Yesterday morning I woke up and found out that 49 people had died and 53 more were wounded in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.
But then I started reading a whole bunch of articles about the tragedy, and even listened to five minutes of FOX News (I had no choice, that’s all they watch in Utah), and there are some things I feel I need to address:
“Radical Islamic Terrorism”: This shooting was never about “radical Islamic terrorism”. It’s true that the man who did this, Omar Mateen, was a Muslim, but he committed this crime because he was a crazy, homophobic, evil man with access to an assault weapon. He was violent and abusive, and most importantly, his ideology was barely any different than that of the white Christian man who shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic. The only reason this incident is being called an act of terrorism (which I don’t disagree with) is because Mateen was a Muslim. However, let’s not forget that this kind of violence can come with any kind of religious extremism, and that Mateen, while also a domestic terrorist, is also just a crazy lone wolf.
Furthermore, even if this had been planned by Daesh or Mateen had done this for Daesh, calling it an act of radical Islamic terrorism would just further Daesh’s agenda. The more Muslims FOX News alienates with the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism”, the more supporters Daesh has.
The Gun Control Debate: This incident has reignited the gun control debate, which is a good thing. However, this has happened before, and the NRA will shut this down just like they shut it down after the Sandy Hook mass shooting. But while the debate is still going, it’s time to recognize that assault weapons have no place on our streets. Assault weapons are weapons of war, and as long as the United States is not a war zone, they shouldn’t be allowed to be in the hands of citizens.
To That Guy in the Facebook Comments Section: So 49 people are dead and quite a few are still in critical condition, and the best you have to say is that their punishment is just beginning in Hell? This is the least human and least Christian reaction you can possibly have to a tragedy like this, especially when the Bible commands us to love one another and not pass judgement on each other. This is a time for love and support, not continued hatred.
Most Importantly: There has been a lot of talk about the shootings, but what is most remarkable is what hasn’t been said. The LGBTQ+ aspect of the shooting (the most important part) is being erased by Conservatives who seem to want to ignore the violence LGBTQ+ people face. This is not a “crime against humanity”, it is a hate crime targeting the LGBTQ+ community, and it is important for us to acknowledge that.