Some questions about the Orlando massacre

The death toll in the Orlando massacre has dropped from 50 to 49, as they mistakenly included the shooter himself in the toll of victims. But that still makes it substantially higher than the deadliest mass shooting in America up to now: the 32 killed in 2007 at Virginia Tech by Seung-hui Cho. In Orlando 53 more were wounded, some of them critically, so more deaths are expected, along with many of the injured who will never again have normal lives.

There’s no solution I can think of to the growing problem of terrorist attacks in the U.S., exacerbated by some imams’ declaration that killing infidels is more meritorious during Ramadan than at other times. The military option, to bomb ISIS and its allies out of existence, won’t work, for there is widespread sympathy for Islamists’ mission, if not their acts, throughout the Muslim world.  More vigorous surveillance in the U.S. is an obvious thing to do, but it can’t do much against “lone wolf” killers, and it involves profiling (see below). Asking or urging Muslims throughout the world change their ideology is a nonstarter, since much of the motivation for attacks in the U.S. comes from imams and organizations elsewhere in the world, and demonization of gays is widespread throughout the Muslim world (see the 2003 Pew survey on the world’s Muslims, one of whose results I show below):

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Those who claim that Christianity is just as homophobic as Islam should adduce data comparable to that above, remembering to survey all Christians, not just fundamentalist ones. And don’t forget the laws. In a very nice new piece at the Spectator, “Homophobia is now met with the same silence given to anti-Semitism,” Nick Cohen says this:

Given that every Muslim-majority country in the Middle East has anti-gay laws, that along with Islamic State, Iran executes gays, and that homosexuality and cross-dressing are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, Western LGBT people have reason to be frightened that there will soon be police officers outside gay clubs as well as synagogues. At the very least, they are entitled to ask for a frank discussion of murderous homophobia.

. . . To take the example of Britain, to stick with my country, liberal Muslims, receive astonishingly little support, while Muslim homophobes are knighted . Anyone who takes on Christian or Jewish homophobia, meanwhile, will be accused of militant atheism or anti-Semitism by the religious, and with tampering with the natural order by anti-gay conservatives.

Most people do not want the trouble. They shy away, and look for the exit. Hardly anyone has noticed, but as gay people become targets, not just conservatives but the pseudo-left is giving signs it wants to abandon them, as it has already abandoned Jews and Muslim liberals.

Finally, while American Muslim organizations are issuing condemnations of the shootings in Orlando, which is great, it’s not America where the impetus to kill originates. By and large, it’s not American Muslims who need to affirm their opposition to violent Islamism.

Before I list a few questions these shootings raise (and I have no answers to them), I want to mention one thing that upsets me. The first reaction of an empathic person is that we have lost 50 people, and each of those has a network of friends and relatives who will suffer unbearable pain. Most of us have experienced such losses. Now multiply that amount of suffering by fifty, and then again by the average number of friends and loved ones of each of the dead. It’s unfathomable, and worsened because there is no good answer to the inevitable “why him/her?” question.  Yet all too often I’ve seen the very first reaction of Muslims is to worry that this will lead to their further demonization in America. That may well happen, and I’ll decry it if it does, but now is not the time to worry about your own image.

An example is the New Yorker‘s new piece by Robin Wright, which profiles Hena Khan, a children’s book author. Khan’s books, like It’s Ramadan, Curious George, try to defuse bigotry toward Muslims. That’s lovely, but her main reaction seems to be not sorrow for the deaths, but the worry that they will arouse hatred of her group:

On Sunday, Khan woke up and, as is her habit, checked the news on her cell phone before waking her family. It was consumed with the killings at Pulse, the gay night club in Orlando, Florida. “First it was twenty people, then fifty,” she told me. “I thought, Not another shooting! When is this going to stop? This is insanity.

“Then I saw the name,” Khan said, her voice choking back sobs. Omar Mateen, the lone gunman in the largest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11th attacks, in 2001, is an Afghan-American. Khan is Pakistani-American. Both are second-generation. Mateen, who was twenty-nine, was born in New York and later moved to Florida. Khan, who is forty-two, grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and now lives with her husband and two children in the Maryland suburb of Rockville.

“It added a whole new layer of anguish,” she told me. “I bore this tragedy as much as any American, and then to see his name. You can’t even find the words. It’s unbelievable. And during Ramadan! As a Muslim, your heart sinks.”

. . . In the last of several conversations we had over the weekend, Khan said the identification of the shooter as a Muslim had consumed her. “I have this intense fear that it is going to change everything,” she said.

One last opinion before I get to the questions. It seems hypocritical for organizations like CAIR—the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that’s been criticized for ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups, and whose main mission is to minimize every malfeasance committed by Muslims while completely exculpating the religion—to now claim they’re allied with gays, and astoudingly, claim that the cause of gays and of “marginalized” Muslims are one. The New Yorker article quotes Nihad Awad, a spokesman for CAIR, who after saying that ISIS does not represent them (it’s not clear who “them” is, since ISIS certainly represents some Muslims), links homophobia to Islamophobia:

Awad also pledged to stand with the gay community. “For many years, members of the L.G.B.T.Q.I. community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any acts of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization, and discrimination. Today we stand with them shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “The liberation of the American Muslim community is profoundly linked to the liberation of other minorities—blacks, Latinos, gays, Jews, and every other community. We cannot fight injustice against some groups and not against others. Homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia—we cannot dismantle one without the other.”

Beside this statement’s palpable untruth (civil rights for blacks was achieved in the Sixties without linking it to gay rights, which have been achieve much more recently), it’s simply a way to use the killings—almost certainly motivated in part by Islamic doctrine—to advance CAIR’s dubious agenda. If CAIR stands with the gay community—and Jews!—why didn’t it show that before? The musician Ani Zonneveld, founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values, a group described on Wikipedia as “a non-profit organization in the United States with affiliates in Canada, Europe, Chile, Australia and Malaysia, creating inclusive communities that welcome and supports interfaith marriages, gay marriages, gender & sexual minorities, as well as sectarian minorities” put this on her Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 8.34.03 AM

And she’s well familiar with CAIR.

So I have three questions. As I said, I have no firm answers to any of them, but these are what I’ve been pondering, and solicit readers’ thoughts:

Should politicians call out Islamic doctrine as responsible for this and similar attacks? This seems natural to me, but of course politicians have their own agenda, and in America that’s to not even intimate that religion can do anything bad. So, as of this morning both Obama and Hillary Clinton had mentioned that the murder arose from “hate,” and also decried the easy availability of guns (the shooter had recently bought some). But you won’t find a word from either about religion, much less Islam. Yet that has been a potent source of hatred towards gays—it’s one ideology that leads to homophobia. I’m not saying that homophobia wouldn’t exist without religion, but you’d have to be obtuse to see how Islamists’ frequent demonization, murder, and forced transgender surgery of gays can lead to a shooting like the one in Orlando. Omar Mateen’s father claims that his son was driven to murder by the sight of two men kissing, and that the murders “had nothing to do with religion”. But he has a personal interest in exculpating religion, and could Islam possibly be a factor in Omar’s revulsion? For now, I’m dubious about his father’s claims.

I understand Obama’s and Clinton’s positions, but at the same time how can you address a problem if you ignore one of its main roots? And meanwhile, U.S. national security is doing exactly the opposite of what Obama says: investigating Muslims. Which brings us to the next question:

Why, if we shouldn’t profile Muslims at airports, should we profile them in national security investigations?  I am still on the fence about airport profiling of Muslims, though apparently Israel does it and hasn’t yet suffered a terrorist attack. Sam Harris, of course, has been completely demonized for suggesting such profiling. It’s seen as racist, bigoted, and as oppressing a single ethnic group. Yet I have no doubt that such singling-out is precisely what the U.S. government is doing to prevent future terrorist attacks: listening to chatter among Muslims, having operatives in mosques, and so on. This seems to me like a double standard. Now I can see that profiling in airports might be more difficult than eavesdropping and investigating future terrorist plots, but we’re talking about principle, not practice.

What role does “hate” play in this and similar attacks? What we hear everywhere is that this act, and similar terrorist acts, were motivated by hatred. “Stand up against hate,” people say. For example, here’s a bit from   President Obama’s statement on the killings:

Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.

And Hillary Clinton’s tweets from yesterday:

“Hatred” is so much easier to say than “religiously based hatred,” though Americans didn’t have trouble with the latter when Kim Davis refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples!

Everyone speaks as if Omar Mateen really hated gay people.  And perhaps he did, but we have to recognize that hating individuals for their behavior differs from hating the West as a whole for its supposed licentiousness—a major factor in Islamic terrorism. Did the men who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center hate the people they killed? I doubt it. It makes me think of these lines from Yeat’s poem An Irish Airman Foresees His Death:

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;

I haven’t thought this through deeply, but I think there’s a difference between the kind of hate people are bruiting about and much of the “hate” that drives Islamism. And somehow I think it’s important to understand this difference, and to understand as well the role of religion in this whole mess. If we can’t even say the words “Islamic terrorism”, if we can’t admit to ourselves that Islam fosters oppression against gays, women, and “infidels,” leading to their killing, how are we supposed to deal with terrorism?

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  1. ladyatheist
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    If we go back to banning semi-automatic weapons, it won’t matter what someone’s motive is — their ability to commit slaughter will be reduced. We may have another McVeigh in our future, but we’ll have fewer slaughters in schools, movie theatres, bars, and churches.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    If leaders would promote questioning bad ideas, including bad religious ideas, I think that would change the discussion drastically. Right now, religion is still off limits in public discourse, especially public, political discourse.

    I also think there is profiling going on even in airports, it’s just not politically astute to admit to it and yes, there is lots of work being done in investigating Islamists.

  3. Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I agree wholehearedly, and I can say it: this heinous tragedy was an act of Islamic terrorism. As well as hatred and intolerance of western cultures, which largey support the rights of individuals to lead their own lives. Gay people do not “choose” to be gay: they merely are. And have the right to exist in peace.

    • YF
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Even if they do “choose” to be gay, what difference does that make to their “right to exist in peace”?

