In the early hours of June 12th, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida was attacked by a ruthless and hateful man.
Omar Mateen killed 50 people today.
Omar Mateen critically injured 53 people today.
How is it possible that one 29-year-old Florida resident could be behind the deadliest shooting in US history? Well, before any of the events of June 12th began, Mateen had already been in some trouble with the US government. He was investigated by the FBI in 2013 after making a statement regarding radical Islamic propaganda and making offensive comments towards his co-workers. Again, in 2014, he was interviewed because of potential ties to an American suicide bomber. Somehow a man with such a background was able to legally obtain the rifle and the handgun that were used in this mass shooting at Pulse. On top of those legal matters, Mateen has outwardly expressed his anger towards LGBTQ people in front of his father and 3-year-old son after seeing two men kissing in Miami earlier this year.
A few moments before the shooting, Mateen himself called 911 to share a few of his beliefs that the FBI hadn’t managed to get out of him during earlier conversations. Pledging allegiance to the leader of ISIS and mentioning the Tsarnaev brothers’ bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013, Mateen then opened fire on the club which was filled with roughly 300 people at the time.
This has been labeled both a religious and radical act of terrorism, as well as a hate crime. Mateen’s father himself denies the part religion has to play in this incident. He instead calls upon his son’s very apparent homophobia as the root of what caused this tragic event. While family and friends are shocked at Mateen’s extreme reaction, it doesn’t seem quite that shocking once you learn about his history with the FBI and his distaste for those who choose to love openly.
How a person can hate another that they don’t even know is beyond my comprehension. People are all made of flesh, bones, and blood; each person is capable of feeling love and expressing that love. Who one person chooses to spend their time with is all well and good in my book. If you aren’t hurting anyone, your life choices are just that. They are YOUR OWN. Maybe gay men, or transgender individuals, or lesbian women didn’t like watching Mateen kiss his wife. Did anyone decide to go attack him at his favorite club?
It is 2016.
Not only should we start having more strict gun laws, but we need to be more inclusive. There is no excuse for this behavior and no reason for it. Guns clearly kill people due to those that stand behind them. Guns do not need to be in the hands of those who have any record with the FBI, who have a history of mental instability, or who are such a hateful people.
Featured image via “Governor Wolf Attends Community Vigil for the Victims of the Orlando Shooting” by governortomwolf / CC BY 2.0