I’ve waited a couple of days to ponder over the Orlando shooting and all the implications.
There has been an incredible outpouring of love and strength from the LGBT community and the world at large. Probably not much more I could add to all that.
There has been a lot of blame juggling – from gun laws, to Islam, to homophobia, to politics – you name it, someone or something is getting blamed and scapegoated.
The depth of the emotions we experience at something like this are always going to govern our opinions. The thing that we are most passionately “anti” will take the full brunt of our blame. That’s just human nature. We all do it. And that’s why I waited, to give myself time to sift through my natural responses and biases as well as all the rhetoric going around. And I certainly don’t want to diminish the impact of the event or the trauma and grief millions are feeling.
I think when we get to the bottom of it all, the problem is hate – fear based hate. It’s something we are all subject to. When we feel threatened fear sets in and fear needs an outlet. More often than not it’s directed at someone or something as hate. We fear what a political change might bring so we hate the politician. We fear someone for abusing us so we hate them. We fear so many things in different ways and turn it into hate.
It seems the shooter was himself a closeted gay. His native culture and religion made it utterly impossible to come to terms with his sexuality, and the fear of being gay and all that entailed drove him to hate who he was and anyone who reminded him of that. The cognitive dissonance in his mind – the clash of sexuality and his religious and cultural paradigms triggered an extreme hatred against himself and gay people in general.
He was also abusive to his wife, which is just another expression of that self hatred, lashing out in an attempt to be in control.
He was a victim. Yes, as much as we may despise the man (and justifiably so) he was still a victim.
Religion breeds fear, and fear breeds hate.
But this is just one observation of the situation. It’s incredibly complex and we must stop to consider as many aspects as we can before blaming anyone or anything. In the end, we can all be victims of fear and hate, no matter what form it takes.
He wasn’t evil. He wasn’t a terrorist. He was a scared, frightened man who felt he had no other alternative. The consequences of that however are horrific, his actions bringing untold devastation to countless people.
We have much to learn if we are to bring change to this world, and perpetuating fear and hate will not bring that change. We have many hard lessons to learn on this journey, but we can only start with ourselves, in honesty and integrity, learning to live loved.