      Moreover, any adequate theory of religion-inspired violence must explain why most Muslims are non-violent. I think we need to learn more before concluding that this crime was directly motivated by Islamic teachings (i.e., an act of “Islamic terrorism”).

      • Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Possibly because most of them have abandoned (whether they consciously realize it or not) a literal belief in the truth of everything written in their scriptures. The fact that most people who identify as Muslim do not follow all Islamic teachings to the letter, does not necessarily mean that a crime such as this one can not have been directly motivated by Islamic teachings. It could just mean that the specific teachings that motivated it are ones that most Muslims choose to ignore.

        • Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Moreover, this is how it is with almost all religions. Secular humanism is doing almost all the work in guiding peoples’ behavior these days, but people still insist on giving religion the credit.

    • somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      the more traditionalist and rigid and unreformed the religion the more it hates the notion of rights other than community rights to reproduce /expand or at least maintain itself in pre modern pre high technology conditions.

  4. Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t think this an act of terrorism, Islamic or not, because so far there appears to be no evidence of conspiracy. At this point, I see it as an act of a lone criminal motivated by homophobic hate which was no doubt motivated, at least in part, by Islamic religious ideology which fosters such hate.

    • Stuart A Milc
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I agree there’s something about this one that initially made me pause. After learning about the 911 call though and the fact that he had explosives on his body it seems more clear-cut. It’s still complicated though. Hopefully we learn more about this jerk – who he associated with and so on.

      • Historian
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        This is from the National Institute of Justice:

        The search for a universal, precise definition of terrorism has been challenging for researchers and practitioners alike. Different definitions exist across the federal, international and research communities.

        Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

        The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

        Both definitions of terrorism share a common theme: the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal. In most cases, NIJ researchers adopt the FBI definition, which stresses methods over motivations and is generally accepted by law enforcement communities.


        A conspiracy is not necessary for an act to be deemed terrorism. This act was terrorism.

        • Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          Well, I was not focused on the details of the meaning of the word (although I do not think this terrible act meets either the US Code or FBI definitions you cite for terrorism), but that this act was neither directed nor conspired, which I (and perhaps others) think is required for terrorism. In any case, we can certainly agree that it was a terrifying act.

        • phil
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          I don’t agree, on the grounds that are laid out in the last paragraph you quote, “the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal.”

          Maybe I missed something, but I am unaware of any intention to further a political or social goal. I could be wrong, but it seems to me the shooter was mostly just venting his anger and trying kill as many people as he could. I am also sure that he wasn’t very discriminating and probably killed and injured a fair number of hetero people as well.

          • Historian
            Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

            He was a self-professed supporter of ISIS trying to advance at least one of its goals,to kill gays as well as to strike fear into the hearts of the infidels. Probably his hatred of gays was exacerbated by reading ISIS propaganda and being familiar with Islamic theology. Thus, his choice of a gay bar as his target was a combination of personal derangement and adherence to ISIS doctrine.

            It’s his political loyalty to ISIS that makes the attack an act of terrorism.

    • somer
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 4:13 am | Permalink

      Not a conspiracy but carried out by someone with definite jihadist (as in violent jihad against non believers) sympathies.

  5. Stephen
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I think the reason Obama is largely unwilling to call out Islam’s role in this is because he knows it wouldn’t take much to set off a wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in this country (led of course by pious Christians). Americans don’t so nuance and so even if he carefully discussed the difference between Islamic interpretation and so forth all most of our citizenry would hear is “Go get’em boys!”

    • Cindy
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Also called ‘sucking up to Saudia Arabia because oil’

      • mordacious1
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        In the bigger geopolitical picture, the target is Russia (for various reasons). The President and the former Secretary of State are both aware of this and must choose their words more carefully than the Trumpmeister. The goal is to hurt Russia economically until they get back in line. One way to do this, is to reduce the price of oil, which has been fueling their economy for some time now. The Saudis are important allies in keeping the price down, at a large cost to them politically and economically. The least we can do is to not push the “islamic terrorist” line too much. Since everyone knows it’s islamic terrorists, as we are constantly reminded by the Republicans, it’s really not necessary anyway.

        • somer
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink


    • Victoria
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Muslim have killed 3,100 civilians in this country in the name of religion, how many Muslims have been killed in hate crimes/terrorism by non-Muslims here over that same period?

      I’m just tired of politicians like Obama refusing to call a cat ‘a cat’ just because they have an exaggerated fear, bordering on bigotry, of ordinary Americans.

      • Achrachno
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        A couple of million?, by us.

        • phil
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          The crazy thing is that by all accounts I have read the greatest threats muslims face to their peace and life come from other muslims.

        • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          A couple of millions?! After the ill-conceived US-led second Iraq war, most victims there were killed by fellow Iraqi Muslims. Same with Afghanistan – it was not Americans who killed Farkhunda.

  6. Stephen Zeoli
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    From the little that has been reported about the perpetrator of this horrible event, it sounds like he was an emotionally disturbed and violent person (wife beater), which makes me think his tying his actions to ISIS was a justification, and not the genuine motivation for the shooting. Also, this person was investigated for possible terrorist ties, so I don’t see how a higher-level of profiling would have prevented this horror. What would have prevented it was not giving him access to automatic weapons. Period.

    That’s not to say that protecting America from terrorists isn’t an important issue. It just seems to me this case isn’t particularly relevant in that discussion. Of course, more information might emerge, which will prove me wrong.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      He didn’t use an automatic weapon.

      What are the controls on assault-style weapons in France and Belgium? Did these laws prevent terrorists from killing innocent people there?

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Not really comparable. One was an action taken by a well organized and well trained terrorist cell and the other would appear to be an act by one disturbed individual just like the majority of others that have occurred in this country.

        • phil
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          I think other factor at play in the case of Europe is that they share land borders with countries that might provide an easy route for the importation of people and arms to commit terrorist acts. Once inside Europe they are pretty much free to travel to any (European) country they wish.

      • Mark P
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I can’t say for sure that a ban on assault weapons would have prevented this massacre, but I can safely say that things are screwed up when it is much tougher to get a legal abortion in Florida than it is to legally purchase an assault weapon.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Pliny. Also, while France has strict gun laws, Belgium doesn’t. The guns used in France were obtained in Belgium. Not a dissimilar situation to people obtaining guns in states where laws are weak and taking them to states where they’re stronger (which is irrelevant in this case but the point needs to be made).

        • alexander
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Automatic weapons used in France were obtained in Belgium through criminal channels, mainly from eastern Europe. You can’t buy automatic weapons in shops.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            Yes, good clarification.

  7. Diane L.
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Good point that it may not necessarily be the “typical hate” that drives a lot of religiously-motivated terror. Religion often has this pious “we do it because we love” attitude — like the Imam who was recently visiting at an Orlando mosque (or nearby?) speaking softly (on video) about killing gays for their own good. Creepy to watch.

  8. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    we have to recognize that hating individuals for their behavior differs from hating the West as a whole for its supposed licentiousness

    I’m not quite grasping the distinction you’re trying to draw here. What does it mean to hate the West as a whole for its licentiousness, if that licentiousness is not expressed in the behavior of individuals?

    The 9/11 hijackers presumably had no longstanding personal grudges against specific passengers, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that they felt individualized animosity toward those passengers as members of a hated group. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the hijackers were thinking “Too bad I have to kill these blameless innocents to make a political point about their decadent culture.” More likely they were thinking something along the lines of “It is my duty to bring these contemptible infidels the deaths they richly deserve.”

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I agree. And whatever they felt, it had nothing in common with the airman in Yeats’ poem who is reflecting on the irony of an Irishman fighting for the English in a pointless war that would leave his countrymen no happier than before.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Certainly the answer to the first question is yes. Famously said and proven many times is this about war and your enemies. You can never expect to succeed and win if you do not understand what and who it is you are fighting. This leaves the president and Hilary either ignorant of the enemy or in some kind of political denial.

    From the Omaha paper this morning & Washington Post – America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. …So what are you waiting for? This is from Adam Gadahn, an American-born al-Qaida spokesman.

    The other thing that must be said here is another important phrase – We have met the enemy and it is us. Regardless of the initiator of mass murder, the terrorist, or the nut cases with their own diluted causes – this country will never control the volume of mass murder until they eliminate the sale to the public of assault weapons and hand guns.

  10. Cindy
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    That’s lovely, but her main reaction seems to be not sorrow for the deaths, but the worry that they will arouse hatred of her group

    It’s a very nuanced point of view that you have, and you can see it in your own self-description: a “critic of Islam who loathes anti-Muslim bigots.” Walk us through that.

    It’s something that’s hard for people to understand, because they automatically conflate criticism of an ideology sometimes with bigotry toward a people. And I think it’s terms like Islamophobia that actually confuse the matter more. When I talk about anti-Muslim bigotry, I mean specifically generalizing large groups of diverse people. Muslims are a very diverse group, and Islam is an idea. Just like any other idea, it should be open for debate, up for critique. I don’t think there is an issue with people criticizing Islam — there isn’t one with people criticizing Christianity and any other religion, so why is there this unique term for Islam the religion?

    Why do you think that is? Where does that reaction come from?

    I hope it comes from a good place, where people are trying to protect a minority that they feel is persecuted — and it is, in a lot of ways — but in doing so they trample on the rights of minorities within that minority, like women, like the LGBT, like apostates and ex-Muslims, atheists who are called terrorists and killed for disbelieving.


    clickable text

    • Cindy
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Oops ‘clickable text’ should read “GadSaad NotAllDarkAlleys”

  11. geckzilla
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I recently got into a bit of an argument with a Trump sympathizer, or, at least, someone who harbors a lot of animosity toward liberals. He has been denigrating the protesters at Trump’s rallies for a few weeks now, noting that they are violent while no one at the Sanders and Clinton rallies has gotten violent. His motivation is to show that liberals are bad people, so he has therefore deduced that Trump and the message purveyed his dangerous ideology are to be disconnected from the flammable atmosphere present at and around his rallies. Indeed, Trump himself has, at worst, encouraged the violence, and at best, not discouraged it; yet somehow he wants me to believe that Trump’s message has nothing to do with the actions of anyone involved in violence against Trump supporters. Completely ignored is the violence by his supporters. Convenient!

