The shooting at the Pulse Club in Orlando was horrific. Nobody would argue that.
But the fact that the shooter dubbed himself a sympathizer with ISIS, fitting the description of “terrorist,” has created movement in the Congress that no other mass shooting up until now has been able to inspire.
There is something wrong with that.
I thought that surely, when the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School were blown to bits by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, that the Congress, many of whom purport to be “pro-life,” would act. I thought the lawmakers would unite and create some type of gun-control legislation that would make it harder for some people to get guns.
At the least, I thought they would reinstate the ban on assault weapons. But Congress did nothing. Not even the brutally maimed bodies of little children could move the Congress to act. The National Rifle Association (NRA) had a hold, it seemed, that took precedence with the specious assertion that the president was trying to take away the Second Amendment rights of Americans. The argument is so full of holes, so weightless, that it defies any attempt to rationally challenge it.
Nothing, it seemed, would shake even the Democrats in the House and Senate. All of the lawmakers, or nearly all of them, dug their heels in, dead, mangled children notwithstanding.
But with the word “terrorism” invoked, the mood has shifted a bit. As soon as it became apparent that this man who had connections with ISIS, albeit distant, the media ate it up. This was a terrorism attack. This…was against America. This …was something different, worthy of greater attention and involvement from lawmakers.
So, deaths wrought by White Christians wielding guns, are not worthy of serious consideration for some kind of gun control? The rights of people to buy guns – not just guns, but assault weapons – should be protected even if that means they shoot up innocent people, except in the case of the shooter being a Muslim? The massacre of innocent people is “okay” until the shooter sympathizes with ISIS?
Senators and Representatives who have heretofore been silent about or in opposition to any form of gun control are now speaking out.
What the media is completely ignoring, as it continues to vilify Islam, is that there are a lot of Christians, White and Black, who are “radicalized” as well as there are Muslims. While the media is saying that Islam hates homosexuality, plenty of Christians hate it, too. Some Christians have even said that the murder of the 49 people at Pulse got what they deserved.
Radical Muslims and radical Christians are not that much different when it comes to this subject.
What the media is not concentrating on as hard as it is concentrating on the terrorist aspect of this tragedy is the fact that it seems like it was at least as much a hate crime as it was a terrorist attack. And it may be that the shooter was in conflict because he was struggling with identifying and accepting his own sexuality. What better way to kill that which you don’t like in yourself than to kill someone outside yourself who represents what you are trying to deny?
Those who want to prove that “radical Islamic terrorism” is on the rise, are almost gleeful. This attack proves their premise that that terrorism is the major issue of our time, and adds fuel to their argument that President Barack Obama is the cause of it all.
Meanwhile, assault weapons are still on the market, the media is still feeding the fear about Muslims, and people continue to be mutilated by weapons of war. This is in a so-called civilized society.
It is disheartening and disturbing, but it is the America that we live in today.
Rev. Susan K Smith is an ordained minister who lives in Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of several books, including “Crazy Faith: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives” and “The Book of Jeremiah: The Life and Ministry of Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. She is available to preach or do keynote addresses. Reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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