“My Florida Man stories are way more fun than yours,” PJ’s resident expert on all things Florida Man, Stephen Green, said to me, and he was right. But this one does have a bit of that quintessential Florida man appeal: a Florida man has offended the gods of multiculturalism and has been given an odd sentence designed to appease those outraged deities. But if he completes his assignment properly, he won’t end up appeasing them at all. If that isn’t a Florida Man situation, what is?
The Florida man in question is 20-year-old Alexander Jerich, who is in hot water for doing doughnuts on an LGBT mural in South Florida, leaving big black marks on what the Washington Post calls a “vibrant rainbow mural.” For that, Jerich has been “given an unusual order: write a 25-page essay on the June 12, 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.” If Jerich does his homework well, however, he won’t end up learning a single thing about what he is supposed to learn. The judge wants him to come to realize how wonderful the “LGBT community” is, but he likely won’t because the Pulse nightclub attack wasn’t really about that community at all.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer ordered Jerich to research “the backgrounds of the 49 people who died and the loved ones they left behind” and “to offer his own views about why such tragedies occur.” Susakauer told Jerich, “I want your own brief summary of why people are so hateful and why people lash out against the gay community.”
The Palm Beach Post didn’t offer any reason why someone was so hateful as to commit the Pulse Nightclub attack, but surprisingly, the Washington Post actually deigned to tell its hapless readers that Omar Mateen, who went unnamed in the WaPo story but was identified only as the “gunman,” had “pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.”
That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far at all. There is actually no clear indication that Mateen targeted the Pulse Nightclub because it was a gay hangout. He may have simply been looking for a crowded place. This is because in his 911 calls, which he made during the shooting, Mateen never mentions that the people he is killing are homosexual. He never says “gay” or uses any gay slurs. He never makes any reference to the sexual practices of the people he is killing at all.
Instead, Mateen rails about the United States bombing Muslims in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and likens himself to the Boston Marathon bombers, who were fellow jihadis but who were not targeting gays. When a 911 negotiator asks him, “Can you tell me what you know about what’s going on tonight?” Mateen answers, “What’s going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim (unidentified word).” The negotiator says, “Okay. So have you done something about that?” Mateen responds, “Yes, I have.” At another point, Mateen says, “Well, you need to know that they need to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is collaborating with Russia [this was in 2016, remember, on Obama’s watch] and they are killing innocent women and children, okay?”
Mateen even gave a specific cause for his attack. “Yo, the airstrike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago – that’s what triggered it, okay? They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid.” Abu Wahid was actually Abu Waheeb, an Islamic State leader who had been killed in an American airstrike in May 2016, just weeks before Mateen’s shooting spree.
So if Jerich does his research properly, he will discover that Judge Suskauer’s assumption that these people were killed because they were homosexual is likely false and has been advanced in an opportunistic manner. This is akin to how a madman’s murder of several Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C. has been turned into an “Islamophobic hate crime” despite the fact that the murderer in that case left no indication that he had anything against Muslims or Islam at all: quite the contrary.
Islam does, however, have a death penalty for homosexual activity, even though it doesn’t seem to have been in play in the Pulse Nightclub shooting. If Jerich wants to learn more about that, and since one homework assignment deserves another, he can read The Critical Qur’an.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.