It’s been over 48 hours now since a shooter named Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse (a gay bar in Orlando) while armed with an AR 15, explosives, and lots of ammunition. He had gone to the bar on ‘Latin Night’, a highlight of the week leading up to Gay Pride week. The sequence of events is in dispute, but what’s not in dispute is that when Mateen was finished shooting (and brought down by Orlando PD), some 50+ people lay dead (including Mateen himself). He was an American born Muslim who had worked in security and had a worshipful stance towards the NYPD. His father said that this was not a religious act, that he was not motivated to kill by Islam. Other news is coming out, including news that there was an attempted attack on a Gay Pride event in Los Angeles (more below).
In case you didn’t know, there’s now a whole Facebook page devoted to declaring mass shootings to be ‘false flag operations’. It’s called ‘Crisis actors and False Flags‘, and I tell you it exists not to promote it but to present it for your bemusement. THEIR take on Orlando is that it’s all a fake meant to advance some government agenda. These are the same folks who’ve crashed memorial services for the kids killed at Sandy Hook. The questions raised are occasionally provocative, but most of what they state is foil-hat bromide. I point you to this radio interview encounter on the Sandy Hook ‘plot’ for your edification. But it didn’t take the folks who’ve fanned this page more than 24 hours to start churning the memes around the Pulse massacre.
And the Pulse story is also crowding out the story from Los Angeles, where police detained a young man heading off to attack the city’s LGBT parade yesterday. James Wesley Howell of the Great State of Indiana was arrested after police stopped him as he was prowling about at 5 AM. Officers inspected the car and found three assault rifles, high-capacity ammunition and a five-gallon bucket containing “chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” police said. More Here. Nobody’s calling Howell a radical Muslim; however, Trump immediately wanted to link the Orlando attack to ISIS. And Hillary quickly played along.
I’m not going to bore you with my articles on our gun culture. If you want to hit the search button, you can find plenty of them on my site. But you should know that my point today is not about ‘Muricans having lots of guns. There are lots of guns per population in Canada and Switzerland as well. But it’s only in the US where people think that being offended by seeing two men kissing validates or justifies their desire to mow down as many people as they can with a semi-automatic weapon. The vast majority of the shooters are Christians (by birth or family tradition if not by personal faith). Their anger is stirred by a variety of issues, and I already linked to a Vox article linking gun obsession with loss of prestige among our beaten-up middle class.
POSTSCRIPT: As I was about to hit the ‘publish’ button on old Mister WordPress, the news came in from multiple sources that Mateen was gay–that he had in fact frequented the Pulse. This is a multi-sourced story. So the whole Trump meme about saving ourselves from mass shootings by banning Muslims (a rounding error in the 1,000+ mass shootings since Sandy Hook) is sorta busted. The problem is that young men with profound issues involving mental health can easily pick up a high-powered weapon and a few thousand rounds of ammo. The same young man in England or France couldn’t buy such weapons, but he COULD get mental healthcare under single-payer.