Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fearmongering Is Behind The Orlando Atrocity And Many Others

People outside the Pulse nightclub massacre in
Orlando today. 
Everything about the Orlando mass shooting is about fear.

Obviously, the shooter, Omar Mateen, wanted to instill fear, directly on the people who were in the Pulse nightclub, and other people in general.  

Like me. And many others, of course. Probably everybody.

Mateen targeted gay people in a gay nightclub when he killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more early this morning.

Most readers of this blog know I'm gay, and married to what I and a lot of other people know to be one of the best, kindest men on the planet.

Most people support us, love us, or like us, or at least are perfectly willing to leave me and Jeff alone and let us live our life. This is as it should be.

Not everybody likes my sexual orientation. Or Jeff's. That's perfectly fine. Nobody owes us. Nobody has to like us just because me and Jeff exist.

The vast majority of people who don't like my sexual orientation  don't bring up the subject, or ignore us, or avoid us, and go on with their lives. And they let us go on with our lives. These are not fearful people.

Unfortunately, the world is full of fearful people. They're not in the majority, obviously. But this fearful subset cannot handle anyone or anything that is not like them.  So you get what you got today in Orlando.

People outside the Pulse nightclub shooting
in Orlando early today.  
To this fearful group, anyone who  is of a different race, has a different sexual orientation, adheres to a different religion, or has differing political viewpoints than theirs is to be avoided. Killed. Wiped off the face of the Earth like the scary spider in my kitchen sink that startled me this morning.

Of course, the consequences are far, far, far greater than a spider.  And the fear creates a worldwide spider web of hate and murder.

Omar Mateen was not born hating gay people. Somebody taught him to do that.  Somebody who fancied themselves a leader, who created the fear in Mateen that led him to do what he did.

NBC News reported that two months ago, Mateen became angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami.

It triggered the fear in Mateen - that toxic stew in Mateen's head brewed for two months until he killed all those people, who were just out for a good time.

Whoever instilled the fear in Omar Mateen knows their efforts worked.

I'm not letting Mateen off the hook here. He made the decision to kill all those people in the Orlando nightclub. He's no victim.

There are others, though, who had an indirect hand in this outrage, and in every other terrorist incident I can think of -- from 9/11 to Brussels and Paris and Charleston and Oklahoma City and countless others.

There are a number of people who call themselves leaders who exploit the fear they placed in the heads of people llike Mateen.  Pump them up. Encourage the fear.

That's because these so-called leaders really don't have any real solutions to any problems. Or, they're just trying to amass power.

The way to do that is to incite fear.

Nobody makes good decisions when they're fearful. Fearful people are easily led. Or more accurately, easily led astray.

So called leaders who exploit fear know that doing so distracts the fearful from the real issue, or from the real bad stuff these "leaders" are up to.

People who exploit fear know creating scapegoats can cow the masses, and let these "leaders"  get away with whatever they're up to.

That creates a population that hates gays. Or Muslims. Or Christians. Or women. Or Jews. Remember Hitler? He was the world's greatest master at exploiting fear by targeting Jews. The greatest masters at this cause the world's greatest tragedies. Like the Holocaust.

Fifty people dead in an Orlando nightclub is horrific, but obviously not anywhere close to the level of the Holocaust.

But the same fear exploiting playbook was at work here.

Fear and anger are close cousins. Fearful animals often lash out at what makes them fearful. Terrorize a dog and it might bite you out of fear. '

People are the same way. Mateen was fearful and lashed out.

Fear and anger mestasize like cancer.  Mateen knew his actions would make people fearful and angry, and they did. I'm fearful and angry over this, because that's the natural human reaction.

But remember, like I said, fear and anger make us irrational, and I think Mateen knew that on some level.

So called leaders know this. And they'll exploit Orlando just like they exploited so many other terrorist incidents. Because that's what they do. Each outrage lets them build on others.

They'll try to whip up the population. Let's ban Muslims! The gays deserved it! Let's take people's freedoms of speech and assembly and due process away in the name of combating terrorism!

Some leaders will do this out of genuine concern for our well being and that of the nation. A smaller number of other leaders will do that to continue amassing power, and screwing the rest of us.

I'm gay, so Orlando proves that I have a target on my back. I'm fearful and angry, yes.

But please, let's all try to rise above this fear and anger, and think rationally. Yes, we need to super aggressively go after the bad guys and gals, and the people who inspire them to kill and terrorize.

Let's also escape the fear cocoon that keeps us fearful of everybody that's different from us. The best antidote to fear is knowledge.

Knowledge is power. Fear is weakeness.   Instead of hiding away from what we don't like, try to understand it. Learn about it. What makes those who are "different" from us tick.

Once we get to know these "different" people, religions, orientations and such, we still might not like them. But I bet the knowledge will make us less likely to lash out in fear.

It's everybody's responsibility to do this. The nation's and the world's top leaders must do this. You and I must do this.

I don't think we'll ever stop these terrorist tragedies. But if we rise above the fear, and embrace facts and knowledge, I bet we can reduce the number of these atrocities and the level of death and suffering.

We have to. It's our only hope.

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