June 16, 2016
by Sean Philpott-Jones, Chair, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
No Forgiveness in Florida
Like so many others around the world, this past weekend my husband and I watched in disbelief as the deadliest mass shooting in American history unfolded in Orlando. What started out for many as a joyous evening of drinking and dancing turned into a horrifying morning of chaos and mayhem after a deranged gunman used a legally obtained semiautomatic rifle to kill 49 people and wound 53 others at a popular gay nightclub called Pulse.
In the four days since the shootings in Orlando, we still know little about the gunman’s motives. However, the opportunistic motives of so many others capitalizing on this tragedy are clear.
Consider the motives of the radical terror group ISIS, which has been quick to claim credit for the assault. In chilling calls to 911 and a local television station during the attack, the gunman pledged allegiance to that militant organization. While there is no evidence that the shooter was acting on direct orders from ISIS leaders, the virulent homophobia of ISIS is well known. In the regions of Iraq and Syria that group still holds, those suspected or accused of the crime of being gay are put to death. So routine are these executions, in which men hurled from the tops of five-story buildings as bloodthirsty crowds watch from below, that they scarcely make the news anymore.
As sickening as that sounds, imprisoning or executing people simply because they are gay is commonplace.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.