Monday, 20 June 2016

Slaughter in Orlando

Mass shooting of men, women and children around the world is becoming an epidemic of gun violence. A great deal of it is caused by gun-carrying terrorists be they members of a terrorist organization or home-grown terrorists. Unfortunately, some of these crimes are also committed by mentally ill persons and others who are aiming their guns at certain groups of people for religious, homophobic, racist, revengeful, hatred of women and/or for political reasons. 

As far as I am concerned, these gunmen are terrorists even if they aren’t actually affiliated with a terrorist organization because their actions automatically bring terror to the minds of the victims, their families and the population in general.

Daesh's (aka ISIS and/or ISIL) main ambition is to cross the borders of existing nations and create a caliphate in the Middle East so that they can rule millions of Muslims. However, they have been unsuccessful in that endeavor so instead, they create havoc world-wide by getting lone wolves (mentally disturbed citizens who choose to play the role of domestic terrorists) to do their bidding for Daesh. 

Americans (and millions of others world-wide) on June 12th 2016 awoke to the horrific news out of Orlando, Florida  where a lone wolf gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring 53 more in what authorities are calling an act of domestic terrorism. Those figures would make this by far the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

 The 49 fatalities at Pulse are considerably more than the 33 victims killed during the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, or the 28 fatalities in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in 2012. The 53 people wounded are also more than the number wounded in any other shooting, with the exception of the Aurora Theater shooting in 2012, in which 58 were injured
The Islamic State's (ISIS aka ISIL and/or Daesh) official media arm, Amaq News Agency, issued a statement taking credit for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.  Those twit-brained religious extremists would take credit for a meteor falling on earth if it would bring more attention to their cause.

The suspect, who officials have identified as Omar Madeen was a 29-year-old Central Florida man who was killed in a gun battle with SWAT and other police officers during his attack on Pulse in Orlando, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando. He stalked them from room to room killing his victims methodically while firing his assault rifle and reloading and even texting his wife and posting a message on Facebook and calling a TV station. 

Madeen appeared to have been radicalized by Islamic extremists on the internet but expressed sympathies with other radical groups that violently oppose each other. Mateen was a body builder and a security guard, a religious man (a Muslim) who attended the local mosque and attempted to become a police officer but failed.

Some people who knew the gunman described him as a practicing Muslim who spewed homophobic and racist slurs.

Often terrorists or those who follow the terrorist’s ideology communicate their hatred for various groups of people before they finally resort to acts of terrorism on behalf of a particular terrorist organization.

The FBI also investigated Mateen because he was telling co-workers in 2013 that he had relatives connected to Al Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim extremist group, while at the same time claiming that he was a member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia,. Incidentally, both groups oppose Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) and each other.

FBI agents closed their 2013 investigation into Mateen after concluding that he didn’t understand how Al Qaeda operated and had not committed a crime. He told investigators that he had been lying and blustering about his terrorist ties. Closing their file on that man was an unfortunate decision. The FBI had then briefly investigated Mateen again in 2014 on suspicion of watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki and for attending a mosque in Florida with a man who later became a suicide bomber for Nusra Front in Syria, which also opposes Islamic State. Both investigations were closed without an arrest being made.

During the investigation, Mateen was placed on the FBI’s terrorist screening database. The list serves as a clearinghouse for federal and state law enforcement agencies to share information and keep track of potential threats, but it does not bar a suspect from boarding a plane or purchasing a weapon. That in my opinion is one of the most colossal stupid things that the FBI has ever done.

His name would have also been placed on the United States National Counterterrorism Center; the lead agency for tracking individuals with suspected links to international terrorism. It has reported that there have been approximately 1.5 million names added to their Watch List over the past five years. The government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing suspects at a rate of 900 each day.

Unless there was a strong belief that Mateen was going to commit a terrorist act, the FBI had no other choice but to move on to more pressing investigations rather than have him watched 24/7.

