It’s all such disgusting repetition. Firing again in gay nightclub, Three days later, another shooting at Walmart: , According to the Gun Violence Archive, Chesapeake, Virginia, was the #607th mass shooting in the United States this year. But believe it or not, there were at least eight others in the past week in West Palm Beach, Fla., Temple Hills, Md., Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Hennessy, Okla., Chicago and Costa Mesa, Calif.
And when the vigils have stopped, and the makeshift shrines have fallen into disrepair, what then? How is the story of what happened told, and who tells it?
In El Paso, Texas, a 22-beam column of light shines through the parking lot of a second Walmart, where, Walmart moved quickly. The Grand Candela, as it is called, went up in 3 1/2 months, and was dedicated before ,
six years and countingOn June 12, 2016, you can still see bullet marks in the LGBTQ bar building, which has become a temporary memorial. The fight over what a permanent memorial should look like illustrates just how messy and controversial a memorial to a mass shooting can be.
Deborah Bowie, executive director of the OnePulse Foundation, was recently appointed following criticism from Barbara Poma, co-owner of Pulse nightclub.
Bowie said, “Barbara is a powerful force in this community, and a lightning rod for some people.”
Poma established the Foundation. Its purpose: to raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to make his vision include the entire Pulse campus, the club, a memorial and a separate museum several blocks away. The Foundation now calls Poma the “Keeper of the Story”.
Christine Leonen’s son, Christopher, and her boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero, were killed in the Pulse shooting. Leinonen told reporter Martha Teichner, “We want control over the Pulse name, the Pulse physical location, the building, so that we can control our own tragedy. We ourselves [it], This is our tragedy. This is not the tragedy of Barbara Poma.
“It’s painful. It never ends. Christopher was the light of my life, and the light is gone.”
Leinonen is one of dozens of survivors and family members of victims who have sued club owners Poma and her husband, claiming they were negligent at the site and contributed to the loss of life, a claim They refuse. Leinonen considers the museum exploitation, and wants to stop it.
Techner asked, “Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, people are not going to remember the shooting. Need to tell the story of what happened?”
“Well, maybe if you can trust the storytellers,” said Leonen. “There is no trust.”
Deborah Bowie said, “The museum is not there to monetize or exploit the tragedy. The museum will be part of the whole Pulse experience. We often engage with families. Family members tell the story.”
And what is that story? Bowie said, “There are six words that came out of the initial survey that have become part of our vision, our values statement, and they are: love, hope, unity, acceptance, courage, and strength.”
“Forgiveness” Was the Word the Charleston Nine’s Loved Ones Chosen After, The watching world was astonished at the response.
Techner asked The Reverend Eric Manning, “How important was forgiveness in creating the type of memorial you chose?”
“It was very important,” she replied. “Some people have a thought process of saying, ‘Oh, because they forgive so quickly, it was easy for them.’ No. Oh no, definitely not. It still causes pain to this day.
As Senior Pastor Rev. Manning’s predecessor, the Rev. Clementa Pinkney, was killed in the shooting.
Seven years later, Mother Emanuel is planning a $20 million memorial that will be about commemorating the dead on one side of the church and celebrating the survivors on the other.
Reverend Manning said, “There is no righteous indignation, there is no anger.”
But should it be? Monuments to mass shootings have become expensive public art versions of condolence cards for a society in pain. Most shun any fiction that suggests heinous acts of gun violence are the reason for their existence.
Landscape architect Walter Hood said, “When you see the call for competitions, like, there’s a new one that just came out, and we’ve talked about it in our studio, we’re not going to go after it.” Interested in expressing the real issue for them, which is violence.”
And yet, it was to comfort grieving families that Hood designed 14 individual alcoves—the beautiful, undulating curtains of courage—of San Bernardino, California., Among the dead: Damian Means.
But building one monument after another for mother-daughter Trina and Tina Means isn’t enough. “Does it help with the healing process? I think it helps with remembering,” Trina said.
But, Tina added, “It doesn’t help in the sense that there is still shooting after shooting after shooting.”
Traina said, “I think these memorials should remember those who lost their lives. I think it should also be a call to action at the same time – a reminder that this can happen to anyone, anywhere. Could, and it shouldn’t have to. It shouldn’t, and it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t.”
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Story produced by Dustin Stephens. Editor: Mike Levin.