Pensacola, Florida
Saturday August 24th 2019

Archives

Outtakes—Rush To Judgment

By Rick Outzen

The shooting at the Orlando nightclub Pulse is the deadliest mass killing in our country’s history—at least 49 victims were killed and 53 others wounded. As so many tragedies, media and public officials rushed to make sense of a senseless act.

Dr. Jacob Shively, a UWF professor that focuses on U.S. foreign policy and security issues, told me on “Pensacola Speaks” that people tend to use such mass shootings, whether they occur in an elementary school, church or movie theater, to re-enforce their belief systems.

“Just emotionally, people want to react and do something, but all it does in the immediate aftermath is reinforce, re-entrench our pre-existing positions, whatever they are,” he said.

The day after the shooting politicians and political action groups issued statements for and against gun control. Since the gunman was Muslim, there were calls for tighter immigration laws regarding Muslims and more surveillance of Muslims in our country. Republicans bashed and blamed President Barack Obama. Democrats attacked the Republican Congressional leadership.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott asked the President to declare the shooting a federal emergency.

“Yesterday’s terror attack was an attack on our state and entire nation,” said Scott. “This morning, I have asked President Obama to declare an emergency so that the full resources of the federal government can be made available for all those impacted by this horrific massacre.”

The killer, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was an American and son of Afghan parents. He owned his guns legally and worked as a security guard. He was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat. During the attack, Mateen called 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers.

The media, politicians and public initially saw the tragedy as a “lone wolf” act of terrorism that happened because of the shooter’s religious beliefs against homosexuality.

However, a different picture of Mateen has begun to develop. Pulse customers said that the shooter was seen at the gay regularly. One told The Associated Press that Mateen tried to pick up men there. Several media outlets, including MSNBC and the Los Angeles Times, have reported the killer exchanged messages using several gay dating apps, such as Jack’d and Grindr.

When the dust clears, we will get a better view of why this tragedy happened. The massacre may have more connections with the shooting at Emanuel AME Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston than the Boston Marathon bombing.