Rosemary Stephens: Indian people are victims of mass shootings too

Musician Lady Gaga speaks at a vigil for the victims on the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on the steps of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, on June 13, 2016. Photo from Mayor Eric Garcetti

Mass shooting in Orlando … is it the largest mass shooting in U.S. history?
My Thoughts
By Rosemary Stephens, Editor-in-Chief
Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune

The recent mass shooting of 49 men and women at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, is heartbreaking and senseless. There really are no words to convey the deepest sympathy many of us feel for the family members of these victims.

Reporters and media outlets across the U.S. have chosen to dub the nightclub shooting as "one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history."

But is it really? The worst mass shooting, massacre in U.S. history? I have received many phone calls and emails asking the same question, so let’s take a look at just a few events in U.S. history, then you decide.

May 26, 1637 – Mystic Massacre – Mystic River in present day Connecticut. Over 600 men, women and children massacred.

Nov. 29, 1813 – Autossee Massacre – Macon County Alabama. Over 200 massacred.

Aug. 1, 1832 – Massacre of Bad Axe – Victory, Wisconsin. Over 150 men, women and children massacred.

Nov. 29, 1864 – Sand Creek Massacre – Eads, Colorado. Over 150 elderly, women and children shot, tortured and mutilated by U.S. Colonel John Chivington. Chivington was never arrested or charged with the massacre of over 150 people.

Nov. 26, 1868 – Washita Battle – near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Over 100 men, women and children shot to death by Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The official number of 103 murdered has been recorded in the history books. There are stories handed down from generations that indicate the true number to be closer to 300 men, women and children shot to death on that day.

The list continues and one only needs to search the World Wide Web to find all the statistics on U.S. massacres.

I can only imagine if social media apps such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or social media such as Facebook existed during any of the massacres listed above, what the public outcry would have been. Headlines screaming "U.S. terrorist massacre Native American women, children and elderly."

By no means, is this commentary meant to diminish the murder of 49 young men and women in Orlando. It is an attempt to bring to light that perhaps we as journalists need to research our history before applying general terms such as ‘worse mass shooting in U.S. history.’ Perhaps a better description would be ‘one of the worse single gunman mass shootings in U.S. history.’ That would be accurate.

My sincere condolences and prayers go out to each of the 49 victim’s families.
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Juan Chavez-Martinez, 25 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 25 years old
Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Rosemary Stephens has served as editor in chief of The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune, the newspaper of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, for six years.

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