How Orlando shooting will affect the US polls

Sonia Chopra
Sonia ChopraJun 13, 2016 | 11:04

How Orlando shooting will affect the US polls

As America struggles with the shock and tragedy of yet another mass shooting, this time in Orlando, new details are emerging about the gunman Omar Mateen of Port Lucie, Florida.

The federal authorities have confirmed that they investigated him twice before he shot 50 people and injured 53 at an Orlando gay club Pulse on the morning of June 12, in what is being called the deadliest mass shooting in American history.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened two investigations into Mateen both in 2013 and 2014 but subsequently closed them when they had no information to proceed with.

Mateen ex-wife Sitora Yusifiy told The Washington Post that he repeatedly abused her during their marriage which lasted from April 2009 to July 2011.

Omar Mateen, Orlando shooter.

"He was not a stable person," she said. "He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn't finished or something like that."

She said he seemed like "a normal human being" and he was not very "religious".

Mateen's father Mir Seddique Mateen told NBC news that the violent shooting had nothing to do with religion.

He said that Mateen had come angry a few months earlier at the sight of a pair of gay men being affectionate with each other.

"We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry," Mateen's father said.

"They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. They are doing that in front of my son.'"


However, the father's statements are being called "not credible" and "untrustworthy," as he is a strong supporter of the Afghan Taliban.

Mir Seddique's physical address is Florida and he heads a non-profit organisation called The Durand Jirga, Inc but he is presently running for office in Afghanistan.

He has a Facebook post that demands that Pakistan return the land on its North West Frontier Province be returned to Afghanistan.

"Long live Afghanistan. To Pakistan death, death, death," he wrote.

The aftermath. (Reuters)

Officials are trying to establish the link between the shooter and ISIS. Before embarking on his massacre of the nightclub patrons, Mateen dialed 911 and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, which closely echoes the pledge made by the San Bernardino shooters online before they shot and killed 14 people last year.

Last week, as the holy week of Ramzan began, ISIS had called on Muslims across the world to attack targets in the West.

In the form of an audio recording, the spokesperson Mohammed al-Adnani said that "Ramzan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready… To make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers… Eespecially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America."


While, the Amaq Agency, an ISIS media affiliate, praised the attack and claimed credit, investigators have no found a link between them and Mateen.

Amaq Agency's proud declaration. 

Florida public records confirm that Mateen had a valid firearms license and worked as a security guard at a facility for juvenile delinquents. His guns were legally purchased.

He had also been employed with a security guard with G4S, a large multinational company that provides services to more than two dozen juvenile detention facilities in Florida.

The city of Orlando has started to release the names of the victims and it is heartbreaking to read the ages, which range from young women and men in their 20s and 30s.

Meanwhile, Sikh and Muslim organisations have released statements saying that they condemn the violent act, that they stand in solidarity with the victims and ask the minority groups to exercise vigilance and caution during this period.

The Sikh Coalition is urging the Sikh community to report any hate crimes to www.ReportHate.org and to continue to practice their faith fearlessly.

Hassan Shibly, the executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had rushed to Orlando from his Tampa home.

He spent his day meeting with community officials and family members to condemn the shooting. Family members of the dead are gathering in a small hotel where they are depending on the kindness of strangers who offer them pizza and cookies.

"I think what's important is that we stand united, we offer support for the victims that we can and don't let the terrorists divide us and turn us against each other," he said.

This is in stark contrast to by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee rhetoric. He said in a statement that he is renewing his promise to ban Muslims from entering the country and he has also suggested that all Afghan Americans should be treated as suspect because the country is ruled by Islamic laws.

"We can't afford to be politically correct anymore," he said.

Republicans are very clear in picking out the real villains.

"As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamic terrorists," said House of Representative speaker Paul Ryan, who is the top elected Republican official.

What are my final notes on the tragedy?

This mass shooting in Orlando, by some bizarre twist, had the three most contentious issues in American politics currently which are gay rights, gun control and terrorism.

This incident happened two weeks before the first anniversary of the US Supreme Court's decision to legalise same sex marriage and on a weekend where cities across the nation were hosting gay pride festivals.

It was also a mass shooting that was carried out during the holy period of Ramzan by a Muslim man. He used a handgun and an AR-15, which is the semiautomatic rifle that was used in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre in 2012, in the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and in San Bernardino, California, shooting last year.

In the weeks to come, these issues are likely to add to the already volatile presidential election discussions.

Both parties will seek to manipulate the facts and use them to their own advantage. Clinton has voiced disapproval of gun violence and Trump has won supporters with his proposal of banning Muslims.

Meanwhile, an anxious, tense, stressed out country is once again trying to calm itself.

These mass shootings are our "new normal" and we have learnt to cope with it, somehow.

Last updated: June 13, 2016 | 11:04
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