Once again an American city has fallen victim to a terror attack. Once again those targeted were innocent civilians who could be best described as a “soft target.” Although initial reaction was to call it what is was- a terror attack, it did not take long for the media and others to start pointing the finger elsewhere. The question is “Will America stand firm, officially label this a terror attack AND take the steps necessary to prevent it from happening again?”
In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12th a lone gunman walked into an Orlando nightclub and opened fire. The off-duty police officer working security at the site took quick action by engaging the suspect. However, the officer was outgunned and, after a brief exchange of gunfire, the gunman retreated inside and took dozens of hostages. For almost three hours police negotiators would attempt to resolve the situation peacefully but eventually decided they had no choice but to breach the building. It was during this final assault that the gunman was killed during yet another exchange with police. Thankfully, many of the hostages were saved unharmed, and those who had been wounded were finally able to receive medical treatment.
As I watched the Sunday morning news reports, I noticed two recurring themes. First, everyone was rightfully questioning whether or not this was a terror attack – especially after it was revealed the gunman was Muslim. Second, as the flow of new information slowed, many reporters began to look for alternative angles for the story. By early afternoon, less than 12 hours after the incident began, it had become fodder for a host of political and social arguments none of which have anything to do with the facts.
- If only he hadn’t been able to buy an assault weapon – of course, one of the first courses of action by the left was to blame the NRA and every gun owner in America, one commentator claiming gun owners “have blood on their hands.” Obviously, they ignore the fact that someone who has decided to commit premeditated murder cares little about gun regulations. If someone like this can’t get a gun, they will use explosives, gas bombs or anything else they can get their hands on.
- The attack on the LGBT Community – It is terrible that anyone would suffer such an attack, especially a group which has faced continued hardship over the years. But America cannot allow itself to believe this attack was a “gay thing.” While the victims may be members of the LGBT community, it is the entire American community under attack. Maybe the next attack will be at Disney World – which was reportedly another of the attacker’s possible targets.
By mid-morning the attacker was identified as Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a 29 year old resident of Port St. Lucie Florida, who was an American citizen of Afghan descent. Although his father was quick to claim the attacks were not about his religion but the result of “seeing two men kiss” months earlier it also became apparent Mateen was not only a troubled individual but a staunch supporter of radical Islam. Although it is too soon in the investigation to determine whether this was a lone wolf type attack inspired by ISIS propaganda or part of a larger ISIS-supported program, ISIS did profess support for, if not direct connection with Mateen via a Sunday afternoon tweet.
“The attack that targeted a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida and that left more than 100 dead and wounded was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
ISIS statement via Amaq News Agency tweet
Only time will tell exactly how much connection existed between Mateen and ISIS, but the early evidence supports the theory that he was at least a supporter of the terror network, if not a recognized member. Let’s review what we do know.
- Mateen was the focus of multiple FBI investigations related to possible radical Islamic behavior. In 2013, he was the focus of an investigation after co-workers reported hearing him make statements they described as supporting radical Islam. After two different interviews and what the FBI claims was an exhaustive investigation, he was deemed not to be a threat. The following year he was again a person of interest after Moner Mohammed Abu Salha, who attended the same mosque as the shooter, became the first American suicide bomber for ISIS.
- During the standoff, Mateen reportedly claimed allegiance with ISIS, voiced support for the Boston Marathon bombers and made other Islamic-related statements.
- The club was not his only target. According to statements made to police by his wife the shooter had previously visited other potential targets in the Orlando area, including Disney World and a second nightclub.
Well, let the events of Sunday, June 13th be a wake-up call, similar to that of 9-11. Those who wish to do America harm are still out there. Whether lone individuals inspired by hatred or organizations dedicated to our destruction, it does not matter because the result is the same. More important than remembering how devastating these attacks can be is taking the steps necessary to prevent them.
In both the earlier San Bernardino attack and Sunday’s incident in Orlando, the suspects had been on the radar for prior actions, comments or affiliations. Obviously, the information was credible, and there was reason for concern, however, since neither of the investigations went beyond the initial investigation phase there appears to be a breakdown in how the system determines viable threats. If this weakness exists, others are sure to extort it as well. Federal officials need to review current procedures, determine where this breakdown is and address it accordingly.
Finally, there is the choice of targets. A small minority of people has commented online stating that, although they hate ISIS, they also condemn the LBGT lifestyle and basically claims the victims got what was coming to them. Make no mistake, this was NOT an attack on a homosexual club; it was an attack on an American target. Yes, it is possible Mateen selected this target because of who was going to be at the club. It is even possible he or others believed the attacks would receive less pushback because of the victims’ lifestyle, especially given the recent public conflict concerning LBGT issues. But, at the end of the day, it was American civilians dying in Orlando and it will be Americans dying in the next attack as well.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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