Early 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.