Dear Commons Community,
New York Times columnist, Frank Bruni, has a piece today entitled, “The Scope of the Orlando Carnage.” It should be read and reread. Here is an excerpt:
“These locations are never random. These targets aren’t accidental. They’re the very vocabulary in which assailants like the Orlando gunman speak, and he chose a place where there’s drinking. And dancing. And where L.G.B.T. people congregate, feeling a sense of welcome, of belonging.
That last detail is already in the foreground of the deadliest mass shooting in American history — and rightly so.
But let’s be clear: This was no more an attack just on L.G.B.T. people than the bloodshed at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was an attack solely on satirists.
Both were attacks on freedom itself. Both took aim at societies that, at their best, integrate and celebrate diverse points of view, diverse systems of belief, diverse ways to love. And to speak of either massacre more narrowly than that is to miss the greater message, the more pervasive danger and the truest stakes.
We don’t yet know all that much about Omar Mateen, who pulled the trigger, again and again, in a nightclub whose name connotes life, not death: Pulse. We’ll be learning more in the hours and days to come, including just how potently homophobia in particular factored into his actions, how much ideological influence the Islamic State or other extremists had, how extensive his planning was, how far back he began plotting this, and how much he knew about Pulse itself and the specific composition of its crowd on different nights of the week.
But we can assume — no, we can be sure — that he was lashing out at an America at odds with his darker, smaller, more oppressive mind-set. The people inside Pulse were citizens of it. More to the point, they were emblems of it. In Pulse they found a refuge. In Pulse they found joy. To him they deserved neither. And he communicated that with an assault rifle and bullets.”