Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s unfortunate Sunday morning tweet about reaping what one sows right after the Orlando shooting shows the danger of pre-scheduling social media posts. The anti-gay comments made after the killings by Seddique Mateen, father of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen, show the poison of fundamentalist religious “thinking”:
“I am deeply saddened and announce this to the people of America,” said Seddique Mateen in his Facebook video, noting his son carried out the attack during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Seddique Mateen, speaking in Dari, concluded the video by expressing disbelief that his son took it upon himself to seek retribution against the gay community.
“God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality,” he said. “This, is not for the servants” of God [Tim Craig, Max Bearak and Lee Powell, “Shooter’s Father Says He’s Saddened by Massacre, Calls Gunman ‘A Good Son’,” Washington Post, 2016.06.13].
Seddique Mateen insists his son’s murderous actions were selfish, self-aggrandizing rage not related to religion, but parents who peddle the belief that certain fellow human beings deserve God’s punishment, especially as an immediate and ill-thought response to an undisputable crime against humanity should not be surprised if their children and others fail to grasp the theological complexities of who is permitted to dish out divine punishment. Maybe we fallible humans just can’t sustain a complicated religion; maybe we should ignore any religion that spends more time on any message other than, “Love everyone, kill no one.”
Donald Trump says President Barack Obama should resign for not saying three words: “Radical Islamic Terrorism.” Should Donald Trump resign for not saying three words: “National Rifle Association”?
Mateen demonstrated again just how potent the mix of ISIS and National Rifle Association ideology is. America is the perfect setting for “lone wolf” ISIS followers because they have access to the weapons they need to do their worst. Despite having been investigated twice in recent years by the F.B.I. for possible ties to terrorism, Mateen was able walk into a Florida gun dealership recently, and acquire a “long gun” and a pistol. This, by any reasonable standard, is madness.
The AR-15 assault rifle used by Mateen was also the weapon used by the San Bernardino shooters. The former N.R.A. president, David Keene, once described the weapons as the “gun liberals love to hate.” It is in fact the rifle that illustrates why lax American gun laws make American lives cheap. The laws are an aberration [Roger Cohen, “Orlando and Trump’s America,” New York Times, 2016.06.13].
Senator Bernie Sanders reacted to the Orlando massacre by reiterating on Meet the Press yesterday that “we should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people. We have got to do everything that we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, criminals, people who are mentally ill.” Hillary Clinton says possible restrictions on assault weapons need to be part of the debate, but she and Trump both want more surveillance of Americans. One nut kills 49 people, and cutting off the terrorists’ weapons supply can’t get bipartisan traction, but less Fourth Amendment and more police state can. The terrorists win again.