Omar Mateen was once a beautiful and innocent baby boy. He was not born to be a slaughterer. Was this terrorism? Yes, if by this we mean the terror that he suffered for desiring men when his father reviled homosexuality. The terror he suffered when his culture told him if he was gay he would be the shame of his entire family. More than terrorism, this was also Shame-ism. Omar’s self-hate was methodically taught to him.
Culture. Why do we give culture so much respect, in the name of tolerance?
And yes, it was terrorism if by this we mean the terror wrought upon us all by ‘freedom’ – when ‘freedom’ is the freedom to do business unrestrained. Someone still has the money Omar spent that day. Others will make more money from the fear that has been sown. The answer to the problem is more of the same problem, right?
Now comes the blame war. “It’s Islam!”. “It’s the NRA!”. “It’s the homophobes!”. In some measure, for sure it is all of those. A smoking gun is certainly in the hands of patriarchal culture of all stripes. And free-for-all capitalism? Its hands drip with blood, no question.
Today, I would like to say: “Je suis LGBTI!”. Problem is, in the deeper shadows of Self, I am also Islam. I am also Bigot. I am also Capitalism.
For the love of the families that were shattered that day in Orlando, for the unbearable horror and unfathomable loss that has hit them, maybe we can all breathe out a little more, extend our being-ness a little more widely. They are all our family. Omar Mateen however, is also our son. In some way we all gave permission for him to be brought up in crushing shame, and then to be enabled in his final act. And the system that sold him his weapon gloats, it goes unmolested. We each have a Voice and are responsible for both using it and not using it. From this day on, what can we each say differently, what can we think differently, how can we vote differently, to what will we give our money, our energy? And most importantly: what can we stop believing in? What can we stop accepting?