ORLANDO, Fla. — It had been an evening of drinking, dancing and drag shows. After hours of revelry, the partygoers crowding the gay nightclub known as the Pulse took their last sips before the place closed.And so on.
That’s when authorities say Omar Mateen emerged early Sunday, carrying an AR-15 assault-type rifle and spraying the helpless crowd with bullets. Witnesses said he fired relentlessly — 20 rounds, 40, then 50 and more. In such tight quarters, the bullets could hardly miss. He shot at police. He took hostages.
When the gunfire finally stopped, he had slain 50 people and critically wounded dozens more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
I will leave it to each of you to grieve in your own way. Whoever you are reading this at this very moment, you certainly don't need me to tell you how horrible it must have been or how heartbreaking it must be for members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.
But this being a political blog and this being a political season, we have to look at the politics of the shooting.
At least at this one sliver of this story.
For a frame of reference, in a set of tweets about the shooting, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton included this:
See those letters? They'll become noticeable in their absence in a few minutes."To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them.” —Hillary https://t.co/MmaGjrSufr— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 12, 2016
Think progress has noticed their absence, in some obvious places:
The largest mass shooting perpetrated by a single gunman in U.S. history took place early Sunday in Orlando’s Pulse gay club. As the terrible news circulated, Republican members of Congress responded with lots of “thoughts and prayers” and no discussion of the role easy access to an AR-15 might’ve had in the massacre.Sadly, this seems to be the case in Pennsylvania.
At this point, Senator Pat Toomey has two twitter accounts; one his Senate account and the other his campaign account (did you know he's running for reelection??).
His campaign account had three tweets on the mass murder at the gay night club in Orlando:
My heart goes out to the loved ones of those murdered at the nightclub in Orlando this morning. 1/3— Pat Toomey (@PatToomey) June 12, 2016
Law enforcement officials are investigating this shooting as an act of terrorism & it appears to have taken many lives. 2/3— Pat Toomey (@PatToomey) June 12, 2016
I extend my condolences to the family & friends of those killed & am praying for the wounded who are undergoing medical treatment.— Pat Toomey (@PatToomey) June 12, 2016
His Senate account has the same three tweets.
He does know it was a GAY nightclub, right? And does he know that at present it seems that it was targeted precisely because it was a gay night club, right?
I wonder why no mention of that.
Remember this is the guy who, in 2010 according to the Christian Coalition, supported a:
- "Federal Marriage Amendment to prevent same sex marriage."
- "Enforcing the 1993 law banning homosexuals in the military."
But the day is still young. Pat might still do the right thing.