Shooter Was Muslim — That’s All That Matters

Nightclub - Muslim ShooterEarly this morning, a man killed at least 50 people in the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse. Most of my liberal friends see this as another example of the problem of guns in the United States. And there’s a vague hope that this time maybe we will do something about it. But I think this is all a sign of just how out of touch all of us are with each other. If two dozen murdered children in Sandy Hook didn’t change things, this certainly won’t. But there’s more here. The shooter’s name is apparently Omar Mateen.

If this had just been some white guy named John Smith who went into Pulse and killed so many people, America would react in the normal way, “This is terrible! Now let’s do nothing!” But a bunch of people getting killed by a Muslim does cause action. It isn’t action that will do any good. But it is action. Suddenly, Donald Trump seems to have made a lot more sense when he said that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the country until we “figure this out.” This kind of thinking is the very definition of racism, but it isn’t recognized.

Right now at the Fox News website, the top story is, Breaking News: 50 Murdered, 53 Wounded in Possible Act of Islamic Terror in Orlando Gay Club. There’s no nuance here. It’s “Terrorism!” And everyone knows that death by terrorist is so much worse than death by Christian fundamentalist.

Of course, there is no such thing as death by Christian fundamentalist. When a Christian fundamentalist kills someone, we get little but nuance. And rightly so! Because people who go on killing sprees are messed up in the head. They aren’t rational warriors. (Well, most of the time; the 9/11 attacks were part brain washing and part peer pressure.) But when it comes to Muslims, we get none of that.

Check out this Fox News headline, Florida Nightclub Shooter Apparently Made Threats in the Past; Ex-Wife Claims He Beat Her. Now that strikes me as having some nuance, but the lede doesn’t follow, “The gunman who killed at least 50 people at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday was a licensed security officer who claimed more than once that he had connections to Islamic terror groups, Fox News has learned, as the killer’s ex-wife reportedly said he was unstable and would beat her.”

But reading the whole article, I got the impression that Omar Mateen was mostly just a homophobe. Is that based on his religion? Probably, although most men don’t need a religion to be a homophobes. Mateen’s father said that his son became enraged when he saw two men kissing in Miami. It sounds like a hate crime committed by an unstable Muslim man. But in the end, none of that will matter.

In the weeks and months after this, people will remember vaguely that a Muslim killed a bunch of people. The fact it that his Muslim identification will be taken to be as critical, just as Robert Lewis Dear’s Christian identification is taken to mean nothing at all.

But maybe this is how ISIS defeats us. Because this is the kind of attack (even though almost certainly having nothing directly to do with ISIS) that will make Donald Trump become president. See Paul Bibeau’s Trump Tales Of Terror: Weird Stories about a Hideous Man and His Movement for details.

After ever one of these shootings, my gut reaction is, “Didn’t anyone notice that this person was stockpiling weapons and ammunition?” But I catch myself instantly. Stockpiling weapons and ammunition is so common among the paranoid gun freaks of this country, that it isn’t unusual. It’s just a particularly good day Joe’s Gun and Mass Shooter Emporium.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

8 thoughts on “Shooter Was Muslim — That’s All That Matters

  1. If this AP report is accurate, his religious beliefs are pretty relevant:

    Hooper says some 911 calls involving the shooter and the massacre have become federal evidence. He says the conversations involved the Islamic State.

    Hooper says the shooter in 2013 made inflammatory comments to co-workers , and that Mateen was interviewed twice. Hooper calls those interviews inconclusive.

    In 2014, Hooper says, officials found that Mateen had ties to an American suicide bomber. Hooper describes the contact as minimal; it did not constitute a threat at that time.

    http://www.news9.com/story/32201726/the-latest-shooter-was-investigated-in-2013-2014

    And his father seems a weird character who I wouldn’t trust for accuracy:

    “Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said. “Inshallah the Durand Line issue will be solved soon.”

    Just hours before the Orlando shooting, Seddique Mateen posted a video on a Facebook page called Provisional Government of Afghanistan — Seddique Mateen. In it, he seems to be pretending to be Afghanistan’s president, and orders the arrest of an array of Afghan political figures.

    “I order national army, national police and intelligence department to immediately imprison Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Zalmay Khalilzad, Atmar, and Sayyaf. They are against our countrymen, and against our homeland,” he says, while dressed in army fatigues.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/06/12/orlando-shooting-suspects-father-hosted-a-political-tv-show-and-even-tried-to-run-for-the-afghan-presidency/

    • I’m sure his religious beliefs are relevant to him! Crazy people who do these things always feel they’re on some higher mission, be it purifying the world of gays or purifying Norway of liberals betraying the white race. I think Frank’s point was quite solid; that had it been a fundamentalist Christian killer, the media would bend over backwards to make clear how Christian churches decrying homosexuality as a threat to our nation don’t encourage people to kill anyone. Although it’s certainly not hard to find websites where commenters wish for exactly that. You could probably find sites where deranged, self-professed Christians celebrated this shooting spree. (But you wouldn’t want to sully your browser history with that stuff!)

      The dad does sound delusional from the links you provided. Sadly, some mental illness can run in families, although I don’t believe anyone knows precisely why or how some offspring are more at risk for it than others.

  2. Pingback: "Boring" Is a Dangerous Political Tactic

  3. Although this will probably not be interpreted sympathetically, I am afraid the other view is as onerous. By this I mean the view that claims that this was a hate crime (and terrorism). In saying this, I am not saying that there are no hate crimes nor especially that hate crimes are a false, merely political category. I would deny both of these claims completely.

    First, it seems as though his choice of this location could have been contingent, given that he scouted others (and I do not think all of those were gay clubs). Second, although individuas are certainly capable of committing hate crimes against groups with which they identify, Mateen’s sexuality seems to admit of ambivalence.

