The shooting this past weekend at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, was a terrible, terrible thing, and in fact it was supposedly the worst mass shooting in American history, at least for the time being, but it was also, in some ways, perfect . . . in the most value-neutral sense of the term, mind you.
First of all, there was the fact that it took place in a gay nightclub—in Orlando, FL, no less. I follow some bad, bad people on Twitter, but there was literally no one that I saw who spoke approvingly of this massacre other than the Lt. Gov. of Texas (whatever that entails), who responded with a meme stating that you reap what you sow. Look for him to become a member of Trump's cabinet if/when the Donald takes office next January.
Otherwise, people seemed to be upset with this, or if they were pleased by it they weren't about to say. But the fact of the matter is that people weren't as bothered by this as they were by, say, Sandy Hook (which I notice was trending this weekend), in which 20 some-odd kindergartners were (supposedly) killed.
Sandy Hook was tragic to the point where the number of five-year-olds you can take in a fight is no longer used as a measure of toughness, as it occasionally was on the Internets back in the mid to late '00s, as I recall.
I think the fact that all of the victims of this shooting were presumably gay, or the kind of straight people who hang out in gay bars, i.e. obnoxious, unlovable women, drug dealers, Real World Miami cast members, etc., contributed to people's willingness to use this as an opportunity to express their various political views, as if anyone gives a shit.
I took a look at Twitter on my phone at work Sunday morning, when the body count was still listed as 20, and already you had, on the one hand, conservatives talking about how tragic this was and how it just goes to show that you should be allowed to walk around in public armed to the teeth at all times, as if that wouldn't just increase the number of mass shootings (though maybe it would decrease the number of victims per mass shooting), and on the other hand, the worst kind of liberals, talking about how we need more gun control laws, as if having to wait a few more days before receiving his assault rifle would have prevented this guy from shooting up a gay bar. If he didn't get the gun until Monday, he could have just waited until the following weekend. If he didn't have an assault rifle, he could have just used handguns, or a bomb or some shit.
No obviously the problem is that the guy thought to shoot up a gay bar in the first place, which brings us to the other main point of social media insta-contention. Namely, did this guy decide to shoot up a gay bar because he's with the terrorists, and if so, does that mean we call it an act of terrorism? Or is it not terrorism per se, because this guy was born and raised in the US (of course he was) and you don't have to be a member of ISIS to be disgusted by the sight of two guys kissing.
As I'm writing this, Sunday afternoon, it isn't clear to me how exactly this shooting should be characterized. For starters, there's the fact that the guy's a Muslim—the fact that he was born and raised here in the US notwithstanding–and let's keep it real, what we really mean by terrorism is a mass killing committed by a Muslim. When Dylann Storm Roof shot up that black church in Charleston, not only was it not considered an act of terrorism, but 5-0 took him to Burger King; they let him have it his way. People are concerned that this past weekend's mass shooting is being viewed as an act of terrorism, since Omar Mateen was an American, same as Dylann Roof.
Someone from MSNBC's website was able to get in touch with Mateen's father Sunday morning. The old man said this didn't have shit to do with religion. Mateen the younger was just upset that, maybe a week before, he saw two guys kissing, as did his wife and son. But there wasn't any indication that Omar Mateen was about to go and shoot as many as 103 people. The old man was just as upset as everyone else. As Mike Damone would say, he woke up in a good mood and he doesn't know what the hell happened.
The fact that seeing two guys kiss would lead Mateen to shoot up a gay bar suggests to me that the issue there wasn't just the fact that seeing two guys kiss arguably is disgusting. Seeing two guys kiss must have stirred something deep within Mateen, and the fact that his wife and son were there I'm sure only exacerbated the situation. Popping a semi at the sight of two guys kissing, in your wife's presence, I'm sure is a difficult thing to experience for someone who comes from a culture with a lot of hangups around sexuality. And then there's the thought/fear that seeing two guys kiss may have planted an idea in the son's head. It can be difficult, even for people who aren't murderous psychopaths, to accept having a gay son.
I feel like it would be difficult for a true terrorist, who's not a closet case, to shoot up a gay bar, if only because that would entail entering into a gay bar. Why would he even know where a gay bar is? I've been living in St. Louis for 35 years, and I couldn't tell you where a single gay bar is located. In order to find a gay bar to shoot up, you'd have to find one using the Google, which I'm sure would just ruin your algorithm-based contextual ads and suggested friends on social media forever, if for whatever reason you decided not to go through with it. Worse, once you walk into one of those places and start shooting, you'd have to chase people into some of the more secluded areas, and lord knows what you'd see there.
Remember when some of Johnny Sack's minions went to shake down that gay bar and saw Vito Spatafore in there dressed like the gay cop from the Village People? It's likely that Omar Mateen had been to Pulse before. He figured he didn't have to sweat any of the rest of the terrorists seeing him in there, because what would a terrorist be doing in a gay bar? The 9/11 hijackers went to a strip club the night before they (supposedly) flew those planes into the World Trade Center, but at least they were going there to see naked women, which is healthy and normal. Allah most likely wouldn't have had an issue with that, especially given the sacrifice they were about to make.
Omar Mateen, meanwhile, will have some explaining to do—though I suppose he could give a rat's ass about those 72 virgins anyway.