In a gay nightclub, 49 lives were taken because a crazy and hateful person had legal access to a weapon of mass destruction.
The shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen proclaimed his support for ISIS, pointed his licensed assault rifle at the bodies of innocent people, and shot.
Those are the facts. It was an attack of terror and hate, and is yet another example of how guns have caused so much damage to this country.
All eyes have been on the presidential candidates to see how they respond to this public safety crisis.
In an interview on Meet the Press, Bernie Sanders explained the necessity to regulate guns in order to avoid the wrong people from accessing them, and to do away with assault rifles.
“We should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people”.
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Hilary Clinton advocated for gun control and “defeating international terror groups”. She also expressed her support for the LGBTQ community and a determination to eradicate these kinds of hate crimes in America.
Trump, as to be assumed, took a different approach. He used the attack to reiterate his campaign to ban Muslims from entering the US, (clearly not keeping in mind that Mateen was an American citizen born in New York), and reprimanded Obama and Hilary for remaining “politically correct” and avoiding the phrase “radical Islam”.
It was no surprise that Trump took a racist approach to this tragedy, however a potential fear is that many Americans who are traumatized from this attack could be persuaded by his words.
So far, on Twitter, most have voiced their disgust with Trump’s comments, but the real question asks if this is what it would take for more Americans to get behind Trumps bigoted and hateful campaign against Muslims?
When horrible things happen and people are afraid, they revert into a defensive mode, determined to obtain protection and justice.
These are valid feelings in mourning, but they are dangerous in the hands of Donald Trump. He is manipulative and driven, and that is a deadly combination.
Tension within Americans towards Muslims has been a lingering issue since 9/11. It ebbs and flows with each given current event.
It is a kind of irrational fear that can cause people to advocate for the wrong things. It is clear that Trump recognizes people’s eagerness to feel safer, and is using that to promote his motion for a temporary ban of Muslims in the country.
But this is not unusual, and this was to be expected. The real fear is how many people will he convince and how will it affect this election?
Trump has made this an issue of political correctness. He believes that the term “radical Islam” is a phrase not used enough in our discourse and therefore allows things like this to happen.
But again, let’s look at the facts. Mateen was an American citizen, and his ex wife has explained that she does not feel this was religiously motivated as much as it was the outcome of him being mentally ill.
Mateen legally bought an assault rifle, a weapon clearly for more than one needs for hunting or protection. He was an American, and he murdered people out of hatred.
The so called “praise” that Trump is receiving for predicting this horrific event is not only insensitive, repulsive, and narcissistic, but it is also false.
Religion is an ideology that has a great deal of power over a people. Many terrorist attacks have been executed at the hands of radicals sometimes related to the Islamic nation, but often they are not.
Terrorism is defined as the use of violence and intimidation for a political aim. In Colorado Springs when Robert Lewis, a white man from South Carolina shot up a Planned Parenthood, that was political, that was terrorism.
In fact, between 1982 and 2015, out of the 72 mass shootings in America, 44 of the shooters were white. However, Trump is not advocating to ban Lewis and all white people.
Terrorism is a domestic and foreign issue. It does not end if a people are cast out of this country and oppressed for their religion. Guns are easily accessible and end up in the hands of unstable individuals.
In his speech for the Orlando shooting, Obama said, “America has to decide what kind of country it wants to be”. If it were up to Trump, we would be a country driven by hate and racism. Guns would remain accessible and people would continue to be murdered by the hundreds each year; but there would be no Muslim Americans.This is a violent and unacceptable way of thinking.
The numbers are there and clearly show that the real problem is guns and an undeniably stubborn culture that revolves around them.
This is a tragedy beyond consoling. The victims of the Orlando shooting were targeted out of hate and murdered because a mentally ill man had access to an assault rifle. This is the poignant issue of this massacre.
Unfortunately, because of the general hate and fear of Muslims in this country, Trumps sentiments could potentially serve as a dangerous outlet for enraged Americans, and will allow the topic of gun control to once again fall silent.
There are no words to console the victims and their families after this massacre. Cynically, it appears that if the Sandy Hook shooting did not change people’s feelings about guns, perhaps nothing will.
But right now, Americans are in a powerful position to stop a man filled with bigotry and callousness from becoming President and oppressing people in the same ways a fascist dictator once had.
This event is frightening, but our fear cannot be directed in the wrong places. We simply cannot afford to give in to such ways of thought.
Instead, we must stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, discuss productive methods to avoid something like this happening again, and evaluate the kind of country we want to either remain as, or become.
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