What US Must Do After Orlando – OpEd


By Deepak Sinha

It will take all of us a great deal of time to come to terms with the shocking tragedy that hit Orlando like a Tsunami out of hell. There will be many, family and friends directly affected, who will probably never be able to do so for a long long time, if ever. But, this is not the only tragedy unfolding, as in all likelihood, we will also be a witness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children will also be impacted either because of the coincidence of birth or religious practices they may have in common with the perpetrator of this heinous crime. Their lives have just got that much harder, especially if  Republican and US presidential hopeful Donald Trump were to finally have his way.

For the general public, it is of little consequence to debate whether this attack should be classified as a terrorist outrage or not. Such a debate is redundant because by any definition using violence to frighten or kill people, whatever be the motivation, cannot be termed anything else but terrorism, regardless of whether this definition coincides with how Governments categorise such acts. Whether Omar Mateen was ajihadi or a raving lunatic is of little importance and changes nothing.

That, in an election year, politics will overwhelm the narrative is to be expected as each candidate will do all he or she can to make the best of the situation, however cynical that may sound, as that is the nature of the beast.

Therefore, Trump’s call for US President Barack Obama’s resignation is not unexpected, though he knows as well as anybody else that in such circumstances a “lone wolf” attack of this nature is well-nigh impossible to foresee, let alone prevent. It is indeed reflective of the political climate that despite the enormity of the tragedy neither candidate is in a position to condemn existing gun laws that allowed Mateen the option to legally procure the weapons he put to such deadly use.

It has often been said that history repeats itself till you learn from it and that truism holds good even in this case. It is time for all Americans, whatever their ideological position, to junk the Second Amendment to their Constitution, the one that gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. This is no longer 1791, when this Bill was adopted, and without serious focus on enacting gun control legislation, such tragedies are but only moments away.

This shooting has been followed by another at a shopping mall just days later. The sad truth is that with effective gun laws in place such a tragedy may not have been preventable, but consequence would certainly not have been so horrendous. The reality is that with such casualties even the most well-trained infantry battalion will be rendered hors de combat for a substantial period of time.

We should also remember that the Second Amendment was based on earlier rights, which while in their stated purpose may have been to provide individuals the right to self-defence, was liberally used by colonists to grab land from the native Americans. It was also at a time when the fledgling American Republic under George Washington was deeply involved in a war against the native American-Indian tribes to grab their hunting grounds east of the Mississippi River. It is ironical that the Bill of Rights, and democratic institutions that ensure their effectiveness, which earlier allowed settlers to use force against the natives and occupy their lands is now being used by newer immigrants to thrust their beliefs, settle scores or give vent to their prejudices. Equality before the law can have unintended consequences.

So how does this tragic episode have any relevance for us? We will do well to remember that despite strict gun control laws in this country, which allows possession of a licensed weapon under very strict guidelines, we are not free of endemic use of guns to assert one’s rights. As the recent Mathura episode has starkly brought out, it isn’t just laws on the books that matter but their implementation and that is one area in which we have been sadly lacking.

This  article originally appeared in The Pioneer.

Observer Research Foundation

ORF was established on 5 September 1990 as a private, not for profit, ’think tank’ to influence public policy formulation. The Foundation brought together, for the first time, leading Indian economists and policymakers to present An Agenda for Economic Reforms in India. The idea was to help develop a consensus in favour of economic reforms.

3 thoughts on “What US Must Do After Orlando – OpEd

  • June 26, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Terrorist Mateen has nothing to do with Islam and Muslims, and according to the Holy Quran he will go to hellfire for good because he has killed innocent non-combatant people. He was embarrassment for Muslims. One Muslim brother did inform the FBI about Mr. Matten, according to CBS news reported by Mr. Pelley, but his information was ignored. What the country need is for the FBI to do proper investigation when received information from trusty sources. I know that terrorist Mateen was working for a security firm that deals with Israel to torture Palestinian prisoners but his job should have been immaterial for the purpose of investigation. President Obama does not have to resign for this massacre of innocent people, and Mr. Trump does not need to impose ban on Muslims coming to the USA. No new comers have done this terrorist act and a Muslim person did notify the authority, and terrorist Mateen’s family came by the help of President Reagan. (On my part I care less about what Mr. Trump will do to me, because Allah’s land is huge, and many countries will take me anyway.) President Obama can be blamed, however, for his relationship with some countries that are supporting Daesh and other terrorist organizations such as Al Nusra and other “moderate” terrorist groups. (Those moderate terrorists have killed Jordanian military people recently.) For example, Turkey provides the terrorists with funds, military equipment, and fighters. The Obama administration should have supported the countries fighting Daesh and other terrorist organizations such as Iraq and Syria. In addition, he needs to revisit his No-fly List because he puts many innocent Muslims on this list. Finally, President Obama must stop his colonial policy in the Middle East and should provide the world with the 28-pages related to September 11. (The Bush administration was warned by many Arab governments about the plan of the terrorists and their calls were ignored as well. And President Bush used his own judgment which was supported by Secretary Hillary Clinton to invade and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.)

  • June 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I disagree, in this case, that the Orlando massacre was “…well-nigh impossible to foresee, let alone prevent.”

    The Orlando Massacre was preventable.

    Omar Mateen was on not one, but two FBI databases. Once placed in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) or the main ‘watchlist’ used by the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation ~ Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), his name should have been kept on the list PERMANENTLY (it was removed in 2014). Obviously, there had been reasonable suspicion that Mateen was capable of carrying out an act of domestic terrorism; otherwise, his name would not have been placed on the databases in the first place. And, had his name not been removed, it would have been flagged during a background check and Mateen may have, once again, been watched more closely for his potential to commit an act of domestic terrorism.

    That said, the reasons the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave for removing his name from the aforementioned databases require closer scrutiny, not gun control laws themselves.

    Furthermore, Mateen had at least one accomplice, his wife Noor Salman, who US Attorney General Loretta Lynch now claims is ‘missing’. How could anyone not realize that Noor Salman would not try to elude FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation? Noor Salman needs to be held accountable for any and/or every part she played in the ‪‎Orlando massacre. In my mind, she is as guilty as if she pulled the trigger herself and every effort needs to be made to find her if, in fact, she is ‘missing’.

  • June 26, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    As an American, I say anyone who doesn’t believe in MY constitution and Bill Of Rights can go back to any country they came from, or one of which believes as they do, and leave My America as it is.


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