The most poignant thing in Orlando

On the CBS evening news, Scott Pelley interviewed Florida senator Marco Rubio, who had been allowed to visit the crime scene. Rubio said that cellphones were ringing in the pockets of many of the dead. Clearly, friends and relatives were calling to see if those folks were all right.

It’s heartbreaking.


  1. Mark P
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    My eyes were welling up when I heard Scott Pelley mentioning the cell phones ringing.

  2. Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s heartbreaking indeed. Meanwhile a Sky News reporter was telling a gay activist that the fact the victims were gay was irrelevant to the incident.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      I’ve made a reasonable effort to find that on Google. Can you provide a link?

    • Benjamin
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      >Meanwhile a Sky News reporter was telling a gay activist that the fact the victims were gay was irrelevant to the incident

      That’s not completely true.

      Whilst I agree that the discussion was done in a rather clumsy and heated way, I don’t think anyone involved suggested that ‘homophobia’ didn’t play a major part (both of the other people involved specifically stated that is was a homophobic attack). But they were almost making the valid point that the homophobic nature of the attack was just one aspect of a wider attempt by Islamic terrorists to attack liberal western values.

      The gay activist involved in this discussion was Owen Jones, who is unfortunately very much part of the ‘this has nothing to do with Islam’ crowd.

      Whilst I don’t doubt that he’s genuinely (and rightly) upset about the homophobic nature of this attack, he’s also probably keen to push the idea that this attack was purely driven by homophobia in order to remove any blame from Islamic ideology.

      It’s one of those all-too-common situations where a person with progressive values has spent so much time defending a regressive religion that their moral compass doesn’t know which way to turn.

      Wanting to describe this attack as motivated exclusively by homophobia allows Owen Jones to once again give Islamism a free pass, and to allow his progressive/regressive doublethink to survive.

      • Benjamin
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Ooops. Sorry about the excessive italics. Looks like I forgot to close a tag.

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    And surely some of the phone calls were from ambulance-chasing lawyers who’ve move one step further.

    • Dower_House
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      That’s sick.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        And that would prevent ambulance-chasers from doing that? It’s a natural part of advertising – identify a potential target audience, then hit them. (I’m getting a lot of undesired spam from ambulance-chasing employment lawyers since I got laid off. It’s clearly a tactic that has spread to this side of the Atlantic.)

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 15, 2016 at 1:08 am | Permalink

          Don’t say we never gave you anything. 😀

  4. rickflick
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking how this affects Rubio’s position on gun control. I don’t remember exactly what his position was, but I would think that a profound personal experience, walking among the dead with a chorus of cell phones, would touch the heart of the most dedicated supporter of the second amendment. Why should anyone own an AK-47? A weapon designed specifically for mass killing?

    • BobTerrace
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      That could be true for someone with a conscience but he is a Republican, so it is not likely.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      This incident was more about mental illness and religion (sometimes those go hand in hand) and not about Americans’ right to own firearms. The Boston Marathon bombers used a pressure cooker and look at the destruction they wrought. The 9/11 terrorists used an airliner and that was the worst attack ever, with no guns involved. Again, this is about a twisted religion and its influence on people who aren’t playing with a full deck.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Do I need an AK-47? Do you need an AK-47? Why should people who aren’t playing with a full deck have such easy access to AK-47s? There isn’t one iota of interest in instituting background checks for gun purchases in the republican controlled U.S. congress.

        • mordacious1
          Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          I’m not going to turn this into an argument about gun control, there’s been plenty of that on WEIT and I don’t think it’s necessary to go there again. Even with gun control, this guy would have had access to weapons because he was some sort of corrections officer. Again, this has to do with mental health and religion. We need to deal with the motivations people have for these crimes, outlawing pressure cookers and airliners won’t do any good.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            I disagree. Outlawing automatic weapons and instituting background checks would help considerably. You are correct in saying there are other dimensions to the problem. Identifying the mentally ill would be helpful as well, but it seems to me that would require a lot more effort and resources.

            • mordacious1
              Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

              For most Americans, automatic weapons are already unobtainable. This guy, AFAIK, did not use one. I fully support background checks. I just don’t agree with you that outlawing guns would prevent terrorism (probably wouldn’t affect it at all).

            • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

              Gun control does not help much with the Islamist terror in Europe. Of course, it might have been even worse without gun control, but it is bad enough as it is. So there is apparently a need for immigration control rather than gun control. (I do not say that gun control in itself is bad, just that it does not prevent Islamist terror.)

              • rickflick
                Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

                The problem of Islamism is a complex. It requires actions on many fronts.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            As the president said in his speech this afternoon – it is up to us to decide what kind of society we want to live in. And doing nothing is also a decision.

