Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Forging Your Own Handcuffs Does Not Yield Good Mental Health
Of course Mr. Trump got the facts about the Orlando massacre all wrong. Mateen was an American citizen, born ritecheer. His parents are indeed from Afganistan. I'm glad we (America) gave them a safer place to raise a child, and very sorry things turned out so awfully for them and their family. Meanwhile, Omar Mateen worked for a security company which has been cited for abusing detainees, and has a checkered history with the Guantanamo prison. And as an expert on terrorism said last night on the Chris Hayes show (I think it was), it's remarkable that after two security interviews with the FBI Mateen could still buy a semi-automatic rifle at the drop of a hat, no questions asked. One of the problems America has with its absurdly weak gun laws is that there is apparently little coordination between agencies. My guess is that the people at the gun store had no idea that Mateen was a dubious customer. Of course given that it was a gun store, they might also have swallowed all the NRA incoherence about how every weapon is a possible defensive weapon. And indeed, Mateen was on the face of it a "good guy" because he was already employed in the vast private security industry. They're all good guys, right. (Remind me to tell you, sometime, about my 10 days in the private security industry, back in the winter of 1970, in San Francisco. My scariest co-worker was a guy just back from Vietnam, who had his own pistol and was looking to wup some ass.)
The other salient thing about Mateen is, he was a regular at the Pulse night club where he went on the rampage. See:
Some quotes from the story:
Jim Van Horn, 71, told the Associated Press Mateen was a “regular” at the Pulse nightclub where the murders took place. “He was trying to pick up people. Men,” he said. “He was a homosexual and he was trying to pick up men. He would walk up to them and then he would maybe put his arm round them or something ... That’s what people do at gay bars. That’s what we do.”
But when asked why she thought he went regularly to a gay club, his ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy told CNN: “When we had gotten married he confessed to me about his past that was recent at that time, and that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife … I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived but probably didn’t want everybody to know about.” Asked if she thought he was gay, she said: “I don’t know.”
Mr. Trump leaps immediately to the accepted presumptive prejudices of the Republican Party he is the face of. It's muslims. And Omar Mateen is transformed into an Afgani immigrant because to the GOP if you ain't white you ain't Murican. Trump even brags that he "predicted" this atrocity. No doubt his apologists, including Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader are even as we speak constructing their sophisticated arguments. And here in NC the Legislature says yet again that HB-2 is the LAW, although I was pleased to see Sunday night that Greensboro sports a big billboard calling for the law's repeal. I would have stopped to snap a pic but it wasn't a safe place to stop, the view being from a busy bridge. Next trip I'll get you a shot.
What's HB-2 got to do with the massacre? Only that it's one more message that if you're "different" in this here Murica you might ought to keep your head down. Every such law puts a target on the backs of the "different." Their very identity is a mark of shame according to laws like HB-2. And of course ISIS is apparently fine with draconian measures. If you're just a Christian they might cut off your head. Be a homosexual and they'll throw you off a building. Pulse-Damascus has been shuttered for some years.
Some Middle East experts were laughing at Mateen's contradictions. He apparently supported both ISIS and Hizbullah, two terrorist factions who are at war with each other. What Mateen liked was power. There's a whole strain in the gay world about that. It runs from the Log Cabin Republicans up at the polite end of the spectrum, to the leather bars and muscled guys with Nazi tattoos down close to where Mateen lived. But the most salient feature of Mateen's personality, seems to me, might have been that he was closeted. I'd imagine that being closeted would cause, at least in some, a pressure-building rage. My guess is, every visit to Pulse made Mateen, in the end, very angry at himself. He didn't want to go there, and he did.
This is why American homosexuals came to throw off the closeted life in the late 1960s. They understood that living such a life was too painful. But the right wing still can say, truthfully, that in a number of countries in the world today, to be a homosexual is to invite murder, and in some cases even execution by the state. I believe our ally and major fuel supplier Saudi Arabia numbers among the states that kill you if you're gay. You might consider that at your next fill up. So Trump can sneer, from the podium of his next America First Rally, that homosexuals still have it good in the USA, and if some gay pride feller wavea a flag in protest Trump can nod to people who are fine with punching the guy to the door. Then Trump can talk about 2nd Amendment rights. He's for 'em. Give a few "good guys" a few AR-15s, add in a darkened crowded bar, and you've got Pekinpah's battle of bloody porch for real.
I paraphrased Tennessee Williams on Brando in the last post. You might wonder why Brando was so good in Streetcar. How did he muster that rage, when he "cleans" the table. What's he so angry about? What, for that matter, is Trump so angry about? His anger blinds him, that's for sure. He gets nearly every fact about the Orlando massacre wrong.
The general media is doing that too, by the way. Over and Lawyers Guns and Money it's been pointed out in several posts that horrible though it is, Orlando is not the worst American massacre. Those "honors" go to white American racists in the south, and to people like General Custer and Chivington, in the post Civil War American west. It is true that in the earlier massacres it took a number of people with weapons to outdo Mateen's single AR-15. And as some other blogger noted, McVeigh did his killing with fertilizer, and he was an avowed Christian.
The fuse was lit a while back.
More reading: http://www.juancole.com/2016/06/rightwing-homophobia-terrorism.html