Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pulse Survivor: "People want to say so many negatives about the cops and stuff, but the first thing -- every time I heard a cop, every time I heard a walkie-talkie, or I thought of a cop coming, it was like the presence of an angel. You prayed for that cop. When I crawled out of the window and saw the cops, they caught me -- it was like a safety blanket. I felt safe right away."

More first-person accounts of the attack are emerging. They are fascinating and harrowing.

I understand that most Catholics do not exactly approve of drag queens, or drag queen bartenders at gay bars or whatever. But with respect, I do not think that's exactly the point at the moment.

I expect that these accounts are highly colored by emotion and thus may be "inaccurate" in some respects. Mr. Belvedere admits as much, saying he may be misestimating the time-frame at many points.

But I assume police are interviewing all of the survivors and checking their accounts against each other to assemble a general map of precisely what happened. Hopefully, this could save lives in future attacks.

Being a survivor doesn't make one a martyr, as I'm sure Mr. Belvedere would be the first to agree. But the most obvious thing to come through in all of these accounts is that these were human beings suddenly confronted with a horrific situation that was almost certainly completely new to them. One natural question the reader asks is, "what would I have done?"

In a recent interview, Bataclan survivor, singer Jesse Hughes, remarked on how some of the people who were shot just seemed to give up. It wasn't even a question of fighting back. But they could have escaped by jumping over a divider or darting through a door, etc. I'm sure Hughes' observation sounded repugnant to some, but it's just as valid as assuming that everyone did all that they could.

Perhaps in future such situations, more people will fight back--in the same way that the passengers on Flight 93 fought back once they realized what was really going on. In his account, Mr. Belvedere never directly confronted the gunmen, but at one point he seemed to be ready to. Note the part where he tells us how he stood by the door of his hiding place, with "the heaviest chair in the room" held above his head.

