Until we start addressing the U.S. government's part in creating, cultivating and abetting domestic and global terrorism--and hold agencies such as the FBI and Defense Department accountable for importing and exporting violence, breeding extremism and generating blowback, which then gets turned loose on an unsuspecting American populace--we'll be no closer to putting an end to the violence that claimed 50 lives at an Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016, than we were 15 years ago when nearly 3,000 individuals were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Here's what I know:
While U.S. politicians have been lecturing American citizens on the dangers of gun violence and working to enact measures that would make it more difficult for Americans to acquire certain weapons, the United States, the world's largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world, equipping nearly half the world with deadly weapons and profiting to the tune of $36.2 billion.
Blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government's international activities, is a reality. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America's use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback. We failed to heed his warning.
The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback.
The Orlando nightclub shooting is merely the latest tragic example of blowback on a nation that feeds its citizens a steady diet of violence through its imperial wars abroad and its battlefield mindset at home, embodied by heavily armed, militarized police and SWAT team raids.
You want to put an end to the mass shootings, the terrorist bombings and the domestic extremism?
Then start by telling the government to stop creating blowback at home by stirring up wars abroad, stop killing innocent civilians as part of its drone wars, and stop policing the world through foreign occupations.
Demand that the U.S. government stop turning America into a battlefield. Hillary Clinton may be right that "weapons of war have no place on our streets," but I don't see her attempting to demilitarize the U.S. government--the largest gun owner in the nation--she just wants to take guns away from American citizens.
And while you're at it, tell the FBI to stop labeling anyone who might disagree with the government's policies as "anti-government," "extremist" and a "terrorist," because while they're busy turning average Americans into criminals, the real criminals are getting away with murder.
Omar Mateen, the alleged gunman responsible for the Orlando shooting, is the end product of a diseased mindset that has overtaken the U.S. government. It's a calculating mindset that views American citizens as economic units on a profit-and-loss ledger. And it's a manipulative mindset that foments wars abroad (and in our own communities) in order to advance its own ambitions.
Whatever Mateen's issue--whether he was "radicalized on the internet," as the government suggests, or mentally ill or homophobic or conflicted about his own sexuality or a terrorist of the FBI's own making--he was also a victim of a government that has been at war with its own citizens for decades.
Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen, was born in New York and raised in Florida. He was employed by the military industrial complex. On two separate occasions, he was placed on the FBI's terrorist watch list, investigated, interviewed, had his case file closed and was removed from the agency's watch list.
Now what role, if any, did the FBI play in Mateen's so-called radicalization?
Was the agency so busy amassing power, pursuing non-terrorists and inventing terrorists that it failed to recognize a "lone wolf" terrorist in its midst? Or was this another case of the FBI planting the seeds of terrorism in an impressionable mind?