    While I think politically it is expedient to recognize hate crimes, especially against the LGBT community, it seems the doubt that stigmatizes “radical Islam terrorism” diagnoses can be turned the other way.

    • I’m a bit unclear as to exactly what you are saying. If the shooter’s act was a hate crime, the source was probably self-hate. There is a continuum from straight to LGBT — and no one is completely one or the other, even though for social reasons people tend to cluster where they most identify, bisexuality being relatively rare. The shooter seems to have been awakening to the fact that he was far more on the gay side than the straight side. But I’m not really all that interested in what to call this. I’m interested in trivializing the event, which is what the mainstream press has done.

      The problem with your stance is that if the shooter had been a white guy yelling about his allegiance to Christianity, no one would be calling this an act of radical Christianity. And rightly so! The vast majority of Christians do not accept the parts of the Bible about killing gays. But when a fringe group of Muslims cherry pick from their own inconsistent holy book, they become radical Muslims. When the IRA was committing terrorist attacks, I don’t recall anyone talking about radical Christians. Why? Because everyone involved was a Christian. So this really does come down to tribalism.

      As for this particular guy, he seems rather a garden variety mass shooter. They almost always have some nonsense they are spouting. In this guy’s case, he was pledging allegiance to three different terrorist groups who all hate each other. I’m more than willing to discuss any and all matters about this. The point of the article is that our mainstream news outlets are not. They have simple narratives that they jam complex stories into. And since you are new around here, I will remind everyone, they don’t do this because they are liberal or conservative; they do it because they are over-worked and in many cases lazy.

      Regardless, I think I’ve been shown to be right. In the end, we will get a very good picture of this guy. But the narrative is set. He was a Muslim; this was radical Islamic terrorism. Liberals have been calling mass shootings terrorism for years, so we don’t have a problem calling it terrorism. Just how important was religion in this shooting. I don’t think it was important at all. And hating LBGT people may seem like it is a religious thing, but it really isn’t. None-religious societies don’t generally do any better on that score than religious ones. And interestingly, American Muslims are about as accepting of the LGBT community as the Christian community. You know who’s really against the LGBT community? The Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet if an unhinged member of that group goes on a killing spree in a gay nightclub, no one will talk about radical Jehovah’s Witnesses, much less radical Christianity.

    • I apologize if I don’t quite get this. In what sense is identifying a homophobic hate crime as such “politically expedient?” Maybe if you’re a corrupt city mayor pandering to LGTB voters, hoping to cover up your official misdeeds, in one of the few cities where this might conceivably work (in most American cities, pandering to queer voters would lose you more votes than it’d win, and in no European city would anyone give a fart about sexual identity.)

      The author here is writing a blog for the sheer pleasure of taking up a hobby and getting better at the craft. There’s no intent at getting some quickie job writing “10 Things You Didn’t Know About A Killing Spree” odious clickbait. So it’s hard for me to grasp what’s “politically expedient” about his post here.

      Unless by “politically expedient” you mean “politically correct,” as I’m fairy certain you do, albeit trying your best not to use the phrase (ridiculous and inaccurate 20 years ago) brought back into vogue now as a shorthand for “intellectual wimps so terrified of giving offense, they do more harm than good.”

      If I’m wrong, PLEASE accept my apologies, and specify your charity of choice, to which I will donate $10 immediately.

      Can’t we be done with “politically correct” already? It’s meaningless. Almost no politician has ever furthered their career by being afraid of offending minority groups (the opposite is far, far more often true.) What “politically correct” means, to me, is “I feel happy/encouraged to know others share my prejudices, and it bothers me when others don’t.” That’s a sentiment for a sports fan, not an engaged public citizen. If, in 1989, every Soviet paper was publishing negative stories about the fall of the Wall (and I’m sure they were), you or I would regard those stories as politically slanted (or maybe only you would; no way could I read Cyrillic!) There’d be a handful of voices within the Iron Curtain saying “you know, maybe these people busting up the wall might have a point.” And they’d have been regarded as posturing hipsters / politically correct / SJWs / whatever.

      I get it; Islam has Magick Voodoo Power, and if you read/hear any part of the Koran, your brain will immediately be transformed from “moderately condescendable brown person” into “unhinged America-hating death machine.” (I don’t quite grasp how the Koran is more a gateway drug for this than the Bible, Bhagvad-Gita, or Atlas Shrugged, but I stopped believing in holy books a long time ago, I’m out of practice.)

      So, to avoid being “politically expedient,” we should, what? Nuke Indonesia? Open an Apple Store in Mecca? I’m not with Obama on everything, he’s not as liberal as I am, but he was quite right in saying “radical Islamic terrorism” are not magic words. If you think we should launch an extermination project against 1/6 of the world, say so. If you don’t, what harm is there in trying not to further stigmatize an already vulnerable American minority because of one deranged head case?

      Sorry, that term “politically” to mean “cowardly” just rankles the s**t outta me. If I was mistaken about that, do include your preferred charity donation. (And if I was right, you should give $10 to Planned Parenthood! Or we can split the diff, $5 each, your call.)

  4. Look, despite what the guy said or how he spent his time…….. I have my doubts that he was muslim…. its like saying (world famous) Paul Bishop is a chess master.
    I think its more a case of going through the motions and (like a neglected child) wanting to be *something*.

    I’m not conviced.

    • That’s truth. He was a cultural Muslim though. But most people are religious only in a cultural way. This is why most people are the religion of their parents. It’s funny because atheists use this fact to show that religion is meaningless. But then they deny it when they want to say that Islam is the “mother lode of bad ideas.” One of his complaints was the bombing of Muslims. That’s not a religious complaint.

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