(Needless to say, I did not win the Examiner’s contest. The winner suggested that nets be installed to catch jumpers.)
Hints, in news stories about the Orlando tragedy, that the shooter may have been conflicted about his sexual orientation (often a factor in homophobic crimes like this one), opens up the possibility of using a similar strategy - tainting the public perception of their behavior - to deter the virulently homophobic Islamic terrorists. It would take machinations more complex than simply renaming a bridge, but the chilling effect on would-be terrorists would be worth it.
Since, of necessity, there are as many theories about things as there are doctoral degrees, there probably already is an academic somewhere who has theorized that all terrorists are repressed homosexuals. If not, all it would take is some moderate funding to a strapped psychology or sociology department, to produce one. Then, if two or three big media outlets like CNN, Fox, Huffington Post, picked up this theory and ran with it – and there is no reason they wouldn’t, considering that it appeals to the public’s prurience, which is the best way to win and keep its attention – it would quickly become truthy. (“Truthy,” which I officially coin here, is the root adjective of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness.”)
This is how some recent headlines would have appeared, reflecting this new viewpoint on terrorism:
LGBT Suicide Bombers 'Kill 20' outside Damascus Shrine
ISIS Homosexuals may be Headed to France, Belgium, Security Official Says
Gay ISIS Martyrs Kill Dozens in and around Baghdad
LGBT Suicide Bombers Hit 2 Syrian Cities in Assad Stronghold, Killing Scores
Paris Gay Streams ISIS Killing on Facebook Live
With this new outlook on terrorism's root causes, the media’s interminable rehashing of the biographies of these maniacs would concentrate on their sexual orientation and not their religious one.
The more fanatical the Islamic zealot, the more homophobic. Islamic terrorists manqué would think twice if they knew that their actions would generate, as memorials, portraits not of piety and martyrdom, but of sexual inhibition and inadequacy.