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Monday, June 13, 2016

At the Intersection of Hate and Murder

I am still trying to take in what happened in Orlando, but although I've read numerous accounts of the massacre, I still feel strangely numb - I think it's just too big and too horrible to comprehend.  And too much of the same old hate, hate, hate we have all endured for a lifetime, a nightmare fear now brought to a terrible reality.

But I offer a couple things to my readers today, for consideration. First, I am irritated with the media-manufactured controversy on whether it was terrorism or a hate crime, or whether it was directed at gays or at Americans, and yada yada yada. Of course it was ALL those things at the same time, and more. I couldn't find an image to convey what I mean, so I made up this simple graphic of what seem to me to be the four main causes of this crime:

It's important, very important I think, to see ALL these factors as valid causes of this tragedy; human beings are complex, and people rarely do anything just for one simple reason.

If you don't believe me, just ask yourself why you ate what you ate for breakfast this morning, or for dinner last night - whatever you put in your mouth, was it because you were on a diet, or falling off one, because the cupboard was bare or overflowing, because you were sick or well, tired or inspired, or because you ate alone at home or out with friends, or, or, or - what?

And perhaps a few more causes could be added to my graphic; for example, I just read this brief but highly significant report in the Orlando Sentinel:

Gunman Omar Mateen visited gay nightclub a dozen times before shooting, witness says

Was he casing the joint, or was he locked in a closet of self-loathing and trying to break out?

And I am quite touched by this interview with the murderer's father - despite my anger and grief, I see a man struggling to come to terms with his own enormous pain and loss, and not yet quite understanding the part he played, at second hand as a parent, in this massacre:

Father of Orlando Mass Murderer Apologizes, Clarifies

(Video not embeddable by me)

The Orlando victims have been remembered around the nation and the world: in New York, the Empire State Building spire went dark in mourning, while the World Trade Center spire was lit in rainbow colors last night:

In Sydney, Australia, the harbor bridge was lit in rainbow colors too:

Crowds gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris:

One man held a sign saying, "We are a 'certain idea of the world,' never targeted 'by chance'" - a riff on a famous quote by Charles de Gaulle:

The Eiffel Tower was lit in the colors of the rainbow:

While an illuminated balloon bore the colors of Old Glory:

Amsterdam also remembered at the Royal Palace:

Crowds gathered in Seoul:

And on a beach in India:

And in London, a vigil was held in Soho:

Will it ever end?  A chilling report from the Guardian: 1,000 mass shootings in 1,260 days.

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