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Preventing another massacre

Dear Sir,

The idea of freedom and the realities associated with its maintenance may indeed be a paradox. In the wake of the Orlando tragedy and the renewed calls for gun control legislation to prevent assault weapons ending up in the hands of deranged persons or potential terrorists, Donald Trump proclaims a vow to protect the Second Amendment.

After the Columbine high school massacre came the previous record casualty-holder, Virginia Tech, to be followed by the theatre massacre, where but for the semi-automatic rifle jamming, with 400 moviegoers in attendance, the carnage promised to be far, far worse. In each case, the mental attitudes of the culprits came into question, followed by the question on gun laws. The more we delve into the living facts of the perpetrator of this latest massacre, the more evidence is revealed of what should be an obvious case of a person with a significant psychological problem, which will build up to a cataclysmic end.

Islamic Western metamorphosis and assimilation shifted with a new ideological wave that began as a fundamentalist movement in the late Seventies. Groups of freshly Middle Eastern-schooled individuals returned to the West and began to challenge and, eventually in a few cases, to successfully take over pulpits of the existing imams with this new brand of teaching then being called “resurgent Islam”.

Although they were in the minority, their scholarship and fluency with the Arabic language made them almost unchallenged by most local imams in various countries whose ethics may have been impeccable by any standard, but to those new to the faith, lacking the seeming authenticity that these new resurgent scholars presented.

As time went on, so did globalisation, and migration added a new dynamic where the populations of the West became diversified almost everywhere. In this new wave, many young persons such as the Orlando killer were born in the West, growing up and assimilating with a new culture with little — and in most cases aside from an identity, no knowledge of Islam as a spiritual ideology. Often it is the case that they understand the world through the oppression they witness in their native countries. Their own national identity is their first source of radicalisation; next comes what seems to them as revolutionary causes, when the “new radicalism” expressed in those countries calls them to jihad. The tragedy that was 9/11 and the George W. Bush war on Afghanistan and Iraq turned up the anti-American resentment. Before that, aside from dictatorships and overarching Western hegemony, the sole national issue was Palestine.

When you follow the pattern, it is usually individuals who leave the bars, and a life of drugs and alcohol, which is causing them guilt and shame. They then decide to clean-up their lives by committing to a cause to arrest their guilt. It is never the case of a person immersed in the Koran and Islamic spirituality, and growing up with virtuous behaviour, that resorts to jihadism. Not even the new wave introduced in the Seventies called them to this latest form of radicalism.

The typical young jihadist recruits invariably choose this wrong and radical ideology such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant because of the lack of being confronted with something proper that is more universal and humanly inclusive in scope. In my view, this is only partially the case with the Orlando murderer. This sorry soul showed symptoms as far back as third grade to having had a pathological disorder. And in his adult life, he exhibited those same traits. His life had become his misery and he intended to end it in a blaze that vindicated his anger.

The question he left was why? Trump says it's because Barack Obama refuses to acknowledge Islamic radicalism or is afraid to even say the words. Hillary Clinton asks that we once again look at the laws surrounding the purchase of assault weapons. Obama is committed to deprive Isil of a homeland by year's end.

The next question is, how to prevent another massacre and by whom? Will it be only a Muslim or will it be another deranged individual with access to assault-style weapons?


Police officials investigate the back of the Pulse nightclub after a shooting involving multiple fatalities at the nightclub in Orlando(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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Published June 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 24, 2016 at 8:52 am)

Preventing another massacre

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