PC President enabled Orlando massacre
At about 2:00 a.m. this past Sunday, 29-year-old Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando armed with an assault rifle and a semi-automatic handgun. As an Islamic radical who had pledged his support to ISIS, Mateen was also armed with an extreme hatred for gays, about 300 of which were inside Pulse on Sunday morning. After initial shots were fired by Mateen, he exchanged gunfire with a police officer on duty at the club, as well as with two other officers who were nearby. Mateen then bottled up the building and local police, believing that Mateen might also possess a bomb, engaged in hostage negotiations. A hail of gunfire followed, and by 5:00 a.m., 50 people were dead, including Mateen. Another 53 were injured.
Time and again following a tragic shooting or bombing, politicians from one political party or another tell us, “this is not the time to affix blame.” Obviously in such situations, our priorities must include securing the crime scene, investigating the possibility of additional attackers or attacks, caring for survivors, and comforting families of victims. But assessing constructive blame is also a priority, because it helps us to understand cause and effect, and hopefully, prevent the same thing from reoccurring.
Following 9/11, some pundits and historians proffered that we had brought the attacks on ourselves because of decades of government interference in Middle East culture wars. Instead of learning from and heeding those warnings, Bush doubled down, and invaded Iraq, who he blamed for the Twin Towers tragedy. After learning that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Bush escalated the attacks, and over a million innocent Iraqi civilians were killed in the process. Over time, Bush, then Obama, destabilized the region by helping to depose several dictators, but that destabilization gave birth to ISIS, and a free hand to other extremist groups.
So why, then, do our leaders continue to act shocked and surprised when domestic terror attacks occur? Why do we not have a more secure immigration policy? Why is there not an effective system of information sharing between the FBI and ATF? And why for God’s sake is our President in denial about the most frightening and dangerous enemy our nation has ever faced? The raising of these questions not only seek to affix blame, but to find solutions that will prevent further massacres and save thousands of innocent lives.
In his press conference immediately following the Pulse shootings, Obama identified the incident merely as “an attack of terror and an attack of hate.”
That’s true. But that’s like saying the sinking of the Titanic was an act of frozen water. Certainly Mateen was a terrorist who hated gays, but he hated all Americans. One of his fellow high school students recalled that Mateen cheered, “Praise to Allah” while watching footage of the Twin Towers collapsing.
He had also been in communication with foreign terrorists, which he was questioned about by the FBI on three separate occasions. He wasn’t just a terrorist who killed 50 gay people in Orlando. Mateen was an Islamic terrorist, whose beliefs demanded that he execute infidels and homosexuals.
Donald Trump lashed out at Obama, saying the President should resign if he refuses to properly identify the threat we face. But Trump isn’t alone in his concern. Speaking to FOX News, Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a noted Muslim scholar, explained what our President fails to understand. Said Ahmed, “This attack had all of the hallmarks of Islamic jihadist attacks. This was targeting vulnerable minorities. This was targeting people of gay and alternative lifestyles in this country. This lifestyle is a feature of a secular society, and Islam jihad makes war on secularism. So this was Islamic, it was radical Islamic.”
But while failing to identify our true enemy, Mr. Obama himself engaged in the blame game. He blamed lack of gun controls for massacres at schools, theatres, and nightclubs, then posed the rhetorical question, “Is this the kind of society we want to live in?” No doubt we need stricter gun laws. We need a 90-day waiting period for purchase of any gun, and we need to require that the FBI share all investigative information with the ATF, so that gun shop owners and local sheriffs will know that a guy like Mateen had been questioned. But even with those reforms in place, we wouldn’t be solving the problem of Islamic Terrorism. Said Dr. Ahmed, “This attack would have happened with or without guns…if there were no guns available, there would have been bombs…the weapons of Mateen is not the center of this discussion.”
President Obama’s refusal to identify and wage war on Islamic radicals, represents a failure to use his bully pulpit for rallying us against a common, definable enemy. As it is, most Americans won’t report on or complain about Muslims who display disturbing traits for fear of being branded politically incorrect. In fact, even the security firm Mateen worked for refused to fire him despite numerous complaints by co-workers, because they knew he was a Muslim. This PC environment also serves as an obstacle for our government agencies who are hamstrung to wage an effective war on Islamic radicals.
Gary Bernstein, a former CIA officer observes, “The administration is underselling the nature of the threat in the United States. The FBI has stated that there are over 900 open investigations of Muslim extremists, and that over 10 times that number, or about 15,000 American Muslims have communicated with ISIS.”
Bernstein also offers a solution. “We need a domestic intelligence service here in America like the British have with MI5, and I would hire many Muslim Americans who know the culture to help us fight these (radicals). We need new authorities, and it’s time for a change.”
Sometimes blame is necessary in order to bring about change, especially the kind of change Mr. Bernstein is talking about. And yes, there’s always plenty of blame to go around. If there was a back door to Pulse, there’s no telling how many more patrons could have survived Mateen’s rampage. If Mateen’s co-workers and employer had gone to the authorities, perhaps that would have allowed the FBI to take him into custody. If more law abiding citizens were allowed to carry guns, perhaps several Pulse patrons could have taken Mateen down. Perhaps if Mateen’s ex-wife, who says he was mentally ill, had tried to have him hospitalized, he could have received treatment. Spilled milk. 50 more people are dead at the hands of an Islamic radical, and right now, it’s up to President Obama to do more than just send condolences and talk about gun control. He needs to implement a strategy for defeating Islamic terrorists here at home. First he needs to call them by name. !
JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).