Sunday, June 12, 2016

Shock and Horror in Orlando

Again. There have been too many headlines like this lately:

"A gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more in a rampage that was the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history."

"Authorities in Orlando said Sunday that the siege at Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club, was quickly deemed an act of domestic terrorism. In addition to the 50 people killed, another 53 were injured, officials said."

"Police had said earlier Sunday that 20 people were killed before saying that the toll was significantly higher. Until Sunday, the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech — which saw 32 people killed and 30 others injured — was the country’s worst mass shooting."

"Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the toll from this latest mass slaughter could have been even greater, saying that a SWAT team “rescued at least 30 possible victims and brought them to safety.”

"The gunman was killed by police officers in a shootout after the rampage, authorities said. It was not immediately clear if the death toll included the gunman."

"While police have not publicly identified the gunman, law enforcement officials and relatives on Sunday identified him as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Fla."

"Police have not identified a possible motive, and details about Mateen’s background were scarce on Sunday morning. His family is from Afghanistan, while Mateen is believed to have been born in the United States."

"One relative said that Mateen’s family was in shock after being told on Sunday morning about his involvement. This relative said Mateen’s family was very sorry about what had happened."

It would be nice to say that such moments should lift us above politics, but let's face it, they never do and that may not be realistic anyway, especially in the middle of such an election year as this has proved to be. There are three clear political angles.

1. ISIS.

2. Gun control

3. As it was at a very popular LGBT nightclub, was this a hate crime? My guess is that many in the LJBT community will feel the answer is unequivocally, yes.

The tendency of the GOP and the Beltway media will always be towards 1. Often those who respond with concerns over 2 or 3-like the attack on the abortion clinic earlier this year-are derided as 'not being serious.'

Being 'serious' means you always privilege assumption 1 to 2 or 3.

When that abortion clinic was attacked, the media insisted for three days that we not 'rush to judgement' and presume that it was motivated by anti abortion rage though that was the most obvious explanation and one that proved to be dead on correct.

Discussing 2-gun control-is often dismissed as 'politicizing a tragedy.' It's also considered 'unserious' if 1 is a clear possibility.

It's never political to presume that it was ISIS inspired. And if the name of the shooter is Arab sounding-as this one is-it's more or less seen as an open and shot case.

Though we actually have more domestic terror by white Christians, those by Arab Muslims will always be seen as much more deadly and 'serious.'

And already you hear the media saying that we don't know for sure, but just the same, clearly hinting as much.

There's always the assumption among GOPers and much of the Beltway that if anything regarding ISIS happens it's 'Obama's fault.'

Because he called the the "JV team.'

So watch for the unfolding of the political narrative around this one. Some may try to claim this 'helps Trump.'

Not that he has said anything serious about dealing with much less defeating ISIS. 

However, now unlike in the primary, Hillary's reputation as something of a 'hawk' helps as she is seen as more likely capable of the requisite 'tough' response. 

Here is the political response thus far:
"The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the Orlando shooting Sunday morning by Lisa Monaco, his assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism."

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims,” the White House said in a statement. “The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

"Vice President Joe Biden, who was also briefed by his national security adviser, “offered his prayers for all those killed and injured in the shooting and sends his condolences to all the families and loved ones of the victims,” his office said. “He is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to receive regular updates as we know more.” Biden also canceled a fundraiser scheduled for Florida today."

"The remaining presidential candidates also commented. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump called the shooting “really bad.”

“Police investigating possible terrorism,” he tweeted. “Many people dead and wounded.”

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted in both English and Spanish that she woke up to the “devastating news from FL.”

“As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act,” she said.

Read more:

They also had Bernie's response which was fine but I'm not including as he's not a candidate anymore.

It starts already:

"For all you young liberals. Pls realize this is the evil face of Islam. They kill gays in the Middle East. Islam hates gays #Orlando."

Just like you Right wingers hate gays in America-and pray for Obama's death.

Shadi Hamid observes:

"Former congressman wastes no time exploiting attack to spread hate."

At least he's former. Deservedly so.

1. Let's wish law enforcement hope and luck in finding out what really happened. At this point it seems like a lone wolf-but the question is whether it was ISIS inspired.

2. Let's remember that whether or not it was ISIS inspired not to demonize Islam, or our Islamic brothers and sisters.

3. It remains fair question-and no more political than any other-to ask how and why these sorts of weapons are so readily available.

Gun control remains something we need to do.

4. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and with the larger LGBT community.

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