A gay club massacre that may propel the most chaotic of candidates to presidential victory …
Forty-nine people are dead and fifty-three are seriously injured after Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando Florida, with an SIG Sauer AR-15 assault rifle in the early hours of June 12th 2016. It is the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States.
We know that he declared his loyalty to the so-called Islamic State and that he was of Afghan parentage. We know he was intensely homophobic with his father noting that he had been angered, ‘by two men kissing’ — the reason why he targeted Pulse. We know also that he assaulted his ex-wife and that he started shooting at two in the morning, took hostages and was eventually taken down at 5.53 am.
These are the facts, this is what we know. What we don’t know however, is what this means for America as a country swimming in the blood of its own people and a country that in November, will have to elect a new president, most likely choosing between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Trump at the time of writing leads in the polls, and as usual his response was predictably controversial, labelling the incident an example of ‘radical Islamic Terrorism’, while calling for Obama to ‘resign at once’. This is typical of Trump, displaying an outrageous response to any event and enraging the emotions of his loyal followers that continue to grow in number.
Indeed, one of the unfortunate results of the Orlando Massacre is that it increases the probability of Trump’s victory in November, a victory that will have been fuelled by fear — something that has twisted many a political campaign in the past. The American people, despite living in the most powerful country on Earth, are afraid however. They’re afraid not just of an attack by extremists from abroad, but of one coming from extremists living amongst them; something which forms the bigger fear.
This fear will now be intensified by Obama’s admission that the Orlando Massacre was, ‘an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that we’ve all been concerned about for quite some time’. It doesn’t help either that Trump, God as he is to his supporters, in a speech given just twenty-four hours after the attack, has called for American-born Muslims to be exported and also left out Muslims in the list of people he vows to protect as president.
On the 12th of June 2016, Omar Mateen may have done more than kill forty-nine innocent people, he may also have assisted Trump to victory in November.