Jun 15th 2016

Donald Trump’s Dangerous, Panic-Stricken Speech on the Orlando Massacre

by Charles J. Reid, Jr.

Charles J. Reid, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he majored in Latin, Classics, and History, and also did substantial coursework in classical Greek and modern European languages. It was during his undergraduate days that he developed an interest in canon law, doing a year of directed research in Roman and canon law under the supervision of James Brundage. Reid then attended the Catholic University of America, where he earned J.D. and J.C.L. (license in canon law) degrees. During his time at Catholic University, he organized a series of symposia on the bishops' pastoral letter on nuclear arms. The proceedings of these symposia were published under Reid's editorship as "Peace in a Nuclear Age: The Bishops' Pastoral Letter in Perspective" (Catholic University of America Press, 1986). This book was called by the New York Times "among the most scholarly and unsettling of responses" to the pastoral letter (December 28, 1986).Reid then attended Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of medieval law under the supervision of Brian Tierney. His thesis at Cornell was on the Christian, medieval origins of the western concept of individual rights. Over the last ten years, he has published a number of articles on the history of western rights thought, and is currently completing work on a book manuscript addressing this question.In 1991, Reid was appointed research associate in law and history at the Emory University School of Law, where he has worked closely with Harold Berman on the history of western law. He collaborated with Professor Berman on articles on the Lutheran legal science of the sixteenth century, the English legal science of the seventeenth century, and the flawed premises of Max Weber's legal historiography.While at Emory, Reid has also pursued a research agenda involving scholarship on the history of western notions of individual rights; the history of liberty of conscience in America; and the natural-law foundations of the jurisprudence of Judge John Noonan. He has also published articles on various aspects of the history of the English common law. He has had the chance to apply legal history in a forensic setting, serving as an expert witness in litigation involving the religious significance of Christian burial. Additionally, Reid has taught a seminar on the contribution of medieval canon law to the shaping of western constitutionalism.  Recently, Reid has become a featured blogger at the Huffington Post on current issues where religion, law and politics intersect.

One should never shout fire in a crowded theater. In his panic-stricken response to the horrifying massacre that occurred over the weekend at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump has come close to doing just that.

Crises demand a coolness of purpose and language. That is especially so where ISIS-inspired terrorism is concerned. News reports indicate that ISIS is a weakening, not a growing, threat in the Middle East and around the world. The territory it controls in Syria and Iraq is shrinking daily. Its access to money and weapons has been gravely impaired. Indeed, there are credible news reports indicating that ISIS has been forced to execute deserters from its ranks as a last-gasp means of keeping its own adherents from abandoning the cause.

If this is the case, then we should not want to embark on a course of action that will only succeed in reinvigorating a movement that will soon enough collapse. Unfortunately, the proposals Donald Trump advanced in his speech of June 13 will have precisely that effect. Indeed, they will weaken the United States and gravely damage our interests in the Middle East and throughout the Islamic world.

Let us review the steps that Trump has proposed the United States undertake. First, he has reiterated his plan to close down immigration from the Arab Middle East and from other predominantly Islamic nations. Where to begin? Despite Trump’s bluster, his proposal is not a show of strength but a declaration of fear and panic. It says to the world that we stand in such abject fear of one of the world’s great religions that we shall try to prevent its followers from traveling to or residing within the United States.

The consequences of such a ban would be devastating to America. We are a global nation. Everyday we invite the world to our shores, to do business, to marvel at our nation’s beauty, to attend our colleges and universities, and to seek out the world’s best medical care. Think of the impact of shutting down travel from Islamic nations. There would be no engineers from Egypt or Jordan. There would be no gifted surgeons from Kuwait or Pakistan. Professors from Indonesia to Tunisia would be forbidden to deliver papers or to exchange ideas with our greatest minds. There would be no eager young students from Malaysia or Qatar. The world works through intellectual, economic, cultural, and social interchange. The Trump ban would cut off the circulation of world talent that makes America great.

We would, in other words, erect castle walls and moats around our nation and hunker down in irrational fear. We must not do that. Americans ought not to live in trembling and trepidation, withdrawn and isolated from the wider world.