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:10 am | Permalink

              Not mention, precedent.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        One man, using one gun, caused over 100 casualties. Banning that gun is no panacea; it would, however, make it more difficult to repeat this type of incident. No American civilian needs an AR-15 assault rifle for any reason.

        • mordacious1
          Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Please read my reply to rickflick.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

            You can spin the gun problem in America anyway you want but they still do not belong in this society. No citizen needs an assault rife and they do not need a hand gun. They are not for hunting but purely for killing, just like today. What did this clown buy just before doing this thing – assault rifle and hand gun.

            It makes no difference if the story is about terrorism or some diluted 20 year old guy who just lost his girl friend or just hates gay people. If they can go down to the corner and buy these weapons, tons of ammo and 30 or 50 round clips — what kind of place is this? Stop making excuses for insanity or justifying such killing by saying…oh well, he could of got a gun somewhere.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink


            • mordacious1
              Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

              Ugh! The guy had a permit to buy guns even if you had strict gun control, because he worked security/corrections. But regardless, if most Americans feel the way you do, then it’s a simple matter of repealing the 2nd Amendment…then you can have all the guns taken away. Good luck with that.

              • BobTerrace
                Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

                Why do people make it an all or nothing proposition on this issue; that is childish. That’s NOT what it is on almost everything else.

              • mordacious1
                Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

                I’m not sure what you’re saying, I support sensible gun legislation. Strong background checks for everyone and closing loopholes of internet/gun show sales would be a good start. Banning assault weapons wouldn’t be. Someone mentioned AK-47’s, one of the most inaccurate weapons I’ve ever fired, a hunting rifle would do much more harm and pistols kill more people each year. But AK’s are scary looking, so there’s that.

              • mordacious1
                Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

                Okay, I said I wasn’t going to do this, argue about guns. So I will stop…OUT.

              • Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

                You don’t have to repeal the second amendment – just enforce it.

            • mordacious1
              Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

              Before you repeal the 2nd Amendment though, you should repeal the 21st Amendment. Roughly 10,000 die from gun related homicides in the US/year (wouldn’t go down much, because criminals would still use guns) and 20,000 from suicide (which IMO is a person’s right). Now compare that with the roughly 90,000 people that die from alcohol related causes including 10,000 from motor vehicle fatalities. I think your priorities are skewed.

              People die from all kinds of stuff. You can ban everything from swimming pools to scissors and you still won’t stop them from killing themselves and others. People’s fixation on guns amazes me. I think it’s because they are afraid of them. That’s why they focus on assault weapons which look scary, but aren’t as effective as other weapons for killing.

              If we had better mental health care, people would drink less, smoke less, and shoot themselves less. So focus on that.

              • somer
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

                Well …. everyone will die eventually. Dying from homicide is different to dying from other causes and affects the nature of society

              • Dan McPeek
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:38 am | Permalink

                Mordacious1, you didn’t stop soon enough.
                You became totally idiotic.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:36 am | Permalink

                Assault rifles aren’t as effective as other weapons for killing.
                Why do the military have them then.
                Perhaps your military could be armed with scissors and inflatable swimming pools.

                Unless you mean bombs. But that’s a different story.

                I like guns but I also like living in a place where I know that I am not going to be shot.
                Which I do.

              • Filippo
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink

                “People’s fixation on guns amazes me.”

                Yep, one fixation begats another.

              • David Rice
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

                Whatever he used was horribly effective.

              • Walt Jones
                Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

                Who is suggesting the 2nd Anendment be repealed? If you want an honest argument, argue against what is said, not the weak argument you wish was said.

            • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

              He would got a gun, or a bomb, or would kidnap a plane. A diluted 20-yr-old guy can deprive some human beings of their lives, but he will not deprive his country of civilization. Islamists will do exactly this, given the opportunity. See Lebanon, then Europe.

      • somer
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:45 am | Permalink

        If the guy that perpetrated this crime was a corrections officer, he may have still accessed an assault rifle – but in terms of society generally gun controls would help – and a campaign to counter the influence of the National Rifle association which has been effective for the last few decades in almost neutering or else preventing gun control
        (See Jeremy Tarone post in Terrorist Attack in Orlando kills 50. and Ive seen it elsewhere but haven’t a record). These things always have a moral aspect – it would take a movement to discredit the NRA around the country, preferably not tied to regressive elements that discredit the left.

        Crime has gone down significantly in the US even though guns have increased but Steven Pinker argues this is due to bringing in not only (often fairly draconian) sentences but much prompter identification and charging – criminals know there is a much higher chance of consequences, and Pinker argues the petty criminals often go on to harder stuff (especially I imagine with guns so easy to get). Of course social issues underlie this too. There is a huge problem with existing illegal guns or black market not to mention diverse state laws but guns have escalated in the last few decades and you’ve got to start somewhere.

        Does gun owning make you safer.

