The Orlando Tragedy: Some thoughts

So we are all reeling in shock at the news of yet another mass shooting in the US. Many column inches have been written, tweets of condolence have been tweeted, facebook profile pictures have been changed. Politicians have pontificated. What is going to change? It seems like a breaking point has been reached. Something must be done. Will anything ever be done?

The facts of the case have opened up lots of cans of worms among the political class. Everyone is quick off the mark to say their piece depending on which tribe they belong to. Everyone is trotting out the usual platitudes.

It seems to me that lots of people are not willing to call a spade a spade. Coming from the north I have always been used to plain speaking. Sometimes I think it’s not that much of a virtue and sometimes can be seen as hurtful and rude. However, over the Orlando shootings we seem to have reached peak political correctness. This is otherwise known as bullshit. It is time to stop lying and call things as they are.

Arguments are ensuing about what is the cause of the attacks. The gun control lobby says it would not have happened with strong gun control laws. This is blatantly false. Criminals can obtain guns in the most repressive of states. The Paris and Brussels attacks took place in countries with strict gun laws. It may have been ridiculously easy for the gunman to obtain a weapon in the US but he could have got one anyway if he was determined enough.

Some say it is to do with mental illness. From what I have read this may be a partial truth. Omar was violent and had mood swings according to family members. However he does not seem to have been under psychiatric care. He was not restrained in a mental health unit as a danger to the public. He had a job at G4S. He was able to function in society. This does not sound like someone dangerously mentally ill. If he was, what can be done to prevent such shootings in the future? It seems there is a need for a much better mental health care system. Vulnerable individuals need to be flagged up and taken care of? Why aren’t they? Nobody seems to care until it is too late.

Some say it is a homophobic attack. This also seems a truth at least in part. The gunman chose a well known LGBT club. He had made homophobic remarks in the past. In this interpretation, he is seen as a lone wolf full of hate. He has a revulsion towards gay people which he must act out on. Possible. I don’t think this is the whole truth though.

Some say it was an Islamic extremist terrorist attack. The Islamic State has taken credit for the incident. His links with the Islamic State seem at best tenuous. He acted alone. He was born in the US. He was a Muslim and he attended the mosque. He may have been radicalised on the internet, connecting with IS through websites and social media. Is it all do do with Islam? Is it nothing to do with Islam? Is it something to do with Islam? This depends on who you speak to.

Hilary Clinton tweets that Islam is a religion of peace and love. So to her it is nothing to do with Islam. It is hard to accept this totally. Obviously, most Muslims are peaceful and law abiding. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is a prime example of this. He has no problem with gay people celebrating life in bars. However, there are some Muslims who do not agree. Homosexuality is condemned in the Koran as it is in the Old Testament. Some Christians and some Jews also condemn homosexuality. However, very few Christians and Jews act on this ancient law. Many Islamic countries do. Being gay in many of these countries is punishable by death. The Islamic state in Syria are throwing gay people from high buildings. This punishment is mentioned in the Koran. I know. I have read it. Homophobia does have something to do with Islam or at least a literal interpretation of it.

Trump tweets that all Muslims should be not allowed in the US. This is too simplistic, knee jerk and is not the answer. It is unworkable even if one agreed with the principle. It would also be a human rights disaster zone.

The Left in Britain, of which I count myself one, has a problem with all this. Everyone is terrified of being called Islamophobic. Everyone loves the cuddly and accepted gay community. These are givens. However, it is not logically possible to be in support of a religion which openly castigates gay acts. Where does this leave the Left? Caught in an ideological contradiction it leads to silence. It leads to not mentioning things that need to be mentioned. It leads to double think and the thought police.

Everyone needs to be able to talk about these things honestly and openly, to dare to say how they feel without worrying they will be expelled from their tribe. I know that some Imams preach homophobia in British mosques. They may do in the US for all I know. This needs to be discussed.

The events in Orlando are incredibly sad. It seems to me we are no nearer a solution. Talk is cheap but what are we actually going to do? We must do something.

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