Port Saint Lucie, Florida, may have been known for being the third largest growing city in the nation, and one of the highest unemployment rates, or where the Mets practice. Now it might be different.
It saddens, confuses, and sickens Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce residents how someone like Omar Mateen could commit an act of ugliness, such as terrorism, from this beautiful place. Growing up in Port Saint Lucie meant building new communities, like Saint Lucie West or Tradition, or watching US-1 expand its lanes over the years. Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce has always been known for attracting large quantities of tourists for its beautiful vast beaches; both public and private. One can recollect living in Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce as being by the water during sunny days when it was coral blue; during murky days, when the Indian River Lagoon experienced a pollution catastrophe; and stormy days when the water was as dark as the blustery skies.
Now, the Pulse Orlando nightclub shooting, committed by Mateen, has tainted fond memories of growing up in Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce, however, only a little. Police and news vehicles have swarmed Bayshore Boulevard in Port Saint Lucie, where the Mateen family lives. They are investigating the ISIS connections, which are allegedly tied to Mateen destroying innocent lives. The FBI have also been investigating Mateen’s residency in Fort Pierce.
While this shocks residents, it can also widen their perspective. Terrorism, murder, and hate can happen to anybody, anywhere; even from a small town, like Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce. Surveillance on anyone who hints at terrorism requires persistent action. CNN and countless other news providers have said this is not the first time Mateen had been watched by authorities but he was let go because of lack of evidence.
One can hope that this horrific act brings people closer as a nation. It is important to have eyes in the front, back, and in all areas around ourselves. Harbored hostile creatures can live in one’s own environment, even as small a town as Port Saint Lucie, where the population is about 200,000; and Fort Pierce, where the population is a little over 43,000.
The act of terrorism causes fear to enjoy freedom so others cannot, fear to love and embrace self-expression, as well as, the fear to live and do as one pleases. Together, as a community, people can stand in the face of terrorism, without judgement of Muslims and without fear. The lives of those lost are mourned in Orlando, Port Saint Lucie/Fort Pierce, nationally, and internationally.
The act of love conquers all, time and again. Many hope that there will no longer be the need to take innocent lives for the world to accept one another. There is still hope that one day America will be known as a place of love and not hate or fear. Today will begin the progress by not inviting fear into peoples’ homes, lives, and hearts. Individuals should speak out and reach out to those who are afflicted from this tragedy and become unified as warriors so the terror might be threatened by hope.
Opinion by Andrea Lopez
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CNN: Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, official says
RedState: Orlando Terror Suspect Identified: OMAR MATEEN of Port Saint Lucie; Has Made Threats In Past [VIDEO]
WFTV: Gunman in Pulse deadly shooting called 911 professing allegiance to Islamic State leader
Featured and Top Photos Courtesy of Andrea Lopez – Used With Permission