(Photos compiled by the New York Daily News)
I have been slow to comment about the mass shooting in Orlando because words have escaped me following such a heinous act. The facts are that a madman entered a popular nightclub and unleashed a torrent of gunfire that killed 49 people and wounded another 53, most of them gay. Was this a hate crime, a terror attack, or the kind of mass shooting that we’ve grown all too accustomed to, recently? The shooter, Omar Mateen, born in the United States to Afghani immigrant parents, pledged allegiance to ISIS, which immediately raised concerns that this tragic event was a terrorist attack, but the shooter has been described as unhinged, violent, and even gay. He was also known to law enforcement and had been under investigation on previous occasions in 2013 and 2014. Whatever the case, why was he legally able to obtain automatic weapons and enough rounds of ammunition to wreak such quick and devastating carnage on an unsuspecting group of partiers? Why should anyone be entitled – stable or unstable, terrorist or not – to purchase automatic weapons and so many rounds of ammunition? As I have written before, the founding fathers could never have fathomed that weapons would be invented that would be capable of killing so many people, so quickly, let alone be used so indiscriminately against innocent fellow American citizens when they wrote the second amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing our right to bear arms. They must be turning over in their graves as gun advocates and NRA members continually use their words to justify the sale of weapons and ammunition that can and have been used to inflict murder on such a mass scale.