It’s no wonder that the Obama administration wants to rewrite the present by excising from the transcripts of Omar Mateen’s exchange with police the former’s Islamic-centered reasons for the massacre in Orlando that was about to occur.
Better instead, as far as the Democrats’ political fortunes are concerned, to assimilate the second deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 into narratives about “guns” and “homophobia.”
The left’s agenda is well-served by both lines. Consider, first, the benefits of focusing on guns:
(1) If Orlando is a manifestation of a gun problem, then “gun-control” can be proposed as the “solution.”
(2) If this attack on American soil is ultimately nothing more or less than a problem with guns, then it is America’s problem with guns. In other words, in the final analysis, it would be Americans, particularly those white, Christian, Second Amendment-loving, bitter gun “clingers”—NRA-types, say, and not the son of radical Afghan Islamic immigrants—who must shoulder the lion’s share of the blame for the bloodshed.
(3) In this heated election year, if the Orlando massacre can be made over into a gun problem, then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their fellow Democrats can escape being saddled with the burden of having presided over not just a terrorist attack on American soil, but the worst case of Islamic terror in 15 years. Let’s call it “6/12.”
The gay angle is no less empowering to the left:
(1)The Orlando massacre can now be transformed into the classic textbook case of the most virulent “homophobia.”
(2)Since the “homophobe” is American-born and, presumably, a “self-hating” gay man himself, the mass assault against an exclusively gay population can be explained as a function of American-style “homophobia,” i.e. Americans’ horrific mistreatment of gays.
(3)If the problem is American “homophobia,” then the “solution” can be depicted as but more legislation of precisely the sort of which Republicans and Christians have been skeptical.
Thus, it is the Democrats’ enemies—Republicans and traditional Christians—on whose shoulders the blame for 6/12 can now be placed.
(4)If the problem is “homophobia,” then Obama, Clinton, and Democrats can dodge the ignominious distinction of having presided over 6/12—the deadliest Islamic terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
But we must call things for what they are, for unless “language is…correct,” as Confucius taught, “morals and art will deteriorate” and “justice” will go “astray [.]”
It isn’t just leftist Democrats who need to be reminded of this. Whenever Republicans and others refer to 6/12 as “the largest ‘mass shooting’” in American history, they lend legitimacy to the left’s spin on things. The same effect is realized when the left’s opponents insist upon focusing on the homosexuality of Mateen’s victims, or when they repeatedly stress the inhumane treatment to which Islamic governments throughout the world subject gays.
First, whether 6/12 really was the largest mass shooting is both morally and metaphysically irrelevant. From the time of Plato and Aristotle through the middle Ages to the Catholic Church in the present, a distinction has been made between the “essence” of things and their “accidents.”
It is of the essence of a knife, for example, to cut. That a knife can be used to pick locks; that it can come in handy as a paper weight; that it is six inches, eight ounces, black, white, manufactured by this company or that—these are accidental features or characteristics of a knife.
The Orlando massacre was a mass murder. That is, it was, essentially, a mass murder. It was, though, only accidentally a mass shooting. Guns happened to have been the means by which the murderer pursued his end—and acts are defined by their ends.
To see that this is so, consider, say, 9/11. The latter was a mass murder, the murder of 3,000 innocent Americans. No one has ever so much as thought to describe 9/11 as a “mass airplane” or “mass box cutter” attack. No one ever tried explaining—explaining away—9/11 in terms of a problem with planes or box cutters.
And this is because—besides the fact that no political program is served by personifying and demonizing planes and box cutters—it’s recognized that these inanimate objects are the mere means by which terrorists chose to wreak the destruction that they did.
They are, though, no more essential to the mass murder of 9/11 than guns were essential to the mass murder of 6/12.
Secondly, while 6/12 was essentially a mass murder, though not a mass shooting, it was a particular type of mass murder. It was terrorism:
(a)The mass murderer was a non-state actor (he was not acting on behalf of any government);
(b)Insofar as he explicitly identified the United States government’s intrusions into the Islamic world as his reason for murdering en masse, Mateen disclosed his aim: He wanted to affect changes in government policy;
(c)The mass murderer indiscriminately slaughtered non-combatant civilians in the private sector as the means by which he sought to retaliate against and change American policy.
These are the conditions that must be met for a murderous act to become a terrorist act.
Mateen met them in spades.
Thirdly, this terrorist attack is an Islamic terrorist attack. Yet it isn’t Islamic terror just because Mateen was a Muslim. If he was an anarchist or communist, but happened to have had an Islamic background, 6/12 would not have been an instance of Islamic terror.
That Mateen was an Islamic terrorist, and that 6/12 was an Islamic terrorist attack, is borne out by the following facts:
(a)The terrorist followed jihadi protocol and informed the police that he pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS);
(b)The terrorist did indeed pledge his allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS);
(c)The terrorist shouted praises to Allah as he shed the blood of civilians.
Finally, from what we can gather at the moment, the sexual orientation of this Islamic terrorist’s victims is as irrelevant or non-essential to the act itself as is the sexual orientation of the victims of 9/11 is irrelevant or non-essential to that day of infamy.
In fact, Mateen, besides being a homosexual himself, left behind no evidence indicating that he chose his victims because they were gay. To repeat, all psychologizing aside, there is zero evidence that Mateen had anything against gays per se.
All of the available evidence is clear as to his motives: Mateen committed mass murder in a crowded nightclub—a nightclub with which he was intimately familiar (and a gun-free zone at that)—in response to an American foreign policy that he believed was unjust toward Muslims, his brethren in the faith.