In the early hours of Sunday the 12th of June 2016 an armed gunman turned his weapon towards the innocent clubbers and staff of Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. The day before in Russia, a football game became a war between English and Russian football fans, with an organised crime group an apparent catalyst for the violence. And at the beginning of the weekend Christina Grimmie, previous The Voice contestant and viral YouTube star, was gunned down by a 27-year old man after she performed in Orlando, who’d travelled to The Plaza Live theatre armed with two handguns on Friday night – the singer died early Saturday morning. What has followed this weekend of violence and hatred is a flurry of political/social tensions and clashes on mainstream/social media (such as the reaction to Donald Trump’s use of the killings on Twitter, in order to satisfy his own political agenda), where political activists have urged for a correct representation of events (i.e Owen Jones’ ‘Orlando shooting’ interview on Sky News) as well as the revision of the US constitution with regards to the nations right to ‘keep and bare arms’.
During an interview with a clubber who witnessed the terror unfold in Pulse on Sunday morning, he described the night as ‘something out of a movie’ – it’s a description that has been used by others after previous incidents of terror and violence such as 9/11 and the November 2015 Paris attacks, a description derived from a suspension of belief in the reality of what has happened around them. But terrible hate crimes, political clashes and violent social conflicts are becoming a regular point of focus in the wake of incidents that act as catalysts – and reality itself is being viewed as something paradoxically unreal. In a world that is obsessed with escapism through entertainment and technology, reality is begging for us to close the book and suspend our disbelief in war and suffering existing anywhere else, other than the projection on a cinema screen or in the world of a computer game. On an anything-but-average Monday morning people are afraid to leave their homes, families are grieving for the loss of their loved ones and we are finally starting to realise the reality of these events effect all of us, regardless of their existence in a video on the computer screen or a headline in a newspaper. Reality is urging us to look and take it seriously. as it develops a terrifying edge.