Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Orlando Tragedy and American Politics.

At the outset let me state emphatically that I am against ALL forms of violence and any loss of life under any circumstances is a deplorable act. The tragic events in Orlando where 49 people senselessly lost their lives to a deranged man who attacked a night club armed with guns and the intent to take lives. The tragedy speaks for itself in overtones of grief that cannot be cured by words alone. In the same breath the shooting has been become a political tool for both Republicans and Democrats camps and centres around two crucial issues; the role of radical Muslim militants in this shooting and the issue of gun control.

In essence there is no difference between this attack, in its intent and ferocity, from other attacks in schools and public places all over the United States. What makes this a political issue is that the attacker was a Muslim and purported to call 911 during the attack and pledge his support for ISIS. In sincerity the attacker does not fit the profile of a Muslim radical; yes at times he attended prayers at the local mosque and claimed he had friends in ISIS and in Hezbollah, (which is very unlikely as both those organisations are sworn enemies). What is more likely is that this deranged man had an issue with gay people and exacted his anger by killing people. He was not someone fired up with ISIS ideology looking to carry out their promised attacks on America. In essence his actions in acquiring guns and entering a public place and randomly shot people no different from the actions of the shooters in the cases of Sandy Hook Elementary School and Columbine High school.

Since Jan 1, 2015 there have been 27 school shooting, (SCHOOL not public shooting) in the US, in which 23 people were killed and 52 people were seriously wounded. It may be pointed out that not one of these 27 shootings was carried out by a Muslim attacker or by a recent immigrant. In most of the cases the shooters had either easy access to guns or had no problems in acquiring the guns, and one can say that none of the shootings were politically motivated. No one has come and claimed that there is some form of Christian radical movement behind the killings only because the attackers in each case was a Christian. The fact that Omar Mateen who was the killer in Orlando was a Muslim does not make the act more radical other than giving ammunition to people to play the Muslim terrorism card. There is just as much a chance of a fundamentalist Christian angry about gay rights to carry out such an attack as it was for Omar Mateen to carry out this attack.

Using a paint brush to call all Muslims radical and to assume every immigrant to the US comes with the intent to carry out attack is ludicrous. From an international perspective lets get something very clear, that radical Muslims are attacking more Muslims around the world than targeting Americans. Yes there have been some attacks by them in Europe and the West, but these are minuscule attacks compared to what is happening in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Pakistan just to name a few countries.

Now onto the issue of gun control; why would a man want to buy an semi automatic high powered rifle to shoot rabbits? Why are these guns so freely available to the average man in America? Can we assume a proper sense of responsibility about using guns on the part of each owner? If this was the case then how come we have thousands of gun deaths in the US each year. Simply put the guns need to be controlled and ideally should only be in the hands of the law enforcement people and hunting guns should be better defined and better controlled. Yes a radical or deranged man will still try and get illegal guns but then the access will be more difficult.

I live in the UAE, we do not have guns in the hands of people. We have Muslims, Christians, Hindus and people of other beliefs living here, to the extent that one can argue the non Muslims are over 50% of the population. We have not had one public shooting, not one school shooting, not one attack based on religious hate and to the extent that any religious or ethnic hate talk is immediately dealt with by the law.

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