Two words: Omar Mateen
By D’ANNE WITKOWSKI
America is the only country where mass shootings happen on a regular basis. I don’t want to hear another politician offer prayers for Orlando unless that prayer is, “Dear God, please guide my hand as I sign this gun control legislation.”
Hearing “prayers” from people like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott made me sick to my stomach. These are people who demonized LGBT people and families for political gain. Their prayers don’t mean shit, thanks.
Ah, but there will be plenty of time to call them out. Right now the main villain in this plot is Omar Mateen, the man who mowed down nearly 100 people, killing 49 of them at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando. We know that he was racist and homophobic. We know that he beat up his first wife. We know that he worked as a security guard. We know he was on the FBI’s radar. We know that he bought his murder weapons easy peasy. Was he a terrorist? Well, undoubtedly, yes.
But was he specifically a “radical Islamic ter- rorist” (as if that somehow explains or makes more comprehensible the carnage he wrought)?
Was he gay? There are plenty of reports he was a regular at Pulse. That he’d sometimes get so drunk he had to be thrown out. That he messaged men on Grindr.
And people will say, “Well, it doesn’t matter if he was gay or not” just as they’ll say, “It doesn’t matter that the club was gay or not.” And these people will by and large not be gay. Because of course it matters.
And it’s a stark reminder that despite all of the gains that LGBT people have made, there is so much work left to do. Just because we can legally get married now doesn’t mean that our lives are as safe or as valued as our hetero friends and neighbors.
Go out and hug each other. Be fierce, be proud, be woke.