This video from the USA says about itself:
12 June 2016
Muslim Leaders Say Pulse Orlando Shooting A Hate Crime, Support LGBT Community
By John Haylett:
‘Nobody stood a chance’
Monday 13th June 2016
At least 50 killed in Florida gay nightclub – Suspect names as 29-year-old
Afghan American licensed private ‘security’ guard at G4S corporation who committed his terrible crime with legal firearms
Omar Mateen – Man arrested near LA Pride
AT LEAST 50 people were slaughtered in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, yesterday morning at the hands of a man with an automatic rifle.
Local authorities said that they were investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism.
The gunman, named by authorities as Omar Mateen, was killed later in a shoot-out with armed officers who had exploded a small device to distract him.
“This is an incident, as I see it, that we certainly classify as a domestic terror incident,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
At least 53 other people were taken to hospital, most in a critical condition, and a surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Centre said that the death toll was likely to climb.
Although Mateen had another handgun and carried a device of some kind, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that all of the dead had been killed with the assault rifle.
“There’s blood everywhere,” he said of the horrific scene in the club known as Pulse.
The gunman had exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club at around 2am just as it was closing and more than 300 people remained in it.
He then went back inside and took hostages, said police chief John Mina said.
Authorities despatched a special weapons and tactics team three hours later to rescue the hostages.
Eyewitness Jackie Smith, who was in the club and saw two friends shot, said: “Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance.
“I just tried to get out of there,” she added. …
Police said that they had secured the suspect’s vehicle, a van, right outside the club.
“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” said Rasha Mubarak, Orlando regional co-ordinator for Florida’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”
An Equality Florida spokesperson said: “We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country.
“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:
“… The condolences expressed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio are sickening hypocrisy. He has repeatedly opposed gay equality, including wanting to repeal same-sex marriage and protection against discrimination for LGBT employees. His anti-gay sentiments have fanned the flames of homophobic hatred.”
Many people in Florida wanted to donate blood for people injured in the massacre. However, under homophobic Florida law, gay people could not do that.
And Santa Monica police arrested a man found with assault rifles and possible explosives in his car shortly before the Los Angeles Pride festival, the LA Times reported late yesterday.
The man reportedly mentioned the Pride event and told police he was waiting for a friend before his vehicle was searched and several weapons found. There was no known link to the Orlando shooting as the Star went to press.
The murderous rampage comes after singer Christina Grimmie, a former contestant on The Voice, was shot and killed by “obsessed fan” Kevin James Loibl on Friday night while signing autographs after her show in Orlando, Florida.
This 12 June 2016 video, about the Orlando perpetrator, is called “HE WANTED TO BE A POLICE OFFICER! HE TRAINED WITH HIS FRIENDS WHO WERE POLICE OFFICERS!” Ex-Wife.
REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS A look at the 50 lives lost. [Paige Lavender and Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost]
HOW THEY GOT THEIR GUNS Here’s where the last 16 mass shooters have gotten their weapon of choice, and why this shooting was so deadly. [NYT]
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Worst-ever US mass shooting
Gunman massacres 50 in Orlando nightclub
13 June 2016
In a monstrous and reactionary act, a heavily armed lone gunman killed 50 people and wounded 53 more early Sunday morning at a LGBT nightclub, the Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. Many of the injured suffered grievous gunshot wounds inflicted by a military-style A-15 assault rifle, raising the strong possibility that the death toll will rise.
Within hours of the incident, the reaction of the media and leading US political figures, including the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, made it clear that the mass killings will be fully exploited to promote war abroad and intensified state repression at home.
The gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident, US citizen and son of immigrants from Afghanistan, was himself killed in a firefight with an Orlando police SWAT unit.
At the time of the shooting, the nightclub, which describes itself as “Orlando’s Premier Gay Nightclub,” was packed with over 350 people who had turned out for a Latin music night. The initial list of victims released by police indicated that many of the victims were Hispanic.
According to reports Sunday, Mateen made a 911 call at the time of the attack declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and mentioning the Boston Marathon bombers. Just hours after the attack, ISIS itself claimed responsibility, declaring that the massacre “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.” Whatever the truth of this boast, ISIS’ celebration of the cold-blooded murder of 50 innocent people only underscored the thoroughly right-wing character of this organization.
The FBI acknowledged that its agents had interviewed Mateen three times, twice in 2013 in connection with alleged “inflammatory statements” he made to coworkers, and in 2014 in relation to possible ties to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who grew up in Florida and went to fight for an Islamist militia in the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, where he detonated a suicide bomb. The FBI said that both investigations concluded that Mateen did not pose a threat and were ended.
US officials expressed skepticism that there existed any substantive links between Mateen and ISIS. The precise character of the killer’s motives remain unclear.
Mateen’s father told the media that his son had voiced strong anti-gay sentiments and had expressed anger at seeing two men kissing in Miami earlier this year. The father, Seddique Mir Mateen, said the family was “in shock, like the whole country,” adding that his son’s actions had “nothing to do with religion.”
