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Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

To yet an­other tragic act of vi­o­lence, this time the worst shoot­ing in Amer­ica’s his­tory, which took place early Sun­day morn­ing at a gay night­club in Or­lando. Armed with a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle and hand­gun, Omar Ma­teen shot and killed 49 peo­ple and wounded 53 more dur­ing an hours-long spree. The FBI and other fed­eral agen­cies re­ported that Ma­teen, an Amer­i­can born to Afghan im­mi­grants, pledged al­le­giance to the Syr­ian ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion the Is­lamic State in a phone call made dur­ing his mass shoot­ing, stok­ing fears of yet an­other home­grown ter­ror­ist. But ad­di­tional sto­ries com­ing out later in the week painted a more com­plex story, as Ma­teen may have been liv­ing a se­cret gay life. He was ap­par­ently reg­u­larly seen at the Pulse night­club prior to the shoot­ing and may have so­licited other men on dat­ing apps. De­spite the in­creas­ingly murky back­story, we grieve the vic­tims, many of whom were killed while hid­ing in fear of their lives. The story is ugly and we hope that our lead­ers can find ways to pre­vent such whole­sale car­nage from ever oc­cur­ring again.

To the sec­ond hor­rific story to come out of Or­lando this week: the killing of a 2-year-old boy at a Dis­ney World re­sort by an al­li­ga­tor. Play­ing by the edge of a lake in the cen­ter of the re­sort, the boy was bit­ten by a large al­li­ga­tor and pulled into the water — a com­mon tac­tic for the preda­tor to at­tack prey. The boy’s fa­ther fought in vain to free his son, but ul­ti­mately the crea­ture pulled the child into deeper water. A day later, au­thor­i­ties were able to lo­cate the boy’s body af­ter the al­li­ga­tor ap­par­ently let go of him. Much like a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent at the Cincin­nati Zoo ear­lier this year, in­ter­net crit­ics took the boy’s par­ents to task for the tragedy. How­ever, we ques­tion how much the par­ents, who were va­ca­tion­ing from Ne­braska where al­li­ga­tors are not found, could have known about the preda­tors lurk­ing in the wa­ters. Signs in the area only read “No swim­ming,” a com­mon dis­cour­age­ment due to a lack of life­guards, not a no­tice about the pres­ence of large preda­tors. We grieve for the vic­tim’s fam­ily in this ter­ri­ble in­ci­dent.

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