Pride Month carnage galvanizes rainbow coalition

A historical New York Gay Pride Parade, three days after the United States became the twenty-first and most populous country to legalize same-sex marriage, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Associated Photo / Kike Calvo

Americans are again traumatized by the hate and bigotry that frequently pauses after a horrendous tragedy but always replays with intensity, conversation and consternation. This time, the focus is on Orlando, Florida where 49 gay (meaning fun-seeking individuals) revelers were brutally terrorized and murdered by a single gun-wielding man in a club named Pulse, on a night dedicated to Latino heritage.

It was Latin Night and a weekend of celebration of Pride Month — a 30-day celebration of LGBTQ gender identity. And that young, patrons packed into the southern, gay-friendly space last Sunday could not have been a coincidence for a 29-year-old shooter — whose name will not be immortalized here. He chose to arm himself with an automatic weapon and a handgun and in a blaze of what he might have considered glory, waged terror and is now being labelled the perpetrator of America’s worst mass murders.

From his name and heritage, it was assumed that his brutality might have been sparked by an alliance with Muslim extremist loyalists. Early reports associated the carnage with acts of terrorism a term now synonymous with Muslim activity. That the carnage occurred during Ramadan — a holy period for Muslims and a time alleged to register the lowest crime figures throughout the Islamic community — it seemed unlikely that the bloody massacre could be tied to a Muslim.

Undeniably the shooter was there to wreak havoc, kill and make a statement.

He accomplished much of his intentions, however exactly what the message inside the statement might have been is now being interpreted by police officials and media pundits.

Was it homophobia that motivated his brutality?

Born to Afghan parents in New York in 1986, he lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida, a two-hour distance from Orlando.

The suspect’s ex-wife, Sitorio Yusufiy from Ukbekistan who married him in 2009 and divorced him in 2011 said he had been violently abusive to her but was not especially religious.

Although the marriage only lasted four months from April 2009 to August 2009 the woman who lived with the terrorist she met online described her former husband as a “sick person.”

She said he was bi-polar with an unpredictable personality. In talking with media she said he regularly beat her and held her hostage before she was “rescued” by her family.

In her reflections she expressed fear she said she endured throughout her marriage to a mentally instable and now diagnosed mentally ill maniac.

From most accounts from those who knew him since childhood, he was obsessed with guns. He aspired to being a police officer with the NYPD. He wore T-shirts that carried the NYPD logo and often posted photos brandishing weapons while wearing the shirts.

Reportedly born in Queens, New York, his roots are in Afghanistan and initially it was theorized by media that allegiance to Muslim extremism might have provoked this wicked act.

Allegedly he was radicalized via the internet and while holding hostages in a bathroom at the club claimed allegiance to ISIS after making three 911 calls.

But the FBI director held a press conference on Monday and all indications are that the assassinator disliked many people of varying beliefs and was not a true believer of any Islam group.

Some claim it might be Islamaphobia from the broader society that triggered rage, terrorism and hate.

It was reported he was teased for being a Muslim.

“This had nothing to do with religion,” his father Mir Seddique said.

Rather than religion, his son may have been motivated by an aversion to homosexuals.

He said his murderous son might have been influenced to kill after seeing two men kiss in Miami. The father said the now-deceased killer was outraged at the public display of homosexuality and commented after witnessing the homosexual expression saying: “look at what they are doing in front of my son.”

To believers of Sharia law and the ISIS movement, homosexuality is the highest act of infidelity.

What is clear though is that hate was at the heart of this heinous crime.

The very same hate that claimed the lives of residents of Paris France last November and later at an airport in Brussels, Belgium, during the Boston marathon, in Oklahoma, Sandy Hook, Arizona, California, and far too many places In America.

“We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” President Barack Obama said.

The commander-in-chief ordered U.S. flags flown at half mast at all federal buildings and that foreign embassies should also conform.

The clear and present danger is guns.

This calculated killer was a gun collector.

The guns he used were legally purchased.

He was licensed to kill. Himself a security guard he was a time-bomb slowing ticking until June 12 when he ignited.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack by the U.S.-born 29-year-old of Afghan descent saying:

“I unequivocally condemn the horrific attack in Orlando, Florida, USA. Nothing can justify killing of civilians.”

In a condolence letter written to U.S. Ambassador Luis G. Moreno, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Holness said: “The world must finally deal with terrorism and gun violence; which continues to scar our quest for peace and brotherhood among peoples.”

In making comparisons to mass gun killing here with the high crime rate in his homeland, the Caribbean leader added, “we are working with our United States partners to reduce the influx of guns into Jamaica as they too are constantly reminded of the impact of gun violence on their society.”

“The people of Jamaica have been good friends and supporters of the people of the United States of America, you have stood with us constantly throughout our history and we stand with you today as you grieve and seek answers.”

From all regions of the globe — Russia, China, Germany, Israel, Belgium, England, the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001 is being condemned.

What is evident and glaringly obvious is that reforms must be made to safeguard the public from gun violence.

With stand your ground laws a legal and acceptable way of life in the south and particularly in Florida, any hater, religious extremist or mentally unstable individual can claim immunity from prosecution by making that plea.

George Zimmerman, a Florida, security guard did just that after shooting dead, a Black, teenager named Trayvon Martin.

He was acquitted in 2013 for shooting the youngster whose only crime was wearing a hooded sweatshirt while walking through a Florida community.

The gun he used sold earlier this year for $250,000.

The primary task of both political parties seeking to lead the nation should be focused on the safety of the citizens.

Following the massacre, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said: “We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear.”

“Hate has absolutely no place in America.”

The response from Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee was not quite as interpretive. In a tweet to the social media Twitter he first patted himself on the back for targeting Muslims immigrants he would deny entry to the country if he was voted president. In addition he thanked his supporters who congratulated him on making predictions about more terrorist attacks.

He also criticized the president and demanded thatthe impose “toughness and vigilance” in fighting terrorism.


Although the name Shirley Chisholm did not make it into the sound bytes replayed on television recently when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton emerged the presumptive candidate of her political party, in 2016 when the nation’s first African-American president might be replaced by the nation’s first female president, the name of the first African-American woman to serve in the Congress should be recalled.

The daughter of Caribbean immigrants paved the way 44 years ago when she announced her bid to become president of the USA.

“I ran for the presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo,” Congresswoman Chisholm said in her 1973 book “The Good Fight.”

She allegedly won three state primaries — New Jersey, Louisiana and Mississippi — and must have envisioned a gender revolution in American leadership when she decided to take the leap of faith.

President Obama awarded the late congresswoman and presidential candidate a posthumous Medal of Freedom last fall. In making the presentation he said: “There are people in our country’s history who don’t look left or right — they just look straight ahead. Shirley Chisholm was one of those people.”

President Obama added, “Shirley Chisholm’s example transcends her life.”

The former congresswoman was elected twice to the New York state legislature and in 1968, to the U.S. House of Representatives — where she served seven terms in the House.

After she retired, President Bill Clinton named her to serve as US ambassador to Jamaica. She declined the honor because of ill health.

It would have been significant had Clinton acknowledged her predecessor.

In a documentary where the trailblazing politician was referred to as “unbought” and “unbossed” Shirley Chisholm was heralded. It seems her words now resonate with reality.

“The next time a woman runs, or a Black, or a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is ‘not ready’ to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start…. I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for president, but that has never really been true.”

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