Does it matter where you turn to solutions when you have a serious problem? Of course it does! Not all options are equally valid; you need to look for a credible solution. After the bloodbath in Orlando, what people desperately want is a solution.
Here’s what we know so far. There were 50 deaths, and 53 wounded (at last count). The guy responsible was an American-born son of Afghani immigrants. He was married — briefly. He abused his wife. He hated homosexuals. Depending on which report you read as the story unfolded, he was called “not very religious” to “religious” to a self-described ISIS fighter.
The usual talking heads and politicos picked up their standard rhetoric in all the predictable ways. Huffpo put it in their opening sentence (paraphrased): it was anti-LGBT hate, not (NOT!) religion that drove this.
Their article said nothing about the possibility of this hate being both rooted in and justified by his religion. Evidence: the summary execution of gays in Islamic nations. The testimony of one gay man before the UN should remind us that the execution of homosexuals in Islamic nations is not exactly a rare event.
The debate is wide open, and you can easily argue over whether to blame the religion or blame the culture. Either way, the hatred for homosexuals is neither isolated nor new. The fact is, we might never know what made this individual turn vigilante, executing them himself. He’s no longer around to speak his piece.
How did the Presidential candidates react to this event?
Donald Trump, no surprise, went straight for the jugular. “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words Islamic Terrorism? If he doesn’t he should resign in disgrace!”
Hillary Clinton reaffirmed her lockstep support of all things LGBT and pivoted straight to gun control.
Gary Johnson is comparatively quiet on Twitter. But a quick search shows an interview where he answered related questions about ISIS more generally. He said he did not consider San Bernardino an attack on America, despite it being “ISIS-inspired”. He also believes that bombing ultimately creates more terrorists.
Johnson’s suggestion is that the money should be cut off from ISIS. Sure, nice plan. But how are ya gonna do it? (I’ve made similar suggestions, but I don’t seriously believe that sanctions alone can crush ISIS.) Don’t forget that 2.5% of Muslim wealth goes to the Mosque. That same wealth us used by some places (*cough* Saudi Arabia *cough*) to spread influence abroad. That is one mechanism Wahhabism is using to reach into more “moderate” Islamic communities.
This is not the first time in history that militant Islam has been on the march. Historically, it swept across the Arabian Peninsula, northern Africa, and then parts of Europe. Also historically, it was finally stopped in their tracks when it met a stronger force able to both meet and repel them.
Three candidates see the same situation in Orlando and elsewhere. The one who handled Benghazi so effectively has blamed gun ownership. The longshot candidate suggests we starve them out.
What about Trump?
Well, remember what he said about Paris? If there were bullets going the other way, far fewer people would have died? One hundred three casualties. Fifty fatalities. It kept going and going until men with guns arrived on scene to shoot the killer dead.
If someone that night would have had been able to shoot back, who knows how many lives would have been spared.
On this file, Trump has three advantages.
First, he can name the threat even when others won’t. We are dealing with Fundamentalist Islam, an ideology that does not work and play well with others. (How can the others cure a problem if they are too afraid to diagnose it? In fact, Hillary deliberately lied about the source of the problem — Benghazi video — so as not to deal with the actual facts.)
Second he knows who the enemy is, and is not. Militant Islam — those who have embraced Fundamentalist Islam, and are prepared to use violence to advance their cause.
Third, he knows what to do with Militant Islam: Trump wants to get aggressive with ISIS and smash it.
However you might view Trump’s candidacy on other issues, with these three points at least, he is standing on solid ground.