Sunday, June 12, 2016

My reaction to the Orlando massacre/terror attack...

The suspect Omar Mateen. Reuters. 

I'm going to skip the normal format for this post. This isn't going to be a recap of what happened in Orlando, there are dozens of news articles that can be used for that, including this one from Reuters. My focus is going to be on what the implications of this attack are and what we can expect the consequences can be. I will spend a few words updating/correcting some of the information I posted this morning.

-There were 50 deaths and 53 wounded in the attack. This information came out after I had posted, and was a shock to everyone. 

-The suspect is Omar Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan descent. He's a Muslim who has some ties to radical groups. He has also declared his allegiance to ISIS. This information was also not available when I posted but his Islamic leanings were rather obvious. 

-I posted that Mateen was confronted by a plainclothes officer inside the club when he first started shooting. That was incorrect, he actually shot at uniformed cops as he was trying to escape, but was driven back inside the club. I heard the original version of the events on CNN, but that was very early during the investigation. 

Everything else I posted this morning seems to be accurate. I didn't engage in any speculation about who did this or what his motivations would be. I think that was the right call because the speculation was out of control. I could have called this an Islamic terrorist attack long before it was confirmed that is what happened. Unlike others though, I tried to use restraint. 

The time for that is over now. I'm not going to hold back for this post. This attack was the worst mass shooting in US history and the worst terror attack in the US since 9/11. The attacker was motivated by both hatred for the LGBT community and adherence to radical Islam. He apparently called 911 and stated his allegiance to ISIS. This is a terror attack and there is no possible excuse for this dastardly attack. 

I was expecting something like this. For the last couple of weeks I have been saying in my posts and on twitter that we should be expecting something like this from ISIS. It is Ramadan and during the last one, ISIS conducted many terrorist attacks, including a massive bombing in Kuwait, a mass shooting in Tunisia, and an murder/failed attack on a factory in France. Though only two of those attacks were conducted by ISIS members, the third, the incident in France, was conducted by a lone wolf attacker like this one. 

Even though ISIS is being pushed back and eliminated, they are still inspiring people to conduct these kinds of terrorist attacks. Though Mateen had terrorist links, he apparently operated alone. He chose his tactics, target and date by himself. He was only inspired by ISIS, so even if ISIS is eliminated people will still take up their cause and conduct attacks. The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, and I don't think we will be able to counter the example ISIS has given for quite some time. 

The choice of target is demonstrative as well. It is no coincidence that the club that was attacked was a gay club. Islam in general has a poor record on LGBT issues and radical Islam is even worse. Even moderate Muslim countries ban homosexuality, and what ISIS does is even worse. They throw their gays off of buildings or otherwise execute them. 

I'm assuming that this is going to cause some cognitive dissonance on the left. After all, they have long tried to both support the LGBT community while at the same time defending Islam. These two goals are now in conflict. They always have been, but the problem is stark now. I don't know if this attack is going to change anyone's view, but at the very least the seeds of doubt have been planted. People may have to choose what is more important to them. Not offending Muslims or protecting the LGBT community. For me, as a conservative, it's an obvious choice. I'd much rather keep the LGBT community alive then pander to Islamic terrorism. 

People are already trying to paint this as a gun control issue. Never mind the fact that gun control didn't stop the Charlie Hebdo attack or the Paris massacre. Never mind that this guy was legally allowed to own guns. Never mind that he was also a licensed security guard and went under even more scrutiny then a normal person. Somehow gun control would have stopped this? No way. In a world without guns he could have still killed a lot of people. Indeed, the second worst attack on the gay community, an arson attack on a gay bar in New Orleans, didn't involve guns at all. 

With that being said I have mentioned before that these kinds of gun attacks were going to increase. The success of the Charlie Hebdo, the attack on the Bataclan nightclub in Paris, and the various attacks in Tunisa has guaranteed that this style of attack is going to continue. This is the new style of terrorism, and it is very difficult to defend against these kinds of attacks. They are easier to put together then your typical bombing or hijacking, and have almost as much of as impact. And this attack shows that even one guy with a couple of guns and some skill with firearms can kill nearly as many as any bombing. 

Mateen picked an almost perfect target in the Pulse nightclub. Here's a few reasons why:

-It's a soft target. Nobody was armed at this nightclub and guns were banned from the place due to state law. There was little in the way of security and no threat of someone shooting back until cops arrived. 

-People didn't even realize that they were under attack. The loud music and flashing lights made it harder to realize what was going on. 

-A decent portion of the people there were intoxicated. Alcohol dulls the senses and delays reaction time. People probably had a very difficult time escaping or fighting back. 

-It was a very target rich environment. People were crowded together and had very few avenues for escape. 

I don't know how you prevent these kinds of attacks on clubs and bars. All I can think of is to have armed security or police guarding the place. To be fair that is what happened in France. Though Synagogues aren't quite the target rich environments that a club would be, they are still under police protection there. 

Is that really viable here though? Are we really going to be able to provide guards or cops for every bar/club in America? And even if we were able to do that wouldn't the focus just shift to other, softer targets? Concealed carry would help in some situations but people aren't allowed to bring guns in bars due to the presence of alcohol. Though I am pro-gun, even I admit that combining guns and booze is a very bad idea. 

My guess is the only true way to prevent these attacks is vigilance. If you see something suspicious, then do something about it. We also need to closely monitor Islamic groups. Mateen had been investigated by the FBI and probably should have been under surveillance.Still, the threat is so numerous and high right now, we are probably going to have to rely on luck to avoid attacks.  

No comments:

Post a Comment