Cenk Uygur has the facts, and they’re not what we’ve been hearing all this time:
And yes, he’s doing what all responsible journalists SHOULD do, which is retract the false parts of the story, and proceed to set the record straight.
So, what IS the straight story?
Well, for starters, “straight” is the operative word here. Omar Mateen wasn’t gay, or bi, or in the closet about it. He didn’t pick the Pulse nightclub for that reason, or even plain old homophobia, although he was repulsed (as are plenty of garden-variety ‘phobes) by the sight of two men kissing. But that wasn’t why he chose Pulse, of all places, to shoot up. It was a totally random pick, one that came up when he searched for nightclubs in Orlando. He was originally planning to make it Disneyworld, but decided against it because there was too much security for him to walk in with a gun. He chose Pulse, not because of any homosexual or homophobic reason, but because it was apt to contain lots of people. That is, lots of innocent, unsuspecting targets that he could mow down for maximum effect. That was the reason he searched for it. There were no searches for gay porn, or anything LGBT-related, on his computer. In fact, the only sexually explicit things he searched for were to do with older women — an unconventional, but still decidedly heterosexual interest. Far more relevant — and germane to the subject of terrorism — is the fact that he looked up Daesh a lot. Their motives and methods were what drove him.
As to the larger political implications of the story: It may be very tempting to be suddenly pro-war and pro-gun in knee-jerk reaction to this shooting, but it’s also highly inadvisable. War and guns, in fact, are what made this shooting inevitable. Were it not for the US of Amnesia’s meddling in Iraq and Syria, there would be no Daesh. They are products of the US of A, as much as guns and gun nuttery are. And as much as Omar Mateen also is.
The remedy for the problem must begin at home, and it must not be more of the same. No more war; no more guns. Nor should it be a police state, as Ferguson, Baltimore, and all the ugly incidents of police brutality against non-white people have shown us clearly. Racism and islamophobia are not the answers; they are the problems. The US is already crammed to the gills with all that; no wonder it’s a powder keg. The thing for the gay community to do is not to become, à la Milo Yeah-Nope, “dangerous” walking homophobic slurs, but to maintain their humanity and openness, same as always; after all, gay Muslims still exist, even if Omar Mateen was not one. They need a community. They need a social milieu to call their own. Guns won’t protect anyone who is vulnerable to terrorism; ask anyone who’s ever been shot by the cops by mistake for an actual terrorist shooter. Or ask anyone who’s been mown down by trucks in Europe. In the heat of the moment, a gun is as useless as a brick in the seat of your pants. More guns, more victims; the equation is direct and simple.
And if anyone in the US of Amnesia is serious about ending terrorism, at home and abroad, the thing to do is stop making wars. Stop sending guns. Stop, stop, stop, and pull back. US out of everywhere! It’s a simple lesson, and short enough to fit on one of their beloved bumper stickers, but it’s one they find awfully difficult, because they have yet to learn it.