2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
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“”Instead of thoughts and prayers, you can call your representatives and demand they take action to prevent future tragedies. (…) Whatever it is, hopefully, it's more than just thoughts and prayers, because not only do they do very little, but—as history shows us—this tragedy will soon fade from our consciousness, and it will then mean more people have to die before we again consider doing something about it.
The 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting was a mass shooting committed in the early hours of June the 12th, 2016, with high-capacity firearms that had been purchased legally. 50 people were killed at the Pulse Nightclub, an LGBT bar in Orlando, Florida, including the shooter. Another 53 were injured. The attack was, until the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting (59 deaths), the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in United States history.
The gunman was Omar Mateen. According to his father, he became very angry when he witnessed two men kissing. Months later, he traveled two hours to get to the club, before committing the shooting with an MCX semi-automatic gun at around 2:00 AM.
Mateen called law officials, pledged allegiance to ISIS and Hezbollah (despite the two groups fighting against each other in Syria), praised the Boston bombing, and was otherwise remorseless about the slaughter. He was killed in a shootout with SWAT officers at around 5:15 AM. After the shooting, it was revealed that he had been on the FBI's radar since 2013.
Later reports state Mateen had frequented the Pulse nightclub in the past with him being recognized by several regulars. It is also claimed he used and messaged other gay men via a gay dating app. Some have claimed that Mateen was a self-hating gay man, but there may be other reasons for these reports. For example, Mateen may have used the app to look for victims and visited the club in order to best plan out his course of attack. The FBI states that it found no evidence of him being gay or any of the purported apps in his digital records, and considered the accounts of his purported gay lovers to be non-credible.
Hemant Mehta claimed after the attack, that there is a specific problem with Islam because a higher proportion of Muslims take the Koran literally while relatively fewer Jews and Christians take their respective scriptures literally.
A speaker at a mosque about 20 miles from the nightclub quoted a text advocating killing gays, 'out of compassion'. It's not clear if Farrokh Sekaleshfar quoted that text at the nearby mosque or elsewhere.
Central Florida Freethought Community is offering free secular memorial ceremonies for families which want that. CFFC are also sponsoring a local blood drive.
After the shooting, there was the usual debate about gun control, Islam, LGBT rights, politicization of the tragedy, etc. Democrats support tighter gun controls while Republicans are too closely connected to the gun lobbies and prefer moments of silence rather than action. Hemant Mehta wrote sarcastically, "But remember: We’re the insensitive ones for saying, “Stop praying and do something meaningful!”
Larger numbers of Republicans and Christians showed sympathy for the LGBT community, including offering the use of their churches for funerals, which sadly may or may not be sincere. That includes those with a track record of supporting anti-LGBT policies.
Republicans with an anti-LGBT track record pretend to be pro-LGBT to defend gun access and attack Islam. Two ACLU lawyers claim controversially that the homophobic culture stirred up by intolerant Christians caused the massacre.
Trump was the biggest asshole ever, thinking the massacre was all about himself, and that his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the country would've stopped this attack since the shooter's parents were immigrants from Afghanistan. He's wrong, since Trump called for a temporary ban rather than one that lasts several decades, as the shooter's parents could've conceivably entered the country after the ban ended to have their child.
The reaction of many anti-LGBT Christians, including the Westboro Baptist Church, was predictable. A local theater company in Orlando provided large handmade angels' wings which volunteers wore to keep Westboro Baptists protestors out of sight of mourners at funerals.
Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated that there were "fifty less pedophiles left in the world". Kevin Swanson believes the attack happened because God has given up on gays. Swanson left unclear why straight people murder or are murdered which happens far more often. A few days later, Swanson
dug the hole deeper clarified his position by using pretzel logic quoting scripture to prove that both homosexuality and Islam are equally violent because "restraints have been lifted entirely and when God doesn’t restrain, people go nuts in their sins.”
asshole pastor, Roger Jimenez, called it a 'tragedy that more of them didn't die'. Jimenez wants the state to kill gays by firing squad. Atheist Hemant Mehta feels that encouraging Biblical literalism facilitates this type of thinking. Former pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church (Fort Worth) agrees “100 percent” with Jimenez. Romero is praying that the survivors in hospital will die and burn in Hell with the others. Romero is in trouble over “being with prostitutes,” using marijuana, and gambling.)
Walid Shoebat, despite his Anti-Muslim bigotry and claims to be a "counter-terrorist", refused to condemn the attack as the lives of homosexuals don't matter. His son, the Grand Inquisitor Theodore Shoebat, surprisingly condemned the attack... for being vigilantism rather than the fact that 50 people were killed, saying that 'the state', not individuals, should be the ones having gay people killed by firing squad. However Theodore's claim that he never approves of vigilantism is ironic considering how in the past he has openly admitted to supporting (and working with) vigilante groups in Eastern Europe who attack gay people.
