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Mass Murder In Orlando

Omar Mateen slays 50 people in gay nightclub. Who was he?

Police say 50 dead, 53 injured, in mass shooting at Orlando gay nightclub, making it the worst mass shooting in US history. The shooter is dead too, killed in a firefight with police.

The killer’s name was Omar Mateen, and is reportedly the son of Afghan immigrants. As I write this on Sunday morning, authorities have indicated that Mateen may have connections with Islamic terrorists. His father tells NBC News that his son recently became enraged when he saw two men kissing in public in Miami, in front of his child. I will update this blog as we know more.

By now, we should all know not to get out ahead of the story and jump to conclusions. There is already a lot of contradictory information being bandied about in the media. Let us not blame innocent people for the act of a terrorist. I especially urge readers who want to use this hideous act of murder to confirm pre-existing beliefs to restrain themselves in their comments, at least until we have more facts on which to base our arguments. To this end, I will be especially vigilant about approving comments.

If you pray, please pray for the dead, the injured, and those who love them. Fifty people, shot dead in cold blood. Lord, have mercy on them.

UPDATE: How about resisting the urge to use this event as an opportunity to reinforce your prior prejudices. I’m in favor of putting blame where blame belongs, but the fact is, we just don’t know enough about what really happened to justify blaming anything or anybody, other than Omar Mateen.

UPDATE.2: The Washington Post tracked down Mateen’s ex-wife and interviewed her. She ID’d the Myspace photo making the rounds as a shot of him, which is why the Post is now using it, and why I am using it. From the Post article:

“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said, adding that he wasn’t very religious and worked out at the gym often. She said in the few months they were married he gave no signs of having fallen under the sway of radical Islam. She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents.

“He was a very private person,” she said.

The ex-wife said her parents intervened when they learned Mateen had assaulted her. Her father confirmed the account and said that the marriage lasted only a few months.

He was also a wife-beater, the ex-wife said.

These details are why I caution about a rush to judgment. Mateen was a Muslim, but as with many of these radicalized young men, he might well have seized a radical version of Islam to justify and to express violence and hatred he had within him. We just don’t know for sure yet.

UPDATE.3: Now we know for sure that he pledged allegiance to ISIS. Look, I know this is going to aggravate some of you, but I am doing my best to hold off on comments that rush to blame Islam, or the NRA, or immigration, or conservative Christians (yes, some are doing that) for this atrocity — at least today. I’ve been watching Twitter, and it’s sickening how eager so many people are to shoehorn mass murder into their own agendas, to justify their pre-existing hatreds. There will be legitimate points to be made about all these things, and I will entertain them in the comments thread of this blog. But not today. For at least one day, I will do my best to keep those voices politicizing this crime at bay. I did make one exception for a sometime commenter here who happened to have been at the Pulse nightclub last night, but who left early, and who is traumatized today by the events there. Pray for him, if you pray.

UPDATE.4: I have had to spike more comments than I published on this thread, because I didn’t want this thread on this day to degenerate into blame-casting (I shouldn’t have approved the “false flag” comment; mea culpa). I’m closing down comments here, and want to redirect you to this new post, where you are free to speculate as you like. I’m going to keep the worst remarks off that thread, but I don’t expect there will be much good.