Just hours after 49 innocent people were killed and 53 wounded in the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, friends and family members were searching for answers and many politicians were searching for ways to politicize the latest tragedy.
From the time shooting suspect Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando around 2 a.m. Sunday until the time the police finally entered the club and the siege ended with Mateen’s death around 5 a.m., victims expressed their final words to loved ones over text and begged for help on social media.
It came as no surprise that in his remarks on the shooting, President Obama discussed “how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people.”
“Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well” — President Obama
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also pointed the blame at firearms, writing on Twitter that Americans need “to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals.”
“We need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals” — Hillary Clinton
However, the main thing both Obama and Clinton failed to mention was that while Mateen’s horrific actions proved that he was mentally ill, he did not have a past as a violent criminal, and he did not obtain the assault rifle and handgun he used during the massacre illegally. He worked as a security guard for G4S Secure Solutions, and according to the website for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, he had a statewide firearms license.
If these politicians actually wanted to make a difference, they would be asking why, if our government agencies are supposed to be so effective at stopping terrorists, did they not get this one? Why was there a 3-hour siege at the nightclub before law enforcement finally entered and took control of the situation? And when did it become okay to use fear-mongering, stemming from life-altering tragedies, to pursue political gain?