July 2018 Issue #19 July 2018 Issue #19 4Guys - Page 94

Can you talk us through what it was like the first time you went back into the venue? Brian: It was very difficult. I remember the first time we walked back in, literally walking through the door, I think we all broke down crying. Some of our staff members had to leave. I remember having to go outside for a few minutes. It’s not the place that we knew and loved. It was a shell of its former self. Walls were missing. It was such a beautiful club and venue, and things were just thrown around everywhere. We had the realisation that the place we called home and loved was most likely never going to open in that type of capacity or that type of venue again. Do you ever have any thoughts today about gunman Omar Mateen and why he did this? Barbara: No. I sat through every day of the trial of his wife, and I went because I wasn’t given any facts, and because of the case pending if I wanted to know anything I needed to go to the trial. I went and sat so I could learn about how this happened. How does it happen to us, and what kind of monster would do this? But now I don’t care to give him one ounce of power in my life. Do you get the opportunity to go back to the club now, or is that something you try and distance yourself from? Brian: I haven’t been back inside the building in about eight months, but I do visit the building probably at least twice a week. I try to go more often and there’s still places where people are leaving mementos. I tend to go late at night. It’s amazing though, no matter what time of day you go there’s always people stopping by. There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts opposite the club and one day I just went there and sat and had a coffee and watched. People slow down in the road and some get out of their cars even for just a minute to look at the messages written on the wall. Others even stay for up to an hour. It’s also people you wouldn’t expect. The surprising thing to me is when we see families, full families that stop and pay their respects – their children too. I think it’s an event that really opened a lot of people’s hearts and minds. 94