Pat Robertson was slightly less extreme, wanting Conservatives to stand aside while Islamists and gays kill each other. Then despite 50 people being literally killed Pat's TV network insisted he meant "kill" metaphorically. On a slightly better note, Anderson, Jimenez, Romero and others had Paypal accounts shut down, and Jimenez will not have his lease renewed.
Unsurprisingly, and consistent with literally every other other major tragedy in history, the shooting also churned out the routine barrel of conspiracy nonsense. Any guesses on what Alex Jones called the attack? If you answered "false flag operation", you win! Although he later switched gears and blamed America's LGBT community for allegedly supporting the migration of extremist Muslims into the country. A few days after the shooting, conspiracy crank Zachary K. Hubbard claimed that the Minions movie foreshadowed the shooting since about 20 minutes of the movie takes place in Orlando. No, it was not April Fools Day, unfortunately.
- Thoughts And Prayers For Gun Victims Mean Little When You're In The NRA's Pocket
- Weapons gunman used in Orlando shooting are high-capacity, common
- Pete Williams, Gunman Omar Mateen Described as Belligerent, Racist and 'Toxic', NBC.
- At Least 50 Dead in Orlando Gay Club Shooting, Suspect Pledged Allegiance to ISIS, Officials Say, ABC News, June 12, 2016
- Lizette Alvarez, Richard Pérez-Peña & Christine Hauser, "Orlando Gunman Was ‘Cool and Calm’ After Massacre, Police Say", The New York Times.
- Gal Tziperman Lotan, Paul Brinkmann & Rene Stutzman, "Witness: Omar Mateen had been at Orlando gay nightclub many times", Orlando Sentinel.
- Sean Mandell, "Orlando Shooter Frequented Gay Nightclub Pulse, Messaged Guys on a Gay Dating App: REPORTS", Towleroad.
- Terry Firma, "Was Orlando Killer Omar Mateen a Self-Loathing Gay Man?", Patheos.
- After the Orlando Massacre, We Cannot Ignore the Connection Between Islam and Anti-Gay Bigotry
- Terry Firma, "Speaker at Orlando-Area Mosque Said Gay People Must Be Killed Out of Compassion", Patheos.
- Atheist Group Will Offer Free Secular Memorial Services for Families of Orlando Nightclub Victims
- Enough With Your Thoughts and Prayers Already
- Hemant Mehta, "Christianity Today Editor Who Thinks LGBT Rights Are “Destructive” is Sad About the Massacre", Patheos.
- Hemant Mehta, "Florida’s Anti-Gay Attorney General Pam Bondi Taken to Task by Anderson Cooper for Her Past Bigotry", Patheos.
- Robin Marty, "Politicians React to Orlando Shooting: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", Care2.
- ACLU Lawyers Blame Christians for Orlando Shooting
- Naturally, Donald Trump Made the Mass Shooting in Orlando All About Himself JE Reich (June 12, 2016). Jezebel.
- Hemant Mehta, "Westboro Baptist Church: Gay Victims of Nightclub Massacre Brought Death Upon Themselves", Patheos.
- “Angels” Block Westboro Baptist Church From Disrupting Mourners At Orlando Victims’ Funerals
- Hemant Mehta, "Christian Pastor Celebrates Nightclub Massacre: “There’s 50 Less Pedophiles in This World”", Patheos.
- Christian Pastor: The Orlando Nightclub Massacre Occurred Because God Gave Up on the Gay Victims
- Kevin Swanson: God Let Orlando Massacre Happen Because The Sins Of Homosexuality And Islam Lead To Murder, Right Wing Watch
- Hemant Mehta, "Christian Pastor on Gay Victims in Orlando Massacre: “The Tragedy Is That More of Them Didn’t Die”", Patheos.Christian Pastor Doubles Down on Saying the Government Should Use Firing Squads to Kill Gay People
- ‘God will finish the job’: Texas pastor prays for injured Orlando survivors to die
- Anti-Gay Baptist Preacher Resigns from Church After “Being with Prostitutes”
- Christian Extremist Theodore Shoebat: The State Should “Kill the Sodomites” with a Firing Squad
- Pat Robertson: Gays & Islamists Are Allies So 'Let Them Kill Themselves'
- Christian Hate-Pastor Continues Revolt Against LGBT People, Calling Them “Sodomites” and “Dogs”