The mourning thread isn't the place for this, and for the love of god, do not turn that thread into a politicized argument thread. If you want to do that stuff, here's the place. Go nuts, but be respectful and avoid heated arguments. Please. I don't even want to have to post this because honestly, I believe all we should really focus on is the victims and the rest can wait. However, almost immediately news and internet comment sections pop up about everything from the dangers of Islam, gun control, and everything in between and it's the same damn arguments every time. There's just a few things that get under my skin after any of these horrible tragedies happen, and it usually boils down to people co-opting the tragedy to push their own agendas. You will see the gun control crowds screaming about how the shooter should have never been able to access firearms, the gun rights fanatics saying that it could have been prevented if people were allowed to carry, the religious saying awful shit about it being God's will, the non-religious saying this is further proof that religion is a cancer, and every other thing under the sun. People want answers, they want tidy solutions. The problem is... there are none. This is not a clean cut crisis with easy answers, or even an acceptable plan for moving forward, and a large part of that is conflict of interest between opposing groups that deadlock anything that's proposed to help combat these types of issues. The other part is nobody really has an answer, and if we're focusing on the fact the shooter was an Islamic fanatic, let's talk about why the solution simply isn't declaring war on the concept of radical Islam. Just ask anyone how the war on drugs is going, for instance. The effort to criminalize drug possession and use by putting excessively harsh penalties on citizens has led to an explosion in the US prison population with people who largely are in jail for something that is considered a minor misnomer in other countries, and since having a criminal record basically destroys their employment prospects, many go into worse crime. The sudden increase in demand has also directly been responsible for the rise of Mexico's drug cartels. What the whole war on drugs set out to do ended up making the problem so much worse. I bring that up because while people are demanding we declare war on radical Islam, starting with ISIS, I think they're forgetting that starting with the Bush administration, the world's been locked in the whole War on Terror. What started off with the 9/11 attacks quickly led to an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban for harbouring Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden who orchestrated the attacks. The West went after the Taliban and Al Qaeda with conventional military force, and like we found out in Vietnam, you can't win a conventional war against an unconventional insurgency. When you can't tell the difference between a villager and the enemy, you don't know who to target. You hit the wrong guys, and you create more enemies. You hit the right guys, and you just created Martyrs. After over a decade in Afghanistan when the combat forces of NATO pulled out, the Taliban remained, as did Al Qaeda. If the objective was to dismantle those organizations, it was not achieved by any means. And so, the US has since been attacking Al Qaeda and other terrorist cells by invading the sovereignty of other nations, famously invading Pakistan with a SEAL team to assassinate Osama Bin Laden, and committing drone strikes on locations across the Middle East; even in countries that are friendly to the US, like Yemen. Bin Laden was killed, but like a Hydra, cut off one head of Al Qaeda, and another will take its place. I'm not even going to do more than touch upon the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq leading to the toppling of a stable government and giving rise to ISIS in the first place, but suffice it to say, it's becoming clear that the way we've been approaching military conflict with this kind of enemy is ineffective, much the same way that Europe preparing for another long and static trench war at the outset of World War II allowed the modern Nazi German military to effortlessly conquer most of Europe by 1941 and bring the Britian and France, two of the most powerful nations on Earth, to their knees. However, the Allies adapted and were able to defeated Germany through a number of factors, but the fact remained that warfare changed forever. And now, we're in another one of those changes. Conventional warfare cannot work against an enemy that knows no nationality or borders, and have an ideology that spits in the face of the treaties and accords developed nations have signed. We have spent the past century operating under the idea that we will fight a conventional foe who has agreed to the same rules we have, and so we geared our armed forces towards fighting foes like the Soviet Union and China, and after the Gulf War in 1991 broke out, we saw how effective our armies were at destroying the Iraqi military, one of the most powerful in the world at the time, because we were superior in every regard and came prepared. That led to us being utterly unprepared to fighting the dangers of an ideology; how do you declare war on someone without allegiances to anyone but their twisted interpretation of faith? That man who shot up the Pulse nightclub was