A Cruel June

A Cruel June

It goes on.

Last Sunday morning we woke up to read about yet another mentally ill individual who went out and legally bought an assault rifle and killed a horrifying number of people. This time, the victims were nearly all Hispanics. Nearly all twenty-year-old men. Nearly, if not all, gay.

We all said the predictable things. I know because I said them, too. I said that it will never end with guns so easy to get in America. I said that no non-military person needs an assault rifle, not to hunt, not to defend themselves, not to do anything but hurt another person. I said that at the very least such guns should not be available to the general public.

The other side said what they always say. If someone had been carrying a gun in that club, they might have been able to shoot Mateen before he killed so many people. That it’s our constitutional right to carry guns. That guns don’t kill people, people do.

So let’s talk about the person. Omar Mateen. He was American. He was Muslim. He was mentally ill. It’s entirely possible he was unsure of his sexuality. He claimed to be killing for ISIS.

Claimed. Because after all, it sounds a lot more glorious (to a troubled young man) to be doing something for a cause than just because you’re miserable and unhappy and possibly attracted to men when everything you’ve ever been taught tells you that’s wrong. His “radicalization” seemed a convenient sort of radicalization, convenient for him and, sadly, convenient for certain politicians we know.

Donald Trump seized on the event to reiterate his desire to ban Muslim immigration to the United States. When it was pointed out to Mr. Trump that Omar Mateen wasn’t an immigrant, that he was (like Trump) a New Yorker, Mr. Trump replied that the shooting wouldn’t have happened if Mateen’s family had been blocked from immigrating from Afghanistan. Mr. Trump expanded his calls for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to now include a moratorium for anyone coming from a country that has Muslim terrorist groups in it. I guess that means no more French people are coming, or Belgians. In fact, that lets out most of the European countries. Nobody from any Middle Eastern country either, or North Africa, or Central Africa, or Indonesia. Of course, it goes without saying Mr. Trump doesn’t want Mexicans. Think of all those drug cartels. No Columbians either.  Let’s just ban the Central and South Americans altogether and be done with it. I’m hard-pressed to think of a country that would fit the new bill of non-terrorist, everything-A-okay-back-in-the-homeland health. I guess the Icelanders are in the clear. Maybe the Japanese could come.

Not that they’d want to. They have gun control in those countries. Why would they immigrate to a country where you now have to worry about going to a mall, a movie theater, a night club, church, or even first grade?

There were other politicians who said some things they shouldn’t have. Senator McCain, whose politics I don’t share, but whose life story I respect, said the Orlando shooting was all President Obama’s fault. He did back down a bit later and said he meant that the rise of ISIS is directly related to policy decisions that were made by the Obama White House. Sadly, he’s not completely wrong about that. However, it’s a bit much to draw a direct causality from broad foreign policy decisions to the poisonous cocktail of misery and self-loathing that impels any one individual to commit mass murder. ISIS didn’t plan the Orlando shootings. A miserable, pathetic man unhappy with his life planned them.

So, I hereby give President Obama permission if, God forbid, Trump becomes President and gets us into some horrific mess down the road, to stand up and say Sen. McCain was directly responsible for it because he supported Trump in the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, Senator Murphy of Connecticut, proceeded with his noble but quite possibly useless filibuster in the Senate to force some kind of vote on some form of watered-down gun control. Though the Senate may indeed vote, it remains to be seen if anything worthy of the name legislation will come out of it. In any case, any such legislation is probably dead on arrival in the House.

Hey ho. They are mourning in Orlando, as they did in Charleston, and in Newtown, in Aurora, and in Columbine. They are mourning and coming together and supporting one another and that’s all good. Americans are good at that. There are things, however, that we’re not very good at and one of them is giving up a personal “right” for the good of society as a whole, giving up the right to buy something we may want but definitely don’t need, giving up something we want to save other people’s lives.