I am utterly heartbroken. Utterly. Only hours after the carnage of the Orlando Massacre, we were already turning on each other.
I want to make one thing crystal clear – we will NEVER know the shooter’s motives with absolute certainty. What we do know is by all appearances he grew up in a home that supported certain ideologies. We know he placed a call to 911 declaring allegiance to ISIS. We know that in the midst of his mission he shouted "Allahu Akbar." Logic would deduce that his motives were based in radical Islamic ideology.
So why is it that so soon after this devastation are there people trying to make this event even more painful for an already fractured and heartbroken populous? I've read many posts in both mainstream and social media blaming the "Christian Right" for the massacre.
I have witnessed the hatred of the Westboro Baptist Church first hand, live and in person. I’ve heard their hateful slurs, seen their disgusting placards, and their attempts to denigrate the LGBT community. To say it's an experience I would choose to replicate would be a lie.
However, to compare their hateful activism with the genocidal jihad is to be utterly sheltered and naïve. ISIS beheads anyone who stands in the way of their attempt at domination. They make sport of throwing gay people from rooftops. They subscribe to the most violent and deadly interpretation of Islam. This group doesn’t play by any other rules than their own. They are on a singular mission and will not hesitate to eliminate anyone who threatens it.
What’s equally terrifying is our own government’s delusional thinking as they continue to deny that ISIS is a credible threat. Until shamed into doing so, Justin Trudeau had refused to acknowledge the genocide being committed by ISIS. How much more evidence do we need? Bataclan, San Bernardino, Brussels Airport and now the horrors of Orlando. How long does this list need to get before we all wake up to the new reality?
After the crushing events that took place in the wee hours of Sunday morning I saw a swell in the human spirit. For a few hours a great number of people who would traditionally be adversaries came together to grieve. When something like the Orlando Massacre occurs make no mistake, all of humanity is wounded. I’m old and wise enough to know that all the vigils, flower memorials, flags at half mast and rainbow lights won’t give us the tools to prevent another attack. However, they do provide the spirit of peace and unification we now need so dearly! The crime and the events leading up to it need to be carefully investigated. We need to recognize that the blame game helps no one.
Sadly, on the same day the usual murmurs intensified. From the mouths of the same people preaching love came assaulting words of blame. Blaming the NRA, blaming Christians, blaming right wing politicians. I won’t deny for a moment that these groups are not innocent lambs. Each of them has an agenda which they honour with ardent passion.
But to compare these agendas with ISIS is to compare a slingshot to a nuclear missile. Choosing to ignore the clear influence of ISIS in the Orlando Massacre is to be virtually complicit in any further violence.
Blaming anyone other than the shooter, and his apparent desire to serve the mission of ISIS will never result in a solution. It only perpetuates a cycle of adversarial behaviour amongst our own North American family; we’ve come far too far to slide back into that mindset.
Forty nine victims lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub and 53 more people were seriously wounded. Our of respect to them let’s not stir further discord with misplaced attacks on each other. We need to live in that moment where love is love is love is love. That moment should be the perpetual drumbeat in our hearts.