Once again the U.S. media switches rapidly to ‘hysteria mode’ as yet another mass shooting occurs. This time it’s in Orlando, Florida. For a moment, there almost seemed a hint of celebration from some, as the total killed becomes a new record for America – the most ever slaughtered in a single mass shooting, possibly since records began.
It’s a great excuse to bandy about the emotive word, “terrorism”, and it may well have set another record, for the most used word on U.S. television in a single half-hour segment.
It’s strange how words can be changed to suit the mood. Surely anyone who points a loaded gun at another is guilty of terrorism. Who wouldn’t be “terrified” to be on the receiving end of such an act of potential violence? But now, it means something much more narrowly defined – the act of a person, or persons, acting on behalf of, or at the behest of, a politico/religious organization generally of Middle Eastern origin.
We were told by half a dozen reporters, local Orlando dignitaries, politicians, the police, and eventually, the President himself, that it’s vital to discover whether this man acted alone, or was part of a “terrorist plot”,
Why? Why is that the factor of over-riding importance in this disgusting affair? Will it bring the dead back to life? Will it make the despicable act of mass murder of innocents anymore acceptable if this man is found to have been perusing Islamic State websites?
It’s likely the murderer did peruse such sites, but it doesn’t make him a ‘terrorist’ in the sense of working for I.S., or al Qaeda, or any other Muslim fundamentalist organization. He had a grudge against gay people; that’s why he chose a gay bar.
One more sad result of this mass shooting in Orlando is that only two days earlier, less than twenty minutes from the scene of this latest carnage, a young singer, Christina Grimmie, was senselessly gunned down as she was signing autographs after a concert. Her death, at the age of twenty-four and with a promising career ahead of her, has been totally eclipsed by this latest tragedy.
Two major shootings in two days is rapidly becoming a norm in America. Most don’t make headlines anymore.
This one did. But then, it’s one for the record books – until another surpasses it.
Orlando, Florida, was once known throughout the world as the home of Disney World. Now it’s earning a less enviable reputation.
 “Orlando gay nightclub shooting: 50 killed, suspect is Omar Mateen” BBC, June 12th 2016
 “Former Voice contestant Christina Grimmie shot dead in Orlando” BBC, 11th June 2016