The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando and the Dangerous Luxury of Hatred

I have so little to say about Orlando. I can't even try to tackle it on a systemic basis. I have only stray thoughts, and here is the only one that seems top have any teeth right now.

It's always a risk to get out head of the consensus of evidence, but this report from TPM raised some interesting questions:
A new thread in the story of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen. According to multiple patrons of Pulse, the gay club that was the scene of the massacre, Mateen was in fact a regular at the club and also maintained a profile on at least one gay dating app. The reporting, by the LA Times and the Orlando Sentinel is not clear on whether Mateen had sex with other men or whether he was somehow casing the establishment in preparation for his attack. But at least two parts of the story suggests there was more going on than just preparing for the attack.

Kevin West, a regular at Pulse, told the LA Times he had been messaging with Mateen on and off for a year on the gay dating app Jack'd. He says he never met Mateen in person until the night of the attacks. Also, one Pulse regular interviewed by the Sentinel said Mateen had been a regular at the club "for years."
By an odd coincidence, I finally got around to watching the Scottish movie Filth (2013) (from Irvine Welsh's novel of the same title). It's a terribly dark movie--it begins as wryly funny, becomes shockingly, terribly funny, and then turns tragic, as the protagonist's life is laid waste by his own escalating disorder, all stemming from self-hatred, self-hatred that runs unchecked and untreated, and leads him to reject every off-ramp and head straight for self-destruction.

When I returned to my computer after watching the film, and saw the TPM story about Mateen, I thought not only of him through the movies' lens, but of so many who hate. We humans hate what threatens us, in our subjective perception. Which, all too often, means that we hate that which reflects the part of ourselves we can't accept--the "shadow side,"that is, any part of ourselves that conflicts with our idealized self-image.

When those of any faith stoke hostility to our GLBT brothers and sisters, that abuse of religion to legitimize hate sets up an unbearable tension between the actual self and the "acceptable self" to one's community. Mateen's father, though remorseful toward those his son killed, also expressed anti-gay religious views. If Mateen's sexuality was confused, his father's own strictures could have played a part in setting up just such a tension.

The dangers of hating the sin while allowing oneself to try to love the sinner.

Perhaps we should just all accept that hatred of any kind is a dangerous indulgence, one we cannot afford.

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