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.