    In a few days following that discussion this attack occurred and we once again see people attempting to disconnect the message of an ideology from the violence of an individual.

    Trump’s opponents no doubt easily see the connection between violence at his rallies and Trump’s message. Meanwhile, many of those same people are trying hard to disconnect Islamic ideology from any sort of violence because they have plenty Muslim friends and want to like Islam. On the flip side, Trump fans will easily connect Islam to violence while denying or at least mitigating Trump’s role in violence at his own rallies.

    Which is it, then? Can an ideology help to provoke violent acts or not? For many, the answer would seem to depend upon one’s own cognitive bias. It’s useful to blame ideology at one moment and then deny it at the nearest convenience. I do think the correlation has a strong chance of being connected to causation. It surely takes a number of factors to raise one of these lone wolves into action, and to me, ideology seems almost certainly an important component this time.

    • jay
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Not to defend Trump but to criticize the way things are handled by the press.

      When discussing the violence at Trump rallies, the press seems to have relatively little to directly throw at Trump except his blunt speech and a couple of incidents like the one old guy who punched a protester which gets referenced over and over again.

      Meanwhile the destructive attacks outside, lighting fires, trashing police cars, attacking Trump supporters as they leave the event, blocking highways, burning American flags while waving Mexican flags sort of gets a pass as people voicing their frustration.

      Interesting (and a bit scary) one of the websites organizing the anti Trump violence is called Jacobin. Ouch.

      • geckzilla
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. It’s a mess to sort through it all. There is a liberal bias in the way press the press handles it, and it’s worth pointing out. I just wish the idea of “fair and balanced” to counter it all wasn’t Fox. I find personal blogs like this one and other close-knit forums are a lot better to hash things out (and possibly even change my mind on things!)

    • somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      But Islam is more than an ideology – its a culture and way of life that billions have followed for hundreds of years – a religion. Of concern is its overall behaviour within and without the west – especially in the last two decades but from so much scriptural and other evidence – based on orthodox views. Ideologies may distort that and part of the argument here seems to be that ideologies like regressive versions of left and populist right are dangerous because they distort issues – but the argument as far as I see it anyway – is for a more middle ground on the left and greater emphasis on secularism and the importance of science, humanist concern for physical well being (unlike Solzenitzyn’s love of the “spiritual” middle ages mired in poo and disease and much valued disdain for baths and the body) and the empirical world for our well being.

      • geckzilla
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Well, yes, it’s not as if there are hard boundaries to define, here. From one Muslim to the next, adherence to a particular aspect of Islam varies, but the ideology, a conservative, traditionalist, authoritarian one, is probably what gives an individual motivation to carry out acts of terrorism. This is strongly at odds with a Muslim who has adopted a more liberal, freedom-based ideology. They may still think queers are wrong while accepting their right to live and not feeling threatened by them.

  12. Jeff Ryan
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “I haven’t thought through this deeply…”

    You can say that again.

    And it is disappointing that you climb on the Republican Trump-Cruz express: “Why can’t you say radical Islamic terrorism”? And what, click your heels three times while you do, and it will magically disappear?

    It seems to me that this has as much to do with homophobia as “radical Islamic terrorism.” This has to do with sex, and that involves very dark matters indeed.

    How about the guy they stopped on his way to the L.A. Gay Pride Parade, the one who had a boatload of guns and ammo? He was from Indiana, and – guess what – he isn’t Muslim! He is a right-wing nutjob, and I suspect he was raised a Christian. Had he not been stopped, we would probably be mourning multiple victims there as well.

    What’s his excuse, since he’s not Muslim?

    I am deeply disappointed in you. You have jumped on the Trump-Cruz train, and it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Your lack of understanding of Islam is also very evident. Many religions are homophobic and Islam is at the top of the list, not only in writing but in action all over the world. So attempting to determine if this Muslim was just a run of the mill terrorist or a hater of gay people…it is all spelled out clearly for you in the book.

      • Jeff Ryan
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        So, what’s James Wesley Howell’s excuse? How does he fit your paradigm, assuming you have one?

        And just who has been stirring up the most hatred for gays in the U.S.? Muslims? Don’t make me laugh.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Howell is likely a good old fashion christian gay hater. As I said, many religions believe in death for gays.

          Stirring up hatred for gays is pretty well known around the world and not exclusive to the U.S. Where all of it comes from is a longer story than I want to spend time listing and what is the point. If you would bother to read my comments at #9 you will see that my issue is the actual problem – guns, not figuring out the nuts who use them to kill.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          Multiple religions teach that gay people deserve death. Yes, in the US most of those are Christian – Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal shared a platform with a religious leader doing just that during the GOP primary. However, Christian leaders aren’t the only ones doin mg it – many imams are doing it too.

          The killer’s father said he was angered by seeing two men kissing, but why should that make someone so angry their response is the murder of dozens? It’s only when you’re indoctrinated by something like conservative religion that such a response is likely.

          Sam Harris said something like, “No one suffers from becoming more reasonable.”

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            but why should that make someone so angry their response is the murder of dozens?

            Some of the comments I was hearing on the radio news earlier – not that it got much coverage – suggested that the reason the shooter reason for getting so het up over seeing two men kissing may have been that he was horny for one of the two men.
            Wouldn’t be the first person to attack gays for being openly and happily (‘gaily’) gay, who turned out to be closeted themselves.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, I’ve suggested something similar in a post I’ve just done.

              I could’ve added that rationale into the post as well.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

                Feel free.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:09 am | Permalink

                Oh, I see the Westboro brats are soiling their nappies (EN_US : diapers?) in public, again.
                I do wonder about their vehemence, and how many of them are really deeply self-closeted. The group is large enough that it’s unlikely that they’re all straight. Dedicated Westboro watchers (now there’s a job no-one would like!) may have noticed suspicious disappearances, but been too polite to intrude on the people’s personal lives. I just did a little hunting around, and there are certainly reported suspicions from ex-Westboro people about their founder.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:43 am | Permalink

                You’d feel sorry for him if it wasn’t for all the hate he spews and the children’s minds he’s warped. Because of religion there’s probably a lot of self-hatred going on.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:07 am | Permalink

                The sympathy is oozing.
                No, sorry, that’s an infected cut from a fight between the bike and a pothole.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      “Why can’t you say radical Islamic terrorism”? And what, click your heels three times while you do, and it will magically disappear?

      No, but recognising the reality of a situation is a good start in then dealing with it.

      It seems to me that this has as much to do with homophobia as “radical Islamic terrorism.”

      But isn’t there a widespread pattern of radical Islamic terrorism, and doesn’t it need recognising and addressing?

      • Jeff Ryan
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        There is a widespread pattern overseas. We of course don’t give a shit, because it’s mostly, you know, Muslims who get killed by the hundreds. Not like, you know, human beings.

        Homegrown terrorism of the non-Muslim variety has long been a pastime over here, but no one really does anything. But I guess that now that there’s been two incidents involving American- born Muslims, we can let the purge begin.

        Meanwhile, we can just cluck about the Dylan Roofs and James Wesley Howells. After all , religion and guns had nothing to do with them, right?

        Funny, though. I haven’t heard any American Muslims howling publicly here about gay people. Seems to be a lot of Christians who are righteously pissed off. I’m sure that had no affect on Howell.

        After all, it’s a Muslim thing, amirite?

        • Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          When a Muslim kills people in accordance with specific teachings of Islam, then yes, it’s a Muslim thing.

          • Jeff Ryan
            Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            I wonder what the chatter would be if Howell hadn’t been arrested, and had actually attacked the Gay Pride parade in L.A. Would we be so fixed on Islam right now?

            It is pretty much a matter of luck that Howell didn’t get through. So everyone will forget about him, even though there is every reason to believe he planned just as much mayhem as Mateen. Yet the airwaves and the Internet are fixated on Mateen and oblivious to Howell.

            I just watched a Republican senator, Ron Johnson, babbling about ISIS and “al Qaeda” as he assured us all of our (non-)right to “keep and bear arms,” and jeez, no we can’t do anything about assault rifles.

            Howell had three assault rifles and bomb-making materials. Maybe he should be applauded for being better prepared than that Muslim guy.

            Maybe we should continue to pretend that this is all about Islam, and nothing to do with the hostility toward gays and homophobia that all religions seem to revel in.

            • Cindy
              Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

              How about we condemn the ideas and actions of those who commit violence against LGBT folks regardless of their religion, instead of engaging in ‘whataboutery’ at every opportunity.

              As ex-Muslim woman Eiynah explained in a quote that I provided further down this page, there are LGBT people within Muslim societies, and they are an oppressed minority within a minority. Let’s not enable Islamists to continue oppressing LGBT and women out of a fear that criticizing Islamic ideas will hurt the precious feelz of those Muslims who hold these views.

            • Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

              Completely irrelevant to this discussion.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              You do not know what that guy was going to do.
              He has done nothing and you are equating him to a mass murderer.

              Your clutching.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

              I meant you’re, and again you saying we have ‘every’ reason to believe something, when we have no reason, speaks to a disturbing way of thinking.

        • darrelle
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Why are you ranting like this here? No one here, in the OP or comments, is obviously guilty of any of your accusations. Basically, you are lying. You are accusing people of things for which there is no evidence here that they are guilty of. Unless you are completely illiterate or dishonest you know that the large majority of people here are critical of any religion, certainly Christianity, and against persecution of any kind against LGBTQ or any other groups. And that a large majority are in favor of more extensive gun control measures in the US.

          So given all that, which is very evident, just WTF is your problem? All your doing is showing your ass. Your best move now would be to apologize. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I think you need to read the article more closely. Jerry said nothing that would suggest he would not condemn non-Muslim aggression against gays.

      And blankly accusing someone of “jumping on the Trump-Cruz bandwagon” is identity politics rather than constructing an argument. And even if you did try to construct such an argument I think it would fall apart instantly — Cruz accepted an endorsement from a pastor who thought gays should be executed by the state, and Trump wants to ban all Muslims.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry that I deeply disappointed you, and I suggest you go elsewhere since you’re so disappointed. As you surely know if you read here, I loathe Trump, Cruz, and all the Republican candidates.

