In case you haven’t heard – and I’m not sure how you wouldn’t have, as every media outlet is in overdrive reporting on the tragedy – at least 50 are deceased, with 53 injured, from the deadliest mass shooting in American history at Florida nightclub, Pulse, by religious extremist Omar Mateen. Mateen himself died in the proceedings following police intervention. It’s an incredibly heartless, devastating, mind-boggling crime. The question everybody’s asking is why? Why has this happened?
I mean, I could tell you why. Mateen was left outraged at the sight of two men kissing in front of his wife and child. He was known to have believed that ‘gays should be punished by God’, and he owned a gun. These are by no means a justification for the horror he’s committed. They’re just the bare bones, the key components.
What I’ve found myself asking is more than why this has happened, but a question of where. Where does this sense of entitlement come from, that not only Mateen experienced, but the countless others who feel the need to interfere in others’ lives – regardless of the extent to which they do so?
Omar Mateen was a man with a wife and a child. (I refuse to use the term ‘family man’, even though he was a man with a family. It’s much, much too affectionate.) He presumably had a fulfilling life, maybe a job, maybe friendships. He clearly had a hostile approach towards homosexuality, which although a lot of people do not agree with does not lessen his own human right to have thoughts and opinions. That aside, though, what gave *him* the right to act on those thoughts so violently, taking the lives of others in the process who have the exact same human right? What made his beliefs better, and him more deserving of life, than those he killed?
Members of the LGBTQ+ community were not antagonising him, and were certainly not holding him down and forcing him to engage in homosexual activity against his will. This was not a case of self defence. They were just being themselves and causing no harm, in an enviroment designed specifically as an LGBTQ+ safe space (this article explains the origins of Pulse and shows how much of a positive impact it’s had on the community.) Mateen was not a homosexual himself. So what business of his was it to decide that the 50+ deserved to die?
(I want to stress that I’m not saying it *would* have been Mateen’s business to shoot the 50+ dead had he been an LGBTQ+ individual himself, or for any other reason.)
I will never understand this mentality of shitting all over another’s choices and lifestyle. It’s similar, although not nearly on the same level as the events that took place in Florida this weekend, when trolls will take to the Internet to tell other plus-size users to change their diet or to ‘hit the gym, fatty!’ (or words to that effect). What is there to achieve from mindlessly tearing someone else down? Someone who is a living, breathing human in the same way you are, who is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions and has their own fruitful life to be getting on with. Under no circumstances is this sort of behaviour acceptable. It’s toxic.
What kind of entitlement must you feel to think that your attack on them is the ‘right’ thing to do? How dare you?
It blows my mind.
Until next time,