As an interesting aside, the highest concentration of people in the United States designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Michigan—a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country. I am sure that peaceful Muslims in that city who support the United States in every way must feel slighted knowing that they may be suspected of being terrorists by the country they love. 

During early Sunday morning, (June 12th) Mateen told a 911 dispatcher that  he was attacking Pulse on behalf of the leader of Daesh, also known as the Islamic State. Mateen had also expressed solidarity with the 2013 Boston bombers and an American suicide bomber who belonged to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria that is opposed to Daesh.

He was obvious bragging because investigators had later found no evidence that he was following directions from any terrorist organizations. However, as to be expected, the Islamic State proclaimed him as a member of the group through a media affiliate after the shooting.

His motive for informing the police ahead of time that he intended to kill a large number of people leads me to believe that he had two motives for doing this. The first was that he wanted to obtain fame that he didn’t have and the second motive was that he wanted to die as a Muslim martyr so that 76 virgins would be waiting for him in heaven. If they are, I hope they are all over eighty years of age.

It is my opinion that this mass killer was a mal-maladjusted angry man who either wanted to go down in history as a really bad man (he succeeded) or his hatred for gays, lesbians and transvestites was so great, his anger led him to the gay club in Orlando to murder innocent people whom he hated. He previously told his mother that he became very angry when he saw two gay men kissing on a street in Miami. Did he say that to his mother because he didn’t want his mother to believe that he really was a homosexual?

One of his classmates at the Indian River Community College police academy said that he, Madeen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs after classes. At least five people have come forward saying they saw Mateen at various gay clubs, At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place said they also saw him there. One man told the Orlando Sentinel  that he had seen Madeen there a dozen times in Pulse.

A person who intends to kill people in a nightclub doesn’t go to the same club that many times just to size it up before shooting the people in the club. This leads me to suspect that Mateen really was gay. 

He was disciplined 31 times between 1992 and 1999 for numerous disruptions, for striking a student and for disrespectful behavior during his time in St. Lucie County schools. In December 1995, while in fourth grade, Mateen was referred to a student study team that comprises of a teacher, psychologist, guidance counselor and a parent for continuing to hit students, talking out in class and screaming at teachers and fellow students. More than half of his discipline write-ups came during the 1996-1997 school year, when he was in fifth grade. He certainly was a angry young man.

At a high school he attended in Florida, students watched the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001 unfold on live TV (just as I did along with millions of others). When the second hijacked airliner slammed into World Trade Center’s south tower, the class watched in stunned disbelief. One student, however, “started jumping up-and-down cheering on the terrorist. It was Madeen. His actions angered his fellow students to the point that they wanted to attack him. The staff at the school had to escort him out of the school so he wouldn’t be attacked by the other students.  A couple days later, they had to take him off the bus for the same reason. The renewed hatred of the students against Mateen would have increased his anger against the students who were American.

Did he cheer for the terrorists who attacked the twin towers in New York City because he and the terrorists had one thing in common—they were from the Middle East? Or was it because he hated Americans and supported the actions of the terrorists?  

Let me explain the second possible motive. He got bullied a lot. It may have been because he was Muslim which might explain his hatred for Americans per se.  His actions at the 7/11 event then might appear to offer yet another stitch into the wider tapestry of Mateen’s life and views before his rampage at Pulse which included his pledge of loyalty to the Islamic State during a call to police during his standoff with the police after he did the killings.


This is a powerful motive for someone to kill a group of people in one location. Consider the case involving Omar Sheriff Thornton a thirty-four-year old man (born on April 25, 1976) who shot and killed eight coworkers before turning one of his guns on himself. The location of the crime was a warehouse in Manchester, Connecticut, that is owned by Hartford Distributors, a beer distribution company. 

On August 3rd 2010, Thornton was called into his place of employment for disciplinary purposes. Thornton had been recorded on surveillance video in the warehouse stealing beer on a previous occasion. He was also implicated in the theft of empty beer kegs.

