Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Reflects On Pulse Two Years Later
It’s been two years since the Pulse nightclub shooting. 90.7’s Catherine Welch caught up with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and they start their conversation with how the mayor thinks Orlando has changed in the last two years.
Mayor Buddy Dyer: Orlando recognized itself as a very caring and compassionate city, so maybe it’s some self-awareness more than actually physical changes. Any changes, or certainly emotional changes, but the very day of June 12th we talked about not being known for the hateful act but being known for how we respond. We responded with love and compassion and unity.
Catherine Welch: What work still needs to be done in Orlando two years out from the Pulse shooting?
Dyer: We maintain the Orlando United Assistance Center, and certainly any of the events of occurred around the country, and then having the two year anniversary we want to make sure that anybody that needs counseling or mental health help knows that we have that available for them through the assistance center. We are very mindful that the mental effects are going to be with people probably for the rest of their lives, so I think that's the one thing that we need to focus on right now.
Welch: There have been a number of mass shootings since Pulse. Have you come to know the mayors of those cities, do you keep in touch with them, and is there something we don't know about because we're not a mayor of a city where there's been a shooting that binds you?
Dyer: It's a very unfortunate club to be a member of. Two that I can specifically speak to were Dallas, which occurred three weeks after the Pulse event. I texted the mayor when I learned of the shooting. I texted and said if there's anything we can do to help please let me know. He texted back and said you already did. I use a lot of the lessons learned that you talk to us about in Indianapolis at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The second one, when Vegas happened, I know the mayor there pretty well. So I called her and not expecting her to pick up to the phone but she did. She was at the hospital seeing people as they were being admitted comforting them the best she could. I offered her help in terms of some of the things that you might not be anticipating, and then I offered to send people out to Vegas if they would like that. It turns out that (the people) who ran our victims assistance operation here went and stayed about eight days in Vegas helping them out.
Welch: Finally mayor, what will you be thinking about on June 12th?
Dyer: Probably reflecting on the victims, and the survivors, and their families, and what they're going through. I didn't know any of the victims personally before it occurred. I knew of a couple of them, but it's hard for me to even imagine if I had a child that had been in the Pulse nightclub whether he or she was shot or not shot what emotions I would be going through.