As I posted Monday, I’m at an academic conference in London, England this week. I will get back to regular posting next week.
Usually when I travel overseas, as anyone knows who follows this blog, I try to post about the conference itself in general terms and about the cities where I’m visiting. I do this mainly to keep a personal record of my travels and academic work, but I know a fair amount of people like the accompanying photographs I upload on the blog and especially on Facebook.
But the Orlando mass shooting at Pulse, a LGBTQ-friendly nightclub in Orlando, which I’m sure was also frequented by heterosexuals, makes it impossible for me to publish much about London or especially the conference itself right now. The conference and my traveling seem so insignificant given the enormity of the tragedy, and my heart goes out to all the family and friends of the victims. I also don’t have the time to fully digest and write about the shooting because of the narrow focus of my academic literary conference and my time constraints.
I will say this: A Tuesday editorial in The Oklahoman criticizing President Barack Obama for not mentioning the “Islamic State” in one of his first extended comments on the shooting is one of the worst commentaries the newspaper has ever published in last 30 years or so. The newspaper didn’t hesitate to politicize the shooting in order to obviously support the presidential nominee Donald Trump’s blatant falsehoods and distortions about the shooting. Trump actually implied Obama was somehow involved in the shooting in some personal manner.
The editorial also made it clear that any discussion of gun control laws given the tragedy was, well, it was off limits. Here’s the main gist from this ridiculous and, frankly, dangerous, nearly fanatical argument from The Oklahoman:
We need to be a country that’s willing to acknowledge we’re at war with an ideologically driven enemy who shows no sign of relenting. Regardless of the depth of the Orlando gunman’s ties to the group, Islamic State will only be emboldened by the attack. The United States must be as well, and focus on destroying ISIS instead of defaulting to complaints about gun laws.
This right-wing argument and hyperbole is almost pathological, except we know the intellectual level of the editorial writers at The Oklahoman, so it’s mostly ignorance and blatant support for an extremist, right-wing presidential candidate some pundits argue is promoting a borderline fascist agenda for this country.
No, we are NOT at “real” war with a clearly identifiable enemy on one main battlefield we can simply defeat with tanks and bombs. Yes, the country should absolutely investigate religious extremists who have the potential for violence, and, yes, yes, yes, say it again, yes, we should ban or severely limit access to assault weapons. Even Walmart decided a while back that people shouldn’t just be able to pick up an assault weapon along with the groceries.
The Oklahoman editorial board is more interested in getting Trump elected so he can implement what seems to be his fascist vision for this country than the basic safety of this country’s citizens.