Orlando Pulse Open Thread

I’ve been out for hours as the news from Orlando came in. There’s not much to say (as always, it always pays to withhold instantaneous conclusions), besides expressing profound grief both about yet another senseless mass killing but about this mass killing, targeting gay men and women celebrating Pride.

There is so much we need to fix in this country: the guns, the homophobia. But I fear we’re most likely to just throw more policing in the mix, rather than addressing the underlying issues.

I’m sorry.

Fixed Miami/Orlando: confused because of prior coverage.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

20 replies
  1. Laura says:

    Thank you for changing the city from Miami to Orlando.

    My husband has worked within walking distance of this nightclub for a decade, so this is hits close to home for us. I’ve frequented some of the businesses in the background of the news reports (at least those viewed locally) many times.

    I do not under any circumstances want this to increase homophobia, Islamaphobia, police survaillance,NSA bullshit (after all the FBI interveiwed the suspected shooter twice that they admit to, and followed him for a time).

    I had bet my husband that the shooter was a white supremist Trump supporter. It scares me, for Muslims, that i was wrong.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, stupid mistake made after 3 hours in the sun.

      You were wrong in this case, but unless we address the underlying hatred the next one could be.

      • Laura says:

        I blame the sun on most of Florida’s ills.

        What’s your excuse?

        I do hope at work tomorrow I don’t find out I know any victims.

        I really feel for the survivors.

        • emptywheel says:

          For MI’s ills? Hmm. Will have to make a list.

          Sun is not anywhere near the top of the list though today was glorious.

  2. Elliott says:

    One thing I’ll note in this case and in San Bernadino, the targets weren’t any kind of ISIS/ISIIL stategery, both massacres were personal grudges attacked under the guise and gauze of radical Islam.

    • emptywheel says:

      Right. In both cases there was some affiliation — or worse, at least in the SB case — beforehand. But this was not a directed attack.

  3. John Casper says:

    Back in 2013 @masaccioEW wrote a classic, “Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy.”

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/oligarchy-exists-inside-our-democracy.html
    .
    He concluded, “The primary impact of this leverage in the hands of the minority is on economic issues. The oligarchy is just as divided as the rest of the population on social issues, like immigration, LGBT rights, women’s issues and similar non-financial matters. It turns out that, for example, some of the oligarchs have family or friends or are themselves LGBT. Their interests in wars and other kinds of issues are also divided. Because of that, democracy could theoretically work on those issues. It’s only those economic issues where the rich are on the same team, and they always win those battles.
    .
    And that’s exactly how things are working out. On matters of direct interest to the oligarchy, they win. You can have your silly laws about marriage or abortion as long as they get their way on money. It’s a lousy bargain, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
    .
    Is there a chance to position universal health care with robust mental health coverage, as a priority for national security?
    .
    FWIW back in 2011 – 2012 @megkissinger1 did a terrific series in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Imminent Danger,” http://www.jsonline.com/news/134341463.html on this.

  4. jo6pac says:

    “But I fear we’re most likely to just throw more policing in the mix, rather than addressing the underlying issues.”

    Nailed it and sadly there no $$$$$$$$$$$$$ on this fix just a lot of hard work. Then again on policing nothing but free $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Sad:-(

  5. Les says:

    Yes, the authorities call it an ISIS-inspired attack which is to say nothing more than it’s a copycat killing with similarities to the Paris club attack and the San Bernardino shooting.

    He was previously investigated by the FBI for expressing admiration for known terror plotters but he had made no attempt at communicating with the Syria suicide bomber or the Tsarnaev brothers.

    I did also bring up on another site the fact that were many recent attacks on transgender people in the wake of the North Carolina controversy and the club appeared to feature female impersonators as key performers.

    We now know the guy stalking the West Hollywood Gay Pride parade was a whitey.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/california-west-hollywood-suspect-aresenal/

    • P J Evans says:

      I’d like to know why he was in L.A,, given that his views don’t fit well in this particular area.

      • lefty665 says:

        P.J. @ 10:22 Considering that the L.A. bozo and Judge Curiel are both from Indiana I’m anticipating Trump will advocate building a wall around the state.
        .
        Thank you EW. “Sorry” superficially seems inadequate, but sorrow is profound. I too am sorry.

