The Orlando Massacre at Pulse Nightclub was a complex web of crazy. You know the story so I won’t re-hash the nightmare. In the vigils I’ve attended around The Castro in SF, articles I’ve read shared on Social Media, conversations I’ve had with a few friends, and videos I’ve watched on the interwebs this has been addressed far too little so I want to “Say it again for the people in the back!!”
First, the murder of those 49 people by Omar Mateen (and then his own suicide) was not merely about queer people and homophobia – sources have come out to say he had a complex relationship with his wives, Pulse was one of his favorite Gay Clubs, the Latin night was one of his favorite nights to get drunk and party, he was known to have a Grindr and sent sloppy messages to other men hoping to hook up with them.
Second, the Orlando Massacre was not what the Republican’s want to chalk it up to be: A WAR ON ISIS! They want to turn this thing into and National NRA campaign and the next WWIII claiming ISIS as the ultimate threat completely ignorant to queer and Latinx lives. Fundamentalist Islamists are not to blame for this attack and yet much like homophobia, they are of influence. All of that to say the Republicans saying all of this don’t have a clue what Islam even is – I’ve studied world religions all my life and struggle to know what the hell is going on over there!
I think the ultimate blame for the Orlando Massacre should be the United States Military Industrial Complex and not homophobia or ISIS.
On the Day of the Shooting Omar Mateen posted these messages on Facebook:
“America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state..I pledge my allegiance to abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me.”
“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”
Logic of War: Killing people to prove that killing people is wrong (for the benefits of imperialist and capitalist gains).
Logic of Omar: Killing people to prove that killing people is wrong (for the illusion of a struggle amongst a people aka ISIS)
One is on a small scale. One is on a large scale. Both are just teasing each other.
Omar didn’t go in there screaming FAGGOTS FUCK FAGGOTS! That’s not what his Facebook said either. Omar said what the rest of us have been saying for years, FUCK THESE SENSELESS IMPERIALIST WARS!!!!
He just happened to act out in a senseless way because he was “radicalized” by his anger. The anger in him was so boiled over through his career at the largest police-sate manufacturing agency in the world, through a growing relational tie with a cult fundamentalist group feeding him painful images of dead women and children blown apart by United States Drones, and through hateful political rhetoric in Trump’s Neo-Nazi speeches about how all Muslims should be banned from our country.
War never works. Mass shootings never work.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had it right when he said this: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. (1963)
In this complex web of hate and phobia’s we must never forget that the United States Empire is much to blame for these destructive acts of national and international terrorism as foreign governments are crushed and left in vacuum states with nothing but guns and anger to create democracy just like us. Capitalism and a booming military go hand in hand as the U.S. war machine marches on. President Obama’s drones continue to blow up children and women over seas with ease and Omar Mateen pitifully strikes back. This act of violence was not merely against us queers but was against the never-ending U.S. drone warfare in the Middle East – even if appalling and absolutley heinous, their target must be understood and not misrepresented. The strategy might not be your strategy but it does not make it any more about homophobia than it does about a critique on U.S. imperialism and drone warfare.