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POV: After Orlando, Will We Say “Enough”?

SPH Dean Sandro Galea on the myth of a “lone” gunman

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The shooter in the mass gun shooting in Orlando early Sunday morning, which killed at least 50 people and wounded dozens of others, was initially characterized as a “lone gunman.” But for those of us in public health, who have seen the deadly merger of access to weapons and senseless hate play out again and again, with no government action to stop it, the gunman, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was by no means alone. He was aided and abetted by our inertia.

When will we say: “Enough”? Just this year, there have been 133 verified mass shootings in the United States. More broadly, there have been close to 6,000 firearm-related deaths, more than 12,000 injuries, and more than 1,000 accidental shootings. In 2013, the United States suffered more than 30,000 gun deaths—and there is no reason to think we will not see similarly horrific numbers by the end of this year. It would not be hyperbolic to say that gun deaths have become routine.

The FBI has said that Mateen “may have [had] leanings toward radical Islam,” and that they are investigating the attack as a “terror incident.” But while details are still emerging, the tragedy appears to have been motivated by hate. Mateen’s father said that he does not believe that there was a religious motivation for the attack; instead, he said that his son became angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami in recent months. If antigay bigotry and hate were indeed the shooter’s cue for violence, then he becomes the latest in a string of grim clichés. Hate has taken over more and more of our public stage in recent years—whether directed at countries, specific communities, or individuals. We have seen this globally, with the rise of ISIS and the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. And we have seen it domestically, with the less egregious but still deeply troubling hate-fueled rhetoric that has colored the national political conversation.

These forces create a kind of echo chamber, where noisy threats and bluster, punctuated by tragic news reports, can drown out the voices of civility and tolerance.

And these forces are given voice—an opportunity to realize their worst impulses—because we are awash in weapons that allow hate to find its worst expression. Because we consider it acceptable that abundantly available guns drive violence in this country—despite legions of grieving parents, destroyed families, and a clear consensus on the part of the American people that our gun laws need to be changed—we keep waking up to scenes like in Orlando. Congress, despite holding its 25th moment of silence for gun violence victims since the 2012 Newtown massacre, continues to abdicate its responsibility in this regard, even denying funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research this glaring national problem. With this state of affairs, we have moved beyond numbness toward, shamefully, a kind of complicity.

Guns facilitate hate. They give it a voice that it does not deserve to have and should not have in our society. With our country’s history of gun violence, its frequency, and the tragic familiarity of its statistics, none of us are in a position to claim ignorance on this issue. We know what guns are doing to us.

When we prioritize the proliferation of these weapons over the safety of our communities, we signal our peace with the status quo. We say that we can live with the possibility that an angry, spiteful person could, at any time, access an assault rifle and use deadly force to broadcast his grievance to the world.

Until we are ready to work toward making the acceptable unacceptable, there are, in reality, no “lone” gunmen.

Enough.

Sandro Galea, dean of the BU School of Public Health and Robert A. Knox Professor, can be reached at sgalea@bu.edu.

A version of this article was originally published in the Boston Globe on June 12, 2016.

“POV” is an opinion page that provides timely commentaries from students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues: on-campus, local, state, national, or international. Anyone interested in submitting a piece, which should be about 700 words long, should contact Rich Barlow at barlowr@bu.edu. BU Today reserves the right to reject or edit submissions. The views expressed are solely those of the author and are not intended to represent the views of Boston University.

46 Comments

46 Comments on POV: After Orlando, Will We Say “Enough”?

  • Keith Suter on 06.13.2016 at 6:13 am

    Greetings from Sydney.
    Congratulations on the article – a voice of sanity.
    I will recycle some of the argument on Australian breakfast TV tomorrow.

    • Molly on 06.14.2016 at 10:00 am

      Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. People who want to harm others will always find a way, whether it be by MEANS of guns, knives, gas, chemicals, bombs, even mosquitoes (as in WWII). If you are crazy enough, you could kill someone with a pencil. Are we going to outlaw pencils?

      Maybe mention that on your TV show. Everyone should live in a fluffy cloud … oh wait you could choke someone on the fluff.

      • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:09 pm

        Time to wake up, Molly. Guns make it far easier for people to kill people, & easy access to guns with massive firepower is still more dangerous. Since you seem fond of soundbites, try this one: people with highly lethal guns (i.e. assault rifles) kill people.

        Your argument embodies a logical fallacy, the fallacy of the excluded middle. You present two alternatives: one is your choice; the other is an absurd & indefensible position. Intelligent & principled readers recognize this, & rightly reject your disingenuous presentation of just two unacceptable options.

  • Anne Soydan on 06.13.2016 at 7:52 am

    So perfectly stated. It is time.

  • Bill Littlefield on 06.13.2016 at 7:59 am

    Thank you for this clear, strong statement. There is hatred everywhere. In this country, the hatred leads to mass murder because those doing the hating can so easily obtain assault weapons, among other firearms.

  • Margo Miller on 06.13.2016 at 8:16 am

    Excellent piece. How can we at BU unite and organize against gun violence?

  • Nathan Paddock on 06.13.2016 at 8:35 am

    Murder is completely unacceptable, no matter what weapon is used to accomplish it. Focusing on more legislation for gun ownership will not prevent this type of senseless tragedy. “Assault-type” weapons are already highly regulated by the federal government. FL state law declares establishments with alcohol to be “gun free zones.” While it’s true this murderer probably would not have been able to kill as many people without his guns, it seems equally true law-abiding victims had no weapon in hand with which to return fire. As many have already argued, outlawing guns just helps ensure only outlaws have guns.

    • Joe on 06.13.2016 at 9:15 am

      Exactly!!

      • alex on 06.13.2016 at 9:47 am

        So you recommend we all walk around with a loaded gun to protect ourselves from the eventual lunatic that has an assalt weapon? You believe we will be safer with more weapons?
        Did you even read the statics about deaths related to accidents? 1000? You apparently consider these trajic deaths as normal because you prone us all getting a gun. Sorry your logic just makes you look like an advocate for the gun lobby with zero regard for human life.

        • Joe on 06.13.2016 at 1:10 pm

          You can carry the gun and not drink. Show a concealed carry permit at the doorway, be given a wristband that prevents you from drinking alcohol (which BTW, is legal to do, just not in places where the sole purpose or main purpose is the sale of alcohol). If you’re caught you face strict punishment. Next question.

        • Geoff on 06.13.2016 at 10:54 pm

          I suggest you educate yourself about what an “assault weapon” is. The murderer did not have an assault weapon. It takes more than a weapon looking dangerous to make it an assault weapon.

    • Frederick on 06.13.2016 at 10:56 am

      “It seems equally true law-abiding victims had no weapon in hand to return fire.”

      And your argument is what exactly? That drunken people in a club should be allowed to carry weapons? What is it that more law-abiding citizens with guns would have accomplished here?

      Let’s play out this scenario for a second. Imagine that carrying guns becomes the new norm. To make the argument have any chance of survival, let’s also imagine that this was a dry establishment. It’s dark inside, lights flash intermittently and the music is so loud you can’t carry a conversation without shouting at the top of your lungs. How many true law-abiding victims would you like to give guns to? Fifty percent? Twenty percent? Ten percent? In other words, how big would you like the shootout to be?

      There were 320 people inside of the club. How about we let them all play a game of “spot the terrorist” with 160 of them carrying guns (+1 terrorist). One law-abiding citizen sees the terrorist pointing their gun at the crowd. They make a split second decision and shoot. A few bullets miss and hit other targets, but hey, still better than 50 deaths. Turns out though, that “terrorist” just had a darker tone of skin but was a law-abiding citizen pointing their gun at the *real* terrorist (the plot thickens!).
      Now you have 159 people left with guns, shots are fired left and right, no one can really see what’s going on, the music is still blaring, police enter; people are still waiving their guns around, they have to make a split-second decision and empty their magazines on a few unlucky law-abiding citizens (turns out the victims are all black, who would have thought?!), shots continue to be fired, the bodies keep piling up.

      Despite the best of their intentions, more people with guns would just mean more dead people in the end. This situation is obviously unrealistic because no sane person would advocate for drunken people to carry guns. But change the venue with a movie theater, and you’d have the same outcome.

