Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
In an ironic twist, the same night and weekend that the late boxing legend, humanitarian and peace prophet Muhammad Ali was laid to rest following an interfaith ceremony and public displays of adoration, the nation was thrust into mourning due to acts of domestic terrorism.
Former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimme, 22, was murdered after performing at a concert in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, June 10, by Kevin James Loibl, 27, who traveled from St. Petersburg with two guns. He killed himself after murdering Grimme. According to reports, he did not know Grimme. In the wee hours of Sunday, June 12, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, a trained security guard, unleashed a fusillade of bullets on revelers at gay club Pulse, also in Orlando, killing 50 and injuring 53.
Grief-stricken shooting victims comfort each other as they try to cope with the trauma they experienced as a result of the massacre inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
As loved one flocked to the streets to learn the fate of the victims, elected officials took to the airwaves to share their views, extend condolences and, in the case of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas, tweet unsparingly “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” in reference to the lifestyle embraced by the victims. Calling the massacre “an act of violence and hate,” President Barack Obama ordered all flags around the nation to be flown at half staff in honor of the victims.
Ali was admired and celebrated in life and in death for taking a principled stand against the Vietnam War. He was unapologetic and willing to accept any consequence associated with his position. Some responded with hate and anger, while African-Americans stood taller, in awe of a man who risked it all at the height of his career and in the prime of his youth.
Omar Mateen, who was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan, killed 53 people enjoying themselves at Pulse, a gay nightclub located in Orlando, Florida, on 6/12, 2016. He was killed by police.
Where do you stand when it matters most? Today, that’s an increasingly difficult question to answer. Individuals, whether they are famous athletes, so-called celebrities, professionals or the everyday person, are reluctant to take a stand on principle. As wall to wall coverage of the Pulse massacre continues unabated, Ali’s boldness, sense of integrity and unwavering commitment to his principles stand out more than ever.
Kevin James Loibl gunned down singer Christina Grimme as she signed autographs after performing in Orlando, Florida on June 10, 2016.
Today’s athletes are too politically correct and focused on money to take a stand and mean it; celebrities are more concerned with garnering followers and vacuous publicity rather than influencing others and cementing a legacy; many professionals are too complacent and devoid of passion to shape their brand around principles that define them.
But as details filter out about Mateen’s 911 call to pledge allegiance to ISIS prior to the bloodbath he inflicted at Pulse, and investigations continue into unearthing the motives of both killers, it bears asking: What defines me? What drives my sense of integrity? What are my principles? Where do I stand when it matters most? The answers to those question could shape the future of our society as a whole, while building the character of every individual so that, like Ali, we all aspire to be greater than we ever envisioned.–OnPointPress.net-–