“Trapp in bathroom … he coming … I’m gonna die.”
Those final texts from Eddie Justice to his mom moments before he was killed early Sunday morning will forever define the Orlando Massacre, the Islamic terrorist attack on the gay nightclub, PULSE.
At least they will for me. My heart broke when I read them.
Two thoughts flashed through my mind when I first read Eddie’s words amid the breaking news of the shooting: Islam again! And, Soft target!
They were quickly followed by, what on earth were all those people doing in such a crowded, unsecured, place with few exits, drinking, dancing and partying? Were none of them armed? Did they not know this was the eve of Ramadan? Are they unaware of the threat environment in which we all live? PULSE could just as easily have been FCC, or any church in the nation. Jihadists hate Christians as much as they hate gays. It could also have been a veteran’s parade, a Memorial Day service, any soft target that represents the full freedoms of America.
Some may think I’m blaming the victims for thinking this way. It’s true; my dad taught me long ago that nothing good happens in a bar after midnight, and I’ve never regretted heeding that advice. But hear me out.
I’ve learned not to trust my initial thoughts on something like Orlando until more reports come out, but having now reviewed them, I think I was right. The shooter clearly linked himself to Islamic Jihad during his crime, and PULSE, even though it had an armed off-duty police officer who tried to intervene, was definitely a soft target.
Of course, those are just the basics. There’s much more to it, like the shooter’s earlier visits to the bar, his alleged attempts to pick-up gay men, his trips to Saudi Arabia, two prior FBI investigations into his activities that drew a blank, and the list goes on.
Related issues include gun control, the theological foundations of Islamic terror, and the biblical understanding of the use of force. I’ve written extensively about these things and will provide the links below.
But for now I think Americans of all stripes need to do three things.
First, we need to reach out in love and service to the gay community. They are really hurting and they need to be reassured that all Americans, including and especially evangelical Christians, hurt with them. Scripture says to overcome evil with good. Chic-Fil-A has led the way by breaking their famous “closed on Sunday,” policy in Orlando to serve the wounded and their care-givers. We need to match it.
Second, we need to keep our government official’s feet to the fire about the politically correct institutional, administrative, and investigative limits that have been imposed on the FBI and other Federal law enforcement entities that prevent them from following up on legitimate leads in order to avoid so-called discrimination against Islamic Americans. The Obama Administration bears principle responsibility for hog-tying law enforcement in this area. I don’t fault Mr. Obama for following his principles, but he needs to realize when he’s wrong.
Finally, all of us need to tell ourselves the truth about the nature of the Jihadist, and other violent threats, on soft targets. This danger pre-dates 9-11, has ramped up since then, and will not go away simply by wishing it were not so. How we choose to prepare for that threat is up to each individual and institution, but until the threat environment changes we need to be prepared to meet it, or else to stay out of soft targets.
Links to other articles:
ISIS IN PARIS - http://www.fccsobo.org/rwt-blog-52862
STOP THE SHOOTINGS (thoughts on gun control) - http://www.fccsobo.org/rwt-blog-52491
CHARLIE HEBDO SHOOTINGS - http://www.fccsobo.org/rwt-blog-49814
RESISTING EVIL IN A VIOLENT WORLD - http://www.fccsobo.org/rwt-blog-39101