“The largest mass-shooting in American History.” It’s a phrase that’s been bandied about a lot that I’ve seen over the last couple of days. And the numbers back it up; 49 dead, 53 injured. It turning out to be a terrorist attack as well. Reports are coming out about the shooter’s background, and alleged sympathies towards jihadism.
There’s a lot of outrage to go around. But this isn’t only a terrorist attack. An American citizen walked into a bar and killed 49 people with an assault rifle, and had access to a handgun. Where’s the fury on that? From the coverage I’ve seen, it seems as if everyone is okay with this. And nobody wants to do much to try and curtail the violence.
This guy had come to the FBI’s attention twice for in the last three years. The first for making comments to co-workers that were interpreted as pro-jihadi. The second for his connection to a second American citizen who went back to Syria becoming a suicide bomber. And he had an ex-wife who alleges he beat her. How is a guy with this past not examined a second time when he tries to buy a firearm? Where is the rage on this?
Homophobia is part of the jihadist ideology. There is no escaping the idea it played a role at least on the periphery in the attack. But to imagine Pulse was picked because it was a gay bar stretches credibility. It gives the suspect more credit for having thoughts beyond “I want to kill masses of people. How do I do it?” than he deserves.
When the final stories are written on the attack at Pulse, homophobia will fade to a footnote. This wasn’t only an attack a gay night club. It was an attack on Western values; acceptance, freedom, and love. And that’s something that should enrage everyone no matter the race, gender, religion or sexual preference.