With news reports indicating that at least 50 people have been killed in a mass shooting at an Orlando night club, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, I turned to social media to find out what we know about this horrific attack. Who did it, what was his motive and how might we prevent future attacks? Here is what I found out. All quotes taken directly from my twitter feed.
Who was the shooter, and what was his motive?
Let’s not rush to judgment until we know more about him.
“Omar Mateen, immediately, is a terrorist. Dylan Roof? Let’s wait for all of the facts to come out, says the media and the authorities.”
Admit it: he was a Muslim terrorist.
“Been watching CBS for 40 minutes. No mention this killer was Muslim who targeted a gay bar. If he was Christian it would be headline news.”
What weapon did he use, and how did he get his hands on it?
Once again, an individual who should not be allowed a gun somehow acquired an assault weapon.
“The gun used in Orlando – AR 15 rifle- is the same gun used at Sandy Hook and San Bernadino. It is a weapon of mass destruction.”
Once again, this shooting demonstrates that it is impossible to predict who should be prevented from owning a gun.
“Omar Mateen was reportedly a security guard and licensed to carry a gun”
What was the gunman’s motive?
Evidently he was a lone-wolf terrorist motivated by religious hatred:
“Rep. Schiff, who is always cautious, says Dept. of Homeland Security told him Orlando shooter made pledge of allegiance to Islamic State.”
“Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a ‘known quantity’ to the FBI”
Evidently he was an anti-gay bigot motivated by conservative ideology.
“Shooter was born in America. His anger toward gays is a conservative ideology, opposite of liberalism”
“Orlando Gunman’s Father Says Son Was Upset By Gay Kiss, Not Motivated By Religion”
Would stricter gun control laws have prevented this?
“Pete Williams reports terrorist was on a ‘watch list’ In Dec, GOP blocked bill to stop terrorists from buying guns”
“We can argue about gun control but the fact is that places with reasonable gun control laws simply don’t have mass shootings like this”
“Paris called. They said you’re an idiot.”
“#Orlando shooter passed background check. Next, please.”
“These murders were caused by religion and hate. You can blame the tools all you want but religion is what led to this.”
“50 shootings is a nice peaceful weekend in gun control utopia of Chicago.”
In fact, existing gun control laws exacerbated the carnage:
“Like the killers at the Paris Bataclan concert, the Orlando gunman had 3 hours to work his way through the club, killing at will, B4 being shot.”
How can we prevent future incidents like this from happening?
Not by disarming law-abiding Americans
“We can stop terror attacks on innocent Americans by disarming innocent Americans’ is fun argument. Good luck with that.”
Instead, we must recognize the source of the terror: Radical Islamic Terrorism
“Will only get worse in America, when our POTUS can’t say, or recognize those 3 very words-RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM.”
“First, they came for the French satirists, but I wasn’t a French satirist, and I did not speak out …
Then they came for the gays in the nightclub, but I’m not gay, and I did not speak out …”
“#LGBT need to arm themselves from the only people on the planet and our country targeting them: Muslims”
“Sorry gang. Bigotry is not refusing to bake a fucking cake. It’s slaughtering folks in a night club ’cause Allah don’t like it”
Yes: we must recognize the source of the terror: Americans’ love affair with guns and violence combined with bigotry.
“Saying the words ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ (even tweeting them) does not actually combat terrorism.”
“Those who demonize, and promote discrimination against, LGBTs create the ideological / cultural context for the Pulse massacre. #sociology”
“Also: you do not have permission from queer Latinxs to use the Pulse shooting for your Islamophobic, ssaremongering war machine. Don’t dare.”
Will it have any impact on the presidential election?
It shows why we should elect Trump:
Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?”
It shows why we should not elect Trump:
“Donald Trump should not be president. But the PC response to the Orlando attack is helping his chances.”
The Pulse shooting. It is a hate crime, made more likely by lax guns laws and a conservative culture that demonizes the LGBT community.
The Pulse shooting. It is an act of terrorism, fueled by religious hatred fomented by Islamic jihadists.
One thing it apparently is not: an incident that will bring partisan activists together. And that’s the sad truth about the Orlando shooting.