The normally unshakable Anderson Cooper met his match while reporting outside the Pulse nightclub where 49 people lost their lives on Sunday morning. Many of the victims were in their 20s and 30s with many decades of happiness ahead, and all was lost in a hail of bullets when Omar Mateen stormed the club with an AR-15 in tow. The search for motives continues, but what matters in this CNN report are the victims.
Miraculously, some lives were saved through a combination of sheer luck and persistence from others who happened to be next to someone in need at just right moment. Yet many were not so fortunate. We’ve already heard the wrenching tale of one couple who wanted to marry, but they’ll have a joint funeral instead. Such are the tales wrought from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. So, for almost seven minutes, Cooper read the names of the 49 victims with their ages and biographical details.
At the same time, Cooper insisted, “They are more than a list of names. They are people who loved and who were loved.” Yet the only way he could pay tribute was in this way, so he continued as photos flashed across the screen. By the end of the clip — when Cooper reached those victims without photos — all that was left was the anchor’s face. The last minute of this clip shows him struggling to maintain composure with each successive name. He did not succeed, and his devastation is palpable.