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Published On: Fri, Jun 17th, 2016

President Obama blames ‘hateful propaganda’ of Internet for Omar Mateen terrorist attack

So whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from ISIL and Al Qaida, this was an act of terrorism, but it was also an act of hate. This was an attack on the LGBT community.

Americans were targeted because we’re a country that has learned to welcome everyone no matter who you are or who you love. And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.

Joe and I were talking on the way over here. You can’t break up the world into us and them, and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin or their faith or their sexual orientation, and not feed something very dangerous in this world. So if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time.

It’s a good time for all of us to reflect on how we treat each other and to insist on respect and equality for every human being

We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the LGBT community, here at home and around the world, especially in countries where they are routinely prosecuted.

We have to challenge the oppression of women wherever it occurs, here or overseas. There’s only us, Americans. Here in Orlando and the men and women taken from us, those who loved them, we see some of the true character of this country, the best of humanity coming roaring back, the love and the compassion and the fierce resolve that will carry us through not just through this atrocity, but through whatever difficult times may confront us.

It’s our pluralism and our respect for each other, including the young man who said to a friend he was super-proud to be Latino. It’s our love of country, the patriotism of an Army reservist who was known as an amazing officer. It’s our unity, the outpouring of love that so many across our country have shown to our fellow Americans who are LGBT; a display of solidarity that might have been unimaginable even a few years ago.

Out of this darkest of moments, that gives us hope — seeing people reflect; seeing people’s best instincts come out. Maybe in some cases, minds and hearts changed. It is our strength and our resilience, the same determination of a man who died here who traveled the world mindful of the risks as a gay man, but who spoke for all of us when he said, “We cannot be afraid; we are not going to be afraid.”

May we all find that same strength in our own lives. May we all find that same wisdom in how we treat one another.

May God bless all who we lost here in Orlando. May He comfort their families. May He heal the wounded. May He bring some solace to those whose hearts have been broken. May He give us resolve to do what’s necessary to reduce the hatred of this world, to curb the violence. May He watch over this country that we call home.

Thank you very much, everybody.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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