In Northern Ireland in the late 70s and 80s, the British had a policy of denying Provisional IRA Volunteers their full rights as political prisoners. They were forced to wear regular prison uniform and were housed in standard cellblocks (i.e. not segregated between "Republican" and "Loyalist" factions). The idea was pretty simple - to drive home the message that the IRA was not a legitimate political organisation and, as such, its members - be they gunmen, bombers, snipers, artillerymen, what have you - were simply crazed criminals running around shooting guns. Not a legitimate army and not a legitimate political organisation worthy of recognition.
This is how we need to learn to talk about ISIS, and other Islamist terrorist organisations. The front page of today's New York Times flaunts the headline "Praising ISIS, Gunman Attacks Gay Nightclub." That doesn't even follow a standard headline format, they're so desperate to get the most out of the sensationalism.
What is that, other than a PR campaign run on ISIS' behalf? It's sure as shit not real journalism.
Obama promised to "degrade and destroy" ISIS. The first step to doing that, I think, is to acknowledge ISIS for what it is - a collection of mentally unstably people going around psychotically murdering people for no discernible reason.
Does a single nation on Earth recognise the Islamic State as a sovereign nation-state in its own right? No.
Does a single nation on Earth recognise ISIS as an official military or paramilitary organisation? No.
Do Muslims regard ISIS or its ideals as representing actual Islam? No.
ISIS, by any criteria, isn't really a thing. It has no point, other than giving people an excuse to rape and kill and slaughter. It only exists as an organisation through its own propaganda - propaganda that the media then is happy to flaunt as an excuse to sell copy.
We need to recognise members of ISIS for what they are - murderers using ISIS itself as an excuse. In this case, in Orlando, it's likely just that - but even closer to the source, in ISIS' territory across Iraq and Syria, membership of ISIS is probably less about belief in God and more about, you know, getting to kill people you don't like and raping any girl you see in the streets. Think about it.
We need to stop buying into their bullshit of being a force worthy of respect or even recognition. We need to refuse to take part in their brutal masquerade. Only then will we dispel the mystique and allure surrounding them that lures disaffected young men to commit atrocities in their vague name.
...That's...just my two cents. I'm kind of torn up about all this and...I...don't really know how we're supposed to respond to this stuff anymore. But that New York Times headlines fucking infuriated me.