Was Omar Mateen simply “psychotic”, or was he a homophobic reactionary thug? Is there really a difference? What, after all, happened in Germany when millions supported the Nazis? Was that a fascist movement or mass psychosis — or both?
132 mass shootings in 2016
One thing is certain: The mass outrage in Orlando – 49 dead – is not some isolated incident committed by some accidental individual. Not after San Bernardino. Not when James Wesley Howell was caught headed to the gay pride march in Santa Monica with several assault weapons, high capacity magazines and thousands of rounds of ammo. Not after Dylan Roof murdered nine black church goers in Charleston, SC. Not after the 132 other mass shootings in the US in 2016 alone.
liberals, conservatives and racist populists
The liberals, conservatives and racist populists have reacted as could be expected. Hillary Clinton calls for gun control, especially of assault weapons. But would it really have made any difference if Mateen had only been able to get his hands on a series of high-powered pistols?
Equally predictable was Donald Trump’s reaction: On the one hand reasserting his call for a ban on Muslims to enter the US; on the other, his bizarre implication that somehow Barack Obama was involved. “Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind—you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on,” he said.
You don’t have to be a supporter of Obama to see the implied racism of these comments.
Then there are the ever-predictable editors of the Wall St. Journal who commented, “One way to stop a Mateen before he strikes is to have an undercover agent invite him to take a step toward violence.” In other words, entrapment. You can be sure that those who are set up won’t be white racists; they will be mostly young and gullible Muslims. In the future, such methods of entrapment will be used against any popular, working class people’s movement, just as it was during the days of Cointelpro.
Meanwhile, homophobia will continue to grow. It is fueled by religious bigot fundamentalist preachers like Steven Anderson and Sheikh Farroukh Sekaleshfar and Yishai Schlissel in Israel, who stabbed six people at a gay pride parade in Israel. More than that, it is fueled by a world society that is descending ever deeper into homophobia and bigotry as part of wartime bloodlust. And we should note that many parts of the world have been in a state of war – both outright and low grade warfare – for some 15 years now. In this context, willingness to sacrifice lives at the alter of xenophobia linked with all kinds of bigotry becomes the order of the day.
Never were the words of Rosa Luxembourg more true: “Socialism or barbarism.”