When he first heard about the Orlando shooting, Donald Trump gleefully declared that he was right—that there would be jihad attacks. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s first response was that it was a gay hate crime, and that the problem was guns. I always like to think they’re both partly right—but mostly wrong.

Instead of a “gay hate crime,” what if it was a “gay love crime”?

The Orlando Sentinel says the shooter was a regular at the gay night club.

At least four regular customers at the Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people said Monday that they had seen Omar Mateen there before.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Ty Smith said. . .

Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that he saw Mateen inside at least a dozen times.

“We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith said. “He told us he had a wife and child.”. . .

Another Pulse regular, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen messaged him on and off for a year using a gay chat app.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post added support that he was gay.

A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said he believed Mateen [the shooter] was gay, saying Mateen once asked him out. . .

The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs, after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy. He said Mateen asked him out romantically.

“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate said. He asked that his name not be used. . .

The Canadian Press reported Monday that Mateen had been seen there over three years.

Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pointed a knife at a friend. . .

The former classmate said the group, including Mateen, went to four gay clubs in the Treasure Coast and West Palm Beach in 2006: Kashmir Night Club in West Palm Beach, Byrd Cage in Port St. Lucie, Cold Keg in Melbourne and Rebar in Port St. Lucie.

Could it be that this was not a matter of jihad? Yes, he made a 911 call claiming allegiance to a Sunni extremist group. But he also claimed allegiance to a Shi’ite extremist group. That doesn’t make sense. Is it possible that this was just an excuse, when self-hatred was the truth?

Could the anger and hatred that brought about the shooting really have, at its base, the frustration and humiliation of “a lover scorned”?

Could it be that the cognitive dissonance of trying to be Muslim, yet not being able to help being gay just became too much? The BBC had an interview with a British Muslim, who also felt anger and hatred—until he came to accept that he was gay.

Sohail Ahmed said he grew up hating the West after being indoctrinated by strict Muslim parents and sent to a hardline madrassa in east London. . .

But Sohail said that doubts about his own sexuality and help from former extremists at the Quilliam Foundation helped him move away from Islamism.

. . . while at university, Sohail started having doubts about his own extreme views. He began researching evolution, which extremists insist didn’t happen.

But Sohail found himself convinced by the scientific evidence.. .

He was also coming to terms with the fact that he was gay: “I had these thoughts since I was young. But as a kid I was told what you do with gay people.

You throw them off the mountain and stone them to death. So growing up I hated myself. I thought I was something evil.

“I was very homophobic. I would join in with homophobic jokes.

“ISIS are throwing gay people off buildings to their death in Syria and I can just imagine that being me or someone I care about.

“But what disturbed me even more was that it could have been me carrying it out.

“I could have been the victim or the perpetrator.”

The Orlando shooter may have been very much like Ahmed. But wasn’t able to get past the self-loathing, and hatred of people just like him. After all, as a devout religious gay person, he was supposed to stone himself to death.

Every episode like this is complicated. This is just one angle. Someone said, “for every complicated problem, there is a simple solution—that will make matters worse.” In this case, banning all Muslims is stupid, and banning all guns is stupid. Instead of wearing “I’m with her” shirts, maybe supporters of Hillary and Trump should wear, “I’m with stupid.”


      • I agree that the story is nuanced. Gay love, however, has been marginalized in our society and portrayed historically as tragic and associated with death by violence or illness. Regardless of whether this crime was motivated by internalized homophobia (it wouldn’t be the first time), or by religious animus, it was a hate crime. OK. I’ll take Julio’s advice and chill out — I have appreciated the election coverage provided by this app. I’m still trying to process the event. I grew up in the Orlando area and patronized many of the gay establishments there in the late 80s and early 90s with my gay and lesbian friends. I’ve been assaulted by homophobic men after leaving a gay bar with my girlfriend and gay brother.

    • Lol I’m gay as hell and this article wasn’t even offensive. Chill out and read the whole article.

    • Too quick to judge. You should have read the entire article, but it’s your lose if you delete the app. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Or, in this case, its headline.

