June 12, 2016 will be remembered with sadness. It’s the day 29-year-old Omar Manteen walked into the Pulse nightclub and opened fire. This American citizen who lived in Florida was heavily armed, and killed 49 fellow Floridians and wounded 53 more, all in the name of terror and ISIS.
June 12, 2016 will also be remembered as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Manteen had visited the Pulse nightclub in the past, most likely checking the gay club out. He was watching ISIS videos in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting. As part of his plan, he intended to target Disney World, as well. He swore allegiance to the terror organization ISIS in a 911 call just before the shooting.
As his victims lay on the floor of the club, Manteen made 16 phone calls and posted to Facebook about his deadly deed. This was a terrorist who had no misgivings about his actions, felt nothing for his victims and carried out his actions with a cold, dispassionate demeanor.
The shooting turned into a hostage situation as 15 people were held in a bathroom. Three hours after the shooting began, Orlando police officers and Orange County sheriff’s deputies moved into the club and entered into a fire fight with Manteen. He was killed in the exchange.
Heroes on the Scene
WESH.com reports that an off-duty police officer was working at the club and engaged Manteen in a shootout. It was not enough to stop him and we’re unsure as to the status of that police officer.
A former marine working as a bouncer played a critical role in saving between 60 and 70 lives that night. CBSNews.com reports that 24-year-old Imran Yousuf is no stranger to the War on Terror. He had served in Afghanistan. On June 12, he was working in the back of the club when the first shots were heard. To get away from the gunman, people began streaming into the back hallway with nowhere to go.
Yousuf knew there was a latched door on the other side of the throng and jumped through the crowd to open the door. “As soon as people found that door was open they kept pouring out,” he told CBS News, “and after that we just ran.”
Terror: The New Normal?
It seems like our American society may have entered into a new era, a time when savage, terror-related shootings happen without warning. If so, we should all mourn our lost sense of security.
After that, we need to begin developing plans to keep ourselves safe from terror.
We can’t say for sure if additional security at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 would have helped. The odds are that more security guards on the premises may have saved some lives.
One thing is for sure, though. If we are to be safe moving forward, we will all need to be on the alert.
Our shared security has now become a shared responsibility.