      And I’m deeply disappointed in your palpable failure to realize that different people can be homophobic for different reasons, or different ideologies, but that Islam is an ideology that, more than any other religion, demonizes gays. As Cohen pointed out every Muslim-majority country in the Middle East has laws against being gay. European countries (and Israel) don’t. Nor do we execute gays.

      You have jumped on the “I’m not going to see anything bad about religion” bandwagon, and it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

      I don’t give a rat’s patootie if you’re disappointed, because your argument is specious. It leads to the conclusion that religion can’t lead people to do anything bad that they wouldn’t otherwise. That’s ludicrous.

    • Victoria
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      You slur Professor Coyne and reduce this issue to cheap Red-Blue tribalism.

      The guy in L.A. may have been a gun nut incidentally going to Pride as a participant, i.e. he may be gay. Sure that’s weird, but “right-wing nutjobs” can be openly gay too these days.

      The claim he intended violence is, for now, based on a tw**t by a different law enforcement agency, which was disavowed as “miscommunication” by the arresting agency. I understand thought that Islam apologists desperately seek an equivalency there. I’ll wait for solid information, thanks.

      “I suspect he was raised a Christian”

      Translation: even if he intended an act of terror, there won’t be statement of faith comparable to a pledge to ISIS, so you need to, again, build a fallacious equivalency.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      According to news reports, the guy called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS! So you’re saying that has no significance?

      • Cindy
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Apparently he had an accomplice…

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          His (second) wife?

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      You don’t know what he was going to do.
      The police don’t know what he was going to do.
      He was bi, with a male boyfriend, with no animosity toward gays, or anyone.
      What evidence do you have that he was going to do anything except participate in the parade?

      It’s America. People have guns. Saying he probably would have been a mass murderer is irresponsible and speaks to some ideological bias.

      And lack of ‘deep thought’.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    FBI Director James Comey just made a statement in which he addressed “our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

    Would that J. Edgar Hoover were alive to hear this and to choke on his own self-loathing bile.

    • Kevin
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      That gives a smile for the morning. The long journey to reason and mutual respect. It gives me great pleasure to note my children have no prejudices to anyone because of some ideologies.

  14. jay
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Interesting, it is coming out that he also scouted Disney world sites, which would suggest that his motives were not purely homophobic.

    Probably an easy target. Welcome to the brave new world where you get searched and retina scanned wherever you go.

  15. W.Benson
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia’s “List of Massacres in the United States” gives 7-8 massacres between 1800 and 1930 with 50 or more deaths.
    It is always a good idea to check ‘facts’ reported by mainstream media. The worst mass shooting of which I am aware happened at Mountain Meadow, Utah in 1857.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Technically speaking, the Mountain Meadow massacre took place in the Utah territory, rather than the United States proper.

      If you want to count US territories, I hear tell there were some sizable mass shootings in the US territory of Guam back in ’44.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Q#1) I am not convinced one can really pinpoint a “true” Islam as opposed to a “false” Islam, though one might be OK with talking about “modernist” (or “liberal”) vs. “fundamentalist” Islam. Commentators could try blaming terrorism on “fundamentalist” Islam, though that has the side-effect of indirectly demonizing Christian fundamentalists. Perhaps “militant Islam” or “dominionist Islam”, then. Politicians could distinguish “modernist Islam” from “militant dominionist Islam”. Than might be a start.

    q#2) The most principled of Sam Harris’ opponents on racial profiling was Bruce Schneier, an expert an security who opposed SH’s position on mainly pragmatic grounds arguing it was ineffective. However, naturally the folks who were shocked at Sam on mainly PC grounds rallied behind Schneir in what one suspects would be in a knee-jerk way. But if one wants a sharp discussion on the topic, the online debate between SH and Mr. Schneier might be a place to start.

    Q#3) “Hate” is wayyy too nebulous and vague a term. It’s a bit conceptually lazy to slap a label of “hate” on anti-social actions because it means so many different things. The word “oppression” is already almost as over-used by the Left as is the word “treason” on the Right. This could easily happen also with the word “hate”.

    Christian scholars are fond of pointing out that Greek had 4 verb-words for “love” denoting friendship, affection, erotic attraction, and compassion respectively, and note English is impoverished by having nouns for these feelings but only one verb, “love”. (Technically, “friend” has become a verb since the advent of Facebook but that doesn’t count.)

    Now I would add the our language needs (at least) 4 verbs and nouns for a varieties of hate. “Bigotry” might be a start.

    • somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Orthodox Islam is fundamentalist – some people just don’t really practice it. For too long we’ve had various groups telling us whats “moderate” Islam and the “moderate” islam turns out to be not “moderate” or its really not orthodox at all, but a marginal variant.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure I’m that worried about demonizing fundamentalist Christians along with fundamentalist Muslims. Both have very similar ideologies of hate towards certain groups and poor treatment of others.

      The Internet is full of fundamentalist Christians screaming that gay people deserve death. The are only two reasons it doesn’t happen more often with Christians – there is no teaching that you get special treatment in heaven for waging war against gays, and they know their community would disavow them if they actually did murder anyone.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        I’d be worried about a public politician demonizing Christian fundamentalists. I’m less worried if it emerges in the rhetoric of a private pundit.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Good point. I can’t think of any situation where a politician should demonize any group.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            … apart from their political opponents.
            Shortly before getting into bed with them – literally or metaphorically.

  17. Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Barney Frank is not afraid to talk about the “islamic element”.

  18. Jeff Lewis
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Assuming these stats are correct:

    That’s the reason I’m not too enamored with profiling Muslims – it misses too many other people. The vast majority of mass shooting casualties in the U.S. were killed by non-Muslim attackers. When it comes to terrorism specifically, Muslim extremists still account for a higher percentage of attacks than their makeup of the population, but from 2002 – 2015, they accounted for only about 1/3 of deaths due to terrorism in the U.S. Profiling risks tunnel vision – going after one danger while ignoring others, while also threatening the Constitutional rights of all the non-extremist Muslims.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Interesting, I hadn’t seen those figures before. But I have to disagree: I think those figures provide support for why profiling could be a good idea. Muslims account for 1% of the US population. Yet Islamic jihadists account for 1/3 of terrorism deaths? That is a shockingly disproportionate figure.

      • Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Yes, this “cost-benefit analysis” actually suggests profiling.

  19. darrelle
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    1) I am not sure, but I think a leader does need to take into consideration what affects their words may have much more so than typical citizens. I can appreciate that the president might need to not openly criticize Islam in an effort to try and prevent fostering certain attitudes within government and the private sector. But. I am sure that leaders should not be constantly defending Islam from criticism. I think something like “certain extremist sects of Islam are a problem, but let us take care not to persecute Muslims as a group.”

    2) On profiling, I tend to think that we should apply the scientific method to determine what markers work best to identify threats. If it turns out that being Muslim is an important marker in finding real threats then it should be used, and if it isn’t it shouldn’t. I am willing to listen to arguments for why doing so even under those circumstances, i.e. that it is shown empirically to be effective, would be a bad idea. It is not clear to me that this would be unethical or necessarily lead down a slippery slope to persecution. If it were white supremacists I would think that white and Christian would be two obvious markers to test.

    3) Personal hatred of a specific individual by another is, I think, without question different than a general hatred of groups of people. The latter is much more dangerous. Whether hatred is important in acts like this one? Isn’t it always? Isn’t engendering that type of hatred exactly what the “othering” of other groups, as has been done by authority figures of all types throughout human history, is intended to achieve? It is the first step in getting people to do things to others that they believe would be unethical to do to people within their in-group. And the desert dogmas are all about exactly this. And currently Islam is integral (defining even) to all aspects of Muslim culture and politics to a very high degree.

  20. John Taylor
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see an article like this in the mainstream news:

  21. somer
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I feel its necessary to counter the righteous mindset that is context free, anti materialist and anti humanist. This exists particularly in religion but unfortunately hardline ideologies ape it.

    religion is a system of morality and righteousness as well as ideas – need to assert that valuing context and material inputs is what matters. Ie According to what is possible in a given circumstance always seeking to improve or at least not damage material outcomes in terms of opportunities and standards of life, including minimal subordination and oppression (itself a form of resource harvesting or conservation, or sexual pressure). Religion is not interested in material well being of individuals because its concerned with sexual propagation and expansion of the society in harsh traditional circumstances – perhaps necessary in pre modern times but shouldn’t be in technological age. This conformity punishes curiosity and new knowledge. Religion asserts this otherworldly concern with itself is spiritual and sacred. Filth and massive disease in the middle ages was spiritual and sacred because Christianity told people not to wash – that was unholy concern with the physical body.

    Religions are based on metaphysics and myths and secular ideologies, rest on abnegation of biological resources and reduction of resources to one factor – e.g. Money versus human labour. In reality human societies are built around the struggle for the biological necessities of healthy/maintained societies both reproductively and broader material resource wise. Social Moral systems, cultures and religions get invented to suit the needs of groups and societies in achieving this – depending on the circumstances, which can change at least in the details.
    However belief systems often become entrenched and are viewed as having more worth than any sort of humanity Thats why grand principles usually wind up being anti humanist in application.

  22. Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    “Yet all too often I’ve seen the very first reaction of Muslims to worry that this will lead to their further demonization in America. That may well happen, and I’ll decry it if it does, but now is not the time to worry about your own image.”

    Perhaps you are not a member of any group that, based on experience, fears bigoted attacks. What you describe here is reflexive, and won’t not-happen because society at large does not approve — so what is important is not that someone had that feeling, but what the person who had that feeling does next.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      “Perhaps you are not a member of any group that, based on experience, fears bigoted attacks”.

      Oh god, really?

    • Kevin
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Any person who is a member of the human race can have experiences of bigotry.

      If the entire world were one race, one color, no religion, there would still be the outstanding competitive differentiation of kin selection, not to mention people disliking each other for the beer they drink or the music they lionize.

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you are not a member of any group that, based ased on experience, fears bigoted attacks.


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      In case you’re confused, multiple studies show that the most hated group in the US isn’t always Muslims – atheists give them a good run for their money more often than not.

  23. ascanius
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    After the Enlightenment the West developed a strong secular culture which keeps Christianity’s most barbaric impulses in check.

