1. It does not matter how tragic or bloody the event, there will always be people sick enough to try and score points off it. On this occasion, fast out of the gate was Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who thought it appropriate to gloat over the bullet riddled bodies of the victims. Remember, this man is supposed to be a Christian. Joining him in callous indifference and cynicism comes ex-diplomat Michael Oren. On Israel's Channel 10 this afternoon he suggested Donald Trump would be wise to exploit the murder on account of the gunman being Muslim. Lastly, it's not above the utter bams to make their own play. Each case involves total dehumanisation. Social media simultaneously bridges and enforces social distance. An appalling crime is just another item on the feed/news cycle and is to be annexed for crass position taking. The human dimension, the suffering, the grief for those left to mourn are secondary images inessential to the political meanings constructed around the act of violence.
2. The gunman Omar Mateen was a Muslim. He was not on any watch list, nor was there any indication he was a radical Islamist or, for that matter, particularly devout. Before Mateen went on his murderous rampage he apparently called emergency services and pledged allegiance to IS. With these circumstances, it's understandable the authorities are responding to it as an act of terror. Yet as Alishba points out, homophobia is a problem in Muslim communities - a point that's often impolitic for outsiders and to mention. According to Mateen's Dad, it was witnessing two men kiss that sent Mateen into a murderous fury. This is worth bearing in mind as this act is unpicked and made sense of. When these sorts of crimes are committed by Islamists, previous experiences in the West fall into the pattern of indiscriminate slaughter (London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels) or specifically targeted military personnel, such as the murder of Lee Rigby, or the 2009 killing of 13 people by Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood. This attack is more suggestive of last year's massacre by husband and wife pair Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino which saw the killing of 14 of Farook's work colleagues, and the Syndey cafe siege: that is murders in which Islam is a flag of convenience for motives steeped in vengeance and narcissism. Or, in this case, plain old bigotry. We should find out in coming days.
3. Cue another round of American soul searching and hand-wringing about gun control. Obama will make his usual pleas, as he does every three to six months, and the GOP will blame the club goers for not taking their weapons with them. The right wingin', bitter clingin', proud clingers of their guns - as Sarah Palin likes to call this increasingly unhinged constituency - are happy to see the death of 50 gay clubbers here, a packed cinema there, and classrooms full of kids as so much collateral for their inalienable rights. The truth is that easy access to arms is only one part of the problem. There is something deeply sick with American society. No other advanced society suffers these sorts of shootings with anything approaching this level of regularity. It cannot be explained by the size of the population - per capita they're way above similarly developed countries. Nor do other states with large gun ownership, such as Canada where over a quarter of adults own one, have the same rates of violence. That leaves something exceptional about American culture. The constant reinforcement of individual gratification and sovereignty, even as the realities of free market fundamentalism trample all over it. The absence of mass, collectivist-inspired politics, the glorification of violence, the way American media and culture splits people into competing constituencies with little emphasis on integration. From afar it appears the nearest an advanced society is to a Randian nightmare, a dysfunctional dystopia where the war of all against all too often explodes into bloody outrages.