A Brief History
On June 12, 2016, in the worst domestic terrorist incident inside the United States since 9/11, Omar Mateen, a 29 year old Afghan man (born in the US), shot and killed at least 49 people and wounded over 50 more in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. No question about his motives, the gunman called police from the scene and pledged allegiance to the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, while ISIS itself took credit for the attack via their news agency.
President Obama and others predictably called for “common sense” gun control measures to prevent such crimes, while gun advocates pointed out the fact that the victims would not have been helpless as sheep to the slaughter if only one or more of them had been armed themselves.
The gunman was finally killed by police about 3 hours later, shouting “Allah akbar!” during the shootout. How many died before police stormed the building? (We do not know.) Omar Mateen, born in New York, comes from a family that moved here from Afghanistan. Despite being interrogated and watched by the FBI in recent years, the radical Muslim Mateen held a job as an armed security guard and was able to legally buy the guns used in the attack.
The previous worst shooting incident in American history was the 33 people killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. No other US shooting cost over 27 lives. Unfortunately, the death toll in today’s massacre might go even higher as many of the wounded are severely injured.
It is believed the gunman used a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun in his attack, although the not so gun savvy press referred to the rifle as an “assault weapon.” (An “assault weapon” is a fully automatic rifle that can shoot like a machine gun, while the semi-automatic versions shoot one bullet per trigger pull; although many models look quite similar to the military models, they are not.)
Of course, the pro-gun and anti-gun groups have some proclaiming loudly for either more liberal permission for the public to arm themselves (after all, this incident is proof that the police cannot protect you) or for “common sense” gun control which really means disarming the public and banning guns based on their looks instead of their actual capabilities. Both sides have been expressing outrage that an obviously dangerous man would be allowed to obtain and own firearms. We agree! With something like hundreds of millions of guns in the US, the number used in such mass shootings is incredibly small. The problem is blatantly people, sick, twisted people, and not inanimate objects such as guns. The US desperately needs to develop some sort of referral process whereby questionable persons can be assessed for fitness to own weapons, while making sure a legal process by which citizens can contest such action also exists to guard the individual’s rights as well.
Question for students (and subscribers): Why does a nut like this murderer get through scrutiny by the FBI and Homeland Security? With the Patriot Act we leave ourselves open to all sorts of invasions of privacy, only to have it fail to protect us. Something is wrong and it is apparent! Congress needs to reexamine our efforts to fight domestic terrorism. Tell us what you think about the subject in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Kugle, Scott Siraj al-Haqq. Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims. Oneworld Publications, 2010.
Moore, Jim. ISIS: THE ISLAMIC STATE: Donald Trump, Orlando, Terrorism, Benghazi, Libya, Syria, and Hillary Clinton. 2015.