identical to every other mass shooter in every regard except for the fact he was a religious extremist who was extremely homophobic. He was a US citizen, he had all of the right documentation and bought his weapons legally, and until he actually committed that horrific crime, he had no record, even if he was interviewed and investigated by the FBI for his relation to a known suicide bomber. The hundreds of thousands of soldiers, the 2 billion dollar stealth bombers, and fleets of the most combat proven tank in the world were powerless to stop one man with legally acquired weaponry to kill 50 innocent people and shoot dozens more. How, exactly, do you combat that threat? By declaring war? We already tried that and as I outlined, it didn't work. You simply cannot declare war on something intangible like an ideology. Who do you invade? How do you do it? I promise you, even if we wiped out ISIS, we still have dozens of other terrorist organizations in the world, and ISIS grew from the void of Saddam's government and splintered off of Al-Qaeda, which is based in several cells across the world. Once again, you could have the biggest and most powerful military in the world, but it will be powerless to stop a single man with the right documentation, background check, and ability to obtain weaponry from carrying out atrocities. Do you ban the religion in your country? That certainly won't turn all of the peaceful moderates of that faith living in your country (and outside of it) against you. You simply cannot selectively violate someone's freedom of religion without setting a dangerous precedent of picking and choosing. I hate going back to the Nazis (and Soviets, for that matter), but do you really want to follow in the footsteps of two horrible nations that outlawed Judaism on an official level? How far will you be willing to go to root out the religion in your country if you did it? Deportation, fines... concentration camps? At what point do your actions to protect yourself make you look like the villain? All I'm trying to say is we have to accept the fact that we're facing an enemy that's unlike any we've faced before, and we can't use the tried and proven tools that were successful in the past to do it. Do I have answers? Of course not, and neither do experts who spent their entire lives researching this stuff. All I do know is you cannot and must not target an entire religion because a tiny fraction of people who share that faith are monsters. Trust me, if all ~1 billion Muslims in the world were terrorists or extremists, then we'd be living in a hell of a different world right now. We need to care about the plight of people who suffer at the hands of these monsters, regardless of their faith. The tragedy that happened in Orlando early this morning is something that happens daily in several Muslim countries. We need to be careful not to look at everything too simplistically and use a hammer when a scalpel is needed. It's easy to hate, it's harder to understand, but it's also the right thing to do. Now that that's off my chest, some final thoughts on the whole gun control situation in the US. Most of these mass shootings in recent years have been committed by people who legally purchased and obtained their firearms, there's no denying that. I think it's about time that the US federal government stops making firearm ownership a state by state issue and start stepping in line with virtually every other developed nation and start regulating this at a federal level. Universal background checks and licensing mandatory. There's places in the US where someone, as long as they're 18 years old, can walk into a store or a gun show and buy a gun, no questions asked. The whole 2nd amendment is so vaguely worded that lawyers are STILL arguing to this day of what exactly it means. The fact that gun ownership is seen as a right instead of a privilege rather than a right is a dangerous precedent that's turned the United States into unarguably the developed nation with the highest murder statistics. Gun control doesn't mean punishing the average citizen and gun owner; it just means that bastards like the ones in Orlando, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Colorado, and countless others may have never been legally allowed to purchase a firearm, and prevented countless other shootings besides. I say this as a gun owner who has written letters to his own government with concerns about my property rights and concerns about the reclassification of legally obtained firearms; get your shit together, America. Suck up your pride, stop sucking the teat of lobbyists and the NRA, and step in line with all the other countries in the world who figured this shit out decades ago. Now that's out of my system, and I only wrote this little rant because IMMEDIATELY after every. Single. One of these tragedies these issues are brought up and it's driving me fucking insane, feel free to post your own thoughts on the matter and leave that other thread for the victims, I'm giving you a space to rant your hearts out about the shit that everyone won't shut up about. Once again, please don't start acting like assholes to one another. Want to know why nothing ever gets done after any of these shootings happen? Because people won't stop arguing and fighting one another to actually try to find a goddamn solution and we end up in a perpetual cycle of a lot of talk and no action.