Following the tragedy that struck in Orlando, guns have reentered the spotlight, and the issue is as polarized as ever. The controversy has largely centered around the fact that Omar Mateen was able to legally purchase a gun despite multiple indicators that he had ties to terrorism as well as mental health problems, likely linked to his internalized homophobia.
To many, it seems like a no-brainer that anyone suspected of being a terrorist or national security threat should be prohibited from purchasing firearms. It seems ridiculous to them that even the staunchest supporter of the second amendment would oppose that. But that underestimates the disingenuous nature of the FBI and the terror watchlist, and lists like it.
As much confidence as so many people place in the FBI and our government in general, most would be surprised by the ambiguous and fluid criteria that can get everyday Americans added to the terror watchlist. There may very well be a method to the madness, but the FBI’s broad precedents for suspected terrorism mean that completely innocent people can easily find themselves on any number of lists, and I’m inclined to say, no, they should not be stripped of their constitutional rights because they were once spotted walking on the same street as someone who got “jet fuel can’t melt steal beams” tattooed to their forehead.
Due process isn’t a perk or privilege, it’s a right, and there’s a reason it’s one of the first rights outlined by the constitution. After being subjected to the overreaches of the British government and intrusion into their personal lives, Americans were all too familiar with the ramifications of a government that had unrestricted ability to strip citizens of their privacy, peace of mind or wellbeing.
A retired navy seal said it best when he said “why ban the gun that you pray the police show up with.” Ignoring the fact that Mateen didn’t actually use an AR-15, it makes very little sense to me and millions of other Americans to disarm and endanger law abiding citizens in an attempt to curb the appetites of deranged criminals with hate in their hearts that they will act on, no matter what tools they have to utilize.
Mateen didn’t slaughter 49 people and maim 53 more because the availability of AR-15s. He was driven by hatred. He pledged his allegiance not to the NRA, but to ISIS. And in my opinion, he was further enabled in his hatred by political correctness more than anything else. He was reported by a coworker for his racial and homophobic comments, but his employer took no action because he was Muslim. The neighbors of the accomplices in the San Bernadino attack admitted that they were suspicious, but didn’t report anything because they were afraid of being called Islamaphobic.
I can only speak for myself, but I’m much more afraid of what people who don’t obey the law will do with AR-15s than those that do. And I’m much more afraid of a society that prioritizes cultural sensitivity over national security.
Here is my favorite senator and the man you should have voted for saying everything I’m thinking and more, more eloquently than I ever could.