Kelly and I have both been shocked, horrified, and angry over what happened in Orlando. Truly, it is stunning to me that such a thing could happen, and even more stunning that we as a society could keep allowing these events to happen over and over and over again.
Kelly vented a lot of anger in her earlier post, and there’s nothing more I can say about how we feel about this. But I want to be a little specific about some of the intellectually dishonest arguments being made by people around the country trying to explain all this away. I also want to talk about two people who were there, and who did everything they could to save people’s lives, and still couldn’t save everyone. They are still heroes, even if they themselves probably don’t feel that way, and probably wouldn’t use that word.
One argument we hear a lot is the argument that the only way to stop this sort of thing is for there to be more armed people around. I have always thought that this was a pretty insane argument. Can you imagine multiple individuals, with different capabilities and different levels of training, suddenly pulling out guns in a crowded nightclub? What would that gunfight look like? How would anyone tell who the good guys were? You couldn’t, really. With everyone in civilian clothes, you would have no way of knowing who was with the shooter and who wasn’t. It would be impossible to tell, really.
Some idiot always says “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. Well, there was a good guy with a gun who was present at the club. Officer Adam Gruler, an off-duty police officer with 15 years experience in the Orlando PD, and who was in uniform, was there at the club working security (lots of cops work those sorts of extra details to make more money – I know a lot of cops who put their kids through college that way). He was outside, near the entrance, and he was one of the first persons to spot the shooter. They began to exchange fire immediately. But the shooter still managed to make it inside the nightclub, where there were over 300 people.
Another person inside the club, a young Marine Corps veteran named Imran Yousef, recognized the gunfire and acted quickly. He opened an emergency exit and began funneling people out that door. He saved dozens of people.
Yeah, this shooter claimed to have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. He also claimed to have ties to both Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, something which should be impossible since the former is Shia and the latter is Sunni and they hate each other’s guts. So it’s possible the guy was making outlandish claims to hide the fact that what he was doing was a homophobic hate crime, pure and simple, possibly being carried out because the young man was himself gay and conflicted. I have a feeling that once the investigation is complete, the shooting will be a lot more about homophobia and closeted self-loathing than about Islamic terrorism.