After the Orlando Shooting, Presidential Candidates Vie for the Front

The shooting at an Orlando gay bar lead to 50 dead and 53 wounded. It has already been defined as a terrorist attack and a hate crime. Since 9/11, terrorism has relentlessly infiltrated the lives of the masses. Home-grown American terrorism and foreign terrorism continuously create panic, like two separate blades cutting at once. This kind of panic is just like poison, slowly permeating and then flaring out, creating even greater terror. The only difference between this terrorist attack, which occurred during America’s Pride Month, and previous attacks is the special status of the people [who were killed].

Homosexuality once was clearly prohibited by many religions and called a great abomination, but gay marriage is now legal after an unending wave of liberalization in America and many states’ legislative battles. This last shred of the veil has been torn down, and homosexuals now proudly proclaim their culture and sexuality in broad daylight. Not even the rush of appeals and signatures by religious members and conservatives could hold back the tide for the reasonable legalization of homosexuality in numerous American states. Moreover, the rights and liberties of homosexuals have been greatly pushed, flaunted and advocated for by those who take “politically correct” as a slogan. This June, the month when homosexuals traditionally celebrate, they became the target of slaughter.

The perpetrator of this attack is an American-born man of Afghan heritage, and in addition to his Islamic terrorist background, the way in which he acquired such heavy weaponry has also become an important point of discussion. The killer owned a weapons permit and was easily able to acquire the heavy weapons needed to slaughter everyday citizens. But now the Republican Party candidate says that if every person inside the gay bar had a gun, they could have prevented the massacre from happening in the first place; he also says his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country was intelligent foresight, and he further stirred the pot by implying a link between Muslims and the president. At this point, we can only grieve for such an opportunist’s assent; but what is even more tragic is the tremendous uproar it caused.

In a time of such national pain, a leader should put down partisan politics and pay attention to safety and gun control. Yet, the calls for gun control fall on deaf ears— the cries were once heard in 1994, when the American Congress passed the Assault Weapons Ban, prohibiting semi-automatic assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004. The American gun control debate repeats over and over because of those standing up for different interests and different views, and because the Republican-led Congress has set many obstacles on the path to gun control. The National Rifle Association serves as a major financier for candidates at every level of office, and only those able to spend immense sums lobbying for gun control will be able to bring it back to the policy table. In this last lame duck session, Obama has limited ability to influence gun control legislation (everyone probably remembers his tears as he announced his executive order on gun control—in those tears were both sorrow and grief over having been wronged). And even if the pro-gun control Democratic candidate is elected, whether or not she could actually act—that remains quite an open question.

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