It’s been nearly two years since the Pulse Nightclub attack. Two years, and we’re only just now beginning to get a clear picture for what really happened on that terror-filled night.
The motive should have been pretty easy to figure out. The killer pledged allegiance to ISIS, therefore the killer was a radical Islamic terrorist. This was a terror attack. There’s zero room for speculation here... But that’s not what the media ran with.
For two years, the media and many in the gay community have been calling this a hate crime on the LGBT community. Hours after the attack went down, the media went into full-on narrative mode, trying to paint the picture of the killer as a man with repressed anger over his own sexual urges who couldn’t reconcile that with his faith.
They pulled in witnesses from the club who swore they’d seen him there before looking for a homosexual encounter. They connected him to gay dating apps and even interviewed his ex-wife who claimed she had always suspected he might have been gay. He liked to look at himself in the mirror a lot... So surely he was gay.
Instead of having a discussion on the dangers of radical Islamic terrorism and ISIS, we were having discussions on gay rights, how Republicans were turning gay men into killers with their repression, and hate crimes on the gay community. So what was this? Was it an ISIS terror attack, or was it a gay hate crime?
As of yesterday afternoon, we now know the entire timeline for what went down that night, and the motive is clear.
Pulse wasn’t the killer's intended target. It was Disney.
Pulse wasn’t the killer's intended target. It was Disney. At 10 pm, the killer arrived at the Disney World shopping and entertainment area. He used a stroller to conceal his weapon. Security camera footage shows him passing multiple police and security officers and even watching their movements. It apparently made him rethink his choice.
Good guys with guns stopped a terror attack on Disney that night, and they didn’t even know they were doing it. Imagine if more people open-carried. How many more attacks would that stop before they even got started?
The killer went back to his car and pulled out his phone. He googled “downtown Orlando nightclubs.” Notice he didn’t mention “gay.” The top two hits were Eve Nightclub --- which isn’t a gay club --- and Pulse. He pulled up the directions to Eve and surveilled the club. He then got directions to Pulse and did the same. He apparently decided Eve was an easier target, because he then plugged the directions back into his phone and began to drive in that direction.
Who he killed didn’t matter to him, as long as they were American.
But a few minutes into the drive back to Eve, he changed his mind. He turned back to Pulse and began the attack soon after. During the entire night, NOT ONCE did he make a derogatory remark about gay people. Everything he said was regarding US policy in the Middle East, and his goal of bringing violence to the US mainland.
This killer was looking for a soft target with a lot of people. Who he killed didn’t matter to him, as long as they were American. We live in a tribal society where anyone and everyone is looking to use every tragedy that happens as a way to point fingers and assign blame.
Will we ever stop chasing narratives looking for a win for our team, tribe or side? We need to be able to look at the other side, not seeing the word “enemy” but see the words “human being.” Narrative-chasing is tearing us apart.
Let’s be better.