Orlando shooting: Are we looking in the right places?

Since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a tendency to classify acts of violence perpetrated on groups of Americans acts of terrorism but is that necessarily true?

In the truest sense of the word, it could be yes. An attack on a crowded theatre or a nightclub is an act of terror because it does indeed provoke mass fear and in some cases induces a sense of “terror” great enough to force an individual to change their life in some way, whether it be no longer attending public functions or avoiding crowded malls.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the act was terroristic in nature. Terrorism involves more than violence toward a group. As a nation, we are losing sight of that — and in the end, it could cost us dearly. To simply label an act as terrorism falls short of understanding what caused the behavior. That should be our goal — determining the cause and fixing the problem.

While the mainstream media took all of an hour to label Sunday’s early morning shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando as an “act of terrorism” or an “act of radical Islam,” anyone who does so before the facts are in is acting irresponsibly. Those running for office garner votes from fear and despite what the pundits and talking heads are spouting, they garner readers, viewers and listeners from fear.

Terrorism is perpetrated by a group with either a religious or political agenda, using violence and fear to forward their cause. When a group such as Al Qaida perpetrates an act of violence, there is little time wasted in claiming responsibility because the goal is fear, fear of the organization and the repercussions of resisting its movement.

Again, the mass shooting in Orlando was not an act of terrorism.

Proponents of gun control and other agendas will use this as an opportunity — disgusting in and of itself — as will political candidates, political parties, and individuals who have the slightest chance of furthering their narrative. And they will do so without shame and remorse and with no eye to discovering what is at the root of this phenomenon.

But that would be the logical thing to do to prevent its occurrence in the future, don’t you think?

Now that the narrative has been set with Omar Mateen’s parents’ lineage connected to Afghanistan — and the two previous investigations that cleared Mateen — there is no backtracking.

This is not a man who emigrated to this country on a falsified passport. He is an American citizen, born in the United States and raised here. So what went wrong?

The question being asked of his father is whether his son had been radicalized. What kind of question is that? Of course he had. He went into a gay nightclub, took hostages and killed 50 people who were also American.

The catch is to find out how he was radicalized, though the assumption is to refer back to Islam.

Mateen was radicalized because of his deep seated homophobia, no more and no less. He hated a group of individuals and their way of life so much he sought out others who believed as he did.

Had he been a white male it could have been the KKK or some offshoot of the fundamentalist evangelical right. No matter the prejudice or hatred there is always somewhere to turn to get the validation needed, someone to back up those thoughts and hand over permission to purge the Earth of the offender.

This is not a new concept, even though we as Americans believe it to be. It has been going on for literally thousands of years, some of which were perpetrated by the Christian church in the name of God.

No, this wasn’t an act of terrorism but the misguided perpetration of a hate crime by a man whose mental instability was enough for him to believe his cause was just. All he needed was something or someone to give him permission.

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