The back of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, June 12. Police say they used an APC to make these holes in the wall, through which many surviving hostages escaped. It’s undisclosed who made the bullet holes around the larger holes.
Yet another appalling mass murder in the US, the bloodiest yet, has once again focused world media attention on the Indispensable Nation. 50 dead, 53 wounded, and all the work of one ISIS-sympathizing, rabidly homophobic (though closet gay, apparently), Muslim-American, tax-paying, Mecca-visiting (yet non-religious), divorced, ‘disturbed’, ‘gentle’, NYPD-loving, America-hating, father-of-one terrorist working a steady job for 9 years with the world’s biggest private security firm.
An Everyman for our times then, it would seem.
The story goes that, at 2am on Sunday 12 June 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen walked into a dark nightclub packed with 320 people having a good time. Mateen is carrying an AR-15 rifle and 30 magazines of ammunition on his person. In the dark, beneath the flashing and strobing lights, he begins shooting and goes on to reload and empty his AR-15 rifle 30 times, firing nearly 1,000 rounds of .223 ammunition. In the process, he achieves the remarkable feat of killing or injuring one third of the people around him, the majority of his victims being shot multiple times, some as many as 12 times. And he does all this in under 7 minutes. Alone.
That, dear readers, is the ‘official story’, aka, ‘all the news that’s fit to print’.
Here’s the list of victims:
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Cory James Connell, 21
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
- Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29
- Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
- Akyra Murray, 18
Now let’s take a closer look at The Timeline (one version of it anyway), as reported by CNN:
The first shots were fired just after 2am, presumably at patrons inside the club. A police officer was on duty at, or in the vicinity of, the club. He was initially joined by two more police officers and they exchanged gunfire with ‘the shooter’, who was apparently outside the club at this point, but who then ran back into the club. How he got into the club in the first place, armed to the gills, isn’t disclosed.
Anyway, the first 3 cops were joined within minutes by “about 100 officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department.” At 2:09 am, nightclub employees sent a message via Facebook telling patrons to “get out of Pulse and keep running.” Then nothing happened for 3 hours, ostensibly because the remaining patrons were being held hostage. Police officials said they had to hang around all that time “to access the situation, get armored vehicles on the scene and make sure they had enough personnel.”
Access the situation? That’s either a typo and it should read ‘assess the situation’, or too many of those cops were idling in the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
The only thing of note, we’re told, that took place during that time was that the shooter called 911 to tell police that he was doing this for the leader of ISIS, who he named and pledged loyalty to, before expressing solidarity with the supposed perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings (which took place in 2013, before ‘ISIS’ existed) and solidarity with the Florida man who died in 2014 as a suicide bomber in Syria for Al-Nusra Front (a terrorist group the US State Department is working around the clock to distinguish from ISIS as ‘moderate’ because it is arming and funding it).
At about 5 am, SWAT police units used an armored vehicle to smash their way into the club, confront the suspect “in the doorway and shoot and kill him.” Another variant of that ending has the ‘lone wolf’ engage in a one-hour shoot out with SWAT units, subjecting them to “a hail of bullets” before he is killed. Job done, everyone goes home.
Florida governor Rick Scott then gave the ‘Orlando Strong’ speech…
“This was an attack on our people, an attack on Orlando, an attack on Florida, an attack on America, an attack on all of us.”
US president Barack Obama followed up with the ‘Love and Light’ speech…
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other, instead we will stand united as Americans to protect our people, to defend our nation, and take action against those who threaten us.”
And that’s it; end of story.
There are, however, a few small details to iron out, like squaring the above with the following testimony provided by several people who were actually there at the club that night:
Multiple shooters coordinating a tactical assault on the club? Keeping exits blocked to maximize the death toll? Snipers keeping the cops at bay?
Who were these gunmen? Where did they go? Who do they work for? And more to the point, why isn’t the media reporting this, at least alongside the incredible story of a lone wolf whose astonishing kill rate put Hollywood action movie ‘heroes’ to shame?
The very fact that the Orlando mass shooting simultaneously targeted pretty much all of America’s fault lines points to the psychology of those behind it. We’re not looking at wayward chance here; we’re looking at someone or something that knows Americans better than they know themselves (and no one knows Americans better than their authority figures).
This is the terrorists (the actual ones) once again ‘hitting the paranoia switch’, as psychologist Martha Stout describes in her seminal work, reviewed here.
Then again, never mind; these are just trivial details and ‘conspiratorial’ speculation (based on eyewitness testimony). What’s really important is that everyone gets together to cry crocodile tears for people they wouldn’t ordinarily give a damn about, pledge their undying support for the military-industrial complex, and remember to vote this Fall for the most authoritarian ‘leader’ (take your pick between Killary and raging baby-man Trump) who will lead Americans (and the world) further down the road of global chaos and, quite possibly, ultimate destruction.