      Everyone loves the stories about the one vigilant law-abiding citizen with concealed carry who stops a violent robbery. And yes, there might be instances where more people with more guns results in fewer deaths. But for every story like that, there are (and will be) a dozen accidental discharge, mistaken identity, cops killing unarmed psychiatric patient, gang violence, “gun fire erupted in shopping mall on black Friday when argument over TV escalated, dozens killed”, … ones. Police officers are already on edge, hovering their hand above their gun for a routine traffic stop. Do you want every police interaction to start with guns drawn, “get down on the ground”, “he was reaching for his weapon, I had to shoot him”?

      You’re advocating for a Cold War and a culture of fear within the United States, with every Joe, Dick and Tracy purchasing a gun because “the bad guys have them as well”. Since the bad guys don’t have to follow the rules, they’ll just get actual assault rifles to one-up everyone else. Joe better be wearing Kevlar when he goes out on the street, until the bad guys purchase armor piercing rounds. Now police have to follow suit, increasing their already concerning arsenal of military equipment. “Better be vigilant kids, if you see a Middle-Eastern man open-carry, say something”.
      It baffles me how after so much research and studies, and actual examples of the effect of gun legislation in other countries, people still bring up arguments that make no sense and have been debunked time and time and time again.

      • Joe on 06.13.2016 at 1:07 pm

        If you’re in love with the effect of gun legislation in other countries you are more than welcome to move there. We’ll keep our guns here and protect ourselves from criminals, foreign invasion, and an oppressive government. Thanks.

        • Greg on 06.13.2016 at 5:23 pm

          Joe, it is simply unbelievable how impervious your thinking is to the screaming truth of the arguments used here. In the ENTIRE United Kingdom 7 kids die in gun-related accidents every YEAR. We achieve that on a one bad WEEKEND, and that is JUST in Chicago! And even police does not carry guns in UK. THIS is how guns make people safer – when they are not used. I happen to have friends who work as police there and they cannot wrap their heads around what we do here in this regard.

      • J on 06.13.2016 at 10:25 pm

        Absolutely perfectly put. This law-abiding, gun-wielding savior idea has been repeated ad nauseum, without people realizing just how absurd (and deadly) the reality of it would be.

      • Nathan Paddock on 06.14.2016 at 8:50 am

        My argument is that making laws about gun-carrying and gun ownership will not prevent a determined murderer from carrying out a plan. Legislation tends to take us down a rabbit trail of high cost and legal liability. Say you, as the club owner, decided to act on the “gun free zone” law by adding metal detectors at roughly $4,000 installed per customer entrance. Between the maintenance contract, training for personnel, handling customer complaints, and trying to keep the establishment’s reputation as “a world of fun and fantasy,” you realize the cost is starting to add up. But “safety is worth it” you rationalize…until a knife or gun attack happens in your club anyway, and you eventually become the subject of lawsuits from the victims’ families, because they believe you should be held liable: poorly trained staff, out-of-date equipment, any other reason they can think of to make you pay for their loss. A similar scenario would play out with armed bouncers, along with the high likelihood of unintentional victims being hit in the crossfire, as you mentioned.

        There are many unknowns about the circumstances here, but it really makes no sense to suggest this happened as a result of a government that “prioritizes proliferation” of guns. This happened, because one person decided to make it happen. Do we really want to blame Congress?

        I will agree with you though. There is no way to know whether a person with a concealed weapon could have made a difference in this tragic circumstance, in close quarters with hundreds of people around. Also, there was apparently no way to know who the murderer was, until he brandished his weapon and revealed himself. Instead of blaming “guns,” perhaps we should investigate the shooter’s motives and learn how he did manage to get into this club without anyone noticing he was carrying a rifle.

