It turns out that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was a regular toxic stew of Personal Issues. He wasn’t so much a jihadist as someone who poured his excessive rage into a fantasy of jihad. The Washington Post reports that in the past he had falsely claimed connections to many Islamic terrorist groups, including Hezbollah. He seems not to have understood that Sunni and Shiite militants don’t hang out on the same corner.

The real bombshell is that it turns out Mateen was gay himself, according to people who had known him a long time. He’d even been a regular at the nightclub he attacked. And he had a father who is a Taliban supporter.  Talk about raging internal conflict, huh?

He did spend a lot of time on jihadist websites, according to some sources, which no doubt added more bite to the hot pepper gumbo of loathing sluicing around in his id. Other than that, he had about as much connection to ISIS as to the Brownie Scouts.  It seems debatable to me whether the shooting itself was an act of “terrorism” as much as one more mass shooting by a poorly socialized male.

So just about everybody’s initial reactions to the shooting were wrong. Donald Trump’s reaction was, of course, colossally and pathologically wrong.  After congratulating himself for his subtle and penetrating insight that Muslims Are Bad, he again called on banning Muslim immigrants — how that would have stopped American-born Mateen is not clear — and he blamed American Muslims for not doing enough to stop Mateen.

Yes, let’s inflame more young men with Issues into hating America. Just what we need.

He also accused President Obama of secreting working with ISIS. The American Psychiatric Association may need to publish an ancillary issue of the DSM just to deal with All the Stuff That’s Wrong With Trump.

I must give credit to Hillary Clinton for saying what needed to be said — we stand with LBGT people, we must not demonize Islam, we need better gun control. Sanders reiterated his support for a ban on semiautomatic weapons. I understand the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, doesn’t want us to “politicize” the issue, which once again shows us that libertarianism is massively pointless. It’s our “politicization” of guns as protected by the political 2nd Amendment that’s put us in this fix.

I also want to note that the word “terrorism” has lost any meaning. It appears Mateen was motivated primarily by his massive Personal Issues; jihadist rhetoric was a supporting factor only, and there were no operational ties whatsoever to ISIS or any other terrorist organization. Yet all sorts of knee-jerk analysis labeled the Orlando shooting as “Islamic terrorism.” Meanwhile, Dylann Roof, who appears to have been an average soft-headed kid who was radicalized by white supremacist websites and literature into killing nine people in Charleston, is not a “terrorist.” Why not? Well, of course, we know why, but that reason is just a reflection of our own biases, isn’t it?

The truth is, putting the Orlando shooting into a “terrorist” or “not terrorist” box doesn’t do anything to help us understand it. Nor does it help to label Mateen “mentally ill” because his wife claimed he was bipolar; that appears to have been her own unprofessional diagnosis. Nor does it help to blame passages in the Quran or religion generally. Let us instead acknowledge that human beings are infinitely complicated, and that our lives and personalities are a mix of internal and external factors so tangled it can’t be said where one ends and another begins.

All I know is,

1. Hating people because of who they are never helps anybody.

2. We’re way past needing gun control. Are we ready to amend the 2nd Amendment yet? I know I am.

18 thoughts on “Personal/Political/Whatever

  1. He was another angry and bitter young male, who had the means to kill, all he needed was some patina of ideology to slap on his (self) hatred, kind of like a bad Earl Scheib paint job!

    Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting in 20 years. Not since they passed some really tough gun laws.
    Sure, you can illegally buy an AR-15 there – but it’ll set you back over $30,000. And if you have a spare $30,000 lying around, my guess is that you might not be too angry and/or bitter.

    We keep hearing politicians say we need to pray for the victims and their families.
    It hasn’t worked before.
    Maybe we’re not prayin’ right?

    Instead of prayer, now about some action!
    Tell the NRA and gun manufacturers that they can be sued for these mass murders, and then pass laws making that happen.
    But that ain’t gonna happen.
    Cowardice and money make for strange bedfellows, but they seem to get on very well when it comes to the NRA and politicians!

  2. Here is the Second Amendment:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Here is a dissection of the Second Amendment.
    Amendment 2-A:
    Congress shall have power to regulate the Militia, as is necessary for the security of a free State.

    Amendment 2-1:
    The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

    Note that these two amendments are in complete contradiction. A well-regulated militia will necessarily deprive certain people of certain weapons. Conversely, a militia where all have access to all weapons is not well-regulated.

    Therefore Amendment 2, as stands, is self-contradictory. Both sides can cite it; so the Second Amendment _requires_ compromise.

    • paradoctor — The power of Congress to regulate the Militia is in Article I, Section 8, paragraphs 15 and 16.