    Otherwise Christians would still be torturing and executing homosexuals just as they did throughout most of their history, which included castration, hanging and burning.

    Islam has not yet benefited from such a strong secular counterweight.

    Christianity is intrinsically as viciously anti-homosexual as Islam is.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      In fact, chemical castration continued as a punishment for male homosexuality well into the 20th century.

      • Alexander
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Alan Turing is an example.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          He is and has been pardoned and had an apology.
          Late yes, but there.

          • Alexander
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            Pardoned? His homosexuality was forgiven? Is this Anglican Church speak?

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

              The pardon overturned Turing’s criminal conviction on the charge of “gross indecency”.

  24. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The death toll should stay at 50. The shooter is a victim also of the deadly religious ideology of Islam. Had he not been indoctrinated in it as a child, he would not have been susceptible to the blandishments of online Islamists to commit this atrocity as his religious duty.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      There are apparently videos online of his father ranting about the Pakistan/Afghanistan mutual hatred and supporting his former compatriots. So he may have grown up in an environment where violence and non-direct retaliation were normalized also.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        It’s probably safe to assume that, like that rapist swimmer from Stanford, he had a shit example in his father.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


  25. Vaal
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Some are cautioning that the massacre may be more driven by homophobia than religion.
    It is reported that (shooter) Mateen was enraged upon seeing some homosexuals kissing.

    His father is quoted as saying “I don’t think religion or Islam had anything to do with this.”

    Yet in the very same interviews, Mateen’s father declared “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality,”

    Gee…I wonder where Mateen picked up his homophobia?

    • Somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      yes. cognitive dissonance much?

  26. Martin Weiss
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This killing brings two questions; Is the premise that investgative proceedures can prevent these acts defensible? Do the proceedures used by the FBI to investigate potential killers need rethinking? The reports about the killer after his being cleared by the FBI suggest otherwise. Not at all clear how to combat lone wolf killers except by exposure and investigation

    • darrelle
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps if we had a gun registration system efficient enough that within minutes to hours new gun purchase applications are saved into the federal database and the identity automatically checked against a forbidden list? And perhaps this person should have been on that list? At least in a category of “need to check this person out again before authorizing the sale?”

      I don’t understand the issue people have with the government having a giant list of people who own guns. I suppose that isn’t quite right. I understand what they say, it just doesn’t seem to correspond to any relevant real world concerns worth the disadvantages of not having such a list. Not even close.

      • Kevin
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        There are internet Whitepages that will tell me who lives in what house with relatively good accuracy. I want this feature to be extended to gun owners.

        Click on a house and it tells me this or that person owns a gun.

        Truth is, it does not take long to figure which of one’s nearest neighbors own guns, just like everyone in the neighborhood knows who owns the Toyota SUV and who drives the beat up Subaru. To me there is just as much infringement in one’s privacy to know that stuff as it is to know if one owns a gun.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps if we had a gun registration system efficient enough

        Why does a gun registration system need to be particularly efficient? If it takes a month or two for your application to buy a gun to be processed and cleared by the police, so what? You still shouldn’t get your weapon until after the police background checks have been passed, your gun locker inspected, and your training record checked.

        • darrelle
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          One step at a time. Right now there is no gun registration and plenty of gun types that don’t require any waiting period.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            Yep. And also, it would seem, no where near enough political will to see anything done to ameliorate the problem. Indeed, to recognise the problem as a problem.
            Until some politician loses his seat over this sort of thing, nothing is going to happen.

            • darrelle
              Posted June 15, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

              Yeah. It is a serious mess. Enough USians have this strange attitude that the US is different in some unique way such that gun control measures that have worked in other countries just won’t work here for some reason.

              For example, every single time I have ever mentioned in a gun control discussion how Australia changed pace from a gun culture similar to the US to one more similar to the UK in just a few years the no-gun control proponent has just claimed that no, nothing like that could ever work here. But they never seem to be able to clearly state why they think such measures could never work here. Just some intrinsic property of the USian soul I suppose.

              Then there are the serious nutters that believe the NRA hardline and think countries that have more strict gun control measures are commie hell holes (or something like that) peopled by wimpy sheeple that have surrendered their manhood to their governments.

              I’ve had a neighbor who required his children, the boys only, to spend a certain amount of time every day playing 1st person shooter games starting at about 4 years old and gave them their 1st guns by about 6. I’ve worked with a guy who rushed out to buy an AK-47 and the parts to make it fully auto, with the help of a police officer friend, when their were rumors that a new law may be passed that would close all gaps allowing acquisition of AK-47s. The same person rushes out to load up on ammo just about every time a major event sparks a flurry of gun control talk. I am sure he is, or will be, buying ammo right about now due to this Orlando atrocity. He must have a metric ton of ammo stashed away by now. They are fricking everywhere in this country.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

                I’ve had a neighbor who required his children, the boys only, to spend a certain amount of time every day playing 1st person shooter games starting at about 4 years old and gave them their 1st guns by about 6.

                That woudn’t be “Big Mike” the crane operator? Nice guy, but … I never once intended to take him up on his standing offer to visit him in Louisiana and learn to shoot.

              • darrelle
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

                I don’t thing I know “Big Mike,” but I bet I’ve run into his cousin before.

  27. revelator60
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    “Should politicians call out Islamic doctrine as responsible for this and similar attacks?”

    They should call out extremist Islamic doctrine. We should also keep in mind that many people in this country have genuine hate and fear toward Muslims, and we don’t want to throw them red meat and risk retaliatory hate crimes against American Muslims.

    “Why, if we shouldn’t profile Muslims at airports, should we profile them in national security investigations?”

    Airport profiling is impractical and easier said than done (if you think security lines are long now…) and I should point out that since 9/11 the US has not lost any planes to terrorists. If the government follows leads from actual terrorist organizations back to stateside Muslims, then it has a cause to follow those suspicious individuals. But ethnic profiling in general has rarely worked out well–just ask African Americans.

    “What role does ‘hate’ play in this and similar attacks?”

    The New York Times reports that “A former co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, said Mr. Mateen had talked often about killing people and had voiced hatred of gays, blacks, women and Jews.”
    So hatred was certainly an enabler and it was almost certainly bolstered and justified (in his mind) by religious feeling.

    • Cindy
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      They should call out extremist Islamic doctrine. We should also keep in mind that many people in this country have genuine hate and fear toward Muslims, and we don’t want to throw them red meat and risk retaliatory hate crimes against American Muslims.

      The problem is, even mild criticism of Islamic IDEAS is perceived by the regressive left as being hate speech. Words are violence and Islamists are a protected class!

      The reason that the rape of underage girls went on for years in Roterham is because of extreme PC-culture – people were afraid of being accused of racism and Islamophobia. So they did nothing. And the abuse occurred year after year. Because signalling one’s virtue as an anti-racist is more important than preventing the systematic exploitation of another minority group.

      And would someone who speaks German please take a look at this article:

      Apparently some German girls did not report sexual harassment by Islamic migrants because they did not want to be accused of being racist.

  28. Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  29. Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    First, the questions. Then a post script.

    Q1: Yes! The is the major flaw in US Foreign policy in regard to the Middle East and Islamic countries around the world. Our “sensitivity” toward giving religion a free pass from any accountability simply because some hold particular ideas sacred is madness.
    Islam and government are inseparable from an Islamic view, most often in countries that have Muslim majorities. This forces our diplomatic effort into some Schizophrenic paroxysm of ignoring real behavior and its motivation from any consequence that would otherwise immediately arise in any other instance.

    Q2: The idea of “defending/preventing” something from happening in a free society before it happens degrades personal freedoms immediately. Defending the “homeland” [I despise that term] will require an apparatus so large, it will eventually grow larger than the populace its designed to “protect”.

    Airports need to develop predictive paradigms for personal behavior and that will inevitably overlap with what would be considered profiling. You can’t have one without the other.

    One could implement unpopular things to increase safety. Eliminate all cargo from passenger flights, for instance. That cuts the screening by half. Require passengers to wear a uniform provided for them by the carrier. Screen everyone [including flight staff] for explosives before embarking would also enhance security. Well we’d all have to weigh profit in there somewhere too. What is really valuable to a society always dictates the final outcome.

    Q3: “Hate” and “terrorism” are destined to be so overused as to render them meaningless. Are we there yet…?
    Gays will always [for the foreseeable future] be “icky” to society. It’s healthy to be able to admit that. I include those who are supportive of homosexuals being treated with dignity and respect and a percentage of gays themselves. It’s a spectrum from mild personal discomfort to “not on my planet”. It’s part of the human condition. We’re just going to have to grow up and get along. I’m not sure when that will be.

    P.S. I’m very grateful for the people who are empathetic and kind. Thanks for not othering us, thanks for supporting environments that are prosperous for everyone. I’ve lived long enough to see the progress I never dreamed possible as a young man. I can live honestly now. I couldn’t then.
    You’ve made that possible. If I were Oprah, I’d give you all a car.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Defending the “homeland” [I despise that term]

      Would “die Vaterland” sound any better?

      Airports need to develop predictive paradigms for personal behavior

      Two questions for the practical psychologists :
      – Is that actually possible, and if so, what are the false positive and false negative rates?
      – Is the level of training equivalent to an undergraduate course (3-4 years), a “masters” (4-5 years) or post-doctoral work in experimental or practical psychology? And how many years would it take to produce enough suitably experienced people to provide 24×7 cover at every airport in the country (minimum of 4 staff / line ; 3 on 8-hour shifts and one on their “weekend”)?
      Personally, I suspect that by the time you’ve spent the time training thousands of people to the appropriate level in experimental psychology, at least 50% of them will get jobs in market research for higher pay and less chance of being shot or spat on at work.

      • Posted June 15, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        “die Vaterland”
        Why yes, I’d think I could embrace that right after I trim my mustache.🙂
        I suppose given the goverment’s predilection for using people trained past their maximal level of incompetence, your scenario would be likely. It’s been happening in the air corps since VNam. Trained combat pilots fleeing to the safety of commercial airlines, and getting the fatted calf, so to speak.
        It is possible, the security services have been using them since 2006 or so. I can’t speak to their effectiveness.
        I know who I’d hire. That Nun at Parochial School, the one with the eyes in the back of her head. Her ability to head off my youthful high spirited hijinks was uncanny. All she needed was to rest in the bosom of Jesus at night.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          The nun with the rear-facing eyes – did she have a picture of the Pope hanging on the blackboard where you could see it all the time? One with a glass front?

          • Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            Heh. This was so long ago, I don’t think they’d invented glass yet…

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

              Hmm, nuns 5000+ years ago. Obviously not Christian nuns. And I’m told that the [ahemmm] female acolytes of Marduk and Co. had … habits. Would have been an education though, that’s for sure.

              • Posted June 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

                This Nun had a “habit” of crackin me with a stick. Beat the dust offa me like an old carpet.
                Interesting that glass goes that far back.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, we had that from the state teachers too.

  30. Newton Newt
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Its wrong to say that all Muslim countries have repressive laws against LGBTs. There are at least 9 Muslim countries where being gay is legal (

    In fact, Turkey decriminalized homosexuality as far back as 1858

    • Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I believe I said all Muslim-majority countries in the MIddle East. If you count Turkey as being in the Middle East, then it’s the one exception. Here’s the map:

    • Jeremy Tarone
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Turkey, once an example of moderate Islam has started down the path to extremism, along with many other once tolerant countries.
      There are many Muslim countries where the law says one thing but what happens is another.
      Turkey has been used as an example of women having freedom too, but that is changing too. Areas where women require a male relative to go outside, shop or whatever are growing.

      Fifty years of Saudi Arabia exporting their extreme brand of Islam around the world has changed many countries, and not for the better.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      There is still a very high percentage who think it is immoral.

  31. Posted June 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I used to be against any form of profiling, largely on ideological grounds, but I’ve changed my mind over the years. As darrelle said above, doesn’t it make good sense to look for the markers most associated with risk and treat those? Why cast a random or uniform net when you have additional information to optimize your search?

    That sounds clinical and a bit heartless, I know, but the thing is we are perfectly used to accepting this in the context of personal insurance. How is security profiling any more discriminatory than charging different groups of people different rates on their auto, home, or health insurance? Insurance companies have always charged people different rates depending on their age and sex, two intrinsic traits that are (mostly) beyond an individual’s control. They also charge different rates depending on where you live, which is arguably a proxy for race. And health insurance rates definitely take into account ethnicity.

    Even just allowing security profiling on the basis of age and sex I think would go a long way toward a more efficient system. Most people who pose a security risk fall within that male, age 18-35 category. Why shouldn’t we focus our attention on that group? (Incidentally, that’s a group I am a member of.)

    Profiling based on skin colour or religion takes things a step further. I understand the fears associated with promoting such a plan, but if the point is to have an effective security body, then I think profiling needs to be a part of that. What we also need however is better training for security personnel. There should be a way for security personnel to be more respectful and professional than they are now (I’m specifically thinking of the TSA here). Putting more professional security officers out there could help to alleviate some of the well-founded fears about creating a persecutory racial or cultural environment.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I appreciate the logic of profiling, but it still seems wrong to me and I am not yet on board with it. In a society where profiling is done openly (it seems to be done covertly now), then middle-Easterners will in truth be marginalized. More people will feel they have tacit permission to discriminate against them in other ways. It will happen more often at traffic stops, at applications for employment, and in housing.

      • Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        That is definitely the major problem with profiling: that it can create a broader culture of discrimination. It’s hard to see exactly how to prevent that. Certain legislation could minimize the effects in formal situations, but that won’t address the cultural realities.

        Because of this, I’m not sure that security profiling should be extended to skin colour and/or religion. However, I think it’s important to recognize that if we’re going to allow any kind of profiling, then the line we draw between what’s allowed and what isn’t is somewhat arbitrary.

        I am definitely in support of profiling based on age and sex. I’m less sure about those other factors. It’s unclear if the benefits would outweigh the costs.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s basically Sam Harris’ s argument that he’s so vilified for, but it makes sense. There are only limited resources and it makes sense to direct them where they’ll do the most good. If there’s a choice between checking more thoroughly a 90 year old woman in a wheelchair and a 25 year old man who’s spent the last six months living in the back blocks of Afghanistan, it’s ridiculous to choose the woman just for the sake of political correctness.

      • Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        I agree. I am by far a more reasonable person to submit to security procedures than my 70 year old mother. I would like to see the current security system reflect that.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      I’m not clear on how profiling by religion is supposed to work. Passports don’t (and shouldn’t) specify religious affiliation, and even if they did, terrorists could use phony passports.

      So presumably TSA screening agents will have to guess at a passenger’s religion, based on what? Name, clothing, hairstyle? All can be changed or faked.

      So it seems like profiling by “religion” basically comes down to skin color. If that’s what we’re talking about, we should be forthright about it, but frankly I don’t think that idea’s going to get much traction.

      • Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes, profiling by religion amounts to profiling by proxy, i.e. looking at a person’s clothes, belongings, and skin colour. I’m not sure this is a wise thing to do, but I do think some level of profiling should be incorporated into current security procedures (see my above reply to Mark).

    • jeremyp
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      If you focus your attention on one specific group, the terrorists will start using people who do not fall into it. If you stop and search even male between 18 and 35 with a funny sounding name, the terrorists will start using women or children or white men or old people.

      Plus you antagonise the people you are profiling. The main reason why the USA is a target of the jihadists is that it is widely perceived in the Middle East that the USA is waging a war on Islam. What better way is there to confirm this to Muslim US citizens than by persecuting them in airports?

      • darrelle
        Posted June 15, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        This doesn’t seem like a very strong argument to me. I don’t think being searched by TSA at the airport quite falls into the category of persecution. I am positive that whatever category it does fall into that neither support of terror attacks or the conclusion that war is being waged on Islam are reasonable responses. I can’t think of a single good reason to allow fear of other peoples possible irrational responses, by itself, guide policy. The metrics should be, is the policy effective, is the policy legal within the context of more general existing law and, related to that, is it ethically acceptable.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          “is the policy effective”

          Both jeremyp and I have given reasons why it probably wouldn’t be. Whatever criteria you use (apart from skin color), terrorists can easily change their appearance to blend in with the crowd.

          “is it ethically acceptable”

          I think most people would say that it’s not acceptable to profile purely on the basis of skin color. And by any other criterion, you’re in the position of focusing extra scrutiny on a group that, as a result of that scrutiny, is very likely to contain fewer terrorists than the population at large. So that seems ethically dubious as well.

          “irrational responses”

          It’s not at all irrational for members of the targeted group to raise objections such as these, and to resent being singled out purely for the sake of ineffective security theater.

          • darrelle
            Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            Either I haven’t made my thoughts clear or you are pulling a bait and switch.

            Regarding “I haven’t made my thoughts clear,” my comment was directed only at jeremyp’s 2nd paragraph, which I didn’t make clear. I agree with the argument he presents in his first paragraph.

            On the bait and switch, I didn’t say anything like it was irrational for people of a group targeted for extra scrutiny by TSA at the airport to raise reasonable objections. I clearly said that such people responding with support for terrorism or concluding that war is being waged on Islam are being irrational.

            And to clarify, just in case, by war I mean a threat that warrants support of deadly force, such as terrorism, as a response. That interpretation of war seems like the valid one when someone claims that if Muslims are preferentially targeted for screening then more US Muslims will become convinced that the US is waging war on Islam and that the reason we are a target of jihadists is because of the already common perception among Muslims in the Middle East that we are waging war on Islam.

            And my point was, and still is, that fear of that is not, by itself (as I said), a good reason not to profile Muslims to try and curtail terrorism. Much better to drop that bad argument and instead stick to arguments about how it would not be effective, not be legal and or not be ethical.

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted June 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

              You also said “I don’t think being searched by TSA at the airport quite falls into the category of persecution.” I took that to be among the “irrational responses” you were referring to, and that’s what I was responding to. Sorry if I misread you.

              • darrelle
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

                I could have been clearer. It is always a challenge to write, or even say, what I really wish to convey. Sometimes I cringe when I go back and read past comments I’ve written.

  32. somer
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    1. Should politicians call out Islamic doctrine as responsible for this and similar attacks?

    Yes except the fact that almost no one anywhere on any side of politics does so is telling. Trump is an exception – and the isolated PM in other countries – but its rare and at times of terror crisis I think Trump would most likely do the same too.
    I suspect the reason is that Muslim countries can cause too much havoc to the West if Islam is openly criticised By Heads of State. All the Muslim countries can be difficult. Look at Turkey and Europe. Some have nuclear weapons – like the Saudi’s adjutant, Pakistan. The Saudis with their now global islamist network could openly send waves of terrorist attacks from no doubt 100s of sources and can’t be checked because they have Mecca and Medina and Muslims would go nuts. Oil is a secondary now – the US is well on the way to oil self sufficiency

    2. Why, if we shouldn’t profile Muslims at airports, should we profile them in national security investigations?

    I suspect airport profiling would cause a huge amount of resentment and ongoing outcry– especially as the most likely culprits of all – the most conservatively dressed – would get the most treatment. I wonder if the special indignation would be worth it

    Even if the US or western airports do profile search, overseas airports will not – and a terrorist could still get on board from overseas on a plane bound for a western country.

    Random allocation of full scans/checks is still a deterrent. Of course the Israeli system is fail safe, but the danger for Israel is many times greater and it is never going to be accepted by the Islamic world anyway.

    I guess my concerns are mainly cultural – perhaps its necessary to keep some good will to use in a mixture of pressure and encouragement for existing and new migrant Muslims to adopt a more secular perspective. Otherwise necessary to combat regressive left – by saying we are fair and you have to be realistic.

    3. What role does “hate” play in this and similar attacks?

    Don’t agree the shooter didn’t hate gays – he had such an aversion to them he wanted to kill them. His religious and cultural/family beliefs led him to feel both deep disturbance and disgust at them (by the fathers own description) which readily becomes form of hate – angry aversion and a desire to remove the disturbance – in this case he actually decided to go on a shooting spree.
    Hate as used by the President here is something of a political weasel word to indicate unspecified ill will or aggression from someone or something – something deplorable done without blaming anyone. Not necessarily bad thing – not indulging in name calling or calling for destructive vengeful action. And we all know who this fellow hated – gays.

    • somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Re 1.
      Also not so keen on the idea of one whole religious class of people getting publicly profiled

  33. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    “There’s no solution I can think of to the growing problem of terrorist attacks in the U.S., exacerbated by some imams’ declaration that killing infidels is more meritorious during Ramadan than at other times.”

    I would suggest a first step would be assassinating any Imam who calls for killing Westerners. Anywhere in the world.
    They should pay a price.
    Including Western Imams who call for murdering of Westerners, atheists, Hindus, moderates or liberals. Where ever they are.

    This is a war. In war, commanders and officers are legitimate targets. The difference here is those Imam’s who are not extremist will not be targeted. Those who are, will be.

    • somer
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      that would just be a formula for escalating reciprocal terrorism everywhere

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes. And sinking to the same level as the terrorists is an appalling idea. Assassinating someone for what they say, no matter how terrible, is murder and no different to what the terrorists are doing.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      This is not war, unless one wants to use the term very broadly and then we have more ‘wars’ than we can deal with.
      The reason why we don’t seek to rub out leaders, except in real war, is that that gives our enemies permission to do the same to us. Same for torturing prisoners (which is why, btw, we should be nervous right now — Thanks G. Bush!!) It is best to keep these Pandoras in their boxes.

      • Jeremy Tarone
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        It’s not war?
        I must be living in some other world. They seem to think we are at war. They keep saying so, and proving it by killing people all over the world. And Western countries seem to be funnelling a lot of money into war, for something that isn’t a real war.
        The gay bar was just one event. Another Jihadist group murdered a Canadian hostage. They were going to use his ransom to fund the purchase of war materials so they can continue their war.

        There are many different kinds of wars. Just because this one doesn’t meet modern definitions of mass slaughter and nation against nation doesn’t mean we are not at war, or it isn’t a “real” war.
        Real people are dead, real people with real families, real parents, and real children, all mourning for them.

        For those concerned with escalation, or pandora’s box:
        Jihadists are trying their best to get nuclear weapons. When they get them they will use them. Have no doubt of that.
        ISIS and every other jihadist organization is using every manner of war machine they can get that they have the expertise to use.
        They use tanks and torture, acid and artillery, cutting off women’s and men’s noses. They burn men and women alive in cages. They use every barbaric method they can have have thought of. To suggest we not open pandora’s box, or not kill those who want to kill us because of escalation is absurd. They do everything they can already, and are growing around the world. More Muslim countries are going fundamentalist and extremist. They have been for fifty years, as long as Saudi Arabia has been exporting extremism, madrassas and extremist Imams.

        I’m not suggesting we kill innocent civilians.
        It’s not immoral to kill soldiers in an army, including those soldiers who are ordering the deaths of innocent civilians. I’d suggest not doing so is immoral. Imams calling for the murder of any and all Westerners are every bit a part of the jihadist war machine.

        Murder and assassination seems to be a very good way of preventing liberal Muslims from speaking out, and the jihadists and extremists are very happy to use that method to keep them silent and cowed.
        It appears to be a technique that is working very well for the jihadists and extremists.

        As for the suggestion by Helen Hollis that we would make them martyrs, this is already the case with every Jihadist that is killed. It’s made no difference. They use anything and everything done by the West as propaganda. The West gives food for aid, and they are trying to poison Muslims and make them dependent on the West. The West stops a genocide of Muslims, and the West didn’t act fast enough, they must hate all Muslims. The West doesn’t act at all, and the West hates Muslims. The West does act, and they say the West is trying to take over Muslim lands. No matter what we do or do not do it is turned against us.

        We can’t not do what is needed because jihadists lie and turn everything into a negative. They do that regardless.

        Besides Islam already has a prophet. I don’t believe they care about another Christ figure, martyred in their name or not. Theirs is supposed to be the last one, as they take over the world in his name.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Your idea would result in glorifying the leader shot or killed. He would suddenly become more than a man, he would become more than that.
      The christian bible tells us Jesus was killed. Look what ended up happening after that.
      Many who die in the name of a higher power end up looking like the hero to the deluded.

  34. Larry Cook
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    “I have this intense fear that it is going to change everything,” she said.

    It is a tribute to the basic decency and sense of fairness of the American people that this will not change everything.

    “Should polticians call out Islamic doctrine as responsible for this and similar attacks?”

    Of course they should, but they won’t because most of them are pusillanimous pipsqueaks who only care about getting re-elected. Until Islam changes, Islamic terrorism will continue.

    “Why, if we shouldn’t profile Muslims at airports, should we profile them in national security investigations?”

    We should profile Muslims at airports. I do it myself. Don’t you? At least a little?

    “What role does “hate” play in this and similar attacks?”

    “Rage” would be a better word to use. Rage might be fueled by hate or by a sense of not getting a fair deal or maybe a feeling of inferiority, but more than likely mass murderers are in the throes of insanity-fueled rage.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      I like what you said in your last paragraph. Sums up the fear I had today while the CPD had to respond to a call at a CPS school today.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Thank you CPD for keeping our CPS school safe today.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      “We should profile Muslims at airports.”

      How do you propose to implement this? What criteria should TSA agents use to identify Muslims, and what prevents terrorists from changing their appearance to evade these criteria?

      It seems likely to me that naïve profiling would have the unintended consequence of focusing scrutiny on law-abiding Muslims who look like Muslims, while the actual terrorists blend unnoticed into the crowd. How do you avoid that?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        what prevents terrorists from changing their appearance to evade these criteria?

        [Boss Hogg accent]Weeeel, yawl, they’re our eeenemys and they’re un-Am-er-i-cuhn, so they’re iiidiots. So they’yawl never think of that.

        How do you avoid that?

        Well obviously you only target the stupid terrorists.

  35. Chaswalder
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    On the Hate question: righteous moral indignation is an exciting emotion, an attractive (perhaps addictive) form of stimulation. Plenty of news outlets and blogs offer moral indignation as their daily experience. The impulse to take the high moral ground with anger is part of human psychology. (“Not fair!” shouts every three year old.)

    The danger in some religious texts is that they provide a self-aggrandizing story to wrap around that moral outrage. The anger becomes holy, the target becomes “unacceptable to god” and the hater becomes the very hand of righteousness. Catnip to marginal loners (among others).

    With a more benign cultural context, the same person may become an SJW keyboard warrior. So, yes, culture matters, but it’s worth pulling apart the Hate dynamic.

    • Cindy
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink


    • Helen Hollis
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      What is a SJW keuboard warrior?
      I grew up in the JW religion, so I am wondering if it has any meaning here. Are you describing me?

      • Chaswalder
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        SJW stands for social justice warrior.

      • mordacious1
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:10 am | Permalink

        No, he’s referring to Social Justice Warriors. You can Google it, but I’d advise against that.

      • mordacious1
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:11 am | Permalink

        Oops, should have refreshed.

  36. eric
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Should polticians call out Islamic doctrine as responsible for this and similar attacks?

    IMO politicians should be calling out violent Islamic teachings (but not nonviolent ones), the same way they should be calling out violent pro-life teachings but not nonviolent ones, violent Bundy-style anti-federal teachings but not nonviolent states rights movements, violent animal rights groups/teachings but not nonviolent ones, and so on.

    And no, merely the potential to be violent because some principle can rationally be taken to support violence is not enough. “Foetus are humans” is one such principle, but we don’t suppress pro-life because of it; we wait until some group or individual acts violently. Islam is the same way.

  37. Cindy
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Islamists celebrating the massacre:

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      FYI, the pictures of laughing Muslims scattered amongst those tweets are just stock images pulled from Google image search (see here for instance), and have nothing whatever to do with the Orlando shooting.

      While I’m sure you intended no dishonesty in posting this mashup, the same apparently can’t be said for its creator.

  38. J. Quinton
    Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    This fits the profile of almost every other mass shooting in the US. To blame this on Islam is a red herring. But people always cling to their pet issue when the motivation of the shooter is revealed.

    When Columbine happened, people blamed it on bullying. When Elliot Rogers happened, people blamed it on misogyny. Virginia Tech, more bullying/misogyny. Aurora; mental health. Charlestown; racism. Newton; mental health. This time it’s Islam.

    And this is why nothing will ever be accomplished in regards to gun violence in the United States of Mass Shootings. People are more concerned about their issue of choice than the common denominator in all of this.

    So all of these questions are the wrong questions. As though if every Muslim in the world became an atheist tomorrow it would end these massacres in America; it won’t. Just like eliminating racism won’t stop it, eliminating misogyny won’t stop it; eliminating bullying won’t stop it.

    When a mass shooting happens in any other first world country, it’s a tragedy. When it happens in the US, it’s another Tuesday. Lets see whose pet issue is the highlight of the week during the next mass shooting.

    • Victoria
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      No, it really doesn’t fit the profile of the vast majority of mass shootings which are indiscriminate. This was a hate crime, targeting a specific target for reasons of identity and belief.

      Your “pet issue” bloviating sounds like just another Islam apologetic in drag, because yes, if all Muslims became atheist tomorrow, FGM, honor killings, a death penalty for apostatsy, Shia-Sunni violence, etc. would in fact either disappear entirely or reduce dramatically.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      So, who or what do you blame for the Boston Marathon attack? No guns used there.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      When it happens in the US, it’s another Tuesday. Lets see whose pet issue is the highlight of the week during the next mass shooting.

      I put together some numbers (from Wikipedia, because I’ve no intention of being near enough to America to really need to worry about this. The figures aren’t quite as depressing as I’d expected, though the variances are quite high (small data set). But it was still a depressing enough exercise, for “Someone Else’s Problem“.
      The interval between “new record mass killing” is decreasing at a little over 2 years per new record, +/-5.5 years, so I’m predicting the next new record between 2 years and 12 years ; and the body count will be between 9 and 20 (14.5+/-5.8) higher than this one. (One-sigma confidence intervals.)
      Depressing, but not really as depressing as I’d expected.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      It does. They often do.

