Showing posts with label Orlando. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orlando. Show all posts

June 17, 2016

What Happens to A Gay Young Person Growing in a Homophobic Home


Imagine growing up hearing from those you love and trust that certain groups of people are evil. In fact, these people are so bad, so wrong, that God himself will punish them. Imagine absorbing this hatred deep into your bones. Imagine that you then discover, at some point in your adolescence, that you are one of these people. They are the hated. You are the hated.

We don’t know the details of Omar Mateen’s sexuality. Perhaps he did not fully understand. But according to some, Mateen expressed romantic interest in men. A classmate from his 2006 police academy class told the “Palm Beach Post” that Mateen had asked him out. Sometimes, after class, Mateen would go with friends to gay nightclubs, the classmate said.

And we know that in a video made after the shooting,  Mateen’s father said, “God himself will give punishment to homosexuality.” It’s conceivable that this is a sentiment Mateen heard more than once.
We will never understand what triggered Mateen. But there is abundant evidence that the prejudice we face is toxic. And when anti-gay prejudice comes from parents or religion, the effect is profound. According to University of Tennessee Knoxville psychology professor Dawn Szymanski, research shows that experiencing rejection from parents of your sexual identity is linked to traumatic internalized negativity – what psychologists call “internalized homonegativity” or “internalized stigma.” The same is true when a person belongs to a religion that rejects homosexuality.
One consequence of this internalized stigma is violence: Studies of same-sex couples show that internalized homophobia is significant predictor of violence within a relationship. Self-hatred also creates profound psychological distress: One meta-analysis found that higher levels of internalized anti-gay stigma were correlated with worse mental health. The psychological distress can include anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem and hyperarousal – a state of increased tension that includes irritability, anger and aggression.
The stress caused by internal stigma can evoke a biological response. According to Stephanie Budge, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, there is broad consensus in the research community that “minority stress” — including internalized self-hatred — creates massive physical health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, this kind of cumulative stress disrupts almost all the body’s processes. Indeed, gay people who live in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a life expectancy that is shorter by 12 years.

Anti-gay prejudice is especially pernicious because it creeps into the intimacy of one’s own family. For other forms of bias – racism, for example, or prejudice based on one’s religion — the family can be a refuge against the hatred of the outside world. But anti-gay prejudice is different. The hatred comes from not outsiders, but from loved ones. Parents’ rejection of their children is the one of the biggest reasons as many as 40 percent of homeless youths are LGBT.

Will Cox, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies prejudice, was one of these kids. He grew up in a strict Mormon household and was rejected by his parents when he came out as gay. “I felt guilty,” he says. “I’d pray for forgiveness. The religious piece was so strong – at one point I had email exchanges with my parents discussing same-sex marriage and my mom said, ‘Will seems to be making a lot of good points. Do you think that is because Lucifer is influencing our thoughts?’” 

Politicians will continue to use “radical Islam” as a culprit. But it’s not clear that Mateen was motivated by ideology; indeed, he claimed to support a jumble of groups with conflicting points of view. On the other hand, his ex-wife told CNN, “It doesn’t surprise me that he was leading two totally different lives and was in such deep conflict within himself.” No psychologist, says Budge, would say this conflict was the triggering cause. But it’s impossible to imagine that the deep distress of this internal struggle did not contribute in some way to Mateen’s mental state.

Hours after the Orlando massacre, Sacramento pastor Roger Jimenez delivered a hate-filled speech, in which he expressed happiness that the tragedy had happened. He said, “The bible says they’re wicked, they’re vile, they’re predators. And they deserve the death penalty for what they do.”

Imagine a young person sitting in his congregation, listening. Imagine this young person absorbing that certain people deserve to die because of who they are. Now imagine that child growing up to discover that he is gay. He, too, deserves to die. Imagine the chaos and self-hatred growing inside his heart.

June 15, 2016

Omar Mateen was Gay Trying to pIck up Men/ A Bullied Chubby Kid with Homophobic Dad



A regular at the Gay Night Club

Jim Van Horn said he was a frequent patron at Orlando’s Pulse night club. He said another ‘‘regular’’ at the Florida gay bar was Omar Mateen, the man whose shooting rampage left 49 dead and dozens more wounded early Sunday in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Speaking to The Associated Press late Monday, 71-year-old Van Horn says he saw Mateen trying to pick up men at the club.

Van Horn said he met Mateen once. He said the younger man was telling him about his ex-wife.

Van Horn says some friends then called him away and told him they didn’t want him talking to Mateen because ‘‘they thought he was a strange person.’’

Despite Mateen’s pledge of support to the Islamic State, other possible explanations emerged, including questions of whether he was conflicted about his sexuality.

