The tears have not even had time to dry in what is being dubbed America’s worst mass shooting, and yet within minutes of the story breaking, several vested special interest groups are using the carnage as political collateral.
Gunman Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, murdering 49 in the process and injuring 53 others on Sunday at the gay night club. Mateen himself would eventually be killed by police in a hail of gunfire in a raid of the club.
Within minutes of the story breaking on social media across North America, several organizations were all to eager to put a link to the societal problem.
Gun control activists on one side calling for bans on semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines, while organizations like the NRA on the other side continue to scream from the roof tops about Second Amendment Rights.
The religious hot potato is being passed back and forth as well.
One side citing his ties to the Islamic State and other extremist groups, making an already strained view of immigration featuring Muslims in both the U.S. and Canada that much more controversial. Other counter it is Islamphobia, citing the Christian-driven North America is no better has its own hate against homosexuals, passing numerous pieces of legislation barring homosexuals of certain rights.
Still more arm-chair theorists talk of the ineptitude of the FBI who possibly could have stopped the massacre with Mateen having been investigated many times. But as all these declarations are quickly being made, information continues to come forward with other facts coming to light that can change the narrative.
Was Omar Mateen a man who hated what he saw in the mirror, struggling with his own sexuality as reports are surfacing he was a regular at the very gay night club he shot up, as per those close to Mateen. Was it also a failing of the mental health system with Mateen’s past history of violence and abuse?
So as the candidates for the presidency in the United States use the tragedy to see how they can gain some points in the polls and special interest groups put their two cents in to push their own narrative, it is the victims that are often forgotten about.
Extreme Islam with ISIS allegiance, regressive Christians, mental health care, homophobia, gun control/gun freedom…it could very well be a little bit of every column as the cause and effect of what is being dubbed by some as the worst mass shooting in North American history.
But as various people rush to lay claim into the complex issue of the root causes of mass shootings into a singular cause, the victims themselves often become dehumanized.
How about the man who texted his mother mere minutes before his death, knowing the end was near, but wanted to tell her he loved her anyway? Or the stories of any of the other 48 victims in the shooting?
These families have not even had a chance to bury their loved ones yet and already special interest groups are eager to jump on any bit of information, twisting it to fit their narrative, dividing nations even further.
For at least this week anyway, people should put their politics aside and mourn for those that have been lost.
And maybe, just maybe give their own loved ones a little bigger of a hug and appreciate the people around them.