Terrorism Is About Ideology, Not Guns
In denying the role of Islamic radicalism, Mr. Obama seems more concerned about shielding extremists from critical scrutiny than protecting U.S. citizens from terrorism.
Matthew M. Hausman is a trial attorney and writer who lives and works in Connecticut. A former journalist, Mr. Hausman continues to write on a variety of topics, including science, health and medicine, Jewish issues and foreign affairs, and has been a legal affairs columnist for a number of publications.
After the recent mass shooting in Orlando, President Obama predictably refused to blame radical Islam, although in a break from his usual practice he at least identified it as an act of terrorism. But in addressing the nation shortly afterward, he displayed more anger at Republicans who chided him for refusing to identify the enemy.
Mr. Obama petulantly mocked his critics, asserting that using the term “radical Islam” would not make ISIS less radical. He seemed oblivious to the fact that jihad today is being waged by a variety of organizations and regimes besides ISIS – including Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Islamic Republic of Iran – and that it is indeed motivated by religion. He concluded by polemicizing about gun control, which has absolutely no causal connection to Islamist terrorism, instead of extremist religious doctrine, which does.
And many in the American Jewish establishment followed his lead, treating the massacre as a hate crime fueled by lax gun laws.
The mainstream media had a field day speculating whether the shooter, Omar Mateen, was secretly gay and whether his murder of forty-nine and wounding of fifty-three was an act of self-hatred. Ignored in such glib analysis was the fact that Mateen seems to have had a history of radicalization –travelling to Saudi Arabia twice before the attack, openly pledging allegiance to ISIS, and bragging to coworkers about supposed connections to Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
Investigators believe Mateen communicated with his wife and another person during the attack, suggesting collaborative planning rather than emotional action compelled by self-loathing. At no time during the assault did Mateen shout anti-gay slurs; nor did he articulate any as he posted comments on twitter and Facebook during his rampage. This is significant because, while he certainly targeted a gay nightclub, he did so because it was a symbol of what Islamists reject and seek to eradicate. He could just as easily have assaulted a church, public school, or Jewish community center as “infidel” institutions, and in fact authorities believe he had considered attacking Disney World.