Omar Mateen Wasn’t Crazy

Here are my thoughts on the Orlando shooting, in which 50 people were killed, and at least 53 others wounded in a horrific attack on a night club catering to gays. (I’ll warn you right up front, what follows is not “politically correct.“)

First, this was not a hate crime. It wasn’t a “crime of passion” in the traditional sense. It is said that the catalyst for the attack occurred after the shooter “got very angry” when he saw two men kissing while he was out with his family. But he didn’t flip his wig right then and there, lose his cool and in a moment of blind rage attack the two men he saw. He waited. He planned. He chose a lucrative target, and then he struck at a time and a place where he could do the most damage. This was completely premeditated.

So, if it wasn’t a “hate crime,” what was it?

Ethnic cleansing.

Instead of a heat-of-the-moment over-reaction, this falls much more clearly into the category of, “Something Must Be Done!” It’s the same mindset you see behind every pogrom, every massacre, every brutal culling throughout history. The Nazis and the Third Reich culling “undesirables” from their society in what they came to call The Final Solution. It’s the Hutus vs. the Tutsis in Ruwanda, the Serbs vs. the Croats in Bosnia, the genocide in Darfur and so many other examples throughout modern history.

Right now so many are, once again, focusing on the tool used to perform the act, suggesting that if Omar Mateen hadn’t had access to an “assault rifle” with all those bullets, the attack wouldn’t have happened, or wouldn’t have been so deadly.

And yet there’s another thing Omar Mateen had access to that was far more responsible for the attack than the weapons he used, and that was his IDEOLOGY. But a lot fewer people want to talk about that uncomfortable truth.

Because that’s the reality of the thing: It’s not the object that is dangerous, it’s the human being that is dangerous.

Here’s the thing: Mateen obeyed all the gun laws. He passed all the background checks. He was employed to provide private security. He bought his weapons legally, waiting periods an all. Though he had been interviewed by the FBI and been on a watch list off and on, nothing was every done because he didn’t rise to the level of a credible threat (unfortunately).  Which strongly suggest one very important thing:

Omar Mateen wasn’t crazy.

This wasn’t an Adam Lanza, with known and identified mental health issues.  So if he wasn’t crazy, what was he?

I would instead use the word…”Devout.”

Omar Mateen was a fundamentalist Muslim who adhered to the deadly, imperialist, fascist ideology espoused by Al Qaeda, ISIS and all their associated fanboys. This kind of ideology teaches that murdering homosexuals the way he did is not only permissible but an obligation. That it is essentially a mercy killing?!

The simple fact of the matter is you can have a basement arsenal full of the deadliest, high-capacity engines of infernal death and destruction, but they are still just things. Inanimate objects. Completely inert chunks of metal and plastic.  It isn’t until someone picks them up and puts them in the warm, soft hands of a human being that they become “dangerous.” Because that’s the reality of the thing: It’s not the object that is dangerous, it’s the human being that is dangerous.

It’s what happens in your heart that tells you it’s okay to become a mass murderer for your cause that is the real threat. And when you have a whole subculture and religious ideology dedicated to telling people exactly this sort of thing, that’s when things get ugly.

This is another example of why Islamic Sharia is completely incompatible with western values and society. We should not respond with violence towards innocent Muslims, we should not engage in an “eye for an eye,” or we are no better than Mateen and those like him. But we also need to stop pretending that fundamentalist Islam is not a threat to our western way of life.

Thoughts From My Quiet Time: Hush now. Be Still.

Sometimes when we come before God  in a moment of crisis or confusion or uncertainty, when we lift our face to him in supplication seeking his guidance, some sort of answer or direction, instead we get something unexpected. Sometimes there are no great insights, no grand visions or prophecies, no “word from the Lord.” Sometimes, it’s just….”Shhhh. Hush now. Be still.

How many times as a parent have you had a child rush up to you full of hurt or anger or confusion, and they climb up in your lap and pour out their thoughts or fears with such intensity, sometimes with tears in their eyes, and you realize that the first and best thing they need is simply…comfort.  “Shhhhh.., “you whisper. “Hush.” You rock them a little, you wipe away some tears, you smooth their hair, and sometimes all you do is just hold them against your chest, let them cry, and you whisper softly, over and over, “Shhhh, now. It’s okay. I’ve got you. Shhhhh...”

Sometimes people need comfort more than they need answers. And sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it’s just enough to know that there’s a place we can go, a lap we can crawl up into, a comforting hand for our forehead and gentle fingers to wipe away our tears. Sometimes it’s just enough to be loved.

God is a good one for giving us what we need, more than what we think we want. And sometimes all we really need…is to know that He is there.