This morning, most of us woke to news of the attack that took place inside of Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Oh, wait, that isn’t quite how it was played out in the media, especially in social media. Long before any facts were verified — hint, law enforcement is still working to determine exactly what happened. They know some of it but not all — the media and others were spinning what happened to fit their own narrative. Don’t believe me, look at some of the headlines and ledes and ask yourself this: if thi had taken place in a nightclub that was not one that catered to any particular group, would that have been mentioned? But because it was a “gay” nightclub, that fact has been shouted to the rafters and used as “proof” of motivation, even before the shooter was identified.
Go to Facebook and read some of the posts. There is a meme already making the rounds to the effect that we need saving from those whose first reaction to incident was “how do we protect our guns”. Hmm. The person responsible for the quote and meme could take time to get on a political hobbyhorse for anti-gun legislation instead of waiting to see if the weapon(s) in question had been obtained through legal or illegal means. No sympathy expressed on the meme for the victims or their families. Nope, political agenda all the way.
Not that this is the only type of the political or social agenda being pushed. There are those who instantly assumed it was a Christian extremist, although most used the term “fundamentalist”, responsible. After all, we know all Christians are anti-gay. Again, pushed with no proof.
There are those who have taken a tweet from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to prove at least some Christians might be capable of committing such a heinous act. The tweet, shown here, may or may not relate to what happened in Orlando. Patrick’s office says it was pre-scheduled and had nothing to do with the tragedy. I would like to think that is the case. However, Patrick is a loose cannon and, frankly, rarely opens his mouth without putting both feet in it. But, whether or not he meant the tweet as a reaction to the events in Orlando, it doesn’t prove the person, or persons, responsible were Christian fanatics.
Then there is the other side of the coin. The side that instantly decided that the perp had to be an Islamic extremist. After all, we all know how they feel about gays. That’s the argument and, at least in the first few hours after the attack, it had as little support as any of the others. The only thing I can say they were hanging their proverbial hats on was the classification of the shooting as “terrorism”. Add in the information that the police said the perp had a “suspicious device” and it isn’t difficult to understand why there were those who jumped to the conclusion that it was someone connected with ISIS or a similar group.
Here’s the thing. Even now, the facts are only beginning to emerge. Was there only one shooter or was there another? What I have seen so far from the officials is that there was just the one, killed during the attempt by police to rescue those still inside the club. However, interviews with at least one person present at the club refers to at least two shooters. Who is right? I don’t know. My gut tells me there very well may have been more than one there.
Slowly, oh so slowly, the police are starting to release information. Several hours ago, the gunman was identified as Omar Mateen. He was 29 and a U. S. citizen. It is believed he was born here and his family was from Afghanistan. He had no criminal record but was “known to police”. Federal officials are investigating to see if he had any ties to terror organizations and his father said he might have had some anti-gay leanings.
Right now, we know very little about the why of what happened. Not that the usual suspects — on all sides — are letting that stop them. They would much rather flog their pet political and social agendas, using this tragedy to try to score points. Shame on them. Shame on each of them for putting an issue ahead of what happened and for clouding the metaphorical water. Once more they prove they are more concerned with showing their social conscience than their humanity.
The ones I really feel for are those who have had family members out them on social media in order for the person making the revelation seem more “in tune” with the tragedy. I have seen several posts this morning from parents who outed their kids– yes, they outed their kids and at least one of them is still in his teens — in order to show they “understand” how those in Orlando feel. I hope they spoke with their kids before making such an announcement. If not, I hope they are ready for the fallout, not only with regard to their relationship with their child but with how others might now deal with that child.
Would stricter gun control laws have prevented this tragedy? We don’t know because, as far as I can tell right now, we don’t know if the shooter obtained his weapons legally. We don’t know, at least not that I have seen, why he decided to shoot anyone, much less why he decided to drive to Orlando and target this particular club and its customers.
Until we start getting answers to the fundamental questions behind what happened, everyone needs to step back, shut up and quit flogging their pet agendas. Such cries of outrage help no one, especially when the facts are still unknown. So shut up, sit down and do something you aren’t used to doing — wait until you know more. Who knows. You might actually learn something in the process.