The largest mass shooting in American history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12th has resulted in 49 people killed, 53 injured, and countless more people emotionally devastated. Using the assault rifle favored by most mass shooters, the AR-15, Omar Mateen took out his personal frustration and lack of meaning for life in a fashion which has become distinctly American. While this shooting is an act of intolerance towards the gay community, it is also one of the many corrupt fruits of the military industrial complex which fuels the American economy. It is time to begin to enact gun control which will make it more difficult for the discontent to so easy vent their frustration in a hail of hollow point bullets, through a widespread ban of the AR-15. This sample sociology essay explores the incident in detail.
Orlando Pulse: The LGBT community’s greatest tragedy
One major aspect of a tragedy is that nothing is learned from something bad occurring. Senseless and unable to create positive change, the mass shooting culture in America is indeed tragic, but it need not continue to be so. The Orlando shooting is the 133rd shooting in 2016, only half-way through the year. Mass shootings are a warning sign of the terminal psychic disease of America, corrupted at the very heart by the military industrial complex which incites and profits from violence all around the world. The bigotry and delusion which enables this business to flourish often backfires onto American soil, and it is no longer appropriate to be shocked when it occurs. It is no longer time for debate, but for action, as the President continues to admonish. However, the President has been consistently blocked by Congress who refuse to support his initiatives in their own not-so-subtle racism, and in their allegiance to the industrial military complex. The culture of violence which erupts in violence all the time in America is not about radical religions or racism; it is simply about money, and the lust for profits which has the American people hogtied and mentally blinded.
Background on Orlando Shooter
A few facts about the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen paint a dreary and complex picture. He had been previously investigated on the suspicion of terrorist leanings, but the FBI had found no real link substantiated. Mateen had claimed allegiance to many terrorist groups which had conflicting agendas and may have simply been seeking publicity or validation for his desire to kill. It is likely Mateen felt isolated and filled with rage, and was looking for a way to belong and express that rage.
Investigators are ‘highly confident’ the gunman was self-radicalized through the internet, Comey said. According to one official, analysis of Mateen’s electronic devices showed searches for jihadist propaganda, including videos of ISIS beheading videos and of Anwar al-Awlaki, an influential American-born imam who worked as a spokesman for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was killed in 2011.
He consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda’ online, the source said. (Fantz, McLaughlin, and Hume)
Mateen had been seen frequenting Pulse nightclub for three years, reported in the company of other homosexuals, hanging out, drinking, and relaxed. It is very likely that he was either curious, bisexual, homosexual, or simply confused and looking for a place to fit in.
While in America and Orlando, the gay community is relatively strong (very supported by the recent legalization of gay marriage), Mateen’s Afghanistan parents are Muslims and raised their son to see homosexuality as a sin. On Anderson 360, Mateen’s father is reported as saying;
“Why should we concern ourselves with punishing gays here on Earth when they will burn forever in hell?” (Fantz, McLaughlin, and Hume).
However, here it is important to recognize, the issue at the heart is not the violence of the Muslim religion because fundamentalist Christians believe the same thing. The issue is intolerance in any form and not a religious issue.
America’s history of mass shootings
The cultural context of America supports mass shootings through the bigotry which is allowed to flourish, and above all through the military industrial complex which fuels the nation’s economy. The military industrial complex underlies the culture of permissive violence which ignites chaos for profiteering. Americans are shielded from the reality of this violence committed overseas, but the violation lingers in the collective psyche. All the delusional trappings which enable an economy of death (racism, bigotry, classism, Patriarchy, etc.) are transparent filters for the fundamental belief that money is the ultimate value.
The lust for profits is why America has the least restrictive gun laws in the world, and the lust for profits is why gun salesman do not enforce the paltry regulations which are on the books right now. Raising above the status quo is no easy thing to accomplish because social conditioning is very strong. While this social force of mimicry can work to debase the populace to their lowest common denominator, the force can also help raise people to the best they keep within themselves. Thus, leaders have the power and the responsibility to accept that their actions and words do not exist in a vacuum, or only represent themselves, but help define the culture of the moment. Thus, Donald Trump could be perceived as a major cause of the Orlando shooting because his campaign was filled with violence and hate speech.
Trump adds fuel to flame
Trump’s hateful, racist, sexist, classist, and incendiary commentary has lowered the common denominator across the board in the last year. Whatever people put their attention on flourishes and grows, and the best way to deal with a bully like Trump is to ignore him, but the media feeds off of the frenzy he creates. This frenzy undermines the psychic health of the nation, which is already paltry at best, and emphasizes why he is the absolute wrong type of leader in a time of change, crisis, well, really at any time. Rather than offering compassion after the Orlando shooting, Trump used his platform to pat himself on the back for warning America of the terrorists in their midst, calling for immigrants to be banned from the country, and insinuating that Obama was colluding with terrorists (Dickenson).
