After the dust settles on the mass murder of 50 people at an Orlando gay nightclub, there will be many questions to ask. Could this have been prevented? Why was someone with a violent history and links to terrorism able to obtain a weapon capable of shooting so many people in so little time? How can we better fight Islamic extremism and religious-based homophobia? What more can our society do to promote acceptance of gay people when all the legal battles have been won but many hearts and minds are still just as hateful as before?
But for now, this tragedy is about the victims, the 50 already dead and the 53 injured, some of whom are still fighting for their lives. It is about the many Orlando families and other families across the United States who are mourning and for whom life has changed irreversibly. It is about every gay person realizing that stepping into a nightclub or kissing in public will never be the same again. It is about all the parents who will now more than ever worry about protecting the life of their gay child.
Many of those not directly touched by this tragedy were also affected. A Muslim friend, Sohail Ahmed, wrote, “A gay Muslim friend of mine just told me that his parents said that God sent Omar Mateen to kill the gays because it’s the holy month of Ramadan. Imagine how it must feel like being gay and hearing your own parents say that to you. To all LGBT people suffering from discrimination and abuse, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.”
Anger is normal at this time, so is sadness. It is also normal to have difficulty finding the words to express the feeling of loss and bewilderment about such a senseless massacre.
One person, however, Donald Trump, presumptive Republican candidate for this year’s presidential election in the United States, had no problem finding his words, and his words were to turn the tragedy into a partisan issue. His words were to bombastically demand that President Barack Obama resign and to take shots at presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump, here you had a golden opportunity to show that being a clown and a blowhard was just an act to attract media attention but that when it really matters, you could be presidential, and more than that, that you could be humble and human. But you blew that opportunity, so please, please, shut up!