  1. I just want to point out that there are lots of Muslims who are gay and/or supportive of LGBTQ rights. They have been speaking out a lot and their support of the LBGTQ community has been widely reported, even in mainstream places like on CNN and ABC. I think that it’s only going to fuel violence and misunderstanding to act like the Orlando massacre was about religion. It was about homophobia. Please don’t speculate in ways that only increase Islamophobia. Try to promote a better understanding rather than fueling stereotypes and even more intolerance.

    • I agree — my wife’s best friend from high school is a Muslim who danced happily at our wedding with my gay brother best-man. She is a practicing Muslim and one of the dearest people I know.

  2. This article displays a deep
    understanding of the underlying psychological aspects of this tragedy! His professed allegiance to ISIS was the proverbial red herring. This was suicide by cop only he took a lot of innocent people with him.

  3. I’m deeply offended by the premise of this article.

    How dare this twisted, self-proclaimed terrorist be repainted as just a love-confused outsider? Even if everything being made up about him is true, his repeatedly stated motive was still terrorism, and his very deliberate choice were still members of the LGBT community, which he felt deserved, in particular, to die. And he still was particularly effective in his endeavor. All other information can only distract and detract from the impact of this national tragedy.

    Despite everything we know, it seems some want to paint this as a “lovers-spat” within the LGBT community. Why? What’s the motive? I can imagine some. For example, some Americans reacting like this:


    To argue that the problem was a psychopath within the LGBT community is to argue the terrorist attack wasn’t also a hate crime, or maybe wasn’t even a terrorist attack. That is wrong, ignorant, and offensive. We can’t go down this path of subtly (or not so subtly) blaming the victims.

    W. Anderson

    • “made up about him”
      –all the details were clearly attributed

      You’re entitled to your opinion; not your own facts.

      • “Even if everything being made up about him is true …” You have a right to free speech, and to quote me, but not to misleadingly quote me.

        • You just re-quoted the quote I quoted from you.

          Your implication is that facts you don’t like are “made up.”

          If you would have read more carefully, you would have seen that I was offering an alternate interpretation to the major parties, not an assertion that it was true. Note the “what if. . .could it be. . .is it possible. . .could
          it be. . .could it be. . .may have been.”

          The premise of the article is that the major candidates “shoot their mouths off” before they know what they’re talking about, to score cheap political points.

          • I thought the premise of the article was whether this act was a hate crime or a crime of passion?

            Pardon me. I’m often told I use too many words. But sometimes I may trim until critical meaning is lost. Let me try again.

            First, I agree with your final conclusion regarding politicians in general, I do not agree this premise is clear from the start.

            Second, permit me to provide the unabridged version of my now oft quoted sentence. It won’t change the meaning, but I’m confident it will assist understanding. Items typed between “[ ]” are new and aguably unnecessary verbiage used to end this confusion.

            “Even if [I were to accept your remarkably well cited article, Goethe,] and assume everything [in those articles] being made up about him is true [and not false, or therefore, not “made up], …”

            Then I go on to make my case why I feel these homocentric points, even if true, and not made up, or false, or untrue, should not be the focus of the tragedy.

            I would apologize for misleading you with my wording, but I’m not that sorry.

            Yes, I personally believe many of the arguments out there that he was motivated by “misguided self-loathing” are untrue. But, as in a (real) debate, my comment clearly concedes that point immediately, [makes it a non-issue, says “okay, what if he was a self-loathing closet case? So what? Even if that is true..:”], before making my argument.

            Goethe, we are lost in the minutiae of rhetorical argument now. Away from the point I think.

            I concede your citations are clear, although I know nothing of their veracity. I agree with your most recent stated comment on politicians, although I disagree this was the clear premise of your article. Rather, to the extent I appreciated your thought there, it was in your conclusion.

            Without shame I seem to I impugn the integrity of the information you cite by using the words “made up”. I used these word correctly, and intended to show my disdain. I might not be entitled to my own facts, but I hope you won’t deny me my own feelings.

            I don’t call you a liar, or suggest you did not cite anything. I argue that even if everything is as you present, this premise presupposed by the presentation of the information is wrong.

