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[I apologize if this seems a bit choppy. These thoughts have been rolling around in my head for a few days, and I decided to let them take a stroll.]

No one chooses to be “imbalanced” or “unstable”. It’s not a happy place to be.

We as a culture are failing the most vulnerable. Mental illness is a punch-line. “Whack job”, “nut job”, “weirdo”, “MR”, “nut case”, “off his rocker”. Or more delicately, “imbalanced”, “unstable”. All terms we apply to people who needs our love and compassion, no less than the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Omar Mateen was Muslim, yes. Did you know his father seems a bit of an oddity? Check this out.

We cannot, at this juncture say for certain Omar Mateen was gay, unless and until someone comes forward to give some sort of evidence or witness, although apparently his first wife thought he was. And his father called him gay in front of said wife. But at the very least he was fascinated by the gay lifestyle, having visited the gay club Pulse, and using some gay dating apps. The guy was married. He was Muslim. Why would he stick his nose in that if it didn’t hold some fascination for him?

If you are a Christian who regularly attends church, you know that occasionally a pastor will invite a guest speaker. Usually this is someone with a special sort of message that he focuses on. Apparently Muslim imams do the same thing. Weeks before the shooting, this guy, who has been run out of Australia, spoke at the mosque the Mateens attended.

So, here we have a guy who was raised by a father who appears to have some sort of psychosis. (I prefer this to common derogatory terms.) Omar seems to have at least some gay tendencies. And he’s had them for a while. His first wife observed this in 2009. So…all his life he has been caught between two worlds. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, he’s gay. BUT…he is also Muslim, he has been linked to several radical groups, including Hezbollah and Al-Qaida. He wants to fit in somewhere, but it’s not working. And the message about gays coming from the pulpit (do they have pulpits in mosques? I don’t know, but you get my meaning) the message he keeps hearing is that gays must die. He’s looking for some way out. He wants to be a good Muslim.

He’s gay.

He’s Muslim.

He must die.

But he’s Muslim.

He wants Paradise just like everyone else.

But he’s gay and must die.

Solution?

Kill gays. Swear allegiance to ISIS and wait for cops to send him to Paradise.

This isn’t about guns. He could have used a knife, a bomb, any number of other weapons. Maybe he wouldn’t have killed as many people, but that’s irrelevant. And the fact that his gun purchases were legal is meaningless. Do you think for a moment he couldn’t have obtained those weapons elsewhere?

It’s about mental illness and the way we avoid it, we make fun of it, we look the other way. We do everything but offer help. All the love and compassion everyone wants to heap on gays and lesbians right now, (and I’m all for that, that’s great and all) but where was that compassion when his ex-wife, friends, and co-workers observed him to be unstable, aggressive, and imbalanced? The FBI surveilled him, even interviewed him twice. Apparently the FBI has no protocol for identifying someone who may need professional psychiatric help.  No one seems to have said, “You know fella, you seem like you need a friend. Let’s talk. What’s on your mind?” I get that his ex-wife was afraid of him. But his co-workers surely could have held their own if he got out of hand. Maybe not. Maybe ‘unstable’ is too scary for everyone.

My point is, we as a culture avoid ‘unstable’, ‘imbalanced’ people. We marginalize them. We don’t see them. They’re not there. Maybe if we ignore them they’ll go away. Or maybe they’ll buy a gun and shoot up a nightclub.

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