As we were drifting off toward sleep last night, I remarked to my wife that it had been something very close to a perfect day. We’d gotten a major project done in the house, had pizza for dinner (there are times when pizza is the best food; last night was one of them), gotten some landscaping done outside, had some cuddle time on the couch with the boy, and spent a pleasant half-hour or so sitting outside and enjoying a summer breeze in the shade on our back porch.
The moment lasted for, well, a moment, before I remembered that the day had started with her telling me not to look at the news until I was more awake, and that fifty people had been gunned down in Orlando, the second time in less than a week that the phrase “murdered in Orlando” had made national news.
This shit happens every week by now, right? It’s like a ritual; I always hear about these things on Twitter first, and it’s always something slightly opaque, so there’s that few moments of oh I wonder where and how many this time before I find out. It’s almost always a white guy doing the shooting. Sometimes it’s not.
I’m at the point where I want the Second Amendment repealed. Period. It’s been made obsolete by technology in a way that no other part of the Bill of Rights has, and it needs to go. But I really don’t want to write a gun post, and I’m even less interested in policing comments about a gun post. But I do want to make one specific, and probably unnecessary, point about this specific atrocity.
Here’s Omar Mateen:
The majority of the pictures of him I’ve seen are selfies. In a lot of ways this guy seems to have been as American as they come (he was born here, after all) and I suspect that the NYPD gear is going to end up being overlooked more than perhaps it should be. Reports are contradictory on how much of a role Islam played in his life; his father claims religion had nothing to do with it, and his ex-wife, who had to be “rescued” from him by her family, also says that he wasn’t radicalized at all at the time of their divorce in 2011. But that was five years ago; five years is a long time.
Donald Trump is yip-yapping about “radical Islamic terrorism,” and there’s more fooferall about whether Obama should have used that phrase, or whether Hillary did, and what it means that Hillary Said It but Obama Didn’t, and a whole bunch of nonsense.
I’d like to submit here that it doesn’t really matter all that goddamn much whether this dude was a radical Muslim or not, because the way things stand right now in the US there is no goddamn daylight at all between “radical Muslims” and conservative Christians on the issue of the gay community.(*) When a leading Republican candidate for President is introduced to a cheering crowd by a pastor minutes after that same pastor calls for the execution of gay people, I don’t want to hear shit about Islamic terrorism. Republican legislatures across the country have spent most of the last couple of months wetting their pants about whether trans people should be able to pee in public restrooms or not. Out gay people are in danger in this country every time they leave their homes. I don’t wanna hear shit about Islamic terrorism when we have an entire political party gleefully making the lives of gay people as miserable as they possibly can every chance they get right here in the United States. It’s just not relevant. I don’t care what this guy’s religion was. He was a homophobe. That’s the relevant variant of asshole we’re dealing with here, and it’s the only one that matters.
(Two side tangents: 1) I also don’t give a damn about his little 911 call before he drove off to kill people. I can call 911 and proclaim myself a member of the Harlem Globetrotters right before I go shoot some folks; that doesn’t mean Big Easy and Flight Time are gonna know who the hell I am. 2) Yes, I know about this guy. I’m not going to talk about him because the case appears to be getting murkier by the minute, and I’m already speculating enough right now.)
Actually, one more thing: it’s interesting to see signs of Mateen starting to get the “mentally ill” edit, which is normally reserved for white people and certainly not for Muslims. Mental illness is a dodge of the real issue, as usual; a mentally ill and homophobic Omar Mateen who does not have access to a weapon that can shoot a hundred people in a matter of minutes is substantially less dangerous than a healthy and homophobic Mateen who does.
(*) There are so many acronyms. I feel like “queer” is better as a single umbrella term but “queer” still feels like at least half a slur to me sometimes so I don’t like using it; I’m hoping we can agree that I’m trying to write in good faith here and leave it alone? I really do hope that at one of the Gay Agenda meetings at some point they sit down and decide on one acronym. I like QUILTBAG because it’s fun to say, but as a straight cis dude I don’t really get a vote.