Full Year After Pulse Nightclub Massacre, Orlando Paper Says ‘Few Answers’ For Terrorist’s Motives

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

The Orlando Sentinel said Sunday that there are “plenty of theories, but few answers” to the shooter’s motive in the 2016 ‘Pulse’ nightclub massacre which left 50 dead, including the shooter, and 53 wounded.

Omar Mateen, the perpetrator behind the June 2016 Orlando gay club shooting, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) before he died, shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the shooting and was on the FBI’s radar as an Islamist sympathizer before the attack. Federal court documents described him as a Muslim separatist, and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The Sentinel, however, supported the idea that ISIS was just a justification for Mateen to lash out as a repressed homosexual.

“He may have been very upset about Syria, but in these cases, when you strip away the attempt by the killer to state some sort of cause or motive, you often find a much more simple reason,” former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole told the Sentinel.

The Sentinel also quoted Jessica Stern, executive director of LGBT rights group ‘OutRight Action International.’

“For Omar Mateen,” Stern said, “ISIS was simply the justification.”

The Sentinel agonized over “clues” that might help piece together the self-proclaimed jihadi’s true motive. Left-leaning organizations have been attempting to cast doubt on Mateen’s radical Islamic motives since the shooting last year.

The Southern Poverty Law Center called the Orlando nightclub shooting a right-wing plot in December, putting Mateen on a list of right-wing extremists. Days after the attack, ACLU lawyers blamed the “Christian Right” for the shooting. Salon equated evangelical Christians with ISIS regarding LGBT people. Planned Parenthood claimed that “toxic masculinity” was responsible for the attack.

Only near the end of the Sentinel piece, however, does the paper entertain the idea that Mateen’s sexual orientation was irrelevant to the shooting, quoting Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer.

“If Mateen was gay, which is completely hypothetical and bereft of evidence, he could possibly have been aware of sinning before Allah and knew that he could outweigh all his sins by one great act of jihad,” Spencer told the Sentinel. “In other words, if he was gay, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that his murders weren’t motivated by Islam’s doctrine of jihad.”

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