When a disturbed American invokes ‘Isis’, it’s immediately considered an act of war. “National security” is about to take on a renewed focus in the presidential race. We've seen this before.
But the reality is that the threat to Americans is not some fanatical death cult halfway around the world: the real threat comes from the fact that unstable individuals of all stripes continue to have easy access to assault weapons.
There was no indication that Isis had trained or instructed Mateen or that he had any real relation to the organization. This seriously disturbed young man was looking for any opportunity to associate himself with the terrorist group and the organization took advantage of the ensuing tragedy to take credit. But Mateen was unstable long before Isis came into existence.
When the killer in these types of mass shootings is white, as the vast majority of them are, Republicans are happy to discount their extreme conservative political views as the ravings of a madman. Yet when a clearly unstable American of color shouts “Isis”, that discussion halts and it’s immediately considered an act of war.
Of course, mass shootings have always been a form of “terrorism”, but we don’t call it that when the perpetrators do not have a Muslim-sounding name.
Lone-wolf attacks are notoriously hard if not impossible to stop. Any unstable individual who is set on death and destruction, who keeps his or her plans secret and is willing to die to achieve his or her goals, can't be stopped.
Guns, the instruments of mass death are widely available in our country, and so long as this remains true we will continue to see mass shootings that kill dozens of people in America. Without gun control, there will be more atrocities like that in Orlando.
If the rise of Donald Trump, has taught us anything this election, it’s that bigotry is alive and well in the US. Trump has successfully channeled the fears of a population that feels displaced by the ascendency of gays, minorities, immigrants and women in America. And he’s proud of it. He also made sure that what happened at Pulse in the wee hours of Sunday be laid at the feet of Islamic extremism, and that the consequences are borne by all Muslims. He ignored the fact that anti-LGBT sentiment can be found across most major world religions.
The shooting brings together a whole spate of contentious issues: terror, hate, guns – even immigration. Trump is only interested in pinpointing radical Islam and scapegoating Muslims. Mateen could have easily been a disturbed white man.
Hate-driven murder can come from the left, right, black, white, Muslim or Christian communities. You can’t legislate away hate and intolerance or foreshadow the intentions of every disturbed person. But we can stop semi-automatic weapons like the one the shooter used from being sold down the street. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough this time.
Sign in with Facebook to comment:
Sign in with Facebook