So here we go again. Some psycho fuckwit went and bought a couple of guns and shot up a bunch of completely innocent people. In the worst mass shooting incident to date, The shooter (who will not be named here), a US CITIZEN, legally purchases an AR-15 and a pistol and goes and shoots up Pulse, a gay night club – because he saw two men kiss at some point in his life, apparently. The shooter killed 49 (or 50, depending on the source) and wounded another 50-53 (again depending on the source), some of them critically (so don’t be surprised if toll goes up).
The shooter’s parents have been quoted saying the shooter, like the vast majority of the rest of the planet, was not particularly religious. Even so, during the siege, The shooter apparently pledged his allegiance to DAESH – a pledge that should not be taken at face value given that there is NO EVIDENCE as of yet of any contact between The shooter and the Takfirists. There is absolutely no evidence that DAESH directed the attack, and their claim to it is at best disingenuous.
In fact, information is coming to light that the shooter’s parents, his co-workers (including an ex-cop) are not buying his shout out to DAESH. These people, the people who knew and dealt with him say that he was nothing more than an unhinged homophobe. Even IF you discount his parents as biased, former-Ft. Pierce cop Daniel Gilroy called the shooter “ homophobic, unhinged and toxic.” Gilroy quit an unnamed job working with the shooter, after the shooter sent him numerous harassing text messages and phone messages.
“I quit because everything he said was toxic,” Gilroy said Sunday, “and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”
SO, it makes me wonder…did this homophobe merely use his declaration of allegiance to DAESH to get attention. I suspect, based on the currently available evidence, that this is the case. IF so, this is not a terrorist attack. This is a hate crime (though admittedly, the line between the two in this case is very, very fuzzy).
The shooter’s imam in Florida asserted that claiming allegiance to DAESH was simply a PR ploy by the mass murderer – a last ditch effort to find glory in his violence and hate. The Imam also condemned the shooter’s actions; “We condemn the person who did this, whatever ideology he had. No lives should be lost because of anger and hate.”
The shooter’s ex-wife said she thinks he was mentally ill – bipolar to be specific. Let me say that again, the one person who should KNOW her ex-husband was mentally ill – thinks he was mentally ill. She also says that he had a history with steroid abuse. The shooter was also apparently an abusive husband, which begs the question; did his wife never follow through with charges of domestic abuse? Apparently she didn’t, which is a shame as a conviction of domestic abuse would have restricted his rights to firearms.
But of course, with a single phone call, the media, and the right wing pundits buy it. We don’t even need real evidence any more, just supposition, and dogma. It’s disgusting because it avoids discussing what is likely the real issue here – how does someone who is clearly mentally unstable get access to firearms?
Daesh itself, according to analysts is behaving oddly about this one, quickly claiming it, but then taking pains to not claim prior assistance, or influence, calling the shooter a “lone wolf” – which in and of itself it unusual for DAESH. The FBI has officially said that any link to terrorism in any organized fashion is, at this time, tenuous at best and likely a deflection.
Let’s be REAL CLEAR, this problem, is NOT one of Islamic extremists infiltrating the country. It is a universally American problem. On Sunday, West Hollywood police arrested James Wesley Howell – absolutely NOT a Takfirist extremist – with an arsenal in his car and the materials to make an explosive device – outside the LA pride festival. Those who are trying to turn this into a diatribe against Islam are no less radical than those who commit these crimes. They are trying to radicalize the ignorant – and sadly, they’re succeeding.
In the meantime, the Right sits and chortles about the dead perverts, justifying, yet again, the murder of innocent people. Trump claims the attack as vindication for his hate and xenophobia, ignoring the fact that this was a U.S. citizen born in New York City – really, if anything, it’s evidence that we can’t trust New Yorkers more than we can’t trust foreigners. The right ignores that policies dating back to the 1950’s and steeped in faulty Cold War rhetoric (and dogma) are to blame for the mess we are in today. We are not fighting a religion – as they so wish the simpletons that follow them to believe, we ARE fighting 70+ years of short-sighted, narrow-minded, largely bigoted foreign policy imbued with faux-patriotic imperialist finery.
The LEFT attacks the gun. Ignoring the fact that a gun cannot kill of its own accord. Distracting from the REAL ISSUES of the spread of hate and violent extremism. In this, the pro-gun groups are right – Timothy McVeigh did not need a gun. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus’s with handguns, not an AR-15. But I’ve spoken about this false argument before, and no one has yet to convince me that this problem would be solved, or even alleviated by restricting hardware. There are between 4-8 (maybe as many as 10) million AR-15s in private hands today, up to 25 million sporting rifles of other makes – ONE was used in a crime that made the news last weekend. YES, it is horrendous. YES, there needs to be something done. BUT PROHIBITION IN THE FACE OF AN ACTIVE MARKET IS ALWAYS A FAILED POLICY. ALWAYS. I cannot repeat that enough. if you don’t believe so, look at America’s prohibition period, look at our “war on drugs” – Who made out during prohibition? Who is making out in the drug war? The powerful, violent, and wealthy criminal class that is providing the goods and services. Prohibition of firearms will do NOTHING LESS.
Is there a solution? I’m sure there is. The first step is to recognize that the so-called solutions being put forth today are not solutions at all and will merely exacerbate the situation. Until we recognize, not that we have a problem, I think we recognize that already, but what the actual problem is – we will never reach a satisfactory conclusion.