    • LZ on 06.16.2016 at 9:59 am

      This is a ridiculous argument. When have we ever not focused on more legislation for an issue just because “it could happen anyway.” That’s the point of laws–to make it harder to get access to harmful things or commit horrible acts. Also, these war-style weapons are extremely easy to get. You can walk in a store and get one the same day. There is no reason why a normal citizen needs semi-automatic weapons that can shoot high-capacity magazines. Your statement “this murder probably would not have been able to kill as many people without his guns” is exactly the issue. We need to take measures to reduce the damage caused by guns, and one measure is restricting assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons from the average citizen. We’d still have access to hand guns and whatever else you want to protect your family, which I can understand. But we shouldn’t need to carry these hand guns around on a daily basis to protect ourselves. To me, gun control (CONTROL–not bans) is worth it to save just ONE life. How can you disagree?

      Also, your argument that no one in the club had a gun to defend themselves is moot. 1) There are enough guns for every single human in this country, so it’s not like our current laws prohibited them from having their own self defense. If they didn’t own a gun then they probably never would. Most citizens don’t want to carry a gun around 24/7, and I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a society where that becomes a necessity. 2) It’s REALLY unlikely that a person with a hand gun could shoot down a crazed terrorist with a high-capacity assault rifle. They are two very different beasts and one is clearly more powerful. 3) Have you not read the studies and research done that proves that a normal citizen, even one who is trained to use a gun, is extremely unlikely to be able to aim accurately and defend themselves in a high-stress situation such as the Orland shooting? It’s tough enough for cops and highly trained professionals to do this.

      I don’t know what it will take to get people to understand that “outlawing guns” has never been on the table. All people want is some sort of control over these weapons that are used to kill innocent people WAY too often.

  • Maureen Crocker on 06.13.2016 at 8:43 am

    Thank you for this.

    • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:16 pm

      “it seems equally true law-abiding victims had no weapon in hand with which to return fire”

      Not true. There was an off duty policeman with a gun in the Orlando club. He tried firing to stop Mateen, but was unable to do it.

      Encouraging the public to arm themselves to prevent this kind of senseless tragedy promotes two further dangers. 1/ Untrained, stressed civilians are more likely to shoot the wrong person instead of the supposed “bad guy.” 2/ Armed but untrained & unidentified civilians are likely to be shot by law enforcement officers mistaking them for the suspect/s they’re seeking. Either way, these lead to greater, not lesser harm & danger.

  • DA Lynch on 06.13.2016 at 8:49 am

    Gun control does work for those of us who are honest hardworking Americans. But what I am finding our in recent years is our law enforcement is not working!

    How could this man Omar Martin be investigates twice by the FBI and not be placed on a watch list which would include the gun control policy. I read in the news that the FBI report is not included when checking for the right to own a gun! HUH?

    I blame the law enforcement agencies who do not share important information! We do not need more gun control we need to use the laws we have!

  • Joe on 06.13.2016 at 9:14 am

    You sure wasted no time in making this about gun control, but that is to be expected here at BU. Do tell what exactly would have prevented this tragedy? It seems like you want to yell “ban guns” but are keeping it to yourself

    • Not Joe on 06.13.2016 at 2:30 pm

      BAN GUNS

      • Peter on 06.13.2016 at 2:39 pm

        Abolish the 2nd Amendment, and the other amendments will be sure to follow…..

    • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:17 pm

      BAN GUNS!

  • BU Student on 06.13.2016 at 9:38 am

    Every time a tragic incident like this happens, everyone seems to be happy to scream “GUN CONTROL GUN CONTROL”. But can we think for a moment here? There are guns out there, and there is no conceivable way we’d ever be able to confiscate all of them. And ban gun sales? You just created a very profitable black market for guns. While guns exists, those who wish to do harm to others will find them.

    Let’s also get a fact check here. 133 mass shootings this year? Yep, when you’re including incidents like that at gun ranges, where 4 or more people are injured, meaning this includes small injuries. A more accurate report by the FBI shows a rising number of shootings, but at a much more reasonable level of ~11/year: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents/a-study-of-active-shooter-incidents-in-the-u.s.-2000-2013.

    Many other countries with FAR more loose gun laws have FAR less gun related deaths than the US. The rise of gun violence is terrible and scary, but without looking at this rationally with actual facts, we’ve lost twice. We need more than gun control, we need our culture to be reformed.

