Seven Thoughts On Orlando, Islam, And Gun Control

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 10.854% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

If you think your assault rifle will keep you safe when the government comes for you, you have not paid attention to the drones and missile strikes in the Middle East.  Got news for you, punkie; if there’s a serious go-to-town revolution against the government, you’re not going to be the bold revolutionary, you’re going to be a satellite-targeted crater in the fucking street.
Technology’s moved on.  Your revolution will mostly consist of IEDs and hiding, if it comes to that.

People say we can’t change gun culture in America – there’s too many guns, and too many people with guns.
You know what else everybody used to do?
We fucking smoked.
America used to be a goddamned chimney, my friends, with something like 80% of people lighting up.  We had Fred Flintstone and Barney goddamned Rubble shilling Winston cigarettes to kids.  We had a massive corporation covering up the truth of what happened to smokers, a government thoroughly in Big Tobacco’s pocket.  We had a nation of addicts, literal addicts, because remember that quitting smoking is only slightly less difficult than quitting goddamned heroin.
And yet now smoking’s a small segment of American culture.  It exists – just as, I suspect and would hope, gun owners would continue to exist after some massive, effective, gun legislation – but it’s now a thing where, for good or for bad, we massively flipped the switch.
You know where that all started?
The official link between cigarettes and cancer.
If you’ll note, the Center for Disease Control doesn’t even *collect* statistics on gun use.  That’s been shut down by Senators in the hands of the NRA, so we can’t even get data on what effects guns have.
So if you want to change things, that’s where I’d start: write your Senator to tell them that you want a special wing of the CDC to collect gun data.  Make it as immunized from politics as any government agency can be, which is to say poorly, but *get the fucking data*.
And if you want to tell us we can’t change things, well, a generation of kids who have largely grown up not chain-smoking would like to inform you that big changes can happen, if you want them to happen.

While I do love Igor Volsky calling out the lame “Thoughts and prayers” from politicians who are deep in the NRA’s pocket, I really hate it when people say, “Wow, if we only raised $2,500, *we* could buy a Senator!”
It’s not just money.  The money’s the grease, but the heavy piston action is the voters the NRA can round up.
If you want to beat the NRA, the sad truth is that a significant amount of you will have to become a one-issue voter, the exact opposite of the way a lot of NRA fanatics are now.

So.  A gay nightclub.
It’s amazing how many conservative pundits are erasing the “gay” portion from this narrative, as though that somehow didn’t matter.
Gay clubs are safe spaces.  As a straight person, have you ever held hands with your date in public and thought, “I could be beaten to death for this?”  Well, your gay and bisexual friends have.
Walking into a club like this is telling gay people, “We can destroy your happiness anywhere.”  Don’t pretend that doesn’t fucking exist.  Don’t pretend that somehow, gay people lead a life mostly like ours because gay marriage passed.
It’s still a goddamned dangerous time to be gay in America.  It’s getting better.  But you still risk shit like this.
This wasn’t “a nightclub.”  It was a statement.  And some asshole with a gun made a counter-statement, so don’t you fucking twist the story to make it seem like it could be any straight person.

So.  Islam.
A bunch of my conservative friends have reminded me, quite cogently, that a lot of Islam virulently hates homosexuality, and if we let everyone in from the Middle East into America then we’d be back to stoning, and how can we claim to be acting wisely and compassionately towards gays when Islam itself hates the homosexual?
Which is true.  You look at polls, and Muslims are largely intolerant of gay culture.
Non-American Muslims.
Open up the polls for American Muslims, and it turns out they’re more likely to be in favor of gay marriage than Evangelist Christians.
It’s almost like, I dunno, being a part of American culture influences people’s viewpoints or something.
And if that was true, then maaaaaybe the worst thing you could do would be to stigmatize Muslims so that they *didn’t* feel like a part of American culture, to conflate every Muslim as “foreign,” and alienate them so that they don’t feel any attachment to the country they live in.
Huh.  Maybe it’s your attitude that’s fostering terrorism.

And while I’m at it, my worst conservative friends only bring up Islam when they’re talking about what homo-hating bastards these folks are, selling the “THEY’RE ALL OUT TO KILL YOUUUUU!” line as though literally every Muslim would slit a gay’s throat and rape a woman whenever they could.
And keep in mind: I don’t deny there are serious fucking cultural issues going on.  If you, say, take in thousands of refugees from a culture that doesn’t respect women or the QUILTBAG train, well, you’re going to have some serious issues getting these people on-board.  It’s not going to go smoothly, and one of the serious liberal critiques I will aim is the way that liberals hand-wave those issues.  Integration’s a serious bitch, my friends, and it’s often a messy compromise you make to save the lives of innocent people who’d otherwise get ground to meat in a war zone.
That said, here’s the thing:
I’ll accept Islam as a monstrous, monotone religion of purest hatred…
If you claim all of these untagged Christian shooters and apply the same logic to Christianity.
Because that’s the magic, you know.  White guy does it?  Unhinged.  We don’t own him.  He was acting on his own, no matter how many friends he talked to online.  White religious guy does it?  Well, that’s not Christianity, how dare you label us!
The great thing about being white and of the dominant religion is that your shooters never count.  Those guys?  Well, we know they’re unhinged.  Were they talking to other hateful people?  A splinter sect, they aren’t real.  No matter how many Biblical nutbags run and gun, that never touches the core religion that we like.
So a brown guy shot up a crowd.  That is, and continues to be, and will never not be, terrible.  But he’s 2% of all mass shootings.
The other 98% are white guys, some percentage of whom were seriously religious.  Claim them.  Apply the same logic to the religions you think are acceptable.  Then we’ll talk.
Until then, well, yeah, ISIS is a huge fucking problem, but Islam is a huge fucking religion, and every huge fucking religion has its fringe elements that you have to deal with.
(And if you want to talk about what Islam does globally, go back to the last point about what it does in America.)

Lastly, as someone who suffers from mental health issues, please remember that not every bipolar or depressed person shoots people.  In fact, most of us don’t.
I’m not one of those people who’ll tell you that a guy who shoots up a club isn’t crazy.  He is.  But like Islam and Christianity, “crazy” covers a wide variety of issues, and conflating insanity with mass shooting is a bad thing to do for those who do suffer.

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