Given the options of being fired or resigning, Thornton signed the resignation papers and was being escorted out of the building. Instead of leaving, he took two Ruger SR 9 semiautomatic pistols from his lunchbox and opened fire on anyone in range.

At the time Thornton started shooting some of his co-workers, there were around 40 employees in the building. In just a few minutes, Thornton murdered eight coworkers and seriously injured two others. Many employees made calls to 911, with some callers identifying Thornton. Police arrived on the scene just three minutes after the first 911 call. They entered the building ten minutes after the first 911 call. Thornton promptly hid in a locked office. As more police entered the building, Thornton called his mother and explained to her what he had done. He told her he planned on turning the gun on himself. As police closed in, Thornton called 911, saying his motive for the massacre was racism he had experienced in the workplace. 

He was a black man. I don’t know if the racism he suffered from was real or was a figment of his imagination but I think what angered him just before the shooting was him being forced to resign from his job. There is no doubt in my mind that it was his anger that prompted him to shoot eight of his co-workers to death and injure others. He told the 911 operator that racism was his motive so that he could blame his co-workers for racism thereby justifying his own actions against them.

Family members of Thornton have stated that he had complained to them that, as an African American, he was being racially discriminated against at his job. Thornton's girlfriend, Kristi Hannah, claimed that he had seen a picture of a noose and a racial epithet written on a bathroom wall in the warehouse.  Thornton was African American in a facility that had mostly white employees, and all of his victims were white. Company and union officials as well as workers at the facility have denied the charges of racism. The union notes that he never filed a complaint with the union or any government agency.

Forensic psychiatrist Keith Ablow stated, "I've evaluated plenty of murderers during my career and I can tell you that people don't commit atrocities because of name-calling.” A police probe did not find proof of racism at Hartford Distributors, with other minority workers at Hartford Distributors interviewed by the police disagreeing with Thornton's allegation that the company was a racist place to work in. 

On March 6, 1998, there was a similar fatal shooting at Connecticut Lottery headquarters, which then was inNewington. A Lottery employee, Matt Beck, age 33, armed with a 9mm Glock pistol with a 19-round magazine, killed four of his supervisors, and then himself. It was established that he was a disgruntled employee.

On August 20th, 1986 during a deadly rampage that lasted less than fifteen minutes, postal worker Patrick Sherrill pursued and shot twenty co-workers, killing fourteen of them, before committing suicide. Sherrill's attack inspired the American phrase “going postal”.

Sherrill's job title was relief carrier, meaning he was often required to work alternate routes on different days, a position dictated by his rank on the seniority list. His lack of a permanently assigned route meant that he did not rank the same job stability of other USPS workers. Opinions vary concerning his job performance. Some reports portray him as an erratic, irritable worker; others claim he performed well and was being picked on by management. In any case, on the afternoon of August 19, 1986 supervisors Esser and Bland reprimanded Sherrill for his behavior. Angered over this reprimand, coupled with anxiety that he was likely to be fired, were probably the motives behind his attack the following morning.

As you can see, revenge coupled with anger were the motives of these mass killers. Anger certainly prompted Omar Madeen (a white man) to kill the gay people in Orlando. This was clearly a hate crime.

Four examples of white gunmen are infamous such as the Charleston church massacre, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Columbine school shooting, and the slaughter inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. The killers were all white.

According to data compiled by Mother Jones magazine, which looked at mass shootings in the United States since 1982, determined that white men committed 64% of the shootings. Black people committed close to 16% of the mass shooting while Asians were responsible for around 9%. Whites make up about 63% of the U.S. population, blacks 13%, and Asians 5%, according to the latest census numbers in the US. Further, men are responsible for 90% of all murders in the US.

Even if racism, homophobia or religion can motivate mass killers which is the fuel, anger and revenge is the spark that is the driving force that causes them to explode and hunt down their victims and shoot them.

Mental illness

Why are these mass killers prone to murdering people? Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, compiled his own numbers for mass public shootings when he studied 160 cases between the years 1915-2013. Of those, 97 involved shooters who had either been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, or showed signs of suffering from a mental illness.

