Three of the most contentious questions in American culture and politics — gay rights, gun control and terrorism — collided in a horrific way in an Orlando nightclub early Sunday.
It is not entirely clear what inspired Omar Mateen to commit the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, or what might have been done to stop it.
But it happened in a gay club, just two weeks shy of the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, and on a weekend when cities across the country, including Washington, were holding gay pride festivals.
It was perpetrated during the holy month of Ramadan by an American-born man whose family originally came from Afghanistan. During the attack, he reportedly made a 911 call pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
He did it with a handgun and an AR-15 — the same semiautomatic rifle that was part of the arsenals used to kill 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012; 20 first-graders and six adults later that year in Newtown, Conn.; and 14 others at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., last December.