            Thanks for providing opportunities to respond.

            • I’m a former English teacher, and have been writing professionally for decades, so I am quite literal in my reading.

              The articles quoted people who knew him, personally, so I tend to believe them.

              But you would have been ok if you had used “alleged” instead of “made up.”

            • Please use your considerable experience and background to confirm that witness testimony is, in fact, the weakest form of evidence. Failing that, may I suggest Google?

              “Made up, alleged, supposed, so-called, unproven, claimed.” Like a paring knife twisting through a thesaurus. It’s very interesting and I often learn something. You might appreciate this, as I both beg your pardon, and borrow from the Bard;

              “Made Up, Or What You Will …”

            • Yes. I agree. There has been considerable discussion about dismissing witness testimony. But that’s in the case of a one-time exposure. If you witness a crime, you may not have seen it all, or it may look like someone else, you may have been traumatized, or saw something later and got confused. The mind is fallible.

              I don’t think that applies here, because the shooter was seen many times over three years, plus the roommate’s experience; people who knew him, personally; a date; dating app; a friend going with him to numerous other clubs, etc. This is not one person saying, “I think I saw a guy who looked like him there once, maybe.”

              A “hate crime” is against someone who is different. A lynching of a Black man by whites in the Old South was a hate crime. Black-on-Black shootings in Chicago is a tragedy, but not a “hate crime.”

            • Just so we’re clear, is it your contention the Orlando murder of 49 people in an LGBT event may not meet your conditions to be defined as a hate crime?

            • Technically, a “hate crime” is an attack on a group or member of a group because of their ethnicity or other attribute. That applies, but oddly, since he shares the attribute.

              The headline was meant to be shocking, but also to raise the question whether it might have been a “crime of passion,” of self-loathing. Or, as a68domer put it, “suicide by cop.”

            • Thank you for answering that question. I know I put you on the spot. And thank you for permitting this conversation, I know you don’t have to engage.

              That concludes the defense of my original response to your article. I believe I’ve made every point. Before you question that conclusion, please review the primary source, as well as the discussion. I know you will.

            • On another note. Christian Hate Groups say, “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,” Pastor Roger Jimenez told his Sacramento church Sunday morning, just hours after 49 people were killed in Orlando. “I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job”


              “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a
              firing wall, put the firing squad in front of them and blow their brains
              out,” he scoffed.

            • That’s a good point, I think. The shooting has revealed quite a bit of hate and bigotry among our fellow citizens.

            • In this case too, the pastor could be externalizing self- loathing for gay impulses and he would still be committing a hate crime with his threats, since he does not self-identify as gay. Hate crimes stem from perceiving the victims as “other,” no matter the similarities or ultimately, connections.

            • Can I just (pedantically) ask you to confirm that Christian Hate Groups is an officially recognised organisation, as the capitalization suggests it is.

            • If he did not self-identify as a gay person, then it remains a hate crime by these terms. So far, there is no evidence that he referred to himself as gay.

            • That was the point. It is apparent that he could not accept his gayness, because it conflicted with his upbringing and self-image. But being gay is not a choice, so he was stuck.

  4. I am deeply sorry for what happened in Orlando. This article just wraps things about this unfortunate incident into a too neat package.
    Is the writer of this piece working for the Hillary Clinton campaign? The reason I am saying that is it will steal the thunder from Donald Trump. His saying ‘I TOLD YOU SO’, will lose its effectiveness if this article casts any doubt about the gunman’s motive.

    • he told us so? LOL really? what a lack of decency on his part especially since he doesn’t provide other than fascist ideas to solve this issue and on top he assumes that this was a religious based attack when in fact there are LGTB people coming out with evidence that this clown was homophobic due to his own homosexuality…until we know all the facts we better stick to a mass shooter on a gay disco-bar.

  5. It was definitely a hate crime. Like your article explains, it seems he hated everyone gay and he hated himself for being gay. So tragic for the violent loss of life and so sad that we live in a world that still hasn’t learned to love and accept instead of hate and judge.

    Thank you for your app and articles. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated them.

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