Nashville Reacts To Orlando Shooting

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 18:53:03-04

For many, it's hard to imagine. A man walking into a nightclub and opening fire, killing dozens of people and injuring even more.

"The magnitude of it is really hard to take in right now," Chris Sanders, executive director for the Tennessee Equality Project, said on Sunday. 

For many, Sunday's act of terrorism was more than that, it was a hate crime against the LGBT community.

"Equality was not won when the Supreme Court issued it's marriage ruling," Sanders said. "We have so much more work to do in terms of promoting tolerance and acceptance." 

Sanders said while many have become more open to the LGBT lifestyle, others have been fighting back, citing that more anti-LGBT legislation was presented at the Tennessee legislature this year than any other year before, which can trigger hate and lead to violence.

"Our job is to make sure that we continue talking in Tennessee and not give up on that process, or we could see violence like that here," Sanders said. "We could see it anywhere in the country." 

One thing many can agree on is that no argument is worth taking a life, and lives are worth saving.

Florida resident David Vinarub took a break from the CMA Music Festival to donate blood after hearing the news of what happened in his home state. 

"They had said that there was a big need for blood in central Florida," Vinarub explained. "I'm not sure whether it'll get there from here, but I figured, it's something I could do." 

Vinarub heard the news from his mother in Florida and was taken over by sadness.

"The insanity of what seems to be happening, it's progressively getting worse and worse," Vinarub said. "We're all here together on this planet, whether we like it or not." 

To honor those who lost their lives and pray for those impacted by the shooting in Orlando, the Tennessee Equality Project has planned to host a candlelight vigil in Public Square Park Sunday night at 8 p.m.

Organizers asked those who attend to bring their own candles to the vigil.

Sunday afternoon, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement on the shooting:

“There are no words that can begin to express my shock and horror at the mass shooting of a nightclub in Orlando. The level of hatred that would motivate someone to murder so many innocent people is nothing short of pure evil. We must meet that evil with an overwhelming show of love - for all of our fellow Americans and for men and women around the world who daily live in fear of violence simply because of whom they love.

Tonight at 8PM, I will attending a vigil at Public Square Park to join those in mourning who wish to show their love and support for the victims of the shooting in Orlando, their family, their friends, and the entire LGBT community that needs to know our society will not tolerate hatred or violence.

While we have no reason to believe this is anything but an isolated incident, our Metro Police Department is continuing to review information coming from Orlando and is in close contact with their federal partners and will do what is necessary to protect the public in Nashville.”

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, the resident scholar/Imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville, also released a statement regarding the shooting:

"I stand in solidarity with the nation and persons around the world in the mourning of the loss of lives in Florida.   I want to express my unconditional condemnation of the evil act of killing innocent people, a horrendous act without any justification.   I convey my sympathy and prayers for all of those who have suffered or were injured and those family members that have lost their loved ones.      

'If anyone killed an innocent would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.' (Qur'an 5:32)"