Yesterday, the nation awoke to the terrible news that 50 people were dead and 53 wounded at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Authorities have identified the gunman as 29-year-old Omar Mateen. The investigation is still ongoing, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it previously investigated Mateen for ties to terrorism, and before he was killed by SWAT teams, he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to the New York Times.
It’s not yet clear whether Mateen was motivated by ISIS’s twisted ideology, by a toxic form of masculinity that could not bear the existence of gay men, or by a combination of the two. It is clear that he was able to legally purchase firearms, as the Times reports, and walk into a crowded nightclub with a semi-automatic assault rifle.
That’s re-ignited the national debate about gun reform. As the usual “our thoughts and prayers are with the families” tweets poured out from public figures on Sunday, many criticized the sentiments coming from politicians who’ve steadfastly opposed any new gun laws.