


  7. i mean, would you rather people forgot? or maybe turning the tragedy of being in the last place a loved one was at into a happy reunion just shouldn’t be caught on film?


  8. I am Amanda Alvear Mom and Her Best friend Mercedez Florez Who where two of the fallen víctims of this tragedy and I have drove twice around pulse , Havent Being able to stop at this location yet , I don’t even don’t know how to start. I know people grief differently, and , I don’t know the context of this picture , but , one thing I know even though my Daughther love selfies and don’t think that is appropriate at all , sorry , Im about free will and respect other people opinions, but Im Being thinking …about this picture and What will my motive be for taking this kind of picture .. If I’m a survivor of pulse or family of survivor is still a place of mourning , where a crime was perpetuated .. I just can’t find it in my heart to be smiling in that place , I just trying to figure it out , I go to the cemetery where my Son Nelson was buried , we sing happy birthday , Amanda and us had taken picture by his grave , even is a celebration of his life , is a different situation . I didn’t find this appropriate , Not at the place were so many lives where lost and hurt ! Love not Hate !! HugsNotHate

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a survivor of a different mass tragedy I will say the people that use these sites as tourist destinations are simply gouhls. The try to get there to take pics while people are still suffering. It is one thing to quickly pay respects in a somber respectful manner but another to take smiling look at me selfies or worse yet the attempts to break in the building hoping to see something gruesome.


  10. “What was once a place for fun, dancing and togetherness has become a place of mourning.”
    You said it yourself….not everyone grieves the same way, yes its sad to lose someone to such a tragedy but what is mourning them going to do? When I look at this photo of these ”tourist” smiling while taking a selfie I dont think they are being inconsiderate. I think they are doing what the 49 lives that were lost would want them to do as if they were right next to them taking pics. Live life as we did…. live,laugh, love and celebrate your life with friends and families and loved ones. I think the ones saying this photo is a shame are just angry and grieving still and attacking anyone they feel is not grieving like you are and thats not fair. Ask yourself if your friend or someone you knew you lost would they want you to be grieving after 2 months or living life as if they were here with you? Is your grieving for them or for yourself cause you cant hangout with them like before, then thats just you being selfish. If I go there and take a selfie smiling and that angers you or turns your stomach then your selfish and inconsiderate. Im going take that picture and smile cause I know those 49 beautiful souls will be surrounding me smiling as well. Think of them not yourselves, to us yes we lost 49 lives and now that place will be turned into a memorial. For the 49 lives the beat goes on and they will continue dancing and smiling with their friends and loved ones. Now thats a memorial, celebrating their lives the way they use to live it full of music and colors and laughter and friends and family.

    Liked by 1 person

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