An “act of terror” are the words President Barack Obama used to describe today’s shooting at the Pulse Orlando, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Fifty people were killed and another 53 injured. More casualties may be added, as some individuals are critically wounded.
Per the White House, the president was briefed early Sunday by counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco and Homeland Security on the attack. Obama will also receive regular updates from the FBI as it works with Orlando law enforcement, according to ABC News.
“We know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terror. We will go wherever the facts lead us… What is clear is he was a person filled with hatred.”
— POLITICO (@politico) June 12, 2016
The FBI gives a detailed definition of an “act of terror.”
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
- Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Until now, the December 2013 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school was the worst mass shooting in the United States. Twenty school children along with six adults were left dead. In light of Sandy Hook, other mass shootings, and now Orlando, Obama has stated that inaction on gun control legislation is a major disappointment of his presidency, added ABC.
“This massacre is therefore 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, in a house of worship, or in a movie theater or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. To actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
Before the massacre at Pulse, the gunman, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, called 911 and pledged loyalty to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The shooting was not a random one, but what is now in question is whether Mateeen acted alone or in partnership with a terrorist organization. Authorities continue piecing together a profile of the killer, who was born in the U.S., in the state of New York.
His father, Seddique Mir Mateen, believes the impetus for the terror his son wreaked upon the LGBT community was a hatred for gays, according to NBC News. Seddique Mateen further stated that his son’s behavior had nothing to do with religion.
“We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry. They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”
“But Omar Mateen’s anti-gay hatred wasn’t beamed in from Syria. It birthed and grew right here.” https://t.co/9TkUwUEEzZ
— Alexander Farah (@heyitsalexfarah) June 12, 2016
Omar Mateen’s former wife, who remains unidentified, commented on the emotional instability of her ex-husband. According to her, he was a violent man who beat her for no reason and was also a “very private” person, NBC News added.
“He was not a stable person. He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”
An act of terror was not difficult for Mateen to commit as he had a security job. The suspect also obtained an associate’s degree in criminal justice technology in 2006. He used a handgun and an AR-15 type rifle in the shooting.
[Image via Gerardo Mora/Getty]