Monday, 13 June 2016
So, Florida gunman Omar Mateen saw two men kissing in public a while back and it offended him. At least this is what his mortified father has disclosed. Perhaps this was another ingredient that crept into his delusional and sub par mind prior to his public demonstration of high caliber weaponry in a gay nightclub. Not being a fundamentalist renders me ill equipped to comprehend what informed his murderous agenda, yet we can probably predict with some confidence that his religious inclinations were front and centre. When I stop and think about this I don't make it too far down the road before I encounter a contradiction; on the one hand he would likely proclaim full confidence and absolute certainty that his version of the truth is the only one worthy of acceptance, yet he is also so lacking in confidence that he wishes to eradicate those who represent another way of life. It's a tough balancing act isn't it? Claiming to have all the answers yet terrified by voices of dissent. I cannot be bothered to further examine how easy it would have been for him to obtain the weapons he deployed with such zeal. America has made its own bed on the issue of gun ownership, and until it wants to wake up we shall continue to see mass shootings. Truth is, I'm not sure what makes me despair more; the lunacy of the gunman or the lunacy of a nation that makes such events not only possible but probable. Religion will always subvert reason and prostitute itself on the alter of nonsense, for this has long since been its default. And America seems committed to continue to lack the moral courage to legislate sensibly on the matter of gun ownership. What a perfect storm this whole thing has been. What a cluster fuck case study we have on our hands. I realise that I have not mentioned the victims yet. We shall hear their names and pay our respects in the fullness of time. Exactly what business did Omar Muteen have interfering with the life choices of the club patrons? God's business, I expect he would answer. And once more I roll my eyes. Dear religion, by all means practice your faith; celebrate it and share your convictions, even. But do so in the knowledge that we live in a society that more often than not say's no thank you. More than this, understand that we are not obligated to automatically imbibe your truth claims. I am not a Muslim because I happen to think that Islam is a nasty and bigoted pile of festering horse manure. I think its claims are absurd and its doctrines inane. I reject your truth claims. I want nothing to do with them. And i'd really appreciate it if you'd see your way to understanding that my choices will differ from yours. And America, for God's sake can you reach tipping point when it comes to gun control. Stop this madness. Be brave. This isn't the wild west any more. To close, I want to extend my condolences and sadness to the families and friends of the deceased. I stand beside you. I want to recognise and acknowledge your pain and bewilderment and immense sense of loss. Please know that you have the love and tears of billions at this moment. I also choose to celebrate the sexuality of every person on the planet who seeks to explore who they are and has the bravery to live this out. To live true to oneself is to live genuinely. To ignore societal pressure to conform is a testament to your strength. Never apologise for who you are. Never give an inch. You are beautiful, and you have a special place in this beautiful world. The likes of Omar Muteen are ugly scars, pustulant blisters of violence and bigotry. We will brush them aside and live on, live strong, by values of tolerance and dignity that his kind will never understand.
Posted by Rob Barnes at 00:04