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The Orlando Tragedy, Part 2: Security v. Liberty, Democrats v. Reality

Updated on June 20, 2016
Bobby Shanahan profile image

Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.

A rainbow appeared over the vigil for the victims of the Pulse massacre in downtown Orlando.
A rainbow appeared over the vigil for the victims of the Pulse massacre in downtown Orlando.

Orlando opens up raucous debate

The shooting in Orlando has reignited the most important debate of our time: security versus liberty. Can they remain in equilibrium? Or does one need to be sacrificed for the other?

How do we stop crimes like this in the future without trampling on people’s privacies? The deranged shooter was a U.S. citizen after all and did not commit any crime up until very recently, only said some threatening things. As Matt Welch of Reason said, “law enforcement can readily obtain warrants and bring enormous scrutiny to bear on anyone they suspect of planning or supporting a terrorist attack. But they cannot charge someone with pre-crime,” as was done in Steven Spielberg’s futuristic film, Minority Report. So, how do we stop someone we know is or could be dangerous, without trampling on their civil liberties? We cannot go about locking up citizens we suspect of plotting terrorist attacks without tangible proof and we cannot continue expanding the surveillance state in the name of security, or all our liberty and privacy will be confiscated forever.

Connor Friedersdorf writes on exactly this kind of important issue in The Atlantic. In a recent article, he reminded us all how after the September 11 attacks, the government infringed on citizens’ civil liberties, as revealed to us by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The program and its defenders claimed they were keeping us safe, when in reality, the government only increased its knowledge of the citizenry. The NSA built a domestic surveillance system to keep tabs on everyone, while catching no one.

The fact that the government keeps a terrorist watch list and members of that list do not know they are on it is a scary thing to note for defenders of government snooping. Individuals cannot verify whether or not they have been placed on that list, and cannot confirm when their status has changed. The Obama administration has continued this practice and actually consolidated it “entirely within the executive branch, short-circuiting the American system of checks and balances,” according to Friedersdorf. This government power grab is a far cry from the 18th century mindset of the founding fathers who would die defending liberty and limited government in America.

The no fly list is also a shady thing, though likely necessary. The list should be more transparent and the process of how someone gets on it needs to be put out there. Liberals across the country are proposing that being on this list should bar someone from buying a firearm. This is an idea worth debating, however, the move would still essentially be stripping Americans of a sacred constitutional right. It also could mark the beginning of a slippery slope resulting in more rights revoked by the federal government, thirsty for more power.

“If the government can revoke your right to access firearms simply because it has decided to place you on a secret, notoriously inaccurate list, it could presumably restrict your other rights in a similar manner,” Mark Joseph Stern points out at Slate. “You could be forbidden from advocating for causes you believe in, or associating with like-minded activists; your right against intrusive, unreasonable searches could be suspended. And you would have no recourse: The government could simply declare that, as a name on a covert list, you are owed no due process at all.” A gross practice like this has already been perpetrated, and recently.

The IRS was apparently given a target list when they unnecessarily scrutinized conservative nonprofit groups in the runup to the 2012 presidential election. Withholding individuals’ freedom of speech by not granting them tax-exempt status, the Obama administration directed from on high the silencing of the opposition's voice.

This photo combination shows all 49 victims of the shooting. Another 53 people were injured.
This photo combination shows all 49 victims of the shooting. Another 53 people were injured. | Source

Democrats and liberal talking heads tag team Republicans

Obama’s commitment to fighting ISIS has been spotty at best. Perhaps this president does not think they pose an existential threat to us. Does that mean we need to get used to more attacks like this? Or are they bound to lessen once our boggling ISIS strategy is finally fully executed.

Though, the president makes a strong case that, during his time he has taken out more than 120 top ISIL leaders and commanders," he still has done little to stem the tide of homegrown Islamic extremism, which is what Americans really care about. Neoconservatives claim that the pullout from Iraq and staying out of Syria allowed ISIS to come into existence, thereby giving the organization credibility and a wider following worldwide. Now, we are experiencing the pain of jihadism firsthand. While we should not have been in Iraq in the first place, America’s ill-fated intervention followed by a hasty withdrawal paved the way for the creation of ISIS that was predicted by many military thought leaders.

