Reaction to the Orlando Shooting

Orlando Gunman
Omar Saddiqui Mateen

There was a shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, last night. Described as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the 3-hour-long incident left 50 people dead, more than that hospitalized.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen.

Interesting thing in the tone of most of the early articles I read on the incident: People were LEAPING to declare the shooting had absolutely no connection to Islam, the Religion of Peace™. The fact that some of us were frantic to absolve Islam, even before the facts were known, is telling.

My initial cynical estimation was that we’d come out of all this even more firmly convinced as a nation that Islam is this fluffy, friendly personal philosophy totally compatible with American values and lifestyle, and which can in no way encourage or promote violence.

But let’s call a spade a spade, okay? We atheists are free at talking about the societal dangers of Christianity. Let’s be equally free at admitting that Islam is AT LEAST that dangerous.

The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, made a 911 call before the attack identifying himself and declared allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, according to U.S. law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified to discuss the ongoing investigation. Mateen, whose family is from Afghanistan, also cited the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon during that call.

For myself, I view Islam as a threat to civilization itself. It poses a clear and present danger to human safety, freedom and dignity. I cannot see anything graceful or good in it.

According to, so far in 2016, there have been 1,035 Islamic attacks in 48 countries, in which 9,776 people were killed and 11,920 injured.

In 2015, there were 2,865 Islamic attacks in 53 countries, in which 27,626 people were killed and 26,149 injured.

Yeah, let’s all be generous, compassionate liberals, and understand that most Muslims no more want these things to happen than we do. Let’s also realize there are a number of issues involved, among them 1) continuing irrational hatred of gays and 2) too-easy access to automatic weapons.

But let’s not kid ourselves about this other issue — in this case, in the shooter’s own words, the central issue — Islam.