An official says the FBI is investigating reports that the Orlando massacre shooter had been a regular at the gay nightclub he attacked and had used gay dating apps.

The U.S. official had been briefed on the investigation into 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

The comments follow reports and comments from patrons at the Orlando club Pulse that Mateen was a regular there and tried to pick up men. Previously, his Afghan-immigrant father had suggested Mateen may have acted out of anti-gay hatred, and said his son got angry recently about seeing two men kiss.

 Kevin West said he was in the parking lot at the Pulse Orlando nightclub at 1 a.m. Sunday when he recognized Omar Mateen walking in.

The men had met more than a year ago when Mateen reached out to West on Jack’d, a dating app for men. They then lost touch until three months ago, when Mateen made contact again, mentioned that he would be in Orlando soon, and suggested meeting for a drink. West had also seen Mateen at Pulse multiple times before.

“I remember details,” said West, a 37-year-old Navy veteran. “I never forget a face.”

Later that night, Mateen would kill 49 people inside the gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst mass shooting in US history.

Mateen’s apparent presence on gay dating apps and his previous visits to Pulse, according to West and another witness, added another dimension to the portrait emerging Monday of the man behind the violent rampage.

Cord Cedeno said he had also seen Mateen inside Pulse before, standing at the bar with a drink.

“He was open with his picture on the sites, he was easy to recognize,” said Cedeno, 23, of Orlando, who said he was also contacted by Mateen at least a year ago on a dating app.

LATEST UPDATE: Washington Post just posted the following before we came out at 12am:

Family members and an ex-wife of Omar Mateen say he regularly espoused homophobic views, but regulars at the LGBT nightclub where the 29-year-old American-born Muslim gunman killed 49 while pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group described him as a routine visitor.
Others recognized him from gay dating apps, adding to the complicated and at times contradictory picture of the man behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Investigators also are questioning Mateen’s second wife, Noor Salman, about the degree of knowledge she had before the attack early Sunday.
An official who was briefed on the progress of the case but insisted on anonymity told The Associated Press that authorities believe Mateen’s wife knew about the plot, but they are reluctant to charge her on that basis alone.
Mateen, who injured 53 others when he stormed the gay nightclub Pulse and opened fire, appears to have been preparing for the attack since at least June 4, when he purchased one of the firearms used in the assault.
As authorities work to piece together the motivation behind the attack, a probe that initially centered on Islamic radicalization and the FBI’s prior investigations of Mateen has veered into whether the killer struggled with feelings about his own sexual identity.

Psychological studies show that anti-gay views are more pronounced in people who repress same-sex desires, particularly those who are raised by parents who forbid homosexuality.
“In many cases, these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” said Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who oversaw a 2012 study on homophobia.
Jim Van Horn, 71, told AP that he saw Mateen repeatedly at the bar and talked with him once.
“He was a homosexual, and he was trying to pick up men,” Mr. Van Horn said. “He would walk up to them and then he would maybe put his arm around ‘em or something and maybe try to get them to dance a little bit or something.”
During a news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center, shooting survivor Patience Carter said she was praying to die as she lay on a nightclub bathroom floor covered in water and blood. She said Mateen talked about wanting the U.S. to “stop bombing my country,” a possible reference to his father’s native Afghanistan.
“I really don’t think I’m going to get out of there,” said Ms. Carter, 20, recalling her thoughts. “I made peace with God. ‘Just please take me. I don’t want any more.’ I was just begging God to take the soul out of my body.”
Citing law enforcement sources, NBC News reported that Mateen’s wife accompanied him to the gun store when he purchased ammunition several days after June 4 and at some point drove him to Pulse because he wanted to scope out the club.
Investigators are continuing to dig through his phone and communications as well as interviewing those who knew him to determine more about the killer and the degree to which those around him may have been aware of or aided him in carrying out his plans.
NBC also reported that authorities are considering whether to bring criminal charges against Ms. Salman regarding her failure to report the plans for the brutal attack to law enforcement. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police.
Ms. Salman has not spoken out publicly about Mateen.
Amy Filjones, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida, declined to comment on the report because the investigation is continuing.
Even if Ms. Salman knew about the pending attack, the extent to which she felt able to warn law enforcement is unclear.
Mateen’s first wife, Sitora Yusufiy, has described the gunman as controlling and abusive. She said he forbade her from seeing her family and seized control of her paychecks. Their marriage in 2009 lasted four months.
“He was totally two different people sometimes and would turn and abuse me, out of nowhere, when I was sleeping,” she told The New York Times.
Ms. Yusufiy said she did not know whether her former husband might have been homosexual but noted that he regularly expressed strong anti-gay feelings.
One regular patron of Pulse told the Los Angeles Times that he recognized Mateen from the gay dating app Jack’d. Another told MSNBC that he had received messages from Mateen through the app Grindr.
Hector Camacho, CEO of Jack’d, said the company has not been able to substantiate claims that Mateen was active on the site.
For lawmakers looking to prevent terrorism, the ambiguity in Mateen’s motivations and questions about how the attack could have been detected led to separate tactics.
Democrats were intent on forcing votes on gun control. Although it may be impossible to spot “lone wolf” attackers, they said, their rampages can be less lethal if they don’t have access to firearms.
House Republicans rejected that approach and instead vowed to pass a series of bills designed to shape an anti-terrorism strategy. Republican leaders said they would repackage and approve nine separate bills as a single bill and send it to the Senate, where they hope it will receive action.
President Obama on Tuesday renewed his call for Congress to impose more gun control, especially a ban on assault-style rifles such as the one used in Orlando.
“Stop making it easy as possible for terrorists to buy assault weapons. Reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Obama said. “Otherwise these kinds of events are going to keep on happening.”
Noting that the attackers in San Bernardino, California, and Fort Hood, Texas, were U.S. citizens, the president said authorities cannot conduct blanket surveillance on all Muslims.
“Where does this stop?” Mr. Obama asked. “Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that’s not the America we want. It won’t make us more safe; it will make us less safe.”
Law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations, said the heavy fire that Orlando Police Department officers came under while trying to subdue Mateen is evidence that law enforcement has a real need for surplus military equipment.
Mr. Obama signed an executive order last year that imposed limitations on the types of surplus equipment that police departments could obtain through surplus programs.[End of Wash Post report]