Not only would the Trump ban plunge Americans into fear and isolation, it would empower ISIS. ISIS has announced that its purpose is to eliminate the “gray zones,” those spheres of coexistence, cooperation, and ambiguity where Muslims living in the West interact on a daily basis with the secular world.

Donald Trump’s plan would effectively do ISIS’s dirty work for them. He would blow up the gray zones and substitute for them a binary choice: our way, or ISIS’s. William McCants of Brookings Institution wrote that ISIS “selected a stark black for [their] flag rather than green, yellow, or white; the color suits their Manichean world view, which permits no gray areas.” (ISIS Apocalypse, p. 151). Donald Trump would have us hoist the very same flag of defeat and despair.

This is bad enough but there are yet other destructive elements to Trump’s speech that require attention. He called upon Americans to conduct surveillance on one another. “The Muslim community,” he stated, “has to work with us.” “They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. They know, and they have to do it, and they have to do it forthwith.”

Trump should know that most Muslims are like most other Americans. They work hard, pay their taxes, and seek better lives for their children. And, yes, like other Americans they cooperate with law enforcement.

Trump’s call for self-surveillance and self-policing has an authoritarian quality to it. Neighborhood vigilantism was a feature of Soviet Communism and of fascists everywhere. Police your neighbors, ferret out their hidden thoughts, and if they harbor forbidden ideas, report them to the authorities.

Does Trump have any idea how such a system can be abused? How such systems have been historically exploited to take petty vengeance on neighbors who just don’t quite “fit in?” The tyranny of the neighborhood watch committee has been a staple of oppressive regimes around the world. And now Donald Trump wants to build such a system on shores? I think it is time to question Trump’s loyalty. Just how un-American is he?

Trump, finally, would empower gun owners. There is much that was horrifying about his speech, but ask yourselves whether this was not the single most frightening passage: “I will be meeting with the NRA, . . . to discuss how to ensure Americans have the means to protect themselves in this age of terror. I will always be defending the Second Amendment.”

And just what would the NRA propose as a solution? Their steady recommendation is to put ever more weapons in the hands of ever more Americans. So, the way to solve gun violence is with more gun violence? We are a nation of guns and gun owners. There are more than 300 million guns in the United States, more guns than there are adults. A depressingly large number of Americans already fetishize their guns. It would make more sense to pass an assault weapons ban. Or would Donald Trump arm us all with AK-47’s subsidized by the federal government?

There are yet other aspects of the speech too absurd to merit comment, such as the conspiracy-mongering about President Obama. This is McCarthyism relived as farce.

There is, however, one aspect of his speech which I will refrain from criticizing, and that was his expression of solidarity with the LGBT community. This, after all, is more than many members of his Party have had the courage to say. Paul Ryan (R.-Donor Class), for one, in his statement of June 12, never mentioned that the targets of this heinous attack were gay. As bad as Trump is, Ryan managed to be even more craven.

In truth, this horrific mass murder in Orlando has a depressing familiarity to it. How, really, does Omar Mateen’s crime differ from that of the alleged mass murderer Dylann Roof? Roof was motivated by white supremacy. He flew the Confederate flag, he made racist jokes, and visited white supremacist web sites before entering that Charleston church. And while we do not know all the particulars about Mateen’s path to mass homicide, I am guessing that there are some resemblances to Dylann Roof’s journey.

Omar Mateen is a domestic terrorist, no different than the Charleston church shooter. They each found extremist ideologies that gave them license to act on their darkest impulses. The problem we face, in other words, is that of dealing with domestic terrorists armed with guns. And lamentably, Donald Trump does not even know what to call this crisis.

 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

Browse articles by author

More Essays

Mar 8th 2024
EXTRACT: "This study suggests that around 10% of people diagnosed with dementia may instead have underlying silent liver disease with HE causing or contributing to the symptoms – an important diagnosis to make as HE is treatable."
Jan 28th 2024
EXTRACT: "Health disparity is a powerful weapon in the savage class warfare otherwise known as neoliberalism. (In 2020, the RAND Corporation did a study of the transfer of wealth over the last several decades from the working-class and the middle-class to the top one percent. Their estimate is a staggering $47 trillion – that is how much the “upward redistribution of income” cost American workers between 1975 and 2018.) Neoliberalism is a brutal form of labor suppression, which uses health as a means of maintaining and reproducing a condition in which wealth is constantly being redistributed upwards, and the middle-class is kept in a constant state of fear of sinking into the ranks of the poor. Medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcies in America – and that’s according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. The ballooning costs of healthcare serve to maintain a system marked by morally unacceptable health inequity and injustice."
Jan 28th 2024
EXTRACT. "But living longer has also come at a price. We’re now seeing higher rates of chronic and degenerative diseases – with heart disease consistently topping the list. So while we’re fascinated by what may help us live longer, maybe we should be more interested in being healthier for longer. Improving our “healthy life expectancy” remains a global challenge. Interestingly, certain locations around the world have been discovered where there are a high proportion of centenarians who display remarkable physical and mental health. The AKEA study of Sardinia, Italy, as example, identified a “blue zone” (named because it was marked with blue pen),....."
Jan 4th 2024
EXTRACT: ""Tresors en Noir et Blanc" presents 180 prints from the collection of the Musee des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, also known as the Petit Palais.  The basis of the museum's print collection is 20,000 engravings amassed by a 19th-century collector, Eugene Dutuit, " ----- "This wonderful exhibition, the tip of a great iceberg, serves to emphasize how unfortunate it is that the tens of thousands of prints owned by the Petit Palais are almost never seen by more than a handful of scholars who visit them by appointment.  Nor is the Petit Palais the only offender in this regard,....."
Jan 4th 2024
EXTRACTS: "And that is the clue to Manet’s work. He paints painting, regardless of his subject: he paints the medium itself, it as if he is constantly reminding us that this is a painting," ..........."This is a new conception of painterly truth at play here, a new fidelity to truth. Manet is the Kant of painting because he initiates a similar kind of “Copernican revolution” – we do not see the world as it is but as we are. " -------- " Among the most remarkable but unfamiliar of Manet’s work on display are those depicting the bloody aftermath of the Paris Commune of 1871.There is no question regarding Manet’s condemnation of the Versailles government’s actions following the defeat of the Commune, when some 25,000 Parisians were gunned down, including women and children."
Dec 27th 2023
EXTRACT: "Think of our brain like a map. When we’re young, we explore all corners of this map, sending out connections in every direction to make sense of our environment. Before long, we figure out basic truths – such as how to secure food, or where we live – and the neurological paths that make up these connections strengthen. Over time, a network emerges that reflects our unique experiences. Regions we re-visit often will develop established paths, whereas under-used connections will fade away. ---- Conditions such as addiction, chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are characterised by processes such as repetitive negative thinking or rumination, where patients focus on negative thoughts in a counterproductive way. Unfortunately, these strengthen brain connections that perpetuate the unfavourable mental state."
Dec 14th 2023
EXTRACT: "While no one was looking, France has become a melting pot of European peoples. Its neighbors have traditionally been welcomed, and France progressively turned them into French boys and girls in the next generation."
Dec 4th 2023
EXTRACTS: "Being rich is essentially about having more stuff in general, including bigger houses." "..... if SUVs had not become widely adopted largely as a status symbol for the global middle classes, emissions from transport would have fallen by 30% over the past ten years. For the largest class of SUVs, six of the ten areas of the UK registering the most sales were affluent London boroughs like Kensington and Chelsea."
Nov 11th 2023
EXTRACT: "By using these “biomarkers”, researchers have discovered that when a person’s biological age surpasses their chronological age, it often signifies accelerated cell ageing and a higher susceptibility to age-related diseases." ----- "Imagine two 60-year-olds enrolled in our study. One had a biological age of 65, the other 60. The one with the more accelerated biological age had a 20% higher risk of dementia and a 40% higher risk of stroke."
Nov 6th 2023
EXTRACT: "We are working on a completely new approach to 'machine intelligence'. Instead of using ..... software, we have developed .... hardware that operates much more efficiently."
Nov 6th 2023
EXTRACTS: "When people think of foods related to type 2 diabetes, they often think of sugar (even though the evidence for that is still not clear). Now, a new study from the US points the finger at salt." ...... ".... this type of study, called an observational study, cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that one thing is related to another. (There could be other factors at play.) So it is not appropriate to say removing the saltshaker 'can help prevent'." ..... "Normal salt intake in countries like the UK is about 8g or two teaspoons a day. But about three-quarters of this comes from processed foods. Most of the rest is added during cooking with very little added at the table."
Oct 26th 2023

 

In 1904, Emile Bernard visited Paul Cezanne in Aix.  He wrote of a conversation at dinner:

Sep 11th 2023
EXTRACT: "Many people have dipped their toe into the lazy gardener’s life through “no mow May” – a national campaign to encourage people not to mow their lawns until the end of May. But you could opt to extend this practice until much later in the summer for even greater benefits. Allowing your grass to grow longer, and interspersing it with pollen-rich flowers, can benefit many insects – especially bees. Research finds that reducing mowing in urban and suburban environments has a positive effect on the amount and diversity of insects. Your untamed lawn won’t only benefit insects. It will also encourage more birds, such as goldfinches, to use your garden to feed on the seeds of common wildflower species such as dandelions."
Aug 30th 2023
EXTRACT: "Eliot remarked that Shakespeare's greatness not only grew as the writer aged, but that his development became more apparent to the reader as he himself aged: 'No reader of Shakespeare... can fail to recognize, increasingly as he himself grows up, the gradual ripening of Shakespeare's mind.' "
Aug 25th 2023
EXTRACTS: "I moved here 15 years ago from London because it was so safe. Bordeaux was then known as La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty). It's the wine capital of France and the site of beautiful 18th century architecture arrayed along the Garonne river." ---- "What’s new is that today lawlessness is spreading into the more comfortable neighborhoods. The favorite technique is to defraud elderly retirees by dressing up as policemen, waterworks inspectors or gas meter readers. False badges including a photo ID are easy to fabricate on a computer printer. Once inside, they scoop up most anything shiny as they tip-toe through the house."
Aug 20th 2023
EXTRACT: "The 1953 coup d'etat in Iran ushered in a period of exploitation and oppression that has continued – despite a subsequent revolution that led to huge changes – for 70 years. Each year on August 19, the anniversary of the coup, millions of Iranians ask themselves what would have happened if the US and UK had not conspired all those years ago to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected leader."
Aug 18th 2023
EXTRACT: "Edmundo Bacci: Energy and Light, curated by Chiara Bertola, and currently on view at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, is the first retrospective of the artist in several decades. Bacci was a native of Venice, a city with a long and illustrious history of painting, going back to Giorgione and Titian, Veronese and Tiepolo. As a painter, he was thoroughly immersed in this great past – as an artist he was determined to transform and remake that tradition in the face of modernity and its vicissitudes, what he called “the expressive crisis of our time.” That he has slipped into obscurity affords us, at the very least, an opportunity to see Bacci’s work essentially for the first time, without the burden of over-determined interpretations or categories."
Aug 12th 2023
EXTRACT: "Is Oppenheimer a movie for our time, reminding us of the tensions, dangers and conflicts of the old Cold War while a new one threatens to break out? The film certainly chimes with today’s big power conflicts (the US and China), renewed concern about nuclear weapons (Russia’s threats over Ukraine), and current ideological tensions between democratic and autocratic systems. But the Cold War did not just rest on the threat of the bomb. Behind the scientists and generals were many other players, among them the economists, who clashed just as vigorously in their views about how to run postwar economies."
Aug 5th 2023
EXTRACT: "I have a modest claim to make: we need Bruno today more than ever. This is because he represents an intellectual antidote to the prevailing ideology of today which tells us that we are doomed to finitude, which comes down politically to the assertion that there is no alternative to the reign of global capitalism. Of course, Bruno did not know about capitalism, globalization or neoliberalism. What he did know however is that humanity is infinite. That we are limited only by our own narrowness of vision."
Jul 26th 2023
EXTRACT: "We studied 55,000 people’s dietary data and linked what they ate or drank to five key measures: greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, water pollution and biodiversity loss. Our results are now published in Nature Food. We found that vegans have just 30% of the dietary environmental impact of high-meat eaters. The dietary data came from a major study into cancer and nutrition that has been tracking the same people (about 57,000 in total across the UK) for more than two decades."