  39. Dick Veldkamp
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Re: profiling

    Anybody who considers (airport) profiling should read the discussion between Bruce Schneier en Sam Harris (easily googled). Schneier argues -quite convincingly I think- that profiling simply does not work.

    Two big problems are:
    – that there are too many false positives
    – that humans can adapt (dress differently, shave off beards, etc).

    I think that the harm done because profiling legitimizes discrimination generally, is greater than whatever good can come from it (that is if there is any positive result at all).

  40. I.G.M.
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    “Those who claim that Christianity is just as homophobic as Islam should adduce data comparable to that above, remembering to survey all Christians, not just fundamentalist ones.”
    That’s a problematic statement because those of us who have spent our lives in the West haven’t spent our lives being victims of Muslim homophobia; we were targeted by the Christian Right and Catholic groups. The anti-gay campaigns, the propaganda, bills to limit gay rights- all Christian initiatives. Brushing that aside and telling us the real problem is Islam is to dismiss our actual history and the homophobia many of us still deal with regularly.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      The supreme court just recently legitimatized some homosexual activities.

      It has been a struggle but it is still not the same.

      If you lived where the percentage of Islam was the same as the percentage of Christians, your story would be different.
      No question.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      But, I despise the Christian right and Catholic right for their various evils.
      The character assassination of Margaret Sanger for one.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      “Brushing that aside and telling us the real problem is Islam is to dismiss our actual history and the homophobia many of us still deal with regularly.”

      If what you state here were the case then I would completely agree with your comment. But what you state just is not the case. The OP, Jerry, is not asking you to brush all that aside and is not trying to tell you that the real problem is Islam. He was not dismissing the actual history of persecution of LGBTW people in western countries. He made sure, more than once, to make statements to clarify that he was not doing that. I don’t understand why people keep misunderstanding this when it seems rather unambiguous. Though I can make some guesses, most of them not very charitable.

      It is clear that Jerry’s intent more generally is to criticize the lack of criticism of the religion Islam, and the vilification of those few that do criticize it. He has given many reasons why Islam should be criticized and one of those reasons is how Islam says gays should be treated and how its proponents, using Islam as justification, treat LGBTQ people. Some people then responded that hatred of gays is the same in western, Christian societies. The statement you quoted from the OP was a response to that kind of claim, period. That no, it is, in the present day, much worse for LGBTQ people in your average Muslim society than it is in your average western christian society. That’s it, nothing more. And that happens to be rather evidently factually correct.

  41. Cindy
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Reports are coming in the the killer was gay…having been spotted at the Pulse bar multiple times in the past 3 years and on a gay dating app…

    But surely evangelical Christianity is to blame for his internalised homophobia no?

    And this is interesting :

    “””some Muslims who have lived what they consider a sinful life go on jihad hoping to become martyrs. Salafi Muslims believe that martyrs are pardoned of all their sins by Allah. Nidal Hasan, who committed the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, frequented strip clubs and drank alcohol while there. Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior recruiter for al-Qaeda who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, was arrested several times in San Diego for soliciting prostitutes. There are reports of ISIS members engaging in homosexual activity, and while these are unconfirmed reports I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of their suicide bombers had gay sex before blowing themselves up. The belief that martyrs are pardoned of their sins isn’t limited to terrorist organizations. It’s pretty widespread among Salafi groups. There are several hadith that appear to teach this doctrine. “”” – from Reddit

    There is a documentary on this very subject called “Warriors from the North” about Somali Scandinavian men who become jihadis and suicide bombers *often* after leading aimless lives of drinking, partying and promiscuity. Not devout fanatics, but often second generation priviledged kids who wake up one day and choose to find meaning in life through violent jihad.

    • I.G.M.
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Evangelical Christianity is to blame for many people’s internalized homophobia. Externalized too. On the same day as the massacre an Arizona pastor was calling it “good news” :

      • Cindy
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Right now Muslims are the ones murdering gays. Muslim countries are the places where it is illegal to be gay. In the Islamic world they execute people for being gay. We are talking about the homophobic bigotry inherent in Islam and all regressives want to do is to blame everything *but* Islam in order to signal their virtue.

        If you don’t understand the very serious and very significant difference between having offensive thoughts and actively running around murdering people then I can’t help you.

        • I.G.M.
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Sorry, but your comment gives the impression you’re not genuinely interested in LGBT rights at all. You’re just using the massacre of gay people to fit into your narrative about Islam. So homophobia is okay unless it’s murder?
          The Christian right isn’t guilty of just thought crimes. They’re guilty of things like prop. 8 in California and section 28 in the UK.

          • Cindy
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            So what you appear to be saying is that one cannot criticize Islamic bigotry against LGBTQ folks without also equally criticizing every other religion or group that espouses bigotry otherwise one is a hateful bigot themselves?

            • I.G.M.
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

              I’m saying you can’t be selectively against homophobia. Either you genuinely condemn it or you don’t. By referring to this as an Islamic problem, other religions get a pass. You justify and excuse the forms of homophobia your fellow citizens are victims of the most.
              When you implied the pastor calling for government to exterminate gays was merely committing a “thought crime”, you sort of made where you stand on LGBT people and homophobia very clear.

              • Cindy
                Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

                So if an atheist murders a bunch of gay people I have to immediately deflect from that and talk about every other group – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, really, talk about anything *other* than the fact that a bigoted atheist murdered gay folk otherwise I am anti-gay myself?

                “A bigoted atheist just killed a bunch of LGBT folk but what we really need to do is discuss the homophobia that is present in certain sects of Hinduism” – that’s the kind of thing you want to see?

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted June 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            She is not saying that. She is saying that there is difference in the expanse of and the outcomes of that hate.

            Some of the Bali bombers stated explicitly that western decadence motivated them.
            Having women dancing and showing skin motivated them. They murdered women for dancing.

            Christians and others may stress modesty but no one else is murdering people constantly for it.

            • I.G.M.
              Posted June 14, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

              I’d love to believe that, but instead of answering by saying she condemned all homophobia, she made excuses and justified a certain variety of it. Evangelical homophobia is fine! Homophobia that doesn’t include murder is okay!
              That proves she’s just using gay people and this tragedy to score political points. And it also shows her disregard for gay LGBT people is not dissimilar to that of a proportion of the people she’s criticizing.

              • Cindy
                Posted June 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                I’d love to believe that, but instead of answering by saying she condemned all homophobia, she made excuses and justified a certain variety of it. Evangelical homophobia is fine! Homophobia that doesn’t include murder is okay!

                Which is a lie. I never said it was fine. In fact, I revile Evangelical Christians and anyone of any faith who is misogynist and anti-LGBT.

                However, you seem intent on absolving Islam of any and all responsibility – hence the bullshit about how we cannot ever criticize Islam without criticising Christianity.

                I have still not received an answer to my question, btw. I will ask again. If a Christian shoots up an abortion clinic, am I a bigot if I don’t mention every.other.religion. that is also misogynist in nature?

              • darrelle
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

                You should be ashamed of yourself for so egregiously misrepresenting what someone else has written. I can understand being sensitive to this topic because you are a direct victim or close to direct a victim(s), but lying in order to vilify people that agree with you 100% that homophobia any place, any time, is awful and should be opposed is not just bad form, it’s stupid as well.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Right now Muslims are the ones murdering gays.

          I wouldn’t expect the (closeted) Christian Right to let this implicit slur on their masculinity to pass without doing something about it. Probably involving killing a number of gay people.
          Am I channelling a Dr Strangelove character? “We cannot allow a gay-bashing gap to develop!”

  42. Mike
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Islam is the problem, and if profiling helps ,profile them , also the availability of Guns especially Assault Weapons is absolutely insane. This Guy had been interviewed by the FBI twice about possible Terrorist sympathies so one would have thought he would have been on a Terrorist Watch List, if so, how the hell was he able to legally obtain Weapons ? insanity !! A slight correction , the single largest Mass Shooting in US history was the massacre at Wounded Knee.

  43. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Why, if we shouldn’t profile Muslims at airports, should we profile them in national security investigations? I am still on the fence about airport profiling of Muslims,

    I take it that the obvious necessity of recording one’s religion on passports – so that you can be appropriately profiled – will take place before the profiling. (On a rolling basis, perhaps – every person flying is questioned on their religion, and it entered into the TSA/ DHS’s databases and stamped into one’s passport? No declaration of religion = detailed questioning.)
    I’ve worked in countries where your religion is a part of your travel papers. It’s not nice, particularly if you’re not a member of the dominant religion.
    Trump will probably propose tattooing people on their forehead according to their religion : yellow 6-point star for the original monotheists ; nothing for the monotheists he likes ; red crescent for the monotheists he wants to exclude from the country … something like that. Probably just a target symbol for all other opinions, so they can be targeted at the appropriate time.
    You’ve got to get the bureaucracy right.

  44. Cindy
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Another ex-Muslim voice, well worth a read:

    Maybe if Omar Mateen was born into a more open culture, into a family whose father was not a Taliban sympathizer, he might have been less conflicted. If he was LGBT (not conclusively proved at this moment), maybe he could have lived with himself, not driven into self-hatred and others-hatred. Omar Mateen may or may not have been gay or bisexual — but I have known self-hating gay Islamist extremists, known enough of them to know that their Islamism and their faith is more than real. It defines them. It makes them resentful.

    And another article – the difference between ‘loose’ and ‘moderate’ Muslims:

    What I mean is, there’s no useful connection between religiosity and religious tolerance. A deeply devout person might be tolerant or intolerant, a very loose person might be intolerant or even a fundamentalist. What makes a moderate a moderate is their attitude towards other human beings and not their relationship with their (fictional) god.

  45. Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I wish to defend the US Muslims who expressed first and foremost concern that they would suffer backlash. It is natural to be most disturbed by what affects us personally. A relatively minor incident, such as loss of some money or a document that will be difficult to replace, typically affects us more than deaths of human beings whom we do not know personally. Those Muslims just should not have been so open about how they feel.

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  1. […] the Orlando shooting. As has become routine, various arguments ensued about gun control versus Islamofascismterrorismboogabooga (it now appears Mateen was possibly a conflicted bi- or gay man. Not your typical ISIL member). But […]

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