It is very clear the perpetrator of the terrorist attack on Orlando, probably had multiple levels of twisted reasoning behind the attack. Fueled by a dangerous allegiance to ISIS. It is clear the utmost goal of the attack though is to instill fear in those that have been attack, to place fear in the hearts of the American public (and others around the world) that you are not safe anywhere. Part of the goal of this fear is to get us to turn on our fellow Americans, most specifically those in the Muslim community. Even though like every community of faith, it is made up almost entirely by people of peace who would not do a thing to harm another human, let alone take their life. However their goal is to turn Americans against fellow Americans, to make us alienate, and segregate the Muslim community in our country. For the very reason that an alienated community is one that is much easier to radicalize then one that is an integrated part of the community, one that is treated equally, and like any other part of society at large. It is this alienation and segregation of the Muslim community in much of Europe that is causing them to have such massive issues with home grown terrorism, and that is how they win.
The idea of banning a whole religion from entering the country is not only absurdly xenophobic, but the fact is that all the recent terrorist attacks since 9/11 have been carried out by American born citizens, and in the same token citizens who have not visited the countries the terrorist organizations are operating out of. Which is exactly how ISIS wants it, they want them to stay in the countries they are citizens of especially if they are citizens of Western countries. They don’t even want the would be terrorist to contact them for permission. In their recent “press releases” in the last few years they have said just that, all they want them to do is to make a public pledge that what they are doing is for ISIS, so that ISIS can claim the attack. They also don’t want them attacking the military or hardened government targets, they want them to attack soft civilian targets, and in doing so to kill as many people as possible. The point being to instill as much fear into the public as possible.
Now it is also clear that this target was selected specifically because it would be an attack on the LGBT community, and in the attack it picked a target that was supposed to be a safe place for a community that often doesn’t have a lot of safe places to begin with. So this attack takes the goal of the typical terrorist attack two fold, not only dose it instill fear in the general public and create a distrust of the Muslim community, in those that are not a part of it. It also attempts to turn one minority against another, to turn the LGBT community against the Muslim community with in the U.S. Most of all though it tries to instill in the LGBT community that they are not safe anywhere. The goal being to make us retreat in fear, to try to hide in the wood work, to stop living our lives out loud, really to get us to go back into the closet, lest we be the victims of another such attack.
We however can’t do that, because doing that would mean that the terrorist win, that they have gotten what they wanted, they have gotten us to cower in fear. Instead we have to not only continue to live our lives, but we have to live them even louder. To keep fighting for the rights that we are fighting for, and to be even louder about it. We win if we push even harder for the goals that we have as a community for the equality that we as a community deserve, and to keep fighting to win over the hearts and minds of more people. To live our lives even louder means to keep going out, to keep gathering in celebrations, and in protest. To continue to live with the resolve that no one, and nothing can cause us to go back into the closet, or to shy away from the public spot light.
It may seem tempting to do the opposite, after all it seems like the safe path, the easy path, to just step ever so slightly back into the shadows. However as a community we did not get this far by doing that, we got this far by stepping out of the shadows, by stepping into the public square and stealing the spot light. By making a commotion until those around us where forced to listen, and forced to take action to change the status quo. To step back into the shadows in response to this attack would not only play into the hands the terrorist, but into the hands of those that also want to not only keep the status quo we are in, in much of the country, where we are still second class citizens. It also plays into the hands of the ones who want to turn the hands back on the gains we have made. We also can’t let them win by turning against the Muslim community, as there are many in the LGBT community who also belong to the Muslim community too. There are those out there who would want you to think the Muslim community is somehow uniquely anti-gay. However we know this is not true, we have seen many examples of how other major religions are just as anti-gay, in the wake of this attack. We have seen where they are taking joy in the fact that so many LGBT people lost their lives and wound up seriously wounded. From pastors on You Tube to preachers on national TV, there is no shortage of hatred out there. However just as we don’t paint all Christians with the same broad brush, we should resist the urge to do the same with the Muslim community. Just look at the efforts the leaders of the Muslim community have gone through to publicly condemn the attack, you never see that when a Christian attacks the LGBT community. You also never see the efforts they have put forth to help the community in Orlando with the after math of the attack, coming out of the leaders of much of the Christian community. Sure there are some bad apples, but there are bad apples in every group, in every religion. Yet we don’t go around distrusting, every one of every faith, and we don’t call for them to be singled out for special levels of scrutiny. As such we should not do that now ether.
We have a long history as a community of not backing down, and we need to use this as an example to show that we are not going to back down, that we are going to do the opposite. That we are going to be even bolder, that we are going to be even louder, that we are going to be even more visible. We are going to do this because this is what we do best. When others think they have beaten us down as a community, when they think that they have filled us with fear, when they think that we are going to back down we show them they are wrong. Now is a time to tap into that proud history and show the terrorist that they are wrong, to show them that we are not scared of them, but that the opposite is true. Show them that we laugh in their face, that we do what is what they don’t want instead. For this is what takes the power away from them and gives it to us, we have the power to make them look stupid to show them the power that we possess. So lets show them what we are made of!