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« June 2016 »

So, we've got to talk about Orlando, right?

The twentieth or thirtieth worst thing about Orlando is that terrorism is part of the gig economy now, and our conversation about terrorism is still in a 1970s "take this plane to Cuba" place.

Even describing the Orlando terrorist as "self-radicalized" is a mistake. Omar Mateen was always an asshole. He was always a homophobe, he was always a religious extremist. Assholes, homophobes, and religious extremists make up a significant fraction of the American government, of course. The difference is basically the desire to impose those beliefs through violence instead of through the accumulation and exploitation of political power.

So, yeah. Mateen name-dropped ISIL. And ISIL, in return, claimed responsibility. But the head of ISIS didn't call Florida and say, "Hey, those homosexuals in Florida are a real problem. Send them a message, Omar." This terrorist had less leadership than an Uber driver. Mateen basically has the same relationship with ISIS that John Hinckley Jr. had with Jodie Foster, except that in this case, the feeling was reciprocated. The FBI looked into him three times, and all three times, determined he was harmless. Because he was harmless, right up until he wasn't.

You can't pre-crime this shit, like Hillary wants to, because the difference between being an asshole and being a dangerous asshole is exactly where civil liberties lives. You can't ban this shit, like Donald wants to, because the guy was born here. Grew up here. Learned to be an asshole here. And you can't stop an asshole from becoming a dangerous asshole, because the NRA.

This guy bought his weapons a week before the attack. That's when he crossed the line from asshole to dangerous asshole. It doesn't matter if or when he "became radicalized", it doesn't matter if or when he decided that ISIS was awesome. It doesn't even matter when he saw two dudes kissing - an act which, by the way, even to this day "self-radicalizes" a not-insignificant percentage of the American population.

He became a dangerous asshole when he bought an AR-15 and a shit-ton of ammunition, and he was allowed to do that because the people who sell guns convinced millions of idiots that the black guy wanted to take their guns away.

I would argue that one of these things (the availability of weapons) is more under our control than the other things (the tendency of people to be assholes, the availability of information that lets these assholes form groups), but it's not. Not really. Not when people are more willing to look at immigration policy than a gun policy when a NON-IMMIGRANT kills people with a gun.

Also, Donald Trump is a fucking monster, but that's a topic for another day.

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