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Orlando Tweets One

[ by Charles Cameron — on the variety of possible motives ]

On twitter alone, there’s far too much going on as we scramble to understand the Orlando massacre for anyone to make a useful summary, although I must say that Rukmini Callimachi‘s twitter feed since yesterday has been superb. My own first assortment of relevant tweets focuses on the question of motive, but even with that narrowed focus it’s too extensive to present visually tweet by tweet, so I’m mostly going to post relevant texts with links. First, though, I’ll let Jeffrey Goldberg set the overview:


Mental Illness:

Yaroslav Trofimov, Orlando killer’s ex-wife says he was a wife-beater with a short fuse who liked to work out and wasn’t religious.
CBSN, It is definitely mental illness…no one ever expected that he would do this.

Mental illness or mental instability may arguably be present in many or all cases of rampage shooting, suicide bombing, etc — it’s a judgment call, and one most properly made by psychiatric or psychological professionals who have observed and interacted with the subjects personally. Sadly, however, continued use of this explanation as the explanation for acts of this kind avoids recognition of other factors in what is inevitably a multifactorial situation — and also contributes to the popular misperception that “mental illness” is a shameful failure of character rather than a complex of medical conditions.


Susceptibility to violence:

Lilith, Was Orlando shooter’s domestic violence history a missed warning sign?



JM Berger, Orlando gunman tied to radical imam released from prison last year, say law enforcement sources
Program On Extremism, Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, official says



Mona Holland, His father says he wasn’t religious, but was furious abt 2 gay men kissing a week or so ago in public
Murtaza Hussain, “Ty Smith & Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions”
Matt Pearce, “Do you think he was gay?” The shooter’s ex-wife was silent for three seconds. “I don’t know.”
Frances Traynor, speaking from experience, the most virulently homophobic are the most deeply closeted

It seems to me we may have two different forms of enantiodromia to consider here — enantiodromia being the Jungian term for sudden psychological reversal, a pattern I’ve explored elsewhere. The two versions here, which in practice might well be one, but which we can distinguish for analytic purposes, would be (a) psychological, ie the sudden revulsion at forms of sexuality one previously found acceptable and (b) religious, as in a sudden, emotional conversion experience or repentance by which someone non-religious is precipitated into a religious enthusiast.



Molly Crabapple, According to the Trump fans in my Twitter replies, somehow the homophobic Orlando murderer is the fault of Jews


And finally, Rebellion against Empire:


An al Qaeda fighter made a point once in a debriefing. He said, all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they’re all about a small scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don’t realize, he said, is that to us, the rest of the world, you are The Empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.

7 Responses to “Orlando Tweets One”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:


  2. Grurray Says:

    Also a registered Democrat, so he presumably pledged support to the bomber of bombast, Alan Grayson.

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Interesting piece by Marcy Wheeler on the gay-related aspects of this business — Pulse, Disney, Jack’d, Mateen himself, anger at the kiss, “conflicted about his sexuality”, “inner demons”, etc — What Did FBI Do with Evidence that Mateen Was a Closeted Gay Man? — with this observation towards the end:

    Instead, it appears, the FBI assessed Mateen for one and only one thing: whether his bogus claims of ties to terrorist organizations were real. There have been a slew of articles, such as this one or this one, wondering why the FBI didn’t “identify” Mateen as a “real” terrorist in its two investigations of him. But it appears the FBI was assessing only whether he was likely to commit violence because of–and with the support of–an Islamic terrorist group. It appears they weren’t assessing whether he was, like the overwhelming majority of men who commit mass shootings in this country, really screwed up, expressing it in violent ways, and seeking attention with such actions.

  4. Grurray Says:

    “If you’re Muslim, the easiest way to get attention right now is to say that word, “ISIS,” because it’s a guarantee law enforcement and politicians will give that killing more due then they might give the next disturbed mass shooter.”
    Kind of a confusing article. Marcy is saying the FBI should have connected this to previous mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and Umpqua. But isn’t a criminal profile supposed to be based on past offenders and offenses?
    Sandy Hook and Umpqua were school shootings perpetrated by secular, socially isolated people with personality disorders who were given weapons training by their divorced mother. I don’t see the connection to those crimes. Mateen was an Islamic radical who was married, gainfully employed, and a social butterfly at gay clubs. The other guys had been shooting for years, but Mateen only bought his guns a couple weeks before, long after the FBI interviews.
    If I understand this correctly, she apparently wants to separate his Muslim identity from his hate speech. As others have been saying, he only referenced terror groups to obscure his real animosity which is his conflicted queerness. So she’s saying we need to see past the terror talk and see that any violent talk combined with closeted queerness will lead to violence. So the FBI was correct in ignoring the Islamic connection, but they should have caught him for the prejudice fed by his inner turmoil.
    It might have some merit, but has there been cases where closeted gays spewed violent rhetoric and then turned around and committed actual mass killings? Was there some history out there to build a profile? I’m sure there were lots of cases where closeted gays committed violence on other gays. I know I’ve seen it a lot in the movies, but to the point of mass murder? It looks like a stretch to me.

    It could just be the Islamic terror talk was the best lead.

  5. Ken Hoop Says:

    The Elitists in the m-i complex and the media know two things.
    One, that it is entirely doable to reduce America’s presence in the Muslim world dramatically while maintaining a defense and immigration policy which would reduce revenge attacks there and here to practically nothing…all while protecting US standards of living here of course.
    Two that this will not be done as long as there are profits for the m-i complex to be made and Israel’s continuing theft of Palestine and concomitant oppressive protection of that theft to be overlayered in protection by the (US taxpayer subsidized) military.

  6. carl Says:

    Two things about this shooting interest me and I have not seen covered much and I think they should be for they are important.
    First, over 100 people in a small area do get shot over a period of hours unless they allow themselves to be shot. Why did they not fight? Is this some kind of result of years of ‘zero tolerance for violence” policies in schools and elsewhere? These policies are so draconian that people are not permitted to defend themselves or come to the aid of others. I suspect that these policies may have the unintended consequence of the concept of self defense disappearing in segments of society. If so this is serious to the point of societal survival. Everybody is fixated on the criminal, we should be thinking more about why the victims didn’t seem to try to fight for themselves and the others
    Second, how closely are various Saudi Arabian financed mosques tied to these crimes? I don’t think the Sauds support Sufi or Ahmadi mosques. I suspect they only finance Wahabi ones. We should be taking a look at this. Should we really ignore a sect that often preaches the violent destruction of the West?

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi, Carl:

    Everybody is fixated on the criminal, we should be thinking more about why the victims didn’t seem to try to fight for themselves and the others

    That’s a very interesting point, although I did see one video of a training which instructed bystanders to flee if they could, barriacde themnselves away from the shooter, or if both are impossible, rush him en masse. I’m not sure, maybe rushing en masse should be the first option?

    Second, how closely are various Saudi Arabian financed mosques tied to these crimes?

    As to the issue of mosques, I think this case is one in which the perpetrator seems to have had a conflict about his sexuality, and grabbed hold of jihad and ISIS as a means of gaining extra publicity and making his unhappiness seem “meaningful” when it boiled over.
    He knew little enough to have claimed various forms of kinship or association with ISIS, and its sworn AQ enemy Jabhat al-Nusra — and their common Shiite enemy, Hezbollah. That’s not anything a Wahhabi mosque would have taught him, that’s plain ignorance grasping at straws.
    IMO, YMMV, &c.

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