Reflecting on the tragedy in Orlando

Mass shooting events are, as we all know, becoming a horrifyingly common occurrence in the world today, particularly in the United States.

Citizens around the world were hit with the devastating news Sunday morning that an Orlando nightclub had been the scene of the latest horrendous attacks – some 50 people killed and about 53 injured, many critically, in what has been called the worst mass shooting in American history.

Omar Mateen has been identified as the suspect. It has been reported that he fired relentlessly as he entered the nightclub. He shot at police and took hostages and ultimately a stand off lasted for hours before was wounded and killed. Some have reported seeing Mateen in the club perhaps up at about a dozen times prior to Sunday as well.

This sort of act is absolutely unimaginable. Reports also indicate that he looked at Disney World as another possible location. There are no words for this. It is hard to comprehend such terrible violence in our world today.

Unfortunately with a flick of the TV remote and 24 hour news cycles keep us apprised of every single thing that happens and this is something that is becoming more common. What is the answer to get these types of acts to stop?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement after hearing about the events in Orlando.

“I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn today so many people have been killed and injured following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is appalling that as many as 50 lives may have been lost to this domestic terror attack targeting the LGBTQ2 community,” he said. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those lost today, and wish a full recovery to all those injured. We stand in solidarity with Orlando and the LGBTQ2 community.

“We grieve with our friends in the United States and Florida, and offer any assistance we can provide.”

Premier Rachel Notley also offered a statement. “Today, we are devastated by the news of the mass shootings at an LBGTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“Words cannot express our revulsion and outrage at the hatred that fuelled this crime,” she said.

“Albertans join with people everywhere in offering our thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families, partners and loved ones who are suffering this moment.

“And we resolve to make sense of these senseless events by re-committing ourselves to building communities where love and solidarity triumph over hatred and division.”

As the war rages on between gun lobbyists and those who are demanding stricter gun laws, it seems unlikely anything will really change in that department as fears deepen and opinions on both sides of the fence only grow more set. Is America at a crossroads? Is the gun issue at a point of no return for the United States?

It’s unlikely that the events in Orlando will change anything. The relative ease with which folks can buy weapons is so entrenched in their culture and with these repeated acts of deadly violence, it’s unlikely many Americans will be open to strict gun laws when they feel so vulnerable.

Here in Canada, it’s hard to imagine such a long-held belief in the right to bear arms – but obviously it’s the way that many American citizens simply see things, and all the more in a society that seems increasingly dangerous.

According to news reports, the toll is larger than the number of murders in Orlando over the previous three years.

Of an estimated 320 people in the club, nearly one-third were shot. The casualties far exceeded those in the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, where 32 people were killed, and the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people died.

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