A man who was injured in the Las Vegas shooting is receiving backlash from the internet community after posting a video to his Facebook account. Thomas Gunderson, a 28-year-old from Newport Beach, California, shared a video of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visiting him in the hospital.
Although the video may star the Trumps, for once, it is not them who steal the show. Rather, it was Gunderson himself.
The video begins with Gunderson laying in a hospital bed as the First Lady walks into the room. Despite a gunshot to the calf, he still rises to meet her and stays standing when it becomes apparent he is about to meet the President. Though shaky on his feet, Trump takes a look at the man and remarks, “this guy looks tough to me.”
Since being posted on October 4th, Gunderson’s video has been viewed over 25 million times and has garnered over 500 thousand reactions and shares.
When posting this video, the 28-year-old stated,
“I will never lie down when the President of this great country comes to shake my hand! There may be plenty of issues in this country but I will always respect my country, my president, and my flag. Shot in the leg or not, I will stand to show my President the respect he deserves!”
Comments on this post came on a spectrum, ranging from respect and praise for his action, to scorn for the president.
In response to the outpouring, he made an additional post stating,
“Hey everyone! So when I decided to post the things that I did, as well as accept some interviews, I did so with the intention of spreading an uplifting message during this horrific time in our country. I prepared my family beforehand knowing that there would be plenty of backlash and hateful comments. I asked for everyone to leave the negativity out of it but let’s be honest, I know that wouldn’t happen. So, with that being said, I’m asking that anytime someone does leave a hateful or aggressive comment that we simply ignore them.”
He continued, “They want to get a rise out of us. They want to cause divide and when we respond with hate as well, it simply worsens the situation and destroys the meaning behind this message. I will do my best to respond to the ones I can with complete class and love. Let’s continue to bring our nation together instead of fight with those simply looking to fight. I’m asking that as a favor for everyone reading my posts.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Gunderson said in an interview with Fox News.
According to CNN, the Trumps travelled to Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with first responders and victims of the shooting.
Although Gunderson’s actions may have drawn a variety of reactions, it is impossible to deny the crux of what he has done. Standing for him is more than just a physical action, but one that relays the intentions of the spirit as well. Regardless of any person feelings, Gunderson has chosen to stand and express respect for someone and something that he personally admires. Though it may be hard to cast politics aside, he serves as someone who knows what he believes in and is taking steps to promote it. In this case, he chooses to promote unity.
The Las Vegas shooting has become the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. Excluding the gunman, 58 people were killed and an additional 489 persons were injured. It has surpassed the 2016 Orlando Nightclub shooting which claimed 50 lives, including that of the gunman.
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