50 people are dead and 53 are injured after a gunman attacked the crowd at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the early hours of Saturday. It is already being reported that the actions of the man – an American citizen – were “inspired by ISIS” and his crime has been labelled “an act of Terror”.
By today’s definition I would absolutely agree with this. However, the definition of the word ‘Terror’ has become twisted in recent years. Terror isn’t an act, in and of itself. ‘Terror’ isn’t a crime. It is the result of a crime, whether mass murder, bombing, violent executions, anything that causes people to be terrified. Terror is the result of actions driven by hate or prejudice, as evidenced by last nights mass shooting. One man who hated gay people so much that he chose to shoot 103 of them, killing almost half.
I hate that Terror is now enough of an explanation for the police, the media, politicians or whoever, for the violent acts of sick and hateful criminals. So it’ll be said that the Orlando shooting was an act of “Terror” (indeed it’s already being said), rather than a homophobic hate crime. The real reason for the violence – one man’s twisted prejudices being strong enough to drive him to kill – will be ignored among talk of “Omar the Terrorist”, his true motive spun to create a motivation that better fits our time’s twisted, sensational narrative.
Hate was the cause. Homophobia. Terror was just one result. 50 dead, 53 injured and hundreds or even thousands terrified. But the shooting will be blamed on ‘Terror’ and we’ll all find a reason to hate – or be fed one by the media – in retaliation. I believe that sensational media reporting, political fear-mongering and societal prejudice all result in terror, almost as certainly as mass murder does.
This shooting is, above all else, a homophobic hate crime. Never let that truth be lost among the talk of ISIS-inspired Jihadism and the lonely oddness of a hateful man’s life. Men and women were killed because they were gay and someone didn’t like that. That’s the truth here. Any other motivation offered will be blatant and emotive manipulation to push forward a narrative of fear and hate. Don’t fall for it. Those poor people deserve better of us all.