From Billboard:
Michael Belvedere, who works and performs at the Florida LGBT club as drag queen Axel Andrews, explains how he made it out alive. 
When did you realize it wasn't music? Did you see the gunman? 
I did not see the gunman. To be honest, the noise was so loud, it sounded like it was on top of me. Your first reaction is to get down. It literally felt like the gunman was next to me. The other bartender ran toward me and we were both lying down, but there was still a question if it was fake. Some of us thought it might be fireworks. Even at one point a girl who was hiding with us jumped up and, very drunkenly, was like, "This is fake, this isn't real." She almost made us believe her. Then the gunshots kept going. I remember lying on my back looking at the ceiling. I remember feeling like the gunshots were on top of me but they were getting louder and closer. At that point we all ran for our lives. I ran toward the back of the room. I don’t know what made me think… there's a back alley and I could have ran to the back alley and out through the parking lot, but I panicked and went into a dressing room. It had a lock on the door you needed a code for. I put the code in quicker than I've ever done it, and by the time I was in there, I noticed there were already people in there -- one of them being Angelica Sanchez, our main entertainer at Pulse. She was just out having a good time; I don’t think she was working that night. She was terrified. At first it seemed there were only five of us in there, but then it came out there were eight of us; they were just hiding really well. 
How long were you in the room? 
We were in there for hours. I don’t know what happened, but I got into survival mode. Maybe because I didn't see the gunner, I still kind of doubted it -- I was scared -- but I tried to think what I'd do if he came in the room. Everyone was hiding, but I stood on a chair beside the door and I picked up the heaviest chair in the room and held it above my head for a while, waiting for him to open the door. I was going to try to hit him with it. I stood there for a while and realized there wasn't much noise for a little bit. Maybe five, 10 minutes, but I'll be honest, my timeframe was totally off -- it could have been two minutes or 20. 
So you were prepared. 
Everyone else was hiding. The way I saw it, someone firing off so many shots, he couldn't have been selectively shooting. I figured if he came in, he wouldn't even blink before shooting all of us, so I figured I'd prepare myself and maybe damage him or stop him before he could just pick us off like fish in a barrel. 
Did he attempt to come into the room? 
At one point the door opened, very slightly, I don’t even think he looked through the crack. I also don’t know if it was him. Then it closed. I don’t know if he thought it was a storage closet or something, or it could have been someone else looking for a place to stay. But just for a second it was open and then it was closed again. 
Was it silent in the room, or were you talking to each other? 
In that room, there are makeup stations. There was a girl lying on the ground under one of the stations. I kneeled next to her near the door, still with the chair in my hand, preparing. I found out deep under the makeup station, where it was really dark, there was another girl hiding. And that girl was throwing up a lot. She'd had a lot to drink that night, that and between her nerves. That was the first noise for a while I heard. Angelica, she was calling all the people she loved and whispering to them, so I heard her. Next to her, there's a toilet in there with a privacy curtain; Angelica was there with three girls and two boys hiding behind the curtain. They would talk to each other and cry a lot. 
Were you texting anyone? 
It took me about 20 minutes. People were blowing up my phone, but I didn’t think I'd be able to talk. Then I started sending text messages. I didn’t want to worry my mom or my family so I sent them a text -- maybe they thought I'd been drinking -- that I loved them and they're the best family. And I sent a group text message to some of my best friends and people who have been there for me… just because if something happened and I never told them. I didn’t respond to any messages at first. Then my manager called me and I stayed on the phone with him. The police then guided me, through him, through the rest of the night. 
When did it end? 
At first we would hear some ruckus out there. There were times I'd go 10 minutes without hearing anything. And then I remember at one point I heard some really…blood-curdling screams from some girls who were out there. It sounded like a horror movie, it didn't sound real. I thought someone was playing a joke on us. It wasn't real. The screams were something out of a horror movie. I guess people tried running for it. I heard what I thought was a police officer by the way he was talking to them. He was yelling at them like "get down, motherf---er, put your hands down." To me it was something a cop would say, like, "Put your cell phone down, turn the light off." He kept calling them a motherf---er over and over. So for me, I was relieved because I thought it was the police but it turned out to be the shooter. I wound up shortly after that hearing more gunshots, and then it was silent for a really long time. I kept my ear toward the door, I still had the chair in my hand the whole time. I heard a glass break. Eventually the police…they were just talking to me, I was giving them diagrams of how to find us. And then eventually the police officers got people out in the dressing room across from us. I could hear the door open, get them out, and 30 minutes after that, we gave them a diagram to get to us, and they found a back wall behind us where there was an AC window unit mounted in cement. The police officer pushed it through, we caught it, and we all crawled out through the window. 
It sounds like you took control of the situation. 
Well, I tried. Two of the boys in there, they didn’t know English, the girls were hysterical, Angelica was praying because she's very spiritual so... When the police officer came, the first thing I worried about was that [the window] was a pretty small space, and my friend Angelica is not a small person. The first thing I thought was, "I'm not going to leave her." I was upset. I was like, "That means I'm not leaving." But we wound up getting Angelica through. I'll be honest: I'm disappointed the two boys went out before the girls. So the two boys went out and I stayed to help the girls go out. Because it was up in the wall, they needed help to stand on things, and then I was the last one to go out. 
What did you feel when you were out? 
Relief. People want to say so many negatives about the cops and stuff, but the first thing -- every time I heard a cop, every time I heard a walkie-talkie, or I thought of a cop coming, it was like the presence of an angel. You prayed for that cop. When I crawled out of the window and saw the cops, they caught me -- it was like a safety blanket. I felt safe right away.
Read the rest here.




  2. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/06/14/orlando-shooting-still-no-evidence/

  3. I am Catholic, or try to be. It is "gettin' tougher everyday". I don't condone the actions of LBGT folks but they need our prayers. I definitely don't condone, no, I denounce actions which kill innocent people. I am a believer of islam being the religion of satan. I thought for a long time about it, and there is no other explanation for the twisted "justice" meted out by its followers. We are in big trouble with the liberal left gaining all the media attention. It begs the question "What if 'doctors' aborted babies with handguns?" Chew on that for a while.

  4. He sounds like a real man with a real man's heart.
    I'm grateful anyone got out alive. May God rest the souls of the dead and heal the wounded. May the world turn to Him and repent, because this is what the world looks like without him.