Democrats still somehow blame the Orlando shooting on Republicans. Their reasoning? Because they are anti-gay, do not support gay marriage, and are not open to common sense gun control, they have therefore allowed a deadly wave of hate to crash upon this land, creating killers like this bigoted one in central Florida. The mainstream media is joining in on this assault on Republicans following Orlando.

CNN journalist Anderson Cooper attacked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi during an interview, calling her a “hypocrite” for opposing gay marriage while simultaneously denouncing the slaughter of 49 at the nightclub. According to Cooper’s logic, anyone who does not believe in gay marriage therefore supports the slaughter of homosexuals. Cooper continued with his ‘with us or against us’ line of questioning, accusing, “You never even tweeted about gay pride month,” then asking, “Do you really think you’re a champion of the gay community?”

This viewpoint is not new from the likes of CNN, however, the divisiveness from our talking heads on all channels of all viewpoints has certainly accelerated. To see how divisive and unintelligible we all become after such an atrocity, is so saddening it's almost worth not delving into. Sure, you can advance your causes on your own show, but can you accuse the other side of such outlandish things such as not supporting gay marriage equals supporting the slaughter of gays and lesbians?

It’s disgusting.

Democrats deny reality yet again

Gay marriage activists continue to attack those who still believe in traditional marriage, while gun control advocates propose measures that would’ve done nothing to stop the killer from doing what he did. Again trying to “never let a crisis go to waste,” as then Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once said, Senate Democrats have forced debate on some additional measures such as not allowing those on the terrorist watch list to buy a gun.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has shown to be open to some gun control measures. On Wednesday, he said that people on the terror watch list should be barred from buying firearms, putting himself in conflict with much of the Republican party. Trump also doubled down on his prescription of banning Muslims from entering the country, although this also would’ve done nothing to stop the scumbag.

Meanwhile, Trump’s assumed opponent, Mrs. Clinton, proposed that more gun control is the answer. She then promptly bashed Mr. Trump’s policies as bigoted and blamed him and the Republican party for the hate that people like the killer subscribe to.

Reliable liberal megaphone, The New York Times, is still in denial on the link between radical Islam and the latest mass shooting in America. In a recent editorial, they made their confounding case:

“While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that (the killer) was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.”

Are we really this partisan a society now? Are we this blinded by political correctness that we cannot see that this is both a terrorist attack AND a hate crime?

Liberals continue to ignore the link between radical Islam and these horrific massacres of Americans. The motivation for the killing is very clear, it was a hate crime, but not solely toward gays, but toward Americans as well. The killer had a warped view of the world and hated himself for being someone his religion told him he could not be. This internal conflict, combined with a radical interpretation of Islamic ideology, drove the shooter to do what he did.

While there is still plenty of hate in this country, we have come a long way in opening up to and accommodating our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Where we have not advanced in the slightest is our political discourse. American politics today is a sham. Both sides constantly point fingers, taking no accountability, accomplishing nothing but gridlock in DC in the process. Republicans and Democrats are in on the scam together and are screwing over the taxpayer in the process. Divisive newspapers like the New York Times and The Washington Post continually bash Republicans as spouters of hate speech, working overtime to grant the White House to the Democrats for a third consecutive term, all the while decrying the divisive and disparaging nature of our political dialogue today.

Will we ever learn?

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    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I appreciate that right from the beginning You stated that the shooter was "deranged". I cannot underline how important this is. This man was promoting ISIS and Hezbollah at the same time: groups who are opposed to death of each other. He was an angry, delusional and deranged man. That is the basic truth and from that we got chaos and murder. He had no clear idea of anything other than wanting to hurt people.

      You are also very right in saying that we cannot arrest people for a crime someone "might" commit. That is insanity and it only leads to a very troublesome path.

      " Obama’s commitment to fighting ISIS has been spotty at best." - Now with this one, I am not that convinced that his actions were spotty. In my opinion, he just switched from boots on the ground (as his predecessor did), to significantly increasing the drone-program and funding others to fight (i.e. Iraqi government, Afghani government, rebel groups, etc.). He didn't even close Guantanamo as he promised. He is more of a covert war type of guy, like Bill Clinton was. Anyone remember Black Hawk Down?

      I am not commenting on Mr. Anderson Cooper because he is gay himself so he is obviously going to have a bias but to be fair there are many right-wing Christian preachers saying some really crazy things out in public regarding gay people.

