I woke up on that Sunday morning to hear that there was a shooting in Orlando. It didn’t take long for me to gather up what little information was available in the few hours after the the shooter had been killed. The first thing that really struck me as odd was that within the first few hours of this massacre Islamic State was claiming responsibility for it. As I was telling my family gathered around the TV that this was unusual, the terrorism expert on the news coverage expressed the same sentiment.
First, no matter the murderer’s intentions, the senseless loss of 49 lives, the horror that the survivors of this madman’s actions along with the pain and suffering caused to the victim’s friends and family will have long lasting circumstances that go far beyond the initial pain and suffering. The first responders who rushed towards the danger, the people that helped get victims treatment, and the people that had to process the carnage will all have long lasting effects for years to come as well.
My thoughts and prayers have been with all these people. Many have a long road to go before they will find their new normal and are able to move on with their lives. The best thing we can do is show love, be supportive, and honor the lives of the people lost during this horrific act of terrorism. This is a time to come together as a country.
One of the things that flashed in my mind as I watched the live coverage was “Please don’t let this become a political football!” My fears were confirmed just hours later as the political lines began to be drawn by politicians who had shown up to be”briefed” on the scene. It quickly became an US of “This is a Radical Islamic Terrorism Problem” and a THEM of “This is a Gun Control Problem”. The presidential candidates quickly choose a side. Then President Obama showed up in Orlando and showed that the most important rule in politics is “never let a crisis go to waste” by turning his moment to be presidential into a “let’s do some gun control” political rant.
Personally, I don’t think either side is right. I believe we are now in a world where there are people that hate America, the freedoms we enjoy, and anyone that doesn’t believe how they believe. Those people have proven over the past few decades that every time we shut down one way for them to attack us, they find another creative way to get to us.
Some people don’t want to look at the way this hatred is instilled in some radicals from birth. This is not just with radical Muslims, but also look at the history of radical groups like the Branch Davidian, the Klu Klux Klan, among other groups both here in America and abroad. Hatred is a common bond in many mass murders. So in mental illness, which is also something no one seems to want to address.
I believe some things can be tweaked that would keep certain people that shouldn’t have access to a gun from getting them. I don’t believe that the “No Fly, No Buy” talking point being touted by Democrats would be the right way to do that. The No Fly List has no due process to put people on it, the people on it aren’t notified when they are placed on it, nor is there a process in place to get removed from the list if you feel you are placed on it improperly. The list would have to be made public record. The appeal process to get off it would have to be created, which would mean putting someone on the list would have to be able to be legally defended by the party(s) that added them.
The other talking point the gun control crowd is trying to tout is “Universal Background Check” legislation. Again, this sounds easy and smart, but a ton of hurdles have to be overcome to make this a reality everyone can live with. Not all states report to the database used to perform gun sales background checks. Even the states that report do not report the same information. This means the informaiton in is inaccurate at best. Add to that the fact the department that does these checks is overwhelmed, and has a poor record of catching things that should raise flags on checks they are already required to perform.
Something needs to be done. While I agree that mass killings are never acceptable, now is the time to honor the dead. It is time to help the injured recover. It is time to thoroughly investigate the actions leading up to the event, and figure out sensible measures that can be taken to avoid a future attack.
Now is not the time to make rash decisions in hopes of gaining political momentum. Now is not the time to pass useless legislation that would have not stopped past events nor stop future attacks. It is appalling that anyone would try to use victims of a crime to further their cause or gain political momentum.