This is one of the scores of examples of why Trump should not be in the running for president, but the sad fact is that his corrupted character reflects a good portion of the American public, which is how he wins so many primaries. A good portion of America vowed to leave the country if he was elected. This is one major fault with democracy, the tyranny of the majority, and why President Obama will be sorely missed in hindsight. Trump’s politics rely on the small mindedness of polarization, which insists on either/or, black/white scenarios. This type of animal response cannot even be called thinking and does not reflect the complexity of reality making room for the empathy which enables experiences to be educational or transformative. This is a frozen mindset of the closed minded, who are not open to learning or having their beliefs informed by reality. This is why so many radicals, conservatives, and business people rely on polarized views. Inciting this response overwhelms the person with an emotional response in which critical thinking is incapacitated, snap judgments based on fear become facts, and entrenchment grows deeper.
Economy profits from mass shooting fear
The vicious cycles of violence and profiteering which America is enmeshed in, those who have a vested interest in chaos maneuver laws, media, and customs in ways which feedback fear and hate. However, this type of insanity can only be pushed so far until the system breaks. However, this contingency is built into the Boom and Bust economic model the military industrial complex thrives on, and if the fundamentals of the system are not addressed after every Bust the system will simply reset itself with increasing cascades of consequences. Not to mention, the National Rifle Association and other gun supporters scare the public into thinking the government is coming for their guns. The more violence there is the more money is made, and in the case of the Orlando shooting:
“Following a mass shooting, there is a talk of gun control, which the National Rifle Association and other gun advocates attack as an assault on the Second Amendment. Notably, gun and ammunition manufacturers often donate, either directly or as a portion of each sale, to the NRA. The fear of losing gun rights leads to panic buying, which brings greater profits to gun retailers, gun companies, and their investors.” (Feng)
At this point, it is well known and well experienced that those people who have guns in the home are 80% more likely to shoot themselves or their loved ones than engage in any type of protection, but at this point, the system is running on blind fear and hate. Rationality was left at the door a long time ago, and in the case of the Second Amendment, that article was written to empower the public to have the necessary arms to keep their government in check. Since that time the technologies have advanced to the degree that mutually assured destruction would result in the extinction of the species, and is no longer a viable option. The only option is disarming, and learning to live in peace (Lexington).
Gun control should no longer be a debate
Too many voices are being heard on the issue of gun control, and they are the wrong voices. Bottom line, America’s gun problem is out of control, and for all the valid points of discussion about the rights and values of gun owners the fact is that more guns equal more shootings (Stack).
“This massacre is 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,” Obama declared after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, the 133rd mass shooting of 2016. “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.” (Matthews)
The reason Congress continues to do nothing about gun control is because they are largely bought and paid for by the gun lobby, and the complex network of military-industrial profiteers which fund their campaigns. In response to the Orlando tragedy, Hillary Clinton called for a ban on assault rifles, and indeed a ban on the AR-15 is the first place to start (Chambers). Clinton is calling assault rifles weapons of war, and with good reason. America is under siege from the blowback of the nation’s corruption, and action must be taken to protect people.
Tying gun control together with the Orlando mass shooting
There is a lot of finger pointing and name calling going on right now, but the root cause of the mass shooting endemic is the military industrial complex which is America’s economy. The ideals, actions, and delusions which support this corruption must be uprooted from every heart and mind in order to disempower the corporations who see human lives as collateral damage on their fiscal spreadsheets. Only the individual can see through the incendiary propaganda which would place blame anywhere but on the right place, and banning the AR-15 is only the first step towards building a bridge of justice between the hearts of the community of America and the rest of the world.
Chambers, Francesca. “Gun control is only way to ‘stop terrorists from getting the tools they need’ says Clinton as she makes clampdown center of Orlando response.” The Daily Mail, 13 June 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3639560/Clinton-pushes-ban-weapons-war-including-AR-15-response-Orlando.html.
Dickenson, Tim. “Trump’s Response to Orlando Shooting Should Be Disqualifying.” Rolling Stone, 13 June 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trumps-response-to-orlando-shooting-should-be-disqualifying-20160613.
Fang, Lee. “Gun Industry Executives Say Mass Shootings Are Good for Business.” The Intercept, 3 Dec. 2015. Retrieved from: https://theintercept.com/2015/12/03/mass-shooting-wall-st/.
Fantz, Ashley, McLaughlin, Eliot C., and Tim Hume. “Orlando shooting: What motivated a killer?” CNN, 14 June. 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/index.html.
Lexington. “Nightclub shooting in Orlando is the worst in American history.” The Economist, 12 June 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/06/massacre-florida.
Matthews, Dylan. “What no politician wants to admit about gun control.” Vox, 13 June 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.vox.com/2015/10/5/9454161/gun-violence-solution.
Stack, Liam. “Orlando shooting: What we know and don’t know.” The New York Times, 12 June 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/us/orlando-shooting-what-we-know-and-dont-know.html.
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