Guns are not the problem. Neither is religion. (Men)tal illness is closer. Undiagnosed (men)tal illness? Now we are talking. I tried to make a point about shame a week ago and how it is the basis of the persistence of racial discrimination today. I am not sure that connected so I will take another crack at it because I am tired of reading redundant posts on Facebook about what to pray for, what to legislate and how to feel. None of these suggestions are new but they do show each and every one of my Facebook friends to college-educated, opinionated and compassionate.
Shame can lead to a very severe breakdown in the development of an individual’s self-esteem. How does this connect to the Orlando shooter? In men, such breakdowns can lead to highly aggressive demonstrations. Earlier on ABC, a neighbor of Omar Mateen who wanted to remain anonymous, said he had three units in the apartment complex. One of which was occupied by some people close to him who were of the LGBTQ community. This was not repeated anywhere else in the news. I have no idea why. Maybe there is this huge rush to make the argument against guns and muslims front and center. Another account of the shooter was from his ex-wife who said he was often unhappy and irritated and he would take his aggression out on her. A former co-worker at the security company he worked for expressed constant aggressive messages from him during his tenure at the company (20-30 texts a day to another male). Another interesting development about Omar, is that his father was a pro-Taliban, you know the guys in Afghanistan who believe women need to be covered from head to toe when in public despite 100 degree weather and all positions of power and importance need only be handled by men. Methinks the shooter has unresolved impulses about his masculinity.
Now I paint a picture of the peril of shame down to his father’s involvement in the Taliban to show something that is plaguing the American male. Shame. Loads of it. Now, of course the extent to which one would have to kill another to hide from it, is where the element of (men)tal illness comes in. Last week I mentioned Donald Trump and his obsession with being number one and shaming anyone who opposes him or shows contention toward his public ideas. Here again, despite The Donald’s blaming the Florida massacre on radical Islam, there is a line here that is unmissable.
It is my suspicion that the shame that was used to motivate boys from the days of the sixties, seventies and eighties is backfiring. Healthy relationships between heterosexual males hardly exists unless they are in competition, opposition or oppression of another entity (sports, war, women). The blunders of war have been exposed. The women are all saying f*ck it and sports is coming under scrutiny for CTE, kicks to the groin a la Draymond Green, doping… you name it. For the longest time, being a useful heterosexual male celebrated some form of destructive behavior. And I will add that going to any society that is still highly chauvinistic, such behavior is still very much the norm and the backlash such as that which the Stanford Swimmer case is experiencing would be shut down and the lady back at her parents home apologizing for being, well, a girl. But then there are the other guys. Those that love to hold hands and kiss in public who had been killed, oppressed, ostracized, hidden for centuries are finally getting to see the light of day. They are not a threat to anyone but the shameful impulses in the men who were taught that men must never share such affection. I say impulses because I believe males of today need to taught affection for other males without the fear of it being sexual. The ignorance of it leads to the notion that all affection is sexual thus when it exists between males it must express some form of sexuality. This is the other part of the father’s jobs that was left out. Instead we got shame for underperforming in school, for losing fights to “wimps”, for not being brave enough to shoot rounds by 16 years of age, getting beat up by the the kid from (name any race), for not getting laid, for not knowing how to be a player… in short for not knowing how to destroy properly. And now you have massive amounts of men walking around feeling inadequate because they do not know how to destroy. WTAF!!!
The shooting in Orlando was not about guns or religion. Guns and religion were accessories to a larger problem that has been plaguing the United States for a while. How are heterosexual males going to be asked to evolve in an increasingly loving and tolerant world? How can one receive love when drowned in a sense of shame. In shame we reject what we are. We reject what we have. We reject what challenges us. We reject growth. One can quote religion for fostering the environment of shame but any one with sense and faith can quote way more evidence in all religions that asks us to be constructive and not destructive members of our society. The shooter’s father says his son Omar was repulsed at the sight of two men kissing in Miami. There are several men who have this feeling because it is unfamiliar to their conditioning but I doubt they are compelled to pull a military grade weapon and kill 50 people. I mean, whatever happened to looking away? What was he staring at, if it bothered him that much? Does he have an impulse he is ashamed to acknowledge? How come his son is the only who took an AR-15 to a gay club? I think his father has some questions to answer in terms what kind of man he raised his son to be. It’s true he was an adult but the seeds of shame and its ensuing aggression often start in the home. And while it has nothing to do with religion like he said, we need to take a closer look at the rape – I mean shame culture surrounding boys.