Summit Daily letters to the editor: Crisis, radicals and cheap shots
June 17, 2016
Cheap shots and unwarranted attacks
In his opinion column. "Three words the Republican [sic] refuse to utter", in the June 15, 2016, Summit Daily News, Dick Polman faults a long list of Republicans for offering their prayers and sympathy for the victims of last Sunday's horrendous attack that killed 49 innocent and undeserving victims. Why fault these Republicans? Because they did not identify these Americans as "gay." I realize that people who hold different world views often see events differently. Those he named offered sympathy and prayers because of the senseless deaths of these innocent men and women. The sexual orientation of these victims is irrelevant to me and to those offering their condolences. That those killed were "gay" was important only to the American radical Islamic terrorist who killed them and, unfortunately, to Dick Polman and others with his world view.
The Republicans he mentioned were horrified by the killing of fellow American citizens, not citizens with further, divisive designations, such as gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, or of a specific religion. The only such designation that is appropriate or that matters is that it was a radical Islamic terrorist who killed these Americans. He says, "None of these Republicans had the strength of character to say the word gay." It appears to me that Mr. Polman didn't have the strength of character to pass up a chance to interject an unwarranted divisive attack.
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Donald Trump and others have criticized President Obama for not immediately labeling the Orlando shooter as a "radical Islamist terrorist." Labeling this obviously mentally ill individual as a "radical Islamist terrorist" would only serve to fan the flames of anti-Muslim and racist fervor. Perhaps that is Trump's goal, but it is not a way to curb the violence.
To blame the hateful shooting in Orlando on the Muslim religion is just as dangerous and inappropriate as blaming Christianity for Robert Louis Dear's shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in November 2015 . Dear seemed to be inspired by far right Christian leaders who call for drastic measures to be taken against anyone associated with providing abortions. Why haven't Trump and his ilk demand that we call Dear a "radical Christian terrorist?"
We don't know what inspired the Orlando shooter. It may have been homophobia; it may have been his warped religious beliefs. But Trump is no one to criticize Obama's response to the shooting; for whatever the Orlando shooter's primary motivations, the shooter was likely spurred on by the hateful, racist, anti-Muslim rants of Trump and others.