Mateen worked for G4S, a private security contractor that serviced government agencies, including providing security personnel for the Department of Homeland Security. As a result, he had firearms and security officer licenses. He lived in Fort Pierce, a Florida city about 120 miles southeast of Orlando, where over one-third of the population subsists below the poverty line and the official unemployment rate is over 16 percent.
What was going on in the mind of Omar Mateen will likely never be known with any certainty. What is clear, however, is that the horrific tragedy in Orlando is only the latest in a series of bloody incidents. The immense social and political contradictions of American capitalist society are taking ever more malignant forms.
Sunday morning’s death toll in Orlando represented the worst mass shooting on US soil since the American Cavalry’s massacre of 150 Lakota at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1890. It took place, however, in the context of an endless procession of such homicidal outbursts, which have become virtually a daily fact of life in the United States. Since the beginning of 2016, there have been 175 such incidents. Last year there were there were 372 mass shootings in the US, leaving 475 dead and 1,870 wounded.
Murderous violence at home has developed in parallel with unending wars abroad, with the US military continuously engaged since 2001 in invasions, bombings, drone strikes and “targeted assassinations” that have claimed the lives of over a million people in predominantly Muslim countries. Within the US itself, the most reactionary ideologies have been whipped up to justify discrimination and violence against immigrants in general and Muslims in particular, and to encourage the most backward homophobic sentiments.
The precise confluence of influences that produced the Orlando nightclub massacre may not be known, but that it emerged within an environment shaped by increasing social dislocation, war and political reaction is undeniable.
Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state and the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, was even more explicit in exploiting the tragedy in Orlando to promote US militarism abroad and an escalation of attacks on democratic rights within the US itself. “For now, we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad,” she said. “That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home.”
Her Republican rival, Donald Trump, pursued a slightly different tack, utilizing the Orlando massacre to bolster his promotion of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry. He initially tweeted that if Obama failed to attribute the killings to “radical Islamic terrorism” he “should immediately resign in disgrace,” and that if Clinton failed to use the same words she should withdraw from the election.
“Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen—and it is only going to get worse,” he said later in the day. “I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”
These reactionary appeals are a warning of what is being prepared, no matter which party wins the 2016 presidential election. The aim of both the Democrats and Republicans is to intimidate, frighten and disorient the American people with the specter of terrorism in order to distract attention from the social crisis, shift the political debate to the right and prepare for both new wars and intensified attacks on the rights and conditions of the working class.
Obama: No Evidence Orlando Shooter Was Directed By Larger Terrorist Network: here.
America needs to ban military-style assault weapons, NOW.
The shooting at a gay club in Orlando killed at least 50 people. Most of the victims were young, LGBT, and Latino. This hate crime was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the military-grade assault weapon used was purchased legally.1 This was a preventable tragedy.
Words can’t take away the sadness caused by this attack, but there’s something we can do. If all of us take all the outrage and sadness that we’re feeling right now, and channel it into demanding military-style assault weapons–which were created for the sole purpose of killing large numbers of people–be taken off the streets, this could be the true tipping point moment in changing policy around guns in this country. Will you add your name?
Tell Congress: “Enough is enough. Ban military-grade assault weapons now.”
Sign the petition
The shooter in Orlando was investigated for ties to terrorist groups. He had a history of domestic violence. But he was still able to get a gun that was created for the sole purpose of murdering large numbers of people. He used an AR-15–the same gun that easily killed 20 children and 6 adults in a school in Newtown. It was the same gun that killed 14 people in a center for people with disabilities in San Bernardino, and 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora.2
There have been 136 mass shootings in America in 2016 alone.3 No other industrialized country sees this regular level of carnage. Why? It comes down to gun laws.
Twenty years ago, Australia experienced the worst mass shooting in its history–35 people were killed and 23 were injured. Two weeks later, a bipartisan bill passed that significantly reduced the number of guns in the country–and instituted a buyback program for all assault weapons. Since 1996, there hasn’t been a single mass shooting. During that time, America has been rattled by countless mass shootings–Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Worth, Tucson, Aurora, Isla Vista, Oak Creek, Charleston, Colorado Springs, San Bernadino, Orlando…that list goes on.4
Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. It’s time for our politicians to stand up to the NRA, and follow the lead of Australian’s conservative government which 20 years ago did the right thing to protect its citizens.
Tell Congress: “Enough is enough. Ban military-grade assault weapons now.”
–Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, Shannon, Megan, Kaytee, and Libby, the UltraViolet team
1. Orlando Police Detail Battle to End Massacre at Gay Nightclub, New York Times, June 13, 2016
Orlando nightclub shooting: Names of victims released, The Washington Post, June 13, 2016
Orlando terror attack live updates: Obama says no signs Orlando shooter was part of larger plot, Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2016
2. NRA’s fight to stop assault weapons ban enables killers behind shootings at Orlando nightclub, Newtown, and San Bernardino to use AR-15 rifle, New York Daily News, June 13, 2016
3. We’re 164 days into 2016. We’ve had 133 mass shootings, Vox, June 13, 2016
4. Americans should see this John Oliver segment on how Australia dealt with its gun problem, Vox.com, June 13, 2016
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