Orlando Massacre: How Many More Must Die Before Congress Addresses Gun Control?

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Crime, Opinion, Politics

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Published on June 14, 2016 with 2 Comments

Omar Mateen, the alleged Orlando killer.

Omar Mateen, the alleged Orlando killer.

By Ralph E. Stone

June 14, 2016

Law enforcement is at least initially calling the horrific Orlando shootings by Omar Mateen as “domestic terrorism.” I don’t believe it was domestic terrorism. Sure, ISIS took “credit” for the shootings but I don’t believe for a minute that Mateen has any relationship to ISIS. He was just looking for his fifteen minutes of hate-fueled infamy. Domestic terrorism focuses on the motive behind the act and it specifies that the motive has to be to coerce people or influence or affect government policy. That doesn’t appear to be the case here.

Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, claimed this horrible act had nothing to do with religion. “We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry,” Seddique told NBC. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”

Thus, what we have here is a homophobic act by a mentally ill person, not domestic terrorism.

In the aftermath of this latest mass shooting, there is again a loud call for more gun control.  Will the deadliest killing in US history of 49 people in Orlando finally be a tipping point, causing the enactment of reasonable gun control legislation at the federal level?  I thought the December 2012 killing of 20 children and seven adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School would be such a tipping point but, alas, it was not.  Then, surely, the killing of nine worshipers at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C. would be a tipping point.  Again it was not.

And gun control does work.  A study found that states with higher rates of firearms in the home have disproportionately correlative big numbers of gun-related homicides. The findings suggest that measures to make guns less available could cut the rate of killings.

Mateen used an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.  As Stephen King remarked  “Semi-automatics have only two purposes. One is so owners can take them to the shooting range once in awhile, yell ‘yeehaw,’ and get all horny at the rapid fire and the burning vapor spurting from the end of the barrel.  Their other use is to kill people.”

Will 49 dead in Orlando finally be the act to wake up Congress to finally pass meaningful gun control legislation?  Unfortunately such efforts will probably be doomed again because too many members of Congress are in the pockets of the NRA lobby, in tandem with gun makers and importers, military sympathizers, and far-right organizations.

And after all the sound and fury is over, the cycle of killings, hand wringing, and mourning will likely continue ad infinitum.

Ralph E. Stone

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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  • Ron D.

    …congress will never do it, it’s ridiculous to think they will…they couldn’t care less..

  • Wouldn’t controlling terrorists and their terror-casting allah be more beneficial?