This is not an Islamist attack, it is anti-gay terrorism
We need a co-ordinated response and to avoid the Trump-esk politics of a blame game.
How many times does a President of the USA have to deliver a press conference at short notice, to give details about a mass shooting? For President Obama, it seems that number just keeps growing. He has had to face more mass shootings during his two terms of office than any other President in recent history, and if trends continue and no changes are made, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could be in the same boat.
Obama has given eighteen statements following mass shootings, and as we all know by now, the latest attack came in the early hours of 12th June, when 50 people were killed by an Islamist attacker in Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
This was the deadliest mass shooting in American history, beating the last record by almost doubling the death toll. This attack was against the LGBT community. This attack was more than terrorism; it was a hate crime.
It was an attempt to punish innocent people for their way of life, for an aspect of their personality and individualism that is beyond their control and completely natural.
Terrorism: the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims… The symbolism of terrorism is to exploit human fear to achieve these aims.
That is why this hate crime is not islamist terrorism. Attacks such as September 11th and those that occured in London on the 7th of July 2005 are Islamist; they attack people regardless in the name of Islamist aims. This attack proceeded further than an islamist, anti- west objective.
This attack targeted one community: LGBT people. This attack was an example of violence against every non- straight person in the United States and around the world. It was an attack on our way of life and our status as LGBT- a status we cannot determine or control.
Hate Crime: violent crime against an individual based on their membership or perceived membership of a particular social group, such as LGBT people, women, or ethnic minorities, among others.
This was not an islamist attack. Yes, the attacker was (allegedly) muslim. But above that he was anti- gay, and set out to kill gay men in a supposedly- safe space. He did that not because of his islamic religion, but because of his anti- gay views.
This was an attack that could just have easily been carried out by an individual from the Christian Right or similar organisation, such as the Westbro Baptist Church, as one carried out by someone who was allegedly associated with the so-called Islamic State.
“This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.” — Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presumptive Nominee for President
Above everything, this was an invasion of a space set up so that LGBT people could be theirselves. It was an attack against every member of the LGBT community. It was an attack against everyone who shares the LGBT community’s values.
What is needed now is a co-ordinated and inclusive political response. I started this blog post stating that President Obama had stood and given a speech about the need for gun control after a mass shooting eighteen times since becoming President. The next President needs to ensure that they do not break his record.
Although unsavory among Republicans, the aim of the next President and Congress has to be to pass comprehensive gun controll and perhaps even consider the state of the second amendment in the constitution.
Second Amendment: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Clearly out-dated, the second amendment provides, in many circumstances, non-regulatable access to guns. The ammendment is used to defend access to guns for millions of people in the USA- the majority of which would never do anything like the scenes from Orlando. However, the minority who can gain access to dangerous weapons and engage in this sort of attack deserve their right to weapons limiting.
Moreover, the introduction of gun licensing and control would mean that guns can be kept out of the hands of dangerous criminals, the mentally ill, and those under investigation by the FBI and other law enforcement areas. Controls would also warrant law enforcement to crack down on the illegal supply of weapons, and ensure that everyone is visible to and accountable for the misuse of guns.
What definitely is not needed by politicians is the Trump-style arrogance of claiming that the issues of gun control and of domestic terrorism can be alleviated by the small- minded ideas of a ban on muslim migration to the USA.
Descending into a blame game and small- minded plans and further discrimination is not what is needed. What is needed is for the LGBT community to have allies in politics, for politicans to stand up and realise that this was a hate crime against gay people, and for the LGBT community to be accepted as part of the American community so that the hate that is in so many people can be tackled and eradicated.
It’s important to remember that at least in the USA it is Pride Month. This attack highlighted the hate that exists within society for LGBT people. Going forward, this hatred needs challenging. We are all human, we all love, we all grieve and we will all, with Pride, remember those that have been lost today. We will remember that these people died through an attack on being theirselves, in a safe space that has been created because of this hatred in society.
LGBT people will continue to fight to be accepted.
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