Duwe found the most common illness associated with mass public shootings was paranoid schizophrenia, a type of schizophrenia in which the person has delusions of being plotted against or persecuted. Loughner, the man who killed six people and wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

 James Holmes, who was convicted of killing 12 people at the movie theater in Colorado, had been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, (a mental disorder characterized by severe social anxiety, paranoia, and often unconventional beliefs) his court-appointed psychiatrist said in his testimony.

John Russell Houser, who police say shot 11 people—killing two in a Louisiana movie theater on July 24th 2015 before killing himself, was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009, according to the sheriff of Russell County, Alabama.

 Little is yet known about the Pulse shooter or his real motives, but the shooters in a number of the deadliest mass shootings share some characteristics. All were male, with the exception of Tashfeen Malik, one of the two perpetrators of last year's mass shooting in San Bernardino. Fifteen of the shooters were white. Fifteen had shown previous signs of mental illness. All but five had obtained their weapons legally. Omar Mateen was also bipolar and mentally unstable, according to his ex-wife.

Banning the possession of assault weapons

There are approximately 4 million assault weapons in possession of both honest citizens and criminals in the United States.  It should be obvious to anyone reading this article that the proliferation of guns in the United States plays a big part in these mass killing events especially when the National Rifle Association (NRA) convinced most of the politicians in Washington that it is OK for citizens to possess assault weapons.  And of course, for the most part, these mass killers used assault weapons when they shot and killed and wounded their victims.

In 1994, the assault weapons ban established a comprehensive regulatory scheme of prohibiting the manufacture, transfer, or possession of assault weapons, as well as the possession or transfer of large capacity ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10rounds. These magazines are used by millions of Americans and are customary in handguns and other firearms. Nineteen specific weapons and their copycats were banned by the original legislation signed into law by President Clinton on September 13, 1994. The weapons ban was contained in a larger Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  Unfortunately, it expired on September 13th 2004. 

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 prohibited the future sale, manufacture, possession and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons as well as any semiautomatic firearm that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics. It exempted weapons that are legally-owned at the time of enactment and excludes 2,258 hunting and sporting weapons by make and model. The bill also banned large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These devices allowed shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without having to stop and reload. They are ideal weapons for mass killers.

Notorious incidents highlighting the public health risk posed by easy access to assault weapons include the school shootings at Columbine High School in suburban Denver, 1999, and the workplace shootings in Wakefield, where Michael McDermott killed seven co-workers firing 49 rounds from an AK-47 in December 2000. During the mass killing of 49 people and wounding of 53 people in the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on the early hours of June 12th 2016, I am not sure that the killer used an assault weapon but he did use a rifle and a pistol.
 On April 1 7th, 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the Senate voted 40-60 against her amendment to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines:
 “I’m disappointed by today’s vote, but I always knew this was an uphill battle. I believe the American people are far ahead of their elected officials on this issue, and I will continue to fight for a renewed ban on assault weapons. I will carry on this fight against military-style assault weapons, and I ask of the American people that they continue to pressure their elected officials to take action. It’s long overdue that we take serious steps to remove these dangerous firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines from society.” unquote

Without the assault weapons ban in place, these deadly assault weapons will still be in the possession of mentally disturbed persons as a threat towards drastically undermining public safety and security.

Senator Krueger said, “If we have statistics that sensibly support the effectiveness of the gun ban, how could we let it expire? The answer lies in which group the government wants to protect. Do they care about the safety of citizens or rather the safety of their political positions with (the assistance) of an increasingly powerful NRA (National Rifle Association) lobby?” unquote

As I see it, the NRA is complicit with the murders of all persons who were killed with assault weapons. And it appears to have no shame for its complicity.

As I further see it, as long as the United States permits its citizens to purchase and own assault weapons, sickos like Omar Mateen will continue to roam the streets of the United States as they hunt for human beings not unlike game hunters in the safaris in Africa.  

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