  6. Denis says:

    Thanks for the open thread, MW. A good way to address this tragedy
    at this point when facts are still being developed. Here are a few of my
    own loose thoughts in the aftermath of another American-on-American
    massacre.
    .
    1.
    I was impressed by how suddenly Mateen’s beautiful ex-wife, Sifora
    Yusufiy, went off on him in the press. I mean that was one of the very
    first articles out there – while the body count was still down around 20.
    Nobody mentioned his present wife and I was a bit stunned this morning
    to read in the Daily Mail that the guy was currently married to an equally
    beautiful woman, Noor Zahi Salman, and has a son. He divorced Yusufiy
    (or she divorced him) in 2011 and he was living with Salman by at least
    2012, but Salman is now living at a different address than Mateen’s current address.
    .
    There are a couple of points here. First, I don’t know how that wretched
    tabloid DM does it, but they seem to always be 20 paces ahead of the rest
    of the MSM, both in terms of information and photos. If you can get past
    their horrible writing and editing, they are often a gold mine of information.
    .
    Second, the guy’s marital history may be a hint of mental instability, which
    takes us to bullet #2.
    .
    2.
    Seems to me that Mateen was a pretty typical cop wanna-be. Multiple
    reports say he was looking to join a cop-force. Like a lot of cops, he got
    an associate degree in criminal justice. He worked as a security hack for G4S.
    At least 2 of the plethora of his published selfies show him wearing NYPD
    tee shirts. He was into fitness, including steroids that may have exacerbated
    underlying mental problems, not that wanting to be a cop is necessarily
    a mental problem, but it’s pretty apparent that the country is full of
    people with mental problems who become cops.
    .
    Without having a shred of data and no stats to back up me up, IMO
    this deranged guy’s history sounds like a lot of cops who end up in prison,
    which would help explain the contagion of cop brutality America is dealing
    with – the 90% that makes the 10% look bad.
    .
    3.
    It seems really weird to me, statistically speaking, that in the span of
    two days Orlando hosted the killing of Christina Grimmie (at Plaza Live)
    and this tragedy (at The Pulse) – wackos shooting people at club venues
    in a relatively small city. The Plaza Live is a little over 2 crow-miles from
    The Pulse. I don’t see the MSM reports on The Pulse massacre even mentioning
    the Grimmie murder just two days earlier.
    .
    I’m not suggesting any conspiracies or trying to make a connection, I
    just find it weird that 1) two major murders occurred w/in three miles
    and two days of each other in a city not normally associated with a lot
    of killing, and 2) the MSM seems to have forgotten the first one.
    .
    4.
    I don’t know where the meme about this being the worse mass killing
    in US history came from, but it’s motivated a macabre history lesson
    for me. Bernhard, a German guy who writes Moon of Alabama, pointed out:
    yeah, the worst since Wounded Knee (~300 dead Lakota men, women,
    children).
    .
    But it’s not just since Wounded Knee. A couple of MoA commenters offered
    up other mass killings with larger body counts than this one, Waco (~80 dead
    men, women, children), for instance. There are others, including 19th century
    massacres of labor strikers and their families by US troops. I guess the term
    “mass killing” doesn’t apply to what the government does, which brings
    us to bullet #5.
    .
    5.
    When these mass killings happen, Americans start moaning and whining in
    self-pity and empathy for the victims, which is only natural. The President
    positions himself in front of the cameras and rambles on about how deplorable
    the current loss of American life is, which is what he gets paid to say.
    But, deplorable is a relative term, ain’t it? 50 dead is nothing on the scale
    that measures how many people Americans kill through their government.
    .
    And the reason I mention it is that given the out-pouring of self-pity over
    50 victims, ya’ gotta’ wonder WTF Americans would do if the savagery and
    horrors they inflict on other countries should ever be inflicted on them –
    IOW, if they ever get what’s coming to them in terms of cosmic justice.
    I mean, the VN war produced, on average, 550 dead Vietnamese PER DAY –
    that’s 10x Orlando every day of every week of every month for 10 years.
    The Iraq sanctions imposed by Bush I and enthusiastically enforced by
    Clinton I caused a death rate of about half the VN rate – over 200 dead,
    a large percentage children, EVERY FUCKING DAY for 13 years and then
    the REAL massacre began.
    .
    Judging from the way they respond to their own minor massacres,
    Americans do not and cannot comprehend the magnitude of pain they
    have inflicted on others.
    .
    And so ya’ gotta’ ask yer self: Why don’t Americans ever use these minor
    mass killings of Americans to cultivate empathy for the millions of victims
    of their own catastrophic mass killings? Why don’t Americans take the pain
    they feel after Sandy Hook, Orlando, San Bernardino and extrapolate
    that, for instance, to the pain caused by Bush’s or Obama’s drones taking
    out dozens of innocent Pakistanis at a wedding party? Why don’t Americans
    simply dismiss The Pulse massacre as “collateral damage” in the larger
    war for LGBT rights and bury it somewhere deep in Section B of the
    American collective conscience and then forget it, like the NYT does with
    America’s mass killings of Afghanis, Pakastanis, Iraqis, Libyans, Vietnamese, . . .?
    .
    OK, I’m done. That’s a pretty good vent for a Monday morning, eh?
    Think I’ll go back to bed, and maybe stay there for the rest of the week
    with a pillow over my head.

  7. Idland says:

    Meanwhile, back at the White House, billions more for Afghanistan, oh almost forgot, no closing Guantanamo with an executive order. GWOT status quo. That’s his job, right? Isn’t that what all this is about?

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