Sunday, June 12, 2016

Update: LA

Updated—see below

Not to stereotype, but I'm betting the James Wesley Howell who was apprehended in Santa Monica on his way to the Los Angeles Pride Parade with a deadly arsenal in his car was not an Islamic terrorist (I'm not a bit afraid to use the words).

But I'll bet you any money he's got something deeply in common with Omar Mateen: a gloomy, hate-filled, and theologically ill-informed and backward interpretation of a fine old religious tradition, a deep-seated fear (first) and hatred (afterwards) of the idea of men having sex with men, presumably rooted in conflict over his own sexual identity, and an attraction to violence and death, including his own. In other words a typical religious conservative male with some (hopefully) very atypical emotional issues.

The particular religion (Muslim, Protestant, Catholic—other traditions have terrorists, but not so marked perhaps with sexual terror) isn't the important thing. The important thing is the attitude. Can you admit that, WASP or Waziristani, al-Qa'eda or Y'all Quaeda, it's the same disease? Can you say the words, "conservative fundamentalist, homophobic terrorist"?

If you can't say them, it's because you've otherized the problem into a place where you can't even see it,  probably because you're afraid to see it in yourself, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to talk to you. You need to see it in yourself, as you need to see racism if you want to cope with it. What we need isn't a war with Islam, it's a jihad, a struggle that would be better conducted nonviolently, against conservatism in that hidebound, murderous sense. If you can't say the words, you're part of the problem.

Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

UPDATE: I lose my bet there, as commenter Saurs pointed out at NMMNB after I went to bed; the Powell guy does not fit that profile in any clear way; he doesn't seem to have any ill will toward the the LGTB community, being a 20-year-old out B himself, or any standout religious affiliations. He does qualify as a rightwinger from my standpoint, an NRA enthusiast and a dweller in the mists of Mt. Paranoia, based on what the Los Angeles Times says about his Facebook page:
The site includes political posts, including one in which he compares Hillary Clinton to Adolf Hitler. In another, he repeats conspiracy theories that the government was behind notorious terrorist attacks, including Sept. 11, 2001. That post shares a video claiming that last year’s terror attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was a hoax and attributable to the “New World Order.” 
He absolutely should not have been traveling with all those weapons, since he was on probation since mid-April in lieu of a one-year prison sentence for intimidating neighbors with a firearm, and getting rid of all his guns was part of the terms of his probation. But we have no idea what, if anything, he planned to do with the things.

I'll leave the post as it is as an object lesson on the danger of jumping to conclusions.

No comments:

Post a Comment