Ramadan

I know I wrote a few days ago that I wasn’t going to do any kind of online memorials to that awful shooting in Orlando that happened at a gay nightclub known as Pulse because I’ve seen it all before in previous mass shootings. I’ve softened my stance somewhat after I’ve seen flags everywhere being lowered to half-staff after President Obama ordered this in order to honor the victims of that shooting. I even made this drawing in my sketchbook about the tragedy that I’d like to share with you.

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I could write more about what happened in Orlando and how horrible it was in this post. But instead of writing maudlin sentences over how horrible this tragedy was, I’m going to show the Orlando I personally know.

I made my first trip to Florida on my honeymoon. Prior to the wedding my fiance and I were originally planning on a weekend honeymoon at a local place like Williamsburg or Ocean City until my cousin, who was dying to have more family members come visit her and her then-husband at their home in Cocoa, offered my husband and I free room in their home. So after the wedding we spent the week with her and her now-ex-husband and their two dogs (one was a standard poodle while the other was a tiny toy poodle). The four of us spent the first day at Wet and Wild but, after that, my husband and I were on our own regarding exploring the greater Orlando area mainly because they had to work and they didn’t have much vacation time. I remember my husband and I spent the majority of time visiting Walt Disney World, which only had two theme parks at the time: the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. (Walt Disney World has since expanded to include more theme parks and attractions along with a lot of hotels.)

We loved that area so much that we ended up making several return trips to Orlando over the years. I have a lot of photos from those trips but most of them need to be digitally scanned because I shot a lot of them back in the day when film photography coupled with printing paper photographs was the dominant method of photography. I have a few digital photos from my last two trips to Orlando that I’ve previously posted in this blog. I’ll repost just a few of them along with links to those entries if you want to see more.

Here is a photo of a bald eagle that I took at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on August 14, 2010.

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Here’s a photo of Cinderella’s Castle that I took at the Magic Kingdom on August 15, 2010.

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These two jumping dolphins were taken at Sea World on August 17, 2010.

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I shot these two alligators making a snuggle sandwich with a turtle in the middle at Gatorland on August 19, 2010.

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Here’s a recreation of the R.M.S. Titanic’s grand staircase that I shot at Titanic: The Experience on August 19, 2010.

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Here is a view of Epcot that I shot on February 15, 2011.

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This African man was working on a wood carving at Epcot on February 15, 2011.

Epcot

Here are a couple of photos of Downtown Disney that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Here’s a photo of a row of cupcakes that I shot at a bakery in Downtown Disney but posted shortly after my 2011 trip to Florida ended on February 20, 2011. If you look close enough you can see sprinkles shaped like Mickey Mouse.

Downtown Disney

I have to admit that most of the photos were of the tourist attractions. The only photos I took of the Orlando area that even show how the locals live their everyday lives are the ones I took in Longwood, which is located just outside of the Orlando city limits. I was enchanted by the Victorian architecture such as the building in this photo that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Longwood, Florida

During one of my many trips to Orlando I purchased this cell kit from Walt Disney World where I painted animation cells of Mickey and Minnie Mouse then placed them over the provided backgrounds then put them in these cheap cardboard frames that also came with the kit. I later donated the completed cell paintings to a yard sale that was put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. (I originally wrote a post about these two on September 25, 2014.)

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And last, but not least, here is a drawing I did of Minnie Mouse when I took a 30-minute workshop on how to draw her on one of the provided computers at DisneyQuest, which is located in Downtown Disney, during my last trip to Florida in 2011. I still have the drawing buried somewhere in my home.

Minnie Mouse

The only reason why I haven’t been back to Florida since 2011 is tight finances, which became a problem for me after my divorce. I would like to go back one day and I would definitely go right now if I had the chance despite that Pulse nightclub shooting.

Getting back to that Pulse shooting, I know that it’s horrible that 50 people died. (Most people are saying that 49 have died in order to not count the 50th person—the shooter himself.) But for people to say that the Pulse shooting is the worst terrorist attack or worst mass murder ever perpetrated on American soil is a bit much because there have been other violent events in U.S. history where the body count is either equal to or way higher than the Pulse nightclub shooting. In order to get some perspective, here are some links to these other events that all happened on U.S. soil.

Wounded Knee massacre in 1890

East St. Louis in 1917

Elaine, Arkansas in 1919

Tulsa race riot in 1921

Rosewood massacre in 1923

Oklahoma City bombing in 1995

September 11, 2001

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