Patience Carter was shot in the right leg during the Orlando shooting that would claim 49 lives, but even after surviving the worst mass shooting in American history, the Philadelphia native has a new challenge to face — relentless hounding from skeptics who think that the entire shooting was fabricated.
Carter was inside Pulse nightclub in the early morning hours last Sunday when Omar Mateen opened fire, killing scores of people and later taking them hostage before finally being killed in a shootout with police. She was able to survive her wounds and, on Friday, posted a picture on Instagram thanking staff at the hospital.
No place like home slippers, thank you Florida Hospital Orlando for taking care of me, thank you to all of the supporters who reached out to me and my family, and thank you to all the skeptics that believe my pain isn't real, it's your outrageous insensitivity that makes me want to heal even faster, and grow even stronger. -#Discharged
But the message also noted that there are skeptics who have claimed she was a “crisis actor” who took part in the faking of the shooting.
“No place like home slippers, thank you Florida Hospital Orlando for taking care of me, thank you to all of the supporters who reached out to me and my family, and thank you to all the skeptics that believe my pain isn’t real, it’s your outrageous insensitivity that makes me want to heal even faster, and grow even stronger.”
Within days of the Orlando shooting, there were already conspiracy theories claiming that the massacre was really staged by the government in order to push an agenda. That is a common theme among these conspiracy theorists, who often believe tragedies like mass shootings are really made up through the use of so-called “crisis actors.” Similar theories claimed that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was faked in order to push more stringent gun control measures.
This was the crux of the arguments made against Patience Carter. The original YouTube video, now removed by the user, went on a tirade against Carter.
“There she is. On Fox F***ng news. On Fox F**** news. There she is. Once again, the F****ng bulls**t they are shoving down people’s throats. We need to arrest all these people. This has gone way to far. They have pulled this out too many times. There has to be change. There’s no way they can use this event. This is faked. This is staged. They are using actors. There is no doubt about it. This is 100 percent bulls**t.
The theory that Patience Carter is a crisis actor cited her Instagram page, which appeared to have an update in the midst of the shooting, but a further analysis by Snopes found that it had been manipulated.
— James Perloff (@jamesperloff) June 16, 2016
— CIA ANDERSON COOPER (@CIAANDERSONCOO1) June 19, 2016
Patience herself has been vocal about her shooting and recovery, even writing a poem this week about the guilt she felt while others had died.
“The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy. Wanting to smile about surviving but not sure if the people around you are ready, as the world mourns the victims killed and viciously slain, I feel guilty about screaming about my legs and pain… Because I could feel nothing.
Patience Carter lost a friend in the shooting, 18-year-old Akyra Murray. The Philadelphia high school graduate had recently signed a letter of intent to Mercyhurst University on a full basketball scholarship. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Murray texted her parents during the shooting and reportedly screamed for them to get her.
“I just tried to tell her to remain calm and apply pressure to the wound,” her mother told the AP. “All I could hear was my baby screaming.”
But the conspiracy theorists claiming that the Orlando nightclub shooting was a hoax are not silencing Patience Carter, who continues to speak out about her shooting and the experience she endured.
[Image via Instagram/Patience Carter]