SINGAPORE – It was horrific and disgusting. Fifty people have perished and even more are injured after a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
So huge was the June 12 massacre that it is regarded as the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
However, more questions than answers have been raised so far and will continue to do so until the dust settles.
After all, this incident was a confluence of multiple circumstances coming to play hand-in-hand.
First, the gunman, Omar Mateen, declared allegiance to the Islamic State terror organization at the time of the massacre, according to The New York Times.
Secondly, his victims were primarily of the lesbian, gay, transgender and queer community.
Lastly, it was the weapon of choice: an assault rifle.
The hardest part with coming in terms with this issue would be pinpointing the factor that played the greatest role in enabling the lone-wolf’s malicious plan to come to fruition.
Was it the plethora of readily-available self-radicalization materials in the Internet?
Was it the lack of background checks that could otherwise have prevented someone with psychological or malicious intentions from committing such as act?
Or was it the lack of tolerance for the LGBT community, who only recently gained greater acceptance?
In my opinion at least, Mateen’s connection with ISIS and its radical Islamic ideology played the greatest role in the Orlando shooting. It was the main seed that led to the events that unfolded early in the morning of June 12, 2016.
The procurement of the rifle and the targeting of the LGBT community were merely effects of the radicalization.
Had there not been a link with radical Islam and the teachings of ISIS, Mateen would probably never have thought of committing such an act of terror.
He could still have deeply-rooted hatred and prejudice against the LGBT community, but that alone would not likely have led him to fire inside a gay bar.
After all, there are many who vehemently oppose the LGBT community yet go on to lead rather uneventful lives.
Undoubtedly, this incident will have a profound impact on Orlando, the U.S. and beyond.
Islamophobia will likely surge following this incident and an atmosphere of unease will shroud many communities as terror organizations continue churning out propaganda that prey
upon ordinary citizens, trying to radicalize them to commit extraordinary crimes.
Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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