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Defiant intolerance: Orlando mass shooting was a hate crime3 min read

June 29, 2016 2 min read


Defiant intolerance: Orlando mass shooting was a hate crime3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A man walks into a bar, pulls out an assault rifle and proceeds to commit the largest mass shooting in the history of America.

In the wake of the shooting at Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, the media has generated an enormous uproar around the incident. While the focus has been on gun control or possible IS involvement, there is one element that is being treated with suspicious vagueness. What the media seems to be avoiding is that Pulse, is a gay night club that catered mainly to patrons belonging to minority races. The attack occurred during Pride month, and the fact that the biggest mass shooting in American history was a hate crime, has been completely sidetracked.

On June 11, Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse Night Club and opened fire on a crowd, killing 49 people, while leaving another 53 injured. These people were in, what was considered a safe space. A place for LGBTQ people to enjoy themselves without fear of persecution. Mateen’s actions desecrated this place and along with it, any semblance of tolerance, turning it into a graveyard.

Homophobia and Racism as a Motive

Mateen’s father made a statement to the press saying that religion was not the cause of his actions. He explained that Mateen had seen two men kissing in the street earlier and that the scene had angered him. Mateen lived in Port St. Lucie, a two hour drive from Orlando. The manager of the club claimed that Mateen had been a frequent visitor to the club prior to the shooting. While the media ponders whether Mateen was a closeted homosexual or if he was merely casing the club before the shoot, they gloss over the fact that homophobia still serves to be the root cause of this crime.

The media also conveniently forgot to mention that Pulse catered primarily to the Black and Latina community. June 11 was “Latina night”, meaning the club was filled with Latina men and women, many of whom were younger than twenty five years of age. It is difficult to see this event as anything other than the result of hatred.

The consequences

So what happens now? This shooting proved to the LGBT community that there is no such thing as a “safe space”. It forced the older generation to relive the early days of the LGBT civil rights moment. It’s causing accepting parents to fear for their children who go to gay bars or pride parades. It’s giving unaccepting parents an excuse to hide behind the hollow facade of intolerance and further propagate their bull headed disapproval. It unabashedly draws parallel with laws, like those that segregate bathrooms and creates such a venomous pit of fear and hatred that the governments of other countries are warning their LGBT citizens about the dangers of travelling to America. On June 11, the country that boasts freedom as its major asset showed the world that the freedom to love would be violently and brutally crushed.

Shivangi Narain is a reporter at The Manipal Journal. 
All views expressed are personal