Contemplating the shootings at the Pulse club (when are we going to dtop the “gay” modifier for clubs that admit the whole LGBT community and straights?) in Orlando, Florida by Omar Siddiqui Mateen, there are more unanswered questions than answers.
- There’s nothing good about tragedies like this, but one of the worst things is how discussions on how to keep stuff like this from happening in the future degenerate into fights over gun control, immigration, religion – all sorts of things. I got into a row in a lesbian bar’s Group Chat because I suggested Omar Siddiqui Mateen might have been shot down before he killed 49 people if more people in that bar had been armed. I expected an argument. I didn’t expect my sanity and intelligence to be questioned. People were so nasty to me, I quit the group. Disagreeing with someone’s politics is no excuse for intolerant and discourteous speech. Wonder why we have a polarized society? That’s why.
- It’s also why I now won’t speak about politics to people I don’t know and trust in Second Life, and why if I’m in a new club and people start in on the state I live in, or on gun rights (“gun control” is un-Constitutional, I prefer to focus on the civil right to keep and bear arms), then I very quietly leave. You can’t fix intolerant and that’s not why I’m here in SL.
- Why politicize this tragedy at all? When the New York Times made this incident all about the Republican party it was they, not the Republicans, who shattered the national unity we so badly need to confront this menace and to mend our nation. The inevitable pushback to this remark by the New York Times is that Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat, which fails by the same logic as that idiotic New York Times editorial – you can’t judge most of us by the worst of us. If we say all Republicans are like Trump, we shouldn’t be shocked when someone says all gays and lesbians are like Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen Wuornos. If you must play politics, please remember you – and the rest of us – may get what you dish out.
- Second Life itself might take the chance here to pay more attention to when someone commits acts (as opposed to using slurs) against lesbians, gays, the transgendered, or the several other gender varieties one meets in Second Life. My avatar’s been raped at least twice in Second Life, and my then-wife in Second Life and I confined against our wills in in a shootable cage in a supposedly women-only sim by someone wearing an avatar unmistakably male by its bulging erect penis and Schwarzenegger-like build. I filed Abuse Reports in each case. Nothing happened to the offending player at any time. SL’s got to recognize that ignoring involuntary violence against anyone (when we aren’t inviting it on ourselves in combat sims, as I’ve done a few times) may be the “taste” that gets a potentially violent person hooked on the idea of hurting or killing other people for truly inadequate reasons (“I’m horny. I’m bored“).
- Expanding on the prior thought, when, in Second Life, a female avatar invites another female avatar for sex, disappear, then apparently re-appears as a male and rapes – has sex with the unsuspecting woman as a male, it’s not consensual role play. I’ve filed two Abuse Reports on incidents like that, and one on when a player in a male avatar trapped my then-wife and me in a women-only sim, whipped out his engorged penis, and in broken English told us to service him. I filed an Abuse Report on that, too, and again, the Lindens didn’t do a thing. The avatars/accounts concerned remained on line and for all I know are still with us. I’ve become much more careful about where I go and whom I’m with, which I ought to have been in the beginning. The question remains, “Why are the Lindens complaisant about the rape of lesbians in Second Life?”
Thinking about these and other questions percolated down through my artistic, right brain, and I did a photo shoot incorporating this character:
I’ll save you the trouble of pointing out what massive pecs and arm muscles I’d need to wield a double-handed broadsword with single hand as a mere mortal.
In case you missed the point, this is a Second Life blog, and this character of mine is a Melusine, a merwoman with amazing abilities (like the ability to shift from mortal to mer-shape at will, just like Daryl Hannah’s character “Madison” in Splash!). That they include unearthly strength is no odder than that I can shift into the medieval mermaid form where my legs merge to become a tail, or sprout wings as Melusines have done to defend their families against siege by flying around the battlements of the castles sheltering their kids and ex-husbands. (Melusines could serve as the tutelary spirits for first wives.)
Getting back to my main point, it’s time for gays, lesbians and other marginalized groups to take some responsibility for their own defense. The police are far outnumbered by criminals, and it’s not their responsibility to protect people in advance of an armed attack – except for that off-duty cop at that bar in Orlando who, on seeing that the attacker had major firepower, ran off to get help. I wasn’t where he was, but I’d like to think I’d have done my very best to put a few holes in Omar Saddiqui Mateen the minute he appeared in the place I was being paid to guard with an assault rifle in his hands.
The idea that defending one’s self with effective weapons is “escalating the chain of force” is garbage. Nobody tries this stunt in Georgia, where bar patrons can and do carry firearms. Deterrence works with firearms just as well as with nuclear weapons.
“Patricia the Drow Countess” (probably I’ll be getting angry Email from other Countesses and real Drow Elven and Faeries now, accusing me of “misappropriating” their cultures) is a statement that there are alternatives to passively being hurt and killed, and if enough of us use them, the people who see us as easy targets won’t, any more.