“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
I don't know why, but I am always a little surprised at the ability of the press and political talking heads to spin a tragic story so that they can push a particular agenda. I don't think most talking heads even realize how they are being manipulated with the spin; they just repeat the story without any questions. A friend of mine who happens to be part of the media in Orlando posted on Facebook, "WORST MASS SHOOTING IN AMERICAN HISTORY HAPPENED IN ORLANDO!" She wasn't wrong and she was one of many, it is the worst mass shooting, but not the worst mass killing.
This is an important distinction. How you label something often reveals your bias. I don't know who started it, but somewhere along the way these mass killings have been changed to mass shootings. Perhaps this is because this would eliminate other mass killings (which the FBI defines as 4 or more) that used dynamite, cars, knives, fire, fertilizer truck bombs and other methods. Everyone of these methods have been used in mass killings, and there are other methods as well. In fact, the largest killing at a school did not use a gun at all, dynamite was used. Those don't count if you say mass shooting.
Of course the mass shooting label frames the discussion so that the anti-gun agenda can flourish and put everyone else on defense. Honestly, it's brilliant. I am not suggesting that all media types or political talking heads are being intentionally manipulative. Many of them are true believers and some are probably the victims of the manipulation.
What is perhaps ironic about this particular killing that is being proclaimed as the largest or deadliest mass shooting in US history is that there was a mass killing that killed far more people and as reports keep coming out appears to be motivated by the same ideology. If you haven't figured it out, I am talking about 9/11. Two planes crash into the two towers in New York. Between the two towers 3,000 people died. Even if you want to only count one plane it is far more people killed that the club in Orlando. One might say that was terrorism and committed by people who were not US citizens. This is true, but why does that matter? These people had been living in the US for some time and so far, it looks like both killings were motivated by Islam.
Maybe you didn't buy that line of argument. You want to categorize 9/11 so that it doesn't count. Okay, what about the Oklahoma City bombing? Timothy McVeigh, an American citizen, killed 168 people by exploding a fertilizer bomb he built in a truck. Once again, that doesn't count if you say "mass shooting."
It should be mentioned that the Columbine shooting wasn't just a shooting there were several bombs built that simply didn't go off. You can take away the guns, but you can't extinguish evil...only Jesus can do that.
If you don't like guns and you think they should be severely limited or even banned, that is fine, but perhaps the story is bigger than the guns. Islam clearly teaches in its Hadith and the Quran that killing homosexuals or the broader category of infidels is honorable and even commanded. I realize that many Muslims, especially in the western world, have redefined the meaning of such texts, but the commands are there and it should not be surprising that a large number of Muslims take these texts plainly. The result is numerous Islamic terrorist organizations like Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and numerous others.
Mass killings of every kind are terrible. We should mourn deeply with those in Orlando who lost loved ones. We should fight to prevent such tragedies in the future and we can have honest discussions about the best way to do that, but we should also be aware of the perpetual spin and reject the improper framing of the discussion.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.