GUEST POST: Orlando. This Time. Please.


by James C. Nelson

Montana Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)

I told my friend, a poet, that I didn’t know how to write this piece—I didn’t know how to be eloquent, heartsick, damn mad, and hopeful all at the same time.  I still don’t.  So, I’ll simply say what I know and what I hope.

I know that the newest, but likely not the last, face of hate is Omar Mateen.  He’s not the face of hate because he professes to be Muslim; most Muslims are as horrified by his crime as are people of other faiths. He’s not the face of hate because he’s an immigrant or foreigner. He’s an American.   He’s not the face of hate because he’s heterosexual. He’s apparently bisexual. However, the shock and disgust for this atrocity are not defined by sexual orientation or gender identity. He’s the face of hate because he walked into a nightclub with an assault rifle and murdered, in cold blood, 49 of our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters, and irrevocably injured scores more. He’s the face of hate because he’s a terrorist.

I know that this sort of violence and hatred is fueled—no, driven—by example and by inflammatory rhetoric.  Parents, politicians, religious fanatics and others who demonize and degrade; who refuse to respect the individual dignity and civil and natural rights of every person.

I know that when modern-day bullies tell marginalized and disaffected members of our society what they want to hear and invoke their rage, their bigotry, and their votes in the crassest and most vituperous language, that none should be surprised at the consequences.  Scape-goating worked for Hitler. It still works.

I know that we have too many non-sporting guns in our society. I know that Congress doesn’t have the guts to do anything about it. And, I know that until it does, there will be more Orlandos, Newtowns and San Bernadinos; more vigils; more grieving parents, spouses, siblings and friends.

I know, like Doctor King that “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”  And, I know that the tragedy and injustice of Orlando threatens justice everywhere in our Country.  Not just in LGBTQ communities, but everywhere for everyone.  I know that we must demand change; that we must change–lest, as my friend predicts, our hate “will haunt us until the Empire is smoking rubble.”

Do I hope? Yes. But, it is informed by the experience of years and profession; by the certain knowledge that we forget the lessons of history and tragedy far too soon and too easily.

I hope there will be no more Mateens and Orlandos. I hope we will finally recognize that we are all more alike than different. I hope that this Orlando will finally mean something more than mouthed platitudes, dripping candle wax and flowers—transient memorials to fellow human beings that our hate has forever destroyed.

I hope that the ashes of this Orlando will birth love and respect. At least this time. Please, this time.



18 Comments on "GUEST POST: Orlando. This Time. Please."

  1. An individual who uses violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve a result.

  2. Hi Jim, I realize that you are entitled to have a life after years of public service but I selfishly wish you were still on the court.Please keep posting your observations on things. Thanks Kurt Voight

  3. D Gregory Smith | July 15, 2016 1:14 AM at 1:14 AM |

    I am always delighted by sound logic- and this delights me.
    Fr Greg

  4. Is this the Greg Gianforte who is running for governor, who now normalizes terror and violence by saying ‘everybody does it’? So, Gov. Wanna-be,since bullying (which can rise, or sink, to the level of violence and terror)is normal, is it okay for government to bully? Put this on your list of unanswered questions. If not the same guy, feel free to answer anyway.

  5. Art Wittich's Hot Tub Time Machine | July 15, 2016 8:35 AM at 8:35 AM |

    Hey Skippy…

    This is you:

    You’re going to lose.

  6. Here’s an example of an empty, low value, phrase:

    “Nelson Mandela, Cat Stevens, Bhutanese refugees, Black Lives Matter, Bill Vollman, and Omar Mateen share the same label . . . ”

    Greg Gianforte, even when preceded by the suppositional “When” that phrase an unacceptable proposition/ premise for common sense logic.
    But it sure worked for you to lead into:

    “the label is useless. It does nothing other than signal to your audience ‘i really hate this person!!!’ ”

    Oh well, standard fare these days, just another new age conservative recognized for projecting hate onto outsiders.

  7. I just checked with Gianforte campaign and he is not posting on cowgirl. Do you guys check to make sure pists are authentic? I have thought of posting Art Wittich’s Hot Tub name just because the poster obviously is off his meds, but figured you would edit it out. Can I get away with this as the Gianforte poster is doing?

    • Art Wittich's Hot Tub Time Machine | July 18, 2016 10:07 AM at 10:07 AM |

      Do you really think there’s much of a difference in what William Clarke did and what Gianforte is trying to do? I’ve been posting here 6 months.

  8. Posts not pists

  9. Just after the shooting happened, youtube was filled with clips of Baptist ministers reciting Leviticus: (“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”)and approving the slaughter as well as saying the government should be in charge of exterminating homosexuals.
    I have to wonder if Gianforte, who believes in the literal meaning of the Bible, has the same viewpoint.

  10. You’re suggesting that the honorable James C. Nelson’s words are “empty, low-cost language”? Maybe you’d be happier back in Hoboken.

  11. No need to wonder Sam. He’s said as much in GOP double-speak a number of times. And I too offer my sincere thanks to Justice Nelson for this post as well as his dispensation of Judicial Celerity when my case was before the Court. (I won!)

  12. Back in 1911 the Montana Legislature passed a gun-controll law. Following is what two small-town Montana newspapers had to say.
    Laural Outlook: “The new law making the carrying of weapons by irresponsible parties and without permission, a felony punishable by a penetenuiary sentence, is certainly a wise measure and everyone will be glad to see it rigidly enforced.”

    Dillon Tribune: “The ‘gun-toter’ will have to go somewhere else now. His habit don’t go in Montana any more. The legislature has said so, and the officers of the state, according to reports in our exchanges, say so too. The law, as we understand the attitude of Montana officers, is going to be enforced to the letter.”

  13. “Did MT Temperance have a heart attack, or what?” Says Drunks for Denny.

    No DFD I was on a small vacation. But you are right, Greg G-fo, G-force, Greg Gianfroyo, Greg Gianforte all come from the same IP address on the same day and are therefore “Banned'” as pretending to be something they are not.

    Sorry for the delay, but even I get to go on vacation and enjoy life in Montana.

    Secondly Drunks for Denny, and Bob Williams I apologise that your comments were wiped out too. But It seems WordPress hauls those replies about said Idiot to the dump as well. For some reason I cannot get them to show up…. which means it is inherent of the program not the Operator, when dumping his comments solely.

    Again, I apologise!

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