Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Marlene Malaprop’s self-flagellation

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Marlene Malahoo Forte

On June 12, 2:02 a.m., a 29-year-old American who pledged allegiance to ISIS and whose wife said she believed was mentally ill carried an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed nightclub, killed 49 people and wounded at least 53.

It was a terrifying incident. One person hiding in the bathroom, covered herself with bodies for protection. Publication of texts from a frightened young man, also hiding in a bathroom, to his mother before he was slaughtered like a hog in an abattoir sent chills up my spine.

"Mommy I love you," Eddie typed as the mentally deranged gunman rained terror on the nightclub. Then: "In club they shooting"; minutes later, "Mommy, call 911"; then "Trapp in bathroom"; and "He's coming. I'm gonna die."

Try to imagine that mother's feelings as she read the texts coming in. Try to imagine her dread as she fumbled with her phone, dialling 911 too late for Eddie. Many nights, I've tried to encourage The Old Ball and Chain to go to sleep as she tries but can't because one of her beloved sons is out late. "That useless boy won't even call me," she moans at 2 a.m., still insomniac. Regardless of how many times I tell her, at that hour, phone calls are bad news and, as the condemned man said to the hangman "No noose is good noose," she still wants to hear the phone ring.

I know if Old BC ever received texts like those sent to Eddie's mother, I'd be arranging two funerals. After a few more minutes and a few more torturous texts, Eddie's Mom's phone went silent. Eventually, she received the worst news. Forty-eight other families received similar news that day. Forty-nine families were devastated. Expressions of condolence flooded in from people of all walks of life, nationalities, religions, and ideologies. World leaders sent sombre notes of condolence and condemnation.

Media covered many related issues, especially that old chestnut: gun control. President Obama once again argued that it was too easy for deranged people to buy guns. Hillary Clinton said persons on "no-fly" lists shouldn't own guns. Even Donald Trump was for removing assault rifles from the easy-to-buy list. It seems the FBI had interviewed Loonybin twice, so a secondary issue for media involved questioning if the FBI could've prevented the gruesome slaughter. Another issue surrounded the madman's wife who, apparently, knew of his plans but didn't stop him.

Dang! I forgot to mention: The nightclub in question is a gay club. It may be that Loonytunes became incensed after seeing two men kissing, hence this classifies as a hate crime. So, yes, Whackjob's motivation was also very much an issue. But, honestly, I hadn't even remembered the victims' sexual orientation until I saw this mind-blowing tweet from Attorney General Marlene 'Malaprop' Malahoo Forte, posted June 13 at 10:46 p.m:

"While I strongly condemn the #OrlandoNightClubShooting I find it disrespectful of Jamaica's laws to have the #RainbowFlag flown here #MyPersonalView."

I recognise Jamaica is hopelessly homophobic, but for the first time, I was also ashamed to be Jamaican. Why? Because this wasn't Shabba. This was Jamaica's highest-ranking attorney-at-law, a profession I was once proud to be a member of.

Where to begin? Marlene, what laws are you nattering about? If you're channelling the archaic, obsolete, long-ago-repealed-in-the-country-we-copied-it-from buggery law, are you saying being gay is "disrespectful" of that disreputable law? Or worse, honouring gay victims of senseless slaughter is disrespectful?

Marlene, say it ain't so, because if the latter is your point, that would make my attorney general no better than a dancehall artiste screaming "Bun ba**yman!" as entertainment. Marlene, you MUST explain HOW a foreign embassy's flying of a flag to honour human victims of terrorism can EVER be disrespectful to local laws. That act represents ONLY sorrow that religious bigotry and hatred caused gays to die in most horrendous circumstances. Jamaica has no law against dying gay.




Maybe it's your #PersonalView being gay is dishonourable, but, if so, why accept appointment as attorney for ALL JAMAICANS, including gays? Or are you just appreciating the possible inconsistencies between those duties and your #PersonalPrehistoricReligion and wish to atone by #self-flagellation? Surely you know an attorney general, whose client is every Jamaican, isn't permitted publicly expressed, legal "personal views".

I'm discombobulated. The best reply I can muster is to quote a later tweet posted by Anne-Marie Vaz:

"Jesus I am so shockingly horrified that 49 people were slaughtered that I completely miss the fact that they r said to be gays #OneLove."

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.