Wednesday, June 15, 2016

All Are People

I've seen a number of posts, comments, and even articles saying that it shouldn't matter that the people at Pulse were gay. We shouldn't divide ourselves up. It was, in the words of Mark Longhurst on Sky TV, a crime against “human beings” who were “ trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality."

This sentiment may be a wonderful one. BUT. This is not the time to trot it out (and that goes a hundredfold for people who have nothing but hate for LBGT people in their daily lives and politics).

When Marc Lépine walked into the École Polytechnique in Montreal and killed fourteen women, twelve of whom were engineering students, he wasn't killing "people" or even "people who were studying engineering". He was deliberately killing women.

When Dylan Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and killed nine black church-goers, he wasn't killing "people" or even "people who were Christians". He was deliberately killing blacks.

And when Omar Mateen walked into Pulse in Orlando, he wasn't killing "people" or even "people who go to clubs." He was killing LGBTs.

As soon as we say that the victims of a crime shouldn't be described as what they are that made them the target, we are begging off from confronting what it is that our society does to make people into misogynists, racists, or homophobes. Also, we remove our ability to understand what just happened. Julia Hartley-Brewer, another panelist on the Sky show, said that the killer probably hated her, “a gobby woman”, as much as he did gays. Maybe. Maybe he did; he seems to have also hated Jews and blacks. But dammit, he didn't walk into a Curves and start shooting, just like he didn't walk into a bar in his own town of Port St Lucie, or a black club or a synagogue. He walked into Pulse. Maybe he did it because he knew Pulse and knew who would be there; maybe he did it because he might not be noticed for a while (Port St Lucie has gay bars). The point is: of all the groups he hated, it was gays he decided to kill.

And pretending that he didn't target gays, or that Lépine didn't target women, or that Elliot Rodger didn't hate women and the men who "got lucky with them", means we're just saying that oh, gosh, crazy people kill people and what are we going to do about it.

Omar Mateen didn't kill "people". Omar Mateen killed gay people. It's important to acknowledge that.


ps - people's reactions to Owen Jones's argument and actions on that video are illuminating, I think.

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8 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, June 15, 2016 Anonymous Picky had this to say...

And there's a faint hint of "I know they were gay but they were still people" about that sort of statement (however unintentional).

 
At 12:48 PM, June 15, 2016 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Indeed there is, especially from the people who then turn around and vote down legislation for LBGT workers' protection - as our House just did.

 
At 5:34 PM, June 15, 2016 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

*Asterisk* He also killed a few non-LGBTs there who were supportive of LGBTs. But no doubt he considered them fair game as well, on account of their tolerance.

 
At 6:23 PM, June 15, 2016 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yes. But I don't think he went there to kill straights. They were collateral damage.

 
At 6:34 PM, June 15, 2016 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Of course the gays were the targets, although I imagine he had hatred for anyone else who'd be there among them, as well.

 
At 10:55 AM, June 16, 2016 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

While the Montréal shooter specifically shot just women and the Charleston shooter only shot Blacks, some recent attackers have failed in their targeting of victims, who tragically are just as dead:

The gunman in the Kansas City, KS., area who hated Jews inadvertently killed only Gentiles (although presumably he disliked those who associated with Jews as well):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting#Victims

The gunman in Colorado Springs who wanted to kill abortion patients and providers at a Planned Parenthood clinic killed instead a woman accompanying a friend to Planned Parenthood and two people who happened to be in the area but had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_Springs_Planned_Parenthood_shooting#Victims

In addition, Sikhs have been attacked because they were mistakenly assumed to be Muslims, since they also wear turbans.

 
At 11:13 AM, June 16, 2016 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

That's true. But my point is that we need to stop pretending that they don't have targets.

Many Republicans (not all) are trying to avoid saying anything about how the victims in Orlando were gay. Saying "they were people" or "oh, he killed a couple of straight people, too!" erases his intent. Once you're saying "he killed people" you can't address the elements of culture that made him feel killing his target demographic was okay.

It's like saying "NotAllMen" or "All Lives Matter". Yes. Yes, of course. But that is beside the point.

 
At 12:01 PM, June 16, 2016 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Totally agree re needing to stop pretending that they don't have targets. Of course they do.

But for the folks who say "He killed people," "NotAllMen," "All Lives Matter," etc., the collateral damage should be a wake-up call for them to recognize that Orlando, Montreál, Charleston, Overland Park, Colorado Springs, etc. were ALL hate crimes.

 

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