Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Politics of Grief: On the Orlando LGBTQIAphobic attack: The Shooter

Voltaire: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Hello dear readers. I hope that you have the courage to read these two blogposts, and to comment on them as is your will. It is only my opinion but my word is not divine or natural law and I'm not being nominated for Think Policeman 2016 :)

On the shooter (he who shall not be named):

The deliberate targeted mass shooting and murder of 49 innocent LGBTQIA individuals at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday 12th June 2016 shocked the world and indeed shocked me to my core. First and foremost its perfectly OK to acknowledge that it was a homophobic hate crime committed by a depraved wife beater who was self obsessed with the hyper-masculine image he wanted to portray externally to all those he apparently “cared about” whether they wanted to perceive that image or not. To quote Twiggy's lines to Eddie Monsoon in Ab Fab: “You're your own moon; you moon yourself”.

It appears that this terrorist's views were already considered extreme in September 2001, at the time of the Twin Tower attacks and that he continued to espouse hatred for Western society values, strong women or whatever else that could provoke him to anger right up until his death. It was important to him that he died. I contend that he really did believe that he'd be remembered for all time in Heaven as a martyr for taking a stand against those he thought his religion disagreed with and had no right to exist within his vision of a utopian society. In Islam this act is known as istishhad where the martyr or shahid is said to die with “honour and dignity”. Most Muslims would not agree his act merits shahid but still that was what the murderer had in his mind at the time of his death.
I think we can all agree that it clear this depraved gunslinger was going to murder those who he believed embodied part of the spirit of Western freedom and democracy on that night; but it wasn't OAPs, schoolchildren or shoppers down the local mall picking up their dry cleaning for the week that were going to be his intended target. Past ISIS inspired terrorist attacks targeted these groups and so must have seemed quite unoriginal to him. He wanted to make a statement. His own visual epitaph. This he did by murdering members of the LGBTQIA community. The very fact he used a gay dating app to bait guys, to get an thorough understanding of  the local gay scene and then drove 90 miles from his home on that day to carry out the act just shows how engrained his hatred for the community really was. Either that or he had bisexual feelings which he was unable to understand and only felt he could repress by carrying out the most heinous act possible by invading the private space of the LGBTQIA community. If you're not safe in a space dedicated to allowing people to be fully accepted for being themselves, where are you safe? Timbuktu?
This murderer's display of behavior really tallies with my reading of Hotchkiss's “seven deadly sins of narcissist” analysis, established in Why Is It All About You?: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism (2003).

This is why:
  • He seemed to be entirely shameless in his attacks; in fact he was laughing as he fired shots all around the bar;
  • He thought himself to be the perfect follower of Allah even though he was nowhere near such a level (the Prophet Muhammad is considered the perfect one in Sunni and Shi’ite Islam);
  • He was extremely arrogant;
  • He believed he was automatically entitled to act however he wanted regardless of the eventual consequences and willingly knew he would endanger life;
  • He deliberately exploited the feelings of others, including his wife, regardless of their mental or physical state. 
  • I.e. he was the very definition of a narcissist!
No matter what his psychological profile was, it is important to find out how he became radicalised to such an extent in the first place. The details so far are quite sketchy. What we do know was that he was born in New York so he WAS a domestic, home grown terrorist, even if he did go off and complete his PhD in mass murder from the school of Jihadi John admirers in Saudi Arabia for 2 years as has been alleged. I maintain that it was the ISIS cause and mass online social media propaganda that spurred him finally into action. His father appeared on camera to be decent, hard working individuals who may hold prejudices towards the LGBTQIA community but there's no evidence to suggest that they would ever act on them. Indeed the father appears to have apologised to Afghanistan for his son's actions, stating that it is for "Allah to judge the actions of homosexuals and not human beings." Reminds me of quite a few conservative Biblical verses in the same vein- e.g. the famous "God will judge those outside" passage written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9- 13 that Trump and ultra conservative Republicans are very fond of quoting! (More on this in the next blog post).

My main question is why didn't the Imams, friends or family intervene sooner? Why did they allow him to stew in his own juices for so long? If it was clear that he'd been abusing his wife, and had made distasteful comments towards a disabled person surely a sensible Imam would have questioned his reasoning behind his actions and reminded him of his duty as a law abiding Muslim in the US?
It seems irrational to me that anyone would aid and abet such a clearly mentally depraved individual by sheer inaction or sham ignorance! Maybe he was able to hide his true nature far too well in the first place! Maybe his father loved him too much to denounce his behaviour, which happens in many instances involving hardened criminals.
Time will tell.