    • Dan on 06.13.2016 at 10:10 am

      I have no idea what your talking about creating a black market for guns. We made drugs illegal and now we have no drug problems or mass overdosing! CRIMINALIZE and put more people in jail is the answer! It has ALWAYS solved all of our problems

  • James Spears on 06.13.2016 at 9:49 am

    Violence is part of the human experience. The history of the world is full of it like a cancer causing pain and suffering. Fortunately in the last couple hundred years we have seen our institutions evolve and yield a safer and more prosperous society. But always the barbarian of the evil inside every one of us constantly tries to regain a foot hold.

    Our institutions have evolved to protect the week from the strong, minorities from the majority, the elderly from the young. But those institutions incorporated an acknowledgement that humans have always had the right to use violence to defend themselves. This is why our legal systems calls killing in self defense a justifiable homicide.

    The invention of the firearm democratized justifiable violence. A common peasant could defeat a noble who had the very best military equipment and who had trained from childhood for battle. No longer did the rich and powerful have a monopoly on the use of force. It literally gave all humans the equal opportunity to defend themselves.

    Will saying enough and banning firearm ownership from private citizens eliminate the unjustified violence in this world? No. Events like this still would occur. But it will erode the institutional right of self defense by making it more difficult for the weak of society to effectively use violence in their defense. This reversal of the democratization of force would also concentrate power once again in the hands of the elite, the rich, and the powerful. The emotional response to this type of event is natural and wholesome. But unjustified violence is already illegal.

    “Some men say the earth is flat. Some men say the earth is round. But if it is flat. Could Parliament make it round? And if it round. Could the kings command flatten it?” St Thomas More.

  • Dan on 06.13.2016 at 10:06 am

    It has nothing to do with access to guns. Do you know the one determining factor in every mass shooting? Every single mass shooter is a male. Females have just as much access to guns, just as much mental illness, and often times plenty of hatred, yet somehow all this access to guns hasn’t led to a single female mass shooter. The issue is the way we socialize and raise “masculinity”. Additionally, if we look at other events like the Taunton Mall stabbing spree, mass shooter in mall in Texas, etc. we see that one armed citizen can STOP a mass shooting. It’s too bad a few people in the club in Florida weren’t armed.

    • Geoff on 06.13.2016 at 10:51 pm

      I don’t think it is just masculinity, but it’s obvious that there is a cultural problem. The vast majority of men, or gun owners, are not going to hurt anyone. The question then becomes what are the cultural forces that cause people to be violent, whether it’s with guns or other means? Some people are just not well socialized and don’t have empathy for other people.

    • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:27 pm

      Dan is wrong about there being no mass shootings by women. In 2010 Amy Bishop, denied tenure at the U. of Alabama Huntsville, brought a gun to a dept meeting, murdering 3 & wounding 3. This incident is especially relevant in MA b/c Bishop used to live here, & shot her brother to death some years ago. A combined coverup & whitewash by officials, including family members, left her unaccountable for that violent crime, & free to commit a much greater one in Huntsville.

      The logic of Dan’s argument suggests that males should be banned due to their (our) propensity for violence. That actually makes sense, in an absurd kind of way.

  • Itai Vardi on 06.13.2016 at 10:33 am

    A reminder: BU’s own Board of Trustees refused to divest from gun manufacturers, and instead continue to profit from this cynical industry that promotes a culture of violence and funds the NRA. Check Wall Street right now: Weapons companies’ shares are up, as I type. But hey, it’s good for BU’s endowment!

    http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/university-will-not-divest-from-firearms/

  • Pandu Laksono on 06.13.2016 at 11:16 am

    Easier said than done. What is the implication for this? Complete sanction of gun owning? Impossible, at least in America. Gun owners screening? How are you going to screen people like this who would go on rampage?

    • Geoff on 06.13.2016 at 10:40 pm

      Actually, they had tracked him for 10 months because they knew he was a dangerous jihadist, but they don’t have resources to track them all. Nevertheless, he passed a background check when he purchase the weapons. The problem is that we have enough laws, but that we have neither the ability or will to enforce them.

    • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:32 pm

      Federal & state laws do not allow the authorities to imprison or even disarm people simply b/c they might commit a crime. It’s difficult even to keep potentially dangerous individuals under surveillance without clear evidence that a crime has been committed, or is imminent. That is the price we pay for living in a free society. That said, much, much more can be done to restrict access to the most lethal firearms, & to keep them out of the hands of the wrong people. It’s far more difficult to protect the public once certain segments are armed thru legal means.

  • asdf on 06.13.2016 at 12:24 pm

    How would gun control have prevented the bombings during the Boston Marathon? Could it perhaps have more to do with a destructive ideology that espouses hatred of homosexuals than it does to what weapon they use to kill them?

  • Mo on 06.13.2016 at 1:38 pm

    I do believe Americans have the right to bear arms but am against the availability of assault rifles and things of the like.
    But in these terrorism type mass murders, gun control is the lesser problem . The larger issue is vetting these radical Islamic terrorists; homegrown or otherwise. In listening to an interview by ex Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis yesterday , I would agree with him that the problem stems with our 1st Amendment rights of free speech . It is not a crime to say inflammatory statements or threats against the US. The FBI looked into the Orlando Gunman twice but hands were tied. Maybe we should be looking at making these threats illegal, so that law enforcement has time to incarcerate and to determine if they are truly a threat. Detaining while sorting out ISIL ties could save lives. It’s the people USING the gun , not the gun alone . Take away the gun and they will find explosives. The hate is still there and they will find a way . We have to stop this madness . This killing cannot become the new norm .

    • Geoff on 06.13.2016 at 10:48 pm

      Well, they can say what they want short of incitement, but that doesn’t mean the FBI can’t, in principle, track them. At the least, the background check should have flagged him. Even if he had been able to purchase, you’d think an alert would go off somewhere to start tracking him, pronto. It appears that the systems are not in place or they’re woefully lacking in resources.

      Islam, at its heart, is a violent totalitarian ideology. That doesn’t mean most Muslims aren’t peaceful people, but it does mean that those that both understand what Islam teaches, and are willing to act on it, are dangerous.

      I ask this question: During World War II, would we had been so accommodating to Nazi’s in our country? Would we have been open to them immigrating here? Now, probably most people in the German Nazi party probably joined for reasons of advancement or just to get along with authorities–i.e., not inherently dangerous. But, would we have been so accommodating? Would we fear that not accommodating would make them more Nazi? I think not.

      • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:38 pm

        Both Geoff & Mo are making specious arguments.

        Mo: It looks like the primary motive in Orlando was violent homophobia. Please make a proper argument in favor of banning violent (or all) homophobes.

        Geoff: False equivalency is on offer here. The US & other countries accepted many thousands of German refugees from the Nazis. A parallel argument from Geoff would be to ban all Germans to avoid admitting any Nazis. Then as now, that’d lead to greater tragedies across the oceans.

  • Logic Rules on 06.13.2016 at 3:16 pm

    The author never presents a feasible solution in a clear precise manner. A lot of rhetoric.

  • Jamie Weinand on 06.13.2016 at 3:43 pm

    Dean Galea,

    As a current 4th year medical student and openly queer and transgender man, I appreciate so much to have woken up to a strong voice of support and wake-up call against gun violence. Thank you so much for your support and your piece.

    Jamie Weinand
    BUSM 2017

  • Geoff on 06.13.2016 at 10:38 pm

    This is pretty much par for the course of the leftist BU Today. There is so much wrong here it would take an entire essay to fully enumerate what’s wrong with this PoV. We can start with this:

    “Lateen’s father said that he does not believe that there was a religious motivation for the attack; instead, he said that his son became angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami in recent months.” Well, if his father said it, it must be true, notwithstanding the fact that the terrorist called 911 to pledge his allegiance to ISIS. Let’s not forget that Islam teaches it’s followers to kill homosexuals simply because they are homosexual. They’re regularly, and gruesomely thrown off the top buildings. That’s kind by ISIS standards as they crucify children, sexually enslave woman and young girls, behead non-believers, burn people alive, and recently they’ve moved to lowering people into vats of acid (live). In Faluja they’ve started to forcibly drain the blood from civilians for their wounded fighters, leaving the victims’ dying bodies on the streets. This is perfectly in accordance with the teaching of Muhammad and his own behavior, such as having a man tortured by lighting a fire on his chest to reveal the location his valuables, his followers having a woman torn apart between charging camels, having a woman murdered as she was breastfeeding her baby because he didn’t like what he said about her, and many other forms of depravity and cruelty.

