Some Thoughts and Facts, in No Particular Order
- If you label everyone who commits acts of terror and mass violence mentally ill, you’ve created a tautologically meaningless phrase.
- The murderer was American. Not a migrant. Not a refugee. Not an undocumented immigrant.
- He pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack, but his family said he wasn’t particularly religious.
- The fact that religious extremism is used to justify hate and murder shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
- He had a history of domestic abuse against his ex-wife.
- He targeted young LGBTQ people on Latino Night.
- In the U.S., the FDA won’t let men donate blood if they’ve had sexual contact with another man within the past 12 months. (Prior to December 2015, the FDA banned gay and bisexual men from ever donating blood.)
- A few hours before the Pulse attack, an Indiana man was arrested with assault rifles and chemicals for making explosives. He told police he was on his way to a LGBT pride event in Los Angeles.
- Hatred doesn’t exist in a vacuum. More than half the states in this country allow discrimination against LGBTQ people.
- In the U.S., the majority of hate crimes are committed by white people. Men consistently commit the clear majority of these crimes.
- The largest number of hate crimes are racially motivated. Sexual orientation is the second most common motivation.
- Of religious hate crimes, the majority target Jewish victims. Anti-Muslim attacks are the second most common.
- Globally, most victims of terrorism are Muslim. “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.”
- From a study published in March of this year in the American Journal of Medicine, “US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher.”
- I know people will argue causes and solutions. Can we at least admit the U.S. has a clear problem with gun violence?
- Politicians are trying to pass laws to keep transgender people out of bathrooms, despite the fact that, “Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day, [and] none of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws.”
I’m tired. I’m heartsick.
I’m afraid. Not for myself — statistically, I’m one of the safest people in the U.S. — but for my friends, my loved ones, and my country.
I’m afraid we’ll keep looking for simple, simplistic answers to complex problems. We want a clear enemy to fight. An easy solution. Build a wall. Bomb ISIS. Kick “them” out of the country.
It’s the same pattern, the same thinking I’ve seen with cases of rape. We cling to myths and misinformation that give us a false sense of safety. Like rapists are all strangers lurking in the bushes, easily identified and avoided with simple precautions. Rape victims must have done something to deserve it, and if we avoid those “mistakes,” we’ll be safe. Carrying a gun will keep you from getting raped.
I’m afraid my country will continue to accept these tragedies, so long as those in power aren’t directly or proportionally affected.
I’m afraid people will still refuse to recognize or acknowledge the real risks LGBTQ people, people of color, women, non-Christians, and other minorities face every day in this country. Or we’ll minimize the risks and harassment, as illustrated so well in a recent Dork Tower comic.
Time and again we refuse to listen. We refuse to believe people when they talk about the threats, the harassment, the fear they face simply for existing. Simply for trying to have a voice. We call them thin-skinned and oversensitive. We accuse them of making it up for attention. We dismiss them as “perpetually offended.” All so we can avoid the discomfort of acknowledging the hatred and violence others face every day.
I’m afraid we’ve grown numb to violence.
I’m afraid we’ll continue to let everyday hate and bigotry go unchallenged.
I’m afraid we’ll keep attacking things like diversity and inclusiveness and representation instead of recognizing them as a reflection of the world we live in, and a way to help build empathy and connection and acceptance.
I’m afraid those in power are teaching our children to Beware the Other, and to use hate and violence to keep those others from gaining power of their own.
I’m afraid people will continue to choose the comfort of ignorance.
To all of my friends and readers and loved ones, particularly those of you who are people of color, who are LGBTQIA, who aren’t Christian, who aren’t male, and who are otherwise marginalized, you don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve the hatred. You don’t deserve to live in fear.
You have my love, and you have my ongoing pledge to try to make things better in whatever ways I can.
Comments are closed, because I don’t have the energy to moderate them right now.
Guest Blog: Orlando: one Canadian’s perspective, Melanie Marttila | Mel's Madness
June 21, 2016 @ 8:44 am
[…] notice, they’re far fewer than similar incidents in the US. I think about Jim C. Hines’ post in which he offers some facts and statistics about terror and tragic events, in and beyond US […]