Orlando carnage

Although America is no stranger to mass murders at public places, the Orlando shooting rampage at a gay night-club stands out for the sheer scale of the killings.

At least 50 people were killed and more than 53 wounded making it the deadliest mass shooting in the history of America.

According to the police, the shooter, a Muslim born in New York to Afghan parents, was armed with an assault rifle and a handgun. President Obama for quite some time has been proposing a ban on assault weapons and introduction of universal background checks for all firearm buyers, albeit without success.

Stating the obvious, he said the shooting is a reminder of how easy it is for someone to get hold of a weapon that could kill people in a “school, or a house of worship, or a movie theatre, or in a night-club.”

There is something unique about the Americans’ love for firearms that allows the powerful gun lobby to have its way. Despite repeated incidents of public shootings, in several instances by young children, the Congress has remained unresponsive to gun control proposals.

Although in the present case the murderer’s motive is still unclear, his father told the media his son might have been motivated by homophobia rather than his faith, saying he had gotten very angry seeing two men kissing in front of his wife and child.

Later reports, however, said he was interviewed twice by the FBI for his ‘radical Islamic leanings.’ Yet he managed to buy those weapons. Following the carnage President Obama once again urged new gun laws, but the Republicans continued to ignore the issue.

As expected, Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, who had earlier been calling for banning Muslims from entering the US, claimed he has been proven right “on radical Islamic terrorism” adding in a series of tweets “appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism… I want toughness and vigilance.

We must be smart!” He wouldn’t want to pay attention to the vital detail that the shooter in this case was a home-grown terrorist, not a new Muslim entrant. Reports suggest he was radicalised by what he read and saw on the social media.

What might have influenced him are the conflicts in Muslim lands that have been going on with direct or indirect Western intervention.

The Global Peace Index released a few days ago says the world has become increasingly violent with deaths from conflict at a 25-year high, terrorist attacks at an all-time high, and more people displaced than at any time since the World War II.

And that intensifying conflicts in the Middle East were mostly to blame for destroying peace in the world.

Unsurprisingly, the index showed most terrorist attacks were concentrated in five countries: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Except for the last, all the other four countries are grappling with radical extremists unleashed by the US and its European allies wars.

Although Libya is not mentioned, ouster of the Qadhafi regime by Western powers with the help of moderate as well as extremist elements has rendered it a lawless state where IS’ radical Islamists control large swathes of land.

Many young people in Western countries radicalised by these wars have been travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight on the side of extremists.

The smart thing therefore for Trump and his ilk would be to address the causes of radicalisation rather than using its symptoms to play electoral politics. –Business Recorder