My Take: My Thoughts in the Aftermath of Orlando
My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Orlando, and the victims and families of those who were murdered or injured. With 49 people dead and many more injured, this is the worst terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001.
Sunday morning’s attack is another painful reminder that we are not immune at home to the radical Islamic terrorism we see around the world. But we should not be surprised. The enemy has been clear in its intentions: to destroy anyone who doesn’t submit to its extreme ideology.
It is time we face reality - we are at war. The threat from radicalized individuals is very real, and the horrific attack early Sunday was a strike at the very heart of our free, vibrant society. We must remain vigilant in our fight against terror.
Radical Islamic terrorism has metastasized because of the vacuum in the Middle East and North Africa, and is now closer than ever because of the online radicalization of homegrown extremists. This pernicious ideology draws disaffected people, petty criminals and prisoners into a false, distorted comfort guised in glory, meaning and sacrifice.
It attracted the killer in Orlando. We know he was on the F.B.I.’s watch list twice but was removed because there was no conclusive evidence – investigations of Americans do not go on indefinitely. If the killer had purchased any weapons while on the watch list, authorities would have been immediately notified. The investigation is ongoing, and we’ll have a clearer picture in the coming weeks and months.
Since September 11th, our country has been forced to have serious debates about the appropriate balance between our security and our freedoms. As the facts come together, we as Americans have to decide the proper balance.
Member of Congress