 His ex-wife said he suffered from mental illness. And his Afghan-immigrant father suggested he may have acted out of anti-gay hatred.
The ex-wife of the shooter at a gay Florida nightclub says the man enjoyed nightlife, but she’s not sure if he had any homosexual tendencies.

Sitora Yusufiy spoke to CNN on Tuesday from Denver.

She says: ‘‘When we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past ... that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife, and there was a lot of pictures of him. ... I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived, but probably didn’t want everybody to know about.’’

The comments follow reports from customers at the gay nightclub that shooter Omar Mateen was seen there regularly. One told The Associated Press that Mateen tried to pick up men there.

Asked whether she thinks her ex-husband was gay, Yusufiy said: ‘‘I don’t know. He never personally or physically made any indications while we were together of that. But he did feel very strongly about homosexuality.’’

She says it’s possible he hid feelings about being gay.

The couple were married in 2009 and divorced two years later. She has said he was abusive.

The Apartment

Family photos, drawings, blackboard messages, a Quran and books on Islam decorate the apartment where the shooter in the Orlando gay nightclub massacre lived with his wife.

Univision News reported the details and says it visited the home in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Monday when it was unoccupied. Univision reports that it was the morning after the FBI swept the apartment for evidence, and says the home was unlocked and not yet sealed off by crime-scene tape.

The report describes a blackboard message in the kitchen about an appointment at their 3-year-old son’s school and a note with an Arabic phrase praising God.

Univision says that on the living room table was a document listing items investigators removed: 9 mm cartridges, an iPad mini, a Samsung phone, a Dell computer, a CD labeled with Mateen’s name.

Mateen lived there with his second wife, Noor Salman.

New developments with Marteen second wife. She has stated that she tried to stop Omar from committing this mass shooting. The question is if she was trying to stop him then she mot’ve known what he was up to and the question that will pop on  everyone’s mind is why didn’t she called the police?
There ware reports from CBSN that she has been interviewed at least twice by the FBI and also polygraph. No details about this but what has come out is food for thought.


Killer showing his colors early on with the 9/11 Attacks

A man who knew the Orlando nightclub shooter as a teenager says the student infuriated his peers by joking about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Robert Zirkle says he and Omar Marteen lived in Stuart, Florida, and rode the same bus, though they attended different schools.

Zirkle says he and his friends were generally on good terms with Mateen until 9/11. Zirkle says Mateen made airplane and explosion sounds and appeared to be joking about the attacks.

Zirkle says, ‘‘My group of friends told him it wasn’t a joke, and if he didn’t knock it off he was going to have problems.’’

Zirkle is now 29 and lives in Johnson City, Tennessee. He says he would see Mateen when both teens worked at the mall but didn’t have much contact after those jobs.

Gunman brutally bullied for being chubby and being Arab

An anonymous official told the Associated Press that the FBI is investigating the claims the shooter had been at the club before and had used gay dating apps.

Mateen and his family had the typical profile of striving immigrants in this country. But there were also hints of darkness in Mateen’s life, