Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando: "act of terror" (6/12) or "mass shooting"?

I thought this article was interesting: Will we end up labeling Orlando's tragedy (primarily) as an act of terror or a mass shooting? Among other things, seeing it as an act of terror, the author suggests we call the event 6/12.

We won't know what motivated the terrorist/murderer for a while-- if ever. The event seems strongly connected to terrorism, but he claimed allegiances to terrorist groups that opposed each other. It seems anti-gay, but the terrorist/murderer may have been active in a gay lifestyle. (See also: the guy from Jeffersonville who traveled to LA, apparently with similar goals.) 

In any case, what we call it matters. And jumping to the usual (dogmatic?) conclusions that many of us hold-- whether an emphasis on Muslims, gun control, mental illness, or gun-free zones-- is tempting but not helpful, when the evidence is far from complete and the bodies have not even been buried. If I've contributed to the FB rush to judgment and ideologize this time, mea culpa.

More broadly,
these matters are complex, including (at least) guns, gun control, mental illness, and "Islamism". As such, efforts to reduce this topic to one variable-- or even to, out-of-hand, eliminate one of these four-- is a sign of ignorance and/or ideology. Unfortunately, we see a lot of that sort of "thinking" from Obama, Clinton, Trump, and FB "debates".

Still, on gun control-- in practice vs. in theory and wishful thinking-- the questions must include: What have we done and why isn't it working well (enough)? What could get passed and enforced that would increase safety? Mere platitudes and hand-waving should be left to the Flying Spaghetti Monsterites.


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