      The Congress shall have Power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

      To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

      So it already had the power to regulate the Militia; it didn’t need an amendment for that. What people have been arguing about lo these many years is the actual relationship of the militia clause to the other clause. Keep in mind that the first regulations for the Militia that Congress cranked out required men to acquire their own arms (see the second Militia Act of 1792 on this page). But still, the whole thing really doesn’t hang together logically. And, anyway, the Militia is now the National Guard, so it’s outdated. It really does need to be amended to clarify what the hell it means.

  3. In keeping with the original intent of the second amendment, we could require all able-bodied males to enroll in the local unit of their state militia and regularly muster for training, marching up and down the square even if there is something they would RAWTHER be doing. The male citizens didn’t like this in the 19th century and those of the 21st century might not appreciate being told that they had to lose 60 pounds and get in shape. But if they are to defend the community against hostile or renegade Indians, they could be required to adhere to the expectations of our founding fathers.

  4. Well, maybe Congress could add a slight amendment to the National Firearms Act of 1934. That act establishes a minimum length for short barrel rifles at 26″ overall length, and 18″ for a barrel length. If they modifies those minimums for only semiautomatic rifles and increased the minimum to 96″ overall and a barrel length to 72″ than I think it would go a long way in discouraging mass shootings. It would certainly eliminate or curtail the macho coolness factor that attracts so many young males to assault type weapons. Aside from that it would make it more difficult to transport undetected. Not to mention getting it through the front door.

  5. Agreed entirely about the 2nd Amendment. If evidence were needed that the Framers were not quite the infallible semi-divinities of legend, the terminology of that amendment is definitely such evidence.

    I’ve read somewhere or other within the past year that some of that verbal opacity may be the result of how/why the 2nd Amendment got in there at all: to address the slavocracy states’ obsessive, and well-earned, fear of slave revolts, so as to get them to ratify the better parts of the Constitution.

  6. “I understand the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, doesn’t want us to ‘politicize’ the issue, which once again shows us that libertarianism is massively pointless.”

    I don’t know if libertarianism is pointless, but the Libertarian Party sure is. The party basically sells its presidential nomination to the highest bidder, for one. But it’s the party’s political ideology that I loathe. I had a brief flirtation with the Libertarians some years ago, until I figured out that their ideology is basically summed up thusly: I’ve got mine, Jack, now you f**k off.

  7. maha: Thanks for the constitutional quote; I shall relay it to my Arizona gun-nut friend.

    I find it telling that the ‘well-regulated’ clause is there at all. The First Amendment has no such qualification; no call for ‘well-regulated press’ or ‘well-regulated assemblies’. Just free press, free assembly, full stop.

    I have heard it said (and I’d like confirmation or refutation) that the ‘well-regulated’ clause was George Washington’s doing; and also that he had a low opinion of militias. This seems plausible, given his crushing of the Whiskey Rebellion.

    • paradoctor — I’ve read that Washington had a low opinion of militia also. He wanted a larger standing army rather than rely primarily on militia for defense, but he was overruled. The fact is that the militia system never worked very well.

  8. Andrew Jackson also had low regard for the Kentucky militia during the Battle of New Orleans, which, as other militias frequently did during the War of 1812, quickly ran away from their positions. This happened on the other side of the Mississippi and allowed the British to capture the militia’s artillery (too late to change the outcome of the main battle). Jackson wrote to Secretary of State James Monroe that the Kentucky reinforcements had “ingloriously fled.”

  9. How about someone trying this line on Trump: just as legitimate legal immigrants have no problem with reasonable measures aimed at controlling immigration, legitimate gun owners have no problem with reasonable gun control.

    Time to start confronting this man and forcing him to splutter as his head explodes for all to see.

  10. Maha, thank you for the post.

    The petition to ban the AR-15 at has surpassed the necessary 100,000 signatures to move on, but I hope folks will continue to sign and to write to their Representatives and Senators to pass gun control laws that even most gun owners support.

  11. “Nor does it help to blame passages in the Quran or religion generally.”

    I wonder. If religion did not condemn gays, what reason would anyone have to hate them? Evolutionarily speaking a gay man is no threat to me, in fact he’s doing me a favour by not competing for the available women.

    • David Evans — There’s a lot of evidence that the prohibition of homosexual sex is more cultural than religious, and was introduced into religion by culture. Or else the religious and cultural prohibition arose together in some places but not in other places.

  12. But militias can be given hope with fantastical Wolverines! fantasies when confronting supergubmint supercomputer supersatellite nukular drones programmed by Bernie. And with Jesus’ help, defeat them all. And the gay muslims too.

    What’s the Donalds plan for keeping WMDs large and small out of the hands of criminals?

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  14. I think most of these guys are no ideologically-aligned with terror groups, they just embrace their identity in a shallow way because it’s the most “outrageous” to the society from which they feel alienated. In the Cold War they might have proclaimed themselves Marxists or whatever. It’s like young punks who spraypaint swastika graffiti, they aren’t necessarily adherents of nazism, they just pick the symbolism that will get the biggest reaction.

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