Soon after the Orlando club massacre hit the wires, the killer was identified: a single agent, the son of an Islamic preacher/activist, and an obsessively homophobic young man. Quickly, an unedifying culture war has started. Conservatives want to frame the event as Islamist terrorism whose victims happen to be LGBT. Some on the other side want to frame it as an anti-LGBT hate crime, whose perpetrator happens to be Islamist.
The more accurate response would be that this represents a fusion of both. Orlando is a terrorist act and an American hate crime — similar to Elliot Rodgers’ killing of women in the Isla Vista massacre, or Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine people in a Charleston church. It is the point at which the distinction between terrorism, social hate crime and nihilist killing breaks down entirely.
That is a nightmare for the United States — and a warning for us. The US now has laws designed for 18th-century guns in a society with 21st-century weaponry, and many young men who feel no part of any era at all and are looking for someone to blame for it.
Having got rid of this problem here, we should have zero tolerance for those who want to reintroduce it. We have already seen a sleazy deal by the Abbott government permitting the Adler rapid-fire shotgun in. These should be reversed by the next government, with opposition support, and sales frozen. Indeed, if something worthwhile could come from this nothing of an election, it might be a statement, from past prime ministers and present party leaders, affirming a common stand on the laws that exist, against their further erosion. Most of what has been promised over the past six weeks will never happen. All the more reason to reaffirm and renew something that together, as a nation, we got absolutely right.
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