“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that allows them to shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or in a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And, to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
These were the words uttered by President Barack Obama during a press conference on Sunday, May 12, coming in response to a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early that morning. The incident resulted in 50 deaths (including the terrorist) and more than 50 injuries, making it the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history and the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
The suspected shooter is Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla. Before firing his weapon on innocent civilians and taking approximately 30 hostages, Mateen dialed 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, even mentioning the Boston Marathon bombings during his call, according to U.S. officials. Mateen was killed after an ensuing firefight with police and SWAT personnel.
For all of us as Americans, this is a horrible tragedy and a heinous display of hatred towards members of the LGBT community. However, President Obama’s remarks to the public show that he is missing the bigger picture in regard to these acts of terrorism, and his undying necessity to push gun control legislation as a result of these incidents is naïve, incomprehensible and downright ignorant.
Mateen didn’t shoot up the Orlando nightclub simply because he had legal access to firearms — Mateen was likely radicalized by the growing prominence of ISIS on social media and the rest of the cyber world. For years, the organization has committed to enhanced cyber recruitment strategies used for inspiring domestic terrorism and hatred across the West in the name of jihad.
As he focuses his disdain on the object used to cause terror and the group of people terrorized against, Obama should be equally concerned with the motive and inspiration behind this attack, or the root of the evil. Instead, Obama uses another tragedy as a smokescreen to push for gun control while offering half-hearted condolences to a vulnerable demographic that has long been marginalized by the Muslim world. As a New York Times Op-Ed recently noted, the Muslim world has remained silent on the issue of gay rights, even before the so-called social justice era began.
Not only does Obama fail to acknowledge the growing threat of radical Islam against Americans of all backgrounds, he refuses to accept its existence. As National Review contributing editor Andrew C. McCarthy pointed out in an article penned Sunday, hatred towards homosexuals isn’t just an ISIS problem, but historically a Muslim problem. Leading influential scholars and jurists in both the Sunni and Shiite world openly teach that sodomy is “forbidden,” and that sodomites “should be killed in the worst manner possible.”
This isn’t telling of the entirety of the Muslim world. However, many of its influential leaders do preach this type of hate on the open ears of people who cling to outdated ideologies and practices like sharia law. The populations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan all overwhelmingly support sharia law as the official law of the land.
The growing threat of radical and extremist versions of Islam cannot be denied and overlooked simply because it doesn’t coincide with your political agenda. The Obama Administration’s utter and complete failure to identify the enemy is the most pressing reason why these transgressions continue to occur — a novel explanation as to why this tainted ideology has proliferated throughout the Middle East and why it actively warps the minds of susceptible Westerners.
If Obama earnestly cared for members of the LGBT community and the safety of all American citizens, he could show true solidarity after this incident by exposing radical Islam for what it is: A prominent national security threat that employs a hateful ideology – one that systematically exploits and oppresses women, homosexuals, non-believers and other minority populations that have been openly stratified against in historical Muslim society; groups of people both socially and politically incapable of inciting cultural change who remain wholly defenseless against its malicious teachings.
Additionally, going after law abiding gun owners and limiting their right to defend themselves during this time of tragedy will only allow these attacks to continue. Congress banned the manufacture of semi-automatic rifles from 1994 to 2004 and mandated a study on the law’s efficacy. The temporary ban proved futile because criminals and terrorists are not deterred by gun control legislation. These regulations only disarm lawful citizens – they will not stop the spread of ISIS-inspired hate or the radicalization of the Western world.
We all know that modern Islamism is not meant to advocate, endorse or condone this type of hatred, and that the vast majority of Muslims find this behavior deplorable and untelling of their true beliefs. However, there is no denying that the fundamentalist views of Islam are alive and well in many areas of the world and expanding to vulnerable populations in the West.
And so terrorist attacks, whether committed by lone wolf conspirators or in coordination ISIS leaders, will continue to occur until we adequately identify and eliminate the root of this evil.