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Guns, Islamophobia, gay pride: the talking points after Orlando

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 13 June 2016, 13:08 IST

UpStairs Lounge arson attack, 32 dead. Stonewall riots. Pulse shooting, 50 dead. What is common between the three of these you may ask. Well, all three were gay bars/nightclubs and each of them was targeted. One was an arson attack, one was riots and one was a mass shooting. The first was in New Orleans, the second in New York and the most recent of them in Orlando.

All the way on the West Coast, 4,000 kilometres away from Orlando, the Los Angles police, in the Santa Monica area, stopped a man, reportedly headed for the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood.

He was in a vehicle that was loaded with "assault rifles, ammunition, and possible explosives". He told the police that he wanted to "harm the gay pride event". There has been no connection made with the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The shooter in what is being called the deadliest mass shooting in US history at Pulse in Orlando has been identified as 20-year-old Omar Mateen. The gunmen used an AR-15-type rifle. His ex-wife told The Washington Post that she was beaten throughout their marriage and that Mateen was mentally disturbed. He owned a handgun and worked as a security guard. He was apparently not religious and neither was he drawn to radical Islam.

Here's Orlando Sentinel's front-page:

And here's survivors and relatives of victims recounting the horrors:

President Barack Obama

This wasn't the first time President Obama addressed the nation after a mass shooting, and may not be his last. As USA Today said, "It was at least the 14th time that President Obama spoke to the nation in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting - and the sixth time within just the past year."

Mark Knoller of CBS News said it was "at least the 20th time Pres Obama has make a statement about a shooting incident".

Obama did acknowledge that his remarks were becoming monotonous.

Here's what Obama said on Sunday, 12 June: "Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder - a horrific massacre - of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it's still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people...."

The three Presidential candidates - Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump - also reacted to the deadly shootings:

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton called the attack "devastating" in both Spanish and English.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, democratic presidential candidate, says the nation was reeling from the "horrific atrocity" in Orlando. Here's his statement in full:

"All Americans are horrified, disgusted and saddened by the horrific atrocity in Orlando.

At this point we do not know whether this was an act of terrorism, a terrible hate crime against gay people or the act of a very sick person, but we extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims' families and loved ones and our thoughts are with the injured and the entire Orlando LGBTQ community."

Donald Trump

Donald Trump gave what is being called "the worst possible reaction" to the news. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, accepted congratulations for being right on "right Islamic terrorism".

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, in a statement by Holy See press officer Father Federico Lombardi, had this to say:

"The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred."

Alex Jones

Radio host and Infowars.com founder, and one of the chief professional conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, said that the attacks were "a false flag terror attack".

"Our government and the governments of Europe allowed these huge hordes of radical jihadis in, and have even allowed them in without vetting them on record, landing at airports across the country and not even checking their passports, IDs, or visas,"

Listen to his 'rant' in full here:

Over on the micro-blogging website Twitter, #Orlando, #OrlandoShooting and #OrlandoNightclubShooting immideately started to trend.

Vigil

Over in the Castro district of New Orleans, there was a vigil held:

Other reactions

One employee who worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal, died at the nightclub. Here's Harry Potter author JK Rowling paying her tribute:

Here's a cartoon respone to terror attacks in the USA from December of 2015.

Media organisation and their comments page.

This sums up all the reactions to any shooting that occurs:

The GOP blocked a bill to stop terrorists from buying guns.

What became a hot topic on Twitter in the wake of the shootings was gun control and the laws in the United States.

Quartz points out that even if one is a suspected terrorist, they'd still be able to easily buy a gun.

As The Economist writes, "The slaughter-the deadliest mass shooting in American history and the worst terrorist attack since September 2001-will not lead to tougher federal gun controls. It will not pave the way for even the most modest step advocated by Barack Obama and other gun-safety advocates each time that the country endures a fresh massacre by firearm: namely, more consistent screening of gun buyers against existing watch-lists of those with serious criminal histories or severe mental illness."

Business Insider points out that Obama had warned of the massive loophole in gun laws, 12 days before the attack.

Here are some more reactions on gun control in the United States:

Here's The Intercept on why 'mass shootings' are good for the gun industry.

Here's how the 'alt-right' responded: Trump love and anti-Muslim hate.

Last but not the least, the LGBTQ community reacted in solidarity to the shootings:

First published: 13 June 2016, 13:08 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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