Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, an international GLBT self-defense organization, warns people not to jump immediately to the assailant’s guns as the object of blame, but to concentrate instead on Mateen’s violent acts. “The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse,” began Patton. “This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”
Patton’s concerns are that knee-jerk gun-control efforts may make preventing future events harder rather than easier, as only the law-abiding potential victims will be affected by such laws. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee such an event,” continues Patton, “But if they cannot be prevented, then they must be stopped as fast as someone tries to start them.”
Now here’s the thing:
This event will undoubtedly be “milked” by both sides of the (mainstream) “culture war”, for their own purposes:
- Right-wingers will pants-shit endlessly about the fact that the shooter was of Afghani ancestry (and, as usual, will milk every drop of Islamophobia/xenophobia they can squeeze from it.
- “Liberals” will pants-shit about about so-called “gun violence” (ignoring the fact that ISIS etc. don’t give two liquidy shits about “gun-control” — except inasmuch as a (forcibly) disarmed populace make for EASIER “pickings”.
BOTH “sides” will scrupulously evade discussing the fact that the perpetrator had moral agency. They’ll blame the gun, or the religious background which explicitly calls for the murder of homosexuals, or the “cultural traditions” which “explain” why gay men kissing gave him the heebie-jeebies, etc. — but they will scrupulously evade the notion that he had ANY volitional control over his own actions, whatsoever.
Blame the fact that the U.S. hasn’t been (entirely) disarmed by force.
Blame the religious “authorities” who are THEMSELVES merely repeating a line of “thought” going all the way back to Leviticus, explicitly commanding the killing of homosexuals. Blame ANYTHING — except for the individual, himself.
That’s how it works: instead of individuals, we are all implicitly and explicitly trained to REDUCE ONE ANOTHER TO “walking stereotypes” derived from some “collective” identity, or other.
Undoubtedly, the shooter was “ignorant on principle” about his victims: I’m pretty sure he didn’t know any “openly” gay men — let alone have them as friends.
Just the same, I’m pretty sure that at least some of his victims invested a significant amount of effort into evading the fact that there are STILL “traditional” religions/cultures which would like nothing better than to see them exterminated.
I don’t — CAN’T — believe that the “solution” to these problems is for individuals to FURTHER degrade their ability to PROTECT THEMSELVES, by — in essence — begging for their own enslavement.