      "Are we this blinded by political correctness that we cannot see that this is both a terrorist attack AND a hate crime?" - What happened in Orlando was indeed both but it did not happen because of ISIS ideology, or Hezbollah ideology, or right-wing Christian preachers ideology. This man lost his screws. He was an angry man with issues. When he was about to blow, he picked whatever reason he found closer to him: allegiance to ISIS. He was not a Mujahideen. In his last hours of being alive, he pretended to be one and many people bought in, or use this for political reasons. Truth is: he was an angry, lonely, sad creature in need of mental help.

      Many people need help and they are not getting it. More is invested in bombs then on health/healing and that's another crude truth in this world of ours. Look at the state of veterans, that says enough in my opinion.

      Thank You for your article. All the best!

    • profile image

      teamrn 11 months ago

      The way I see it; yes, there is a problem, a horrible problem and we are all adults in this great country and we ought to be able to figure our way around a partisan divide and still SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

      Thoughts: Many say, "well, the answer is obvious. Get guns out of the hands of people and there won't be that problem." But, Chicago is a case in point. The purchase of guns in the city limits has all been abolished; yes, the rate is down, but jut this past weekend there were 11 shooting deaths in Chicag0. These deaths were at the hands of gang memebers, some ciminals and some not. Criminals and people who want them will always get guns

      Thought: Does that mean we should give up the fight and let everyone have guns? No. But we can try more common sense approaches to gun control. Taking guns out of the hands of people who have a RIGHT to have them isn't the answer, I don't think. But requiring that should these people decide to exercise their right granted by the 2nd amendment, a reasonable requirement might be that they complete a gun saftey class and regularly repeat it and re-register the gun.

      Thought: Since it doesn't look like the answer of requiring people to give up their guns voluntarily is going to work, we ought to use our wisdom to tighten gun laws that are on the books. Require that background checks are done and enforce punishment for violators. This may seem like discrimination, but families of the mentally disturbed or mentally unstable don't want to be labeled as pariahs and they don't want to see their mentally unhinged sons and daughters go through the court system because there has been an act of violence committed by their family member.

      Thought: Since we have a no-fly rule, USE IT comes to mind. Many countries don't have the sophisticated surveillance that we have. We have that surveillance for a reason and like it or not that Uncle Sam knows more about you than you spouse (sometimes), I guess until I'm president, this is one invasion of privacy that we'll have to choke on if we want to avoid an national epidemic.

    • profile image

      teamrn 11 months ago

      The way I see it; yes, there is a problem, a horrible problem and we are all adults in this great country and we ought to be able to figure our way around a partisan divide and still SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

      Thoughts: Many say, "well, the answer is obvious. Get guns out of the hands of people and there won't be that problem." But, Chicago is a case in point. The purchase of guns in the city limits has all been abolished; yes, the rate is down, but jut this past weekend there were 11 shooting deaths in Chicag0. These deaths were at the hands of gang memebers, some ciminals and some not. Criminals and people who want them will always get guns

      Thought: Does that mean we should give up the fight and let everyone have guns? No. But we can try more common sense approaches to gun control. Taking guns out of the hands of people who have a RIGHT to have them isn't the answer, I don't think. But requiring that should these people decide to exercise their right granted by the 2nd amendment, a reasonable requirement might be that they complete a gun saftey class and regularly repeat it and re-register the gun.

      Thought: Since it doesn't look like the answer of requiring people to give up their guns voluntarily is going to work, we ought to use our wisdom to tighten gun laws that are on the books. Require that background checks are done and enforce punishment for violators. This may seem like discrimination, but families of the mentally disturbed or mentally unstable don't want to be labeled as pariahs and they don't want to see their mentally unhinged sons and daughters go through the court system because there has been an act of violence committed by their family member.

      Thought: Since we have a no-fly rule, USE IT comes to mind. Many countries don't have the sophisticated surveillance that we have. We have that surveillance for a reason and like it or not that Uncle Sam knows more about you than you spouse (sometimes), I guess until I'm president, this is one invasion of privacy that we'll have to choke on if we want to avoid an national epidemic.

      I feel that we don't get anywhere in this discussion invoking partisan Dems vs. Republicans and pointing the finger of blame at everything that moves. We have a problem and stepping up to the plate with ideas the might catch on does more good, IMHO, than pointing out why the other guy is wrong and I am right!! But, then again, I wasn't the person who was killed or terrorized in a nightclub or it could have been anywhere.

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