        • somer
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:35 am | Permalink

          PS I meant AR15 high powered semi automatic rifle used in the Orlando attack. Effective firing range averaging 500 metres
          Legal with licence usually with some restrictions as to magazines etc in most western countries, but severely restricted in a few. Used in Orlando, Sandy Hook Elementary, San Bernardino mass shootings in US. Some features, can make it an assault weapon but not an assault rifle because only the latter are capable of fully automatic fire (e.g. the illegal M16) (wikipedia)
          Assault Weapon, AR15

          The M16 military version is automatic – an assault rifle – and is illegal in the US
          “As of 2012, there are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family in civilian use in the United States.[53] They are favored for target shooting, hunting, and personal protection, and have become the most popular rifle in America.”
          (wikipedia) AR15, Assault weapon

          • Dower_House
            Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            No, No, NO, NO.

            Semi-automatic rifles are not legal in most European countries. Gun ownership is vastly lower than US. Switzerland has the highest rate, but that is because it only has a small standing arm and all men have been in National Service – After that they keep their rifles at home, but NO ammunition which is issued if necessary.

            UK tightened up after the ‘Hungerford memassacre’ and not even hand-guns are permitted – shot guns and rifles for those who are genuine hunters undergo rigorous checks.

            Norway tightened up after they had a slaughter of kids on an island holdiay.

            The other high countries with highish number of guns are in the Balkans who are still only a few years away from horrible wars.

            The number of accidental children injuries and the number of women shot by their husbands (and vice-versa) is also high, and law enforcement kills over 1,000 people a year.


      • Richard C
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        The Boston marathon pressure cooker bombs injured many but only killed three people. Mateen’s AR-15 killed 50.

      • p. puk
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        Please don’t bother repeating the “mental illness” nonsense.

        This was a perfectly sane individual whose family didn’t consider mentally ill. He had been vetted for jobs which required checks for such things.

        Now, one might assert that no sane person commits mass murder but most mentally ill people manage to spend an entire lifetime without committing mass murder either.

        This issue is about hatred instilled by the most vile religion and the promise to “martyrs” who act on that hatred that they will be rewarded in paradise with a never ending porn show.

        • p. puk
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink


        • rickflick
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          “This issue is about hatred instilled by the most vile religion…”

          I think it would be interesting to know how much the religion influence him. Was it primarily inherent homophobia which was simply sent over the top by the Koran? Or, was he really unlikely to act on his internal hatred, except for the overwhelming force of Islam in his life. Also, were there local religious voices urging him on? Or was it the internet talking heads? I hope some of these issues will become clearer.

        • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          + 1. Actually, I wonder how religious fanatics (not only Muslim ones) are vetted for jobs requiring mental health checks, given that their state of mind is so dangerously close to mental illness.

      • Jeremy Tarone
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Is this about mental illness?
        His ex wife says he was, but she uses it as an excuse, rather than a medical diagnosis. She jumped to that conclusion because he used violence as a method to control her and other people and tacked on “That’s the only explanation that I could give”.
        I’m sure you know as well as I, just because she can’t give another explanation doesn’t mean that one is true. Nor is she a psychologist, or psychiatrist or medical doctor.

        A far more common explanation is he was taught to use violence as a tool to get his way from a very young age, and was not taught more socially acceptable methods of getting what he wants or dealing with people.

        Even if he was mentally ill, almost everyone could probably be diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder. Having a mental disorder doesn’t make one violent. They are separate issues.

        The problem is, being a jerk in the USA doesn’t prevent a high powered firearm being sold to jerks.

        He was also described as quiet. He hadn’t gotten in any serious trouble.

        Lots of people in the USA and other countries have this exact personality. Many boys are taught that using violence to solve problems is how to be a man. They may not be expressly taught that murder is acceptable, but violence to murder is not such a large step. Especially if they are pushed with the help of religion.

        Many Christians (and Muslims) believe it’s their God given right to beat their wife if the wife doesn’t do what she’s told.
        Is that mental illness, or bad ideas spread through religion or culture? Until relatively recently it was considered nobodies business if a man beat and raped his wife.

        It is frequently stated by some whenever a spree shooting happens that the problem is mental illness. Many would state by definition that killing is a sign of mental illness. But it can simply be a method of gaining a goal. It’s worked in the past for others. The IRA. The USA.

        While some indeed are mentally ill, many believe it’s perfectly acceptable to use violence to solve problems. As I said, it’s widespread in some countries, and present in all. Combined with easy access to firearms, one would expect to see a country like that to have a large number of spree shootings and a high homicide rate.

        It’s not coincidence that is what we see in the USA.

        • Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          I have also heard (and it makes sense to me) that the truly mentally ill are far more at risk of being victims of violence than of perpetrating violence.

  5. Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    A mark of the times. Instead of shrieking familles, chirping electronics. No matter what it sounds like, still crushes the “soul.”

    • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      It is still shrieking families. Electronics is just the medium. Emotions are the same. Every time someone in my family dies, I get the news by phone. And it does not hurt less.

  6. EvolvedDutchie
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    This is heartbreaking indeed. It’s hard not to cry when reading this terrible news or watching it on CNN. I would like to take this opportunity to praise all the emergency services who responded as fast as they could and to praise everyone who donated blood to help the victims.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink


  7. Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    It is heartbreaking and depressing that you have (need) a “terrorism” category now.

  8. mordacious1
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I think one of the worst things is that those cell phones were still ringing 12 hours after the event. Some of the family members were told that they might not be notified until after 10 A.M. tomorrow. That’s a long time to suffer, not knowing about your loved one.

  9. David Rice
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    (First post here. I have read and not only accept but enjoyed reading Da Roolz! I really learn a lot from this website. Thank you.)

    Over on Greta Christina’s bl*g (Greta’s Bl*g) she talks about listening to TBLG Ex-Muslims. They’ve been subjected to queerphobic horror from their religion for years — and they’re sick of seeing it minimized.

    Her point rings true to me. She says and it seems to echo the sentiment of this website that “We don’t have to pretend religious-inspired venom and violence doesn’t exist. We can speak out about it without being bigoted or hateful.”

    So true but I also see hatred and venom towards the TBLG community in Christianity. This characteristic of many religions that is ingrained into the faithful is beyond contempt.

    And I just have to say that observing the reporting of this tragedy on our CBC was utterly gut-wrenching. Watching and listening to a *survivour* relate how he witnessed so many of his friends being gunned down. And how he wasn’t physically hurt but how he was totally thrown into mental disarray. It broke my heart.

    I don’t see how this horror will stop until the gun culture that considers owning a weapon, designed exclusively for killing people or perhaps a horde of maurading zombies, a right. From my remote vantage point I don’t see your Congress able to ignore NRA money and stop ignoring what I believe to be the majority view of not only Americans* but people around the world that this all too frequent horror should end.


    * This is despite my limited research on American views on gun control and specifically with respect to banning Assault weapons support for which seems to be falling since the 1990s.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Made me cry.

  11. ascanius
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Rubio himself has been an ardent foe of the LGBT community and gay rights ostensibly on religious grounds.

  12. Brujo Feo
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Could you people PLEASE make up your minds? Did he have an AR-15? An AK-47? An assault rifle? An automatic weapon?

    Some claim that he had an AR-15. Not at all unlikely, but in which case it wasn’t an automatic weapon (that variant would be the M-16), and by definition not an assault rifle, as by definition there is no such thing as an assault rifle that doesn’t have a selective fire switch.

    Some claim that he had an AK-47. VERY unlikely, as an AK-47 IS an automatic weapon, and therefore an assault rifle, and therefore completely illegal unless a pre-1968 model grandfathered in by the GCA of 1968. (Actually, there are certain exceptions which could allow importation through May 19, 1986, but they’re statistically insignificant. Look–if you’re seriously interested in this stuff, start here for a primer:, and then read more. A LOT more.) But he certainly could have easily obtained the semi-auto variant of the AK-47, which is generally referred to as an “SKS.”

    I’m not offering here any pronouncement about Orlando, or bout gun laws, or about anything. I’m just asking for as minimal amount a precision in language as one would expect in discussing any other subject.

    One of my colleagues is a harpist. Like most harpists, she does a lot of weddings. And with clockwork predictability, some yahoo comes up to her and asks her if her instrument is a ‘cello. I trust that you take my meaning.

    • p. puk
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      An AK-47 is not a harp.

      Neither is an AR-15.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      A recent report said “…which officials described as a handgun and an AR-15 type of assault rifle.” It will take more time before this is nailed down.

  13. Rasmo Carenna
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    This thing about cell phones ringing is sadly becoming a kind of staple in these kinds of atrocities. I remember, when the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, phones were ringing for hours in all the scenarios of the carnage. One officer had to say to some people trying to help to not even think of answering one of them. Just imagine calling a loved one and hearing an unknown voice saying “err… sorry, he/she is, err, dead… or something”.

  14. Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    All because they were gay. I despair…

  15. Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    OMG. The ringing cell phones are heart wrenching!

    Islam hates LGBTQ and Christianity hates LGBTQ, and religious reform of both is needed to undo that bigotry.

    Here’s what such reform might look like:

    There’s a gay parade there every year, and the LGBTQ community is welcome not just to visit but to immigrate.

  16. Diane G.
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    We recently lost a loved one who, it turned out, had been dead for several hours during which we were desperately texting and calling him. The scenario described by Rubio is gut-wrenching.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Sorry for your loss.

    • Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      So sorry for your loss and for this untimely and poignant reminder in the news.

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