Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando Shooting

Well. The largest mass shooting in our country's history has just occurred. So far there has only been a trickle of information about the gunman. Mainly that he might have pledged allegiance to ISIS and that the FBI looked into his terrorist connections. I withhold judgement until I hear the nature of those "connections" [1]. It looks like a lone wolf op—the kind that ISIS has been asking for. 

I was going to keep silent about the entire matter, but there's no such restraint anywhere else, so I'll get into a few points:

As usual, the internet seems abuzz with all sorts of vile talk in the aftermath of this shooting. Take this one on an Army subreddit. It was initially full of prattle about how newscasters were getting discussions about the specific guns wrong. That and how there was a conspiracy on other subreddits to delete information on the shooter/terrorist being a Muslim. Or remarks about the religion of peace. Talk about focusing on the wrong issue. [2]

Those two points, type of specific gun and the media trying to hide the shooter's religion, are distractive tactics in this debate. Great, let's focus on the specific gun, not how he got it, or how to stop people like him from getting guns in general. And let's focus on the "otherness" of the shooter because this will also move us away from looking at the problem at hand. 

One of the other points brought up, and a hard one to combat, is the claim that it's a person's right to defend themselves and their homes—especially in the face of such events. Even if the reasoning is circuitous, it is a prevalent one and accounts for much of the emotion in this debate. [3] And, in the end, if the media only focuses on these shootings, this almost appears logical.

Personally, I'd rather not focus on these mass shootings, as they're still a minor symptom of a larger public health issue. I'd only look at them if it would help to conjure up some more rational public discourse [4]. Note that to this day "military style weapons", as bad as they are in the civilian world, aren't the cause of most gun-related deaths. We should not lose sight of this, even in the face of such a gruesome act. 

And on a final note, I talked on Twitter (see above) to one of the more rational and intelligent people on this matter. The question at hand was whether or not we should focus on the shooter. [5] She said, "Focus on chronic problem; identify pattern; don't focus on individual killer—they're all unhinged in a million different ways."

Good advice, I think, though I wonder if it will work in terms of the world we have. Couldn't sensationalism work to have more discourse on that "well-regulated militia"? Especially when we can say why give this deranged person a gun, let's change the laws that do that? Or will it only play to the emotion of wanting to keep safe from such events and thus increasing the people who want guns? In that case shouldn't the media help to focus on all shootings that occur in a day—everyday? Just put up a tally, and how it occurred. This would bring it all into perspective. How can we get such a change going?

What are your thoughts on this issue? Would love to hear where I'm wrong in my reasoning.

Edit: Well, I just spent a few minutes I can't get back. Anyhow, it's beautiful to see what those on the fringes think. And yes, there are people saying this is a false-flag operation done by the Jews to take away guns. Not saying this is all of the people who want guns. For example some of these people have pro-Palestinian statements. A reason why those for BDS are being careful about anti-semeitcsx in their midst. Nevertheless, it's horrible to hear things like: "WWII should have been abt ridding Europe of Jews, defeating communism, liberating Russians. Instead, Jews won WWII."
Skewed history, back at it again. 

[1] That in itself is a whole can of worms that I won't get into right now. I've heard of stories of the FBI using KGB-like tactics (beyond ones we already know about) and making house visits when a 8 year old child makes statements not in line with the usual anti-Palestine propaganda here in our nation.  But I'll get to that and how they either entrap people (homeless and the mentally ill) &/or drive them to extremism in another post (as well as the fact that failure for them and the military means more power and money, for some reason, not a rethink on what they're doing). 

[2] A better issue would be how we define terrorism, and especially how our government conveniently does this labelling. Note that a racist shooter hitting a black church was not a terrorist, even if it fits the definition thereof. Also note how those fighting for the environment are labelled. {a}

[3] I live where, apparently, people carry guns because they feel that downtown (a pretty safe place) isn't safe and so forth. It seems like a very visceral and genuine reaction to feeling unsafe—and one that's ingrained in our culture{b}. Even Chris Rock joked about needing a gun after being threatened by gun rights people. And some of my gun rights friends on Facebook usually flood it with anecdotal information on how a law-abiding gun carrier saved the day or something or the other. So why, then, do people feel so unsafe when crime has been plummeting? Why is it only a smaller amount of people with more guns? Questions for another time, unfortunately, though I sense it's partially at the conjunction of racial attitudes and a skewed world view.

[4] This would be taking advantage of the emotional impact of these events to deal with guns for other, more common, events. Or to put it more succinctly: use events that disproportionally affect the middle class to help alleviate events that affect those disadvantaged in other ways.

[5] Again, I'm of the mind that if we even just focus on mass shootings we're not looking at this rationally. In the face of only thinking of these events, the gun owner/concealed weapons carrier could be forgiven for thinking they have the only solution—self-defense against a crazy... yes, yes, I'm not saying it's a logical argument, but rather an emotional one.

{a} The branding of "ISIS" on any lone wolf attack is an interesting development. It only goes to show that they're there to get an overblown reaction from us in the West, and is part of their strategy of death  of Empire by a million cuts. Let's not fall for it, shall we? And the other matter is how since shootings have now become a method for terrorism, rather than bombs, we might see a smarter reaction from people about guns.

{b} Note how Bill Maher reacts to the Texas shooting.

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