An Islamic extremist opened fire at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando last night, murdering 50 and leaving nearly 55 wounded. The killer has been identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, a 29-year old from Fort Pierce, Florida. According to CNN, “Mateen called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers,” and ISIS sympathizers have claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, leaving little ambiguity as to the man’s motives. Additionally, his parents reported that he had expressed contempt and outrage toward two men he had seen kissing while in Miami, which perhaps explains the decision to attack a notoriously gay venue. The assailant was killed on scene by police after a standoff that lasted roughly three hours, and officials are currently conducting intense investigations to uncover more information regarding the attack.
As is typically the case with American politics and media, the heinous attack brought about responses from a broad spectrum of politicians. Obama addressed the nation earlier today, saying that “this was an act of terror and act of hate” and that "this is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Donald Trump tweeted early on that he thought this was an act of terrorism. And, giving perhaps the most significant and substantive response to the massacre, Hillary Clinton addressed the nation in a long Facebook post.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said that “we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad.” She also made it clear that the nation must stick to its values and never be intimidated in the face of evil, such as that which struck Orlando last night. Clinton, in what many will likely criticize as overly political, used this as an opportunity to call for gun control reform, explaining that we need to keep “weapons of war” out of the hands of dangerous individuals. “This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets,” she wrote.
What do you think about Clinton’s response to the attack? Was she wrong for taking a political route with mentions of gun control reform?