One survivor of Orlando gay nightclub massacre has written an emotional, open letter to the shooter.
On Monday, 21-year-old Alejandro Francisco published an essay on XoJane, speaking directly to the gunman as he describes everything that was taken from himself and his community, and the one thing they will never lose – love.
“I go to Pulse nightclub in Orlando because I feel comfortable there, and I can be myself. Several of my friends were there that night, including my friend Stanley,” Francisco writes. “I will never see Stanley again. You took that away from me.
“Saturday night was Latin night, and it was a party vibe because of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. It was a hot night, and the club was filled with life and love and dancing and – until you arrived – pure joy.”
Francisco’s letter continues, detailing when he and one of his friends left early, just moments before the shooting occurred, and how they stood across the street as gunshots rang out one after another.
As he recalls headlines describing the attack, including “the worst terror attack since 9/11” and “the deadliest shooting attack on U.S. soil” – Francisco names the 49 victims and gives the shooting a new tagline.
“Let’s call it what it was: the worst attack – on love – on U.S. soil,” he adds.
Closing his letter with a shocking sentiment, Francisco apologizes to the shooter for never having love in his life, crediting a lack of affection as the reason he was capable of such a horrific crime.
“I am so sorry you must not have had [love] in your life. Otherwise, I can’t imagine you would have wanted so badly to end mine,” Francisco writes as he again names all the victims before adding that although they did not survive, “Love did. Omar, we are stronger than your hate. We always will be.”