Wednesday, June 15, 2016


This is a political post.

I waited a while to make comments on the tragic events in Orlando. I needed my thoughts to settle, to take some time and get some perspective. Because it's weird waking up in the morning to a world where if things continue on this path we may have to start placing the daily massacre reports like perverse sports scores with a ticker at the bottom of the screen. Far too commonplace. We are living in interesting times.

I'm not sure what it will take for some serious self reflection on our national love affair with guns, but I sincerely doubt we're going to get any new control laws, just so everyone's clear. I don't doubt some well crafted, well thought out and limited legislation will emerge around the country, they should, but with our current Congress I doubt they could get any traction. I mean, we'd barely begun to get in line to donate blood before the anti-gun control advocates started politicizing this horrible tragedy by claiming everyone who hated guns was going to politicize the tragedy. Despite common sense suggestions for something to be done by people as far right as Bill O'Reilly, we are a nation that loves the "lone gunmen against all evil" idea of security.

Now, onto larger issues. It has become clear that in our rush to explain things, to figure out why something happened, the general media concept is to assign blame as quickly as possible. Facts that change things may arrive later, but once that initial thought has been expressed we have a hard time letting it go. I think news organizations ARE be aware of this and the idea that they are not as much reporting the news but guiding the national conversation with their assumptions. I'm certain FOX news is, the rest I'm not so sure. I realize that ratings are important and more eyeballs equals more revenue, thus the faster the news organization in moments like these the better, but the profit motive may be ruining the idea of the impartial news report. NEWS needs to be above the fray. Right now it is not.

The shooter who killed so many people at the LBGT-centric nightclub was an American, of Arab descent. The President, as men in his position are wont to do, gave a empathetic and thoughtful response. Future former presidential candidate Trump renewed his call for a ban on Muslim immigration. This the same ban he claimed was merely a suggestion just last month as he appeared to be attempting to moderate his message for the general election. And then the story changed.

Our immediate assumption? ISIS. The gunman announced it and of course we gobbled it up, hungry for a demon that wasn't us to take responsibility for this horrific act. According to some, ISIS  is apparently responsible for everything bad in the world. Plane down? ISIS. People killed for vague purposes? ISIS. Get robbed? ISIS. Taxes too high? ISIS. Car got towed? It was them. They ran out of your favorite at Ye Old Ice Cream Shoppe? You already know. Damn those lactose hating jihadists!

Here we are days later, and what we were so sure of we're now not so sure of. It seemed odd to me that a terrorist organization would make a strike halfway around the world at some random gay bar, in a just off the radar part of the world. Now we find out that the killer was part of the safe space he attacked so viciously, a semi-regular who was known to the other patrons. Yes, he told the police ISIS was his motivation, but those he admired despised him, and would have executed him for his simple existence. That they want to now claim credit for his actions is....I don't even have a word for it.

And while he may have harbored the idea of ISIS and it's precepts as an ideal to strive for in effort to gain favor with his family, is it possible he was just a man frustrated by the stark contrast between who he was and the religion he followed? I'm not asking for sympathy for him for his actions are beyond the pale. But to get an understanding...that understanding we need so that we can process this and prevent this from re-occurring we can't take the easy solution because we don't want to deal with the complexity of the hard one. Suddenly, there is a lot to unpack here, multiple issues from personal acceptance up to and including our national gun policy. We can't, um, we shouldn't just blame some faceless demon and call it a day.

People died in a senseless tragedy. Are we mature enough in this country to at least have a conversation about it? All of it?


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