After Pulse Nightclub Shooting, One Survivor Is 'Always In Pain'

Jun 17, 2017
Originally published on June 17, 2017 6:26 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are turning now to a difficult and uncomfortable subject - mass shootings in this country. You surely know about the attack on Wednesday on a group of lawmakers and staffers who were practicing for a charity baseball game in Virginia. Several people were wounded seriously, including Congressman Steve Scalise. But that was not the only such event.

The same day, a former UPS driver shot and killed three co-workers and then himself at a UPS facility in San Francisco. And that all came just after the nation remembered the shooting in June - 12 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where nearly 50 people were killed and another 60 wounded, including Keinon Carter.

When Keinon first arrived at the hospital, doctors pronounced him dead but they were wrong. He's now speaking about his experiences as a person who's unwillingly joined the awful fraternity of those who have survived a mass shooting. He talked to me from his home in Orlando. And I started by asking him, at what point after the shooting did he first realize that he was still alive?

KEINON CARTER: It was like a month or something later. I pretty much was in my hotel hospital bed. And my head was gazed towards the window. And one of the trees actually outside showed, like, was like a figure of, like, my mother and my brother, so I just pretty much just cried laying there.

MARTIN: I read that the doctors had, in fact, pronounced you dead and that your sister...

CARTER: Twice.

MARTIN: ...Twice, and that she...

CARTER: Yes, twice.

MARTIN: Do you just want to tell me what happened?

CARTER: I really don't remember the whole situation, but my sister told me that when the doctors declared me dead, she was in there checking on me. And she grabbed my hand and went to talking to me and pretty much telling me, you know, I got my brother and sister here and my nieces and nephew here that need me. And she, like, asked me to do something, and I did it for her. And then she pretty much turned around and got the nurses or the doctors and was, like, notifying them that hey, he's still alive.

MARTIN: How many surgeries have you had at this point?

CARTER: Over 25.

MARTIN: What kinds of things did they have to do?

CARTER: At this point, it's been trying to figure out if my colostomy can get reversed. My pelvis was broken in half. My kidneys were shot out. Some of my intestines were shot on top of the leg incident.

MARTIN: Are you in pain now?

CARTER: I'm always in pain but, you know, I'm always in pain.

MARTIN: You know, obviously, I know you know about all the things that happened that we just talked about. There have been a lot of shootings in this country. I mean, there's a shooting...

CARTER: Yes there has.

MARTIN: And I wonder, do you have thoughts about that?

CARTER: Wow. I don't know. When people decide to take things - to a hate - I don't know. When they take it to a hate point and, like, want to put harm to someone else, it's just wrong. I don't care what they call it, what it is, it's just wrong. To me, it's really like our leaders of, you know, the United States fault at the end of the day.

And it's somewhat our fault as well because we vote these people in office to take care of us and give us - and try to protect us, but they're allowing these weapons and things like military weapons and stuff to be on the street. Just like the young man that shot us, I just walked into Al's Army in our neighborhood and seen the same weapon up on the wall for $700. So if it's something that's a military weapon is this easy to get and we're allowing it, I mean, I don't know what they're here for and why they're so accessible.

MARTIN: That's Keinon Carter. He survived the Pulse nightclub shooting last June 12 in Orlando, Fla. We spoke to him at his home. Keinon, thanks so much for speaking with us.

CARTER: Thank you.

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