Everyone has their own idea about what made Omar Mateen murder 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. He was supposedly driven to commit this sick and disgusting act after seeing two men kissing, and he’d allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS less than an hour before opening fire. There may be an even darker side to this, though, and it’s one that permeates our entire society, whether we want to admit it or not.
Witnesses say that Mateen had been a regular at Pulse for at least three years. Ty Smith and Chris Callen, who both performed in a drag show at Pulse, remember him being escorted from the club on numerous occasions, drunk off his gourd. When they saw his picture on TV in connection with the massacre, they were floored:
“Both professed shock at seeing his face on TV: ‘It’s the same guy,’ said Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin. ‘He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.’They expressed incredulity at the story being told by Mateen’s father in the wake of the shooting, that the gunman had once been scandalized during a visit to Miami by the sight of men kissing each other.They say Mateen saw plenty of men kiss — and far closer to home than Miami.‘That’s bullcrap, right there. No offence. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,’ Smith said Monday in an interview at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.‘Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar…. He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?'”
Another regular at Pulse, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times that he and Mateen messaged off and on for a year on a gay chat app. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reported on this, too: