Early on the morning of June 12, 2016, a terrorist entered the gay nightclub PULSE in Orlando, FL and unleashed unimaginable hate on the lives of 49 innocent victims. He wounded 53 others and changed the lives of every person, family and the nation with this unmitigated reign of terror. The PULSE nightclub attack is now the worst mass shooting in United States history.
With the release of transcripts between 911 operators, crisis negotiators and this extremist, this brings to light the significance of a job that often times is completely thankless. 911 dispatchers are our first call; our first sign of hope; our first connection to the reality that we may survive. The 911 dispatchers who rallied, responded, calmed and saved so many lives that night will probably never meet the person on the other end of the line. They will probably never meet the families of the victims they could or couldn’t save. They have no idea if the person they spoke to 5 minutes before, was one who made it out. The reality of that situation is something I don’t know if I could face. How do you begin to deal with the aftermath of such violence?
I’ll tell you how…
As Lin-Manuel Miranda said at the 2016 Tony Awards that night, “Love is love, is love, is love, is love, is love”. I have a vested interested in writing this blog, as the City of Orlando Police and Fire Rescue, as well as the Orange County Fire Department, are wonderful customers of mine. I had the opportunity to visit with them recently and to say I was impacted would be an understatement. Orlando Police Communications Radio Systems Administrator, Becky Gregory, stated,
Our training is the same if the tragedy is 1 person or 49. We strive to help the victims stay calm while remaining calm our self. There is a poster for 911 operators that says “Sometimes Courage is the quiet voice in the dark saying 'hold on'.” We were the voice in the dark that night telling victims to 'hold on, stay with us'. The outpouring of support from, our department, The City of Orlando, businesses who fed us, and Communications Centers around the Country has been extraordinary. We are thankful to everyone for your support.
The outpouring of love not only from the immediate Orlando community, but from strangers, supporters from around the country. Sending cards, gift baskets, pictures from kids, letters of thanks…it was a site to be seen.
Here at Xybix, in the scheme of things, the part we play in this industry is very, very small. But if we can do one small thing, offer one small comfort to the person on the other end of that 911 line, I call it a blessing and an achievement. 911 dispatchers are some of the most admirable people out there, most of whom are faceless, nameless and have never received a thank you. Today, however, I offer my thanks, gratitude and admiration.
Love, is love, is love, is love…#OrlandoUnited