    The problem here is not guns or the overwhelmingly honest law-abiding gun owners, but the Obama administrations abdication of responsibility to protect the United States from radical Islam (i.e., Islam as taught in the Q’uran and Hadith). No amount of pussyfooting around this will change the fact that Islam is a radical union of religion and a political system. There are only two “houses” according to Islam: the house of peace and the house of war. The house of peace is everywhere Islam and Shariah rule and everyone else is forced into dhimmitude. The house of war is everywhere where Islam and Shariah does not rule. Jihad is a duty of every Muslim, though thankfully many either do not know this or refuse to act on it, and this must continue until the entire world is the house of peace. This shouldn’t be sugarcoated.

    Quran 9:29, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

    That doesn’t even apply to pagans or those that aren’t “People of the Book”. In that case Muslims are just kill or enslave them.

    Dean Galeo, if you want to look for blame you can lay it right at the feet of the executive branch that is responsible for protecting against terror and criminal behavior. We know that this guy was under investigation by the FBI and he actually passed a background check in spite of the fact that his radical beliefs were known. This is a result of our inability to track the thousands of dangerous jihadists here in the country and entering the country. There’s not a lack of laws, but inability or unwillingness to enforce the laws we already have. This man should never have been permitted to purchase firearms. They knew this guy was dangerous, but they did nothing. That’s Obama’s fault.

    Let us not forget that the right to defend oneself is a natural right and it is protected by the bill of rights. Is Dean Galea proposing that we simply ignore the constitution?

    • Jose Artigas on 06.20.2016 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks, Geoff, for rehashing the ridiculous & hateful talking points of Donald Strumpet.

  • Virginia on 06.14.2016 at 7:54 am

    As a gun owner I don’t see guns as the problem or the solution. I agree that blind hate is a driving factor in mass shootings, bombings, etc, but mental illness is another component. Not enough is being done for the mentally ill. So many people are falling through the cracks in the system. Most mentally ill don’t go out and commit mass killings, sadly many lead lives of desperation and become more and more isolated.

  • Lauren on 06.14.2016 at 11:59 am

    When considering why gun control does matter, I really like this video: https://www.facebook.com/ezraklein/videos/10154306540073410/?hc_location=ufi

    Guns (especially those like this shooter utilized) make it a lot easier to kill many people much more quickly than, say, a knife. They’re also more easily accessible than a bomb.

    Nobody is saying that there will never be a tragedy again if we enact more sensible gun control laws (an extensive assault weapons ban, enhanced background checks, policies that prohibit individuals on terror watch lists from purchasing guns, mandatory safety courses, etc.) There is a strong likelihood, however, that the number of U.S. homicides and suicides would decline.

    We wouldn’t legally allow the selling of bombs online or in stores; why do so with just as dangerous weapons like semi-automatic assault rifles?

  • Kris on 06.15.2016 at 5:18 am

    It’s unfortunate that you make a deliberately deceptive statement in an otherwise well written article. “30,000 gun deaths” and “6,000 firearm-related deaths” are used to inflate the numbers and is not much more than a red herring. You know full well that those numbers include suicides and justifiable homicides where firearms were used in self defense. Don’t be intentionally deceptive to bolster your argument, it deflates your credibility and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    While most any death is a tragedy, let’s not try to make the gun violence problem bigger with deception. The real issue is less about firearms and more about ignoring the realities of religious fanaticism, the lack of proper care for the mentally ill, and the social depravity that is overly prevalent in certain segments of the population. Addressing those problems in a meaningful way will do more than any amount of gun control.

  • Nathan Paddock on 06.16.2016 at 7:52 am

    Doesn’t anyone miss the “good old days” when we could blame video game violence or the removal of school prayer from public schools? Now we get to blame an inanimate object instead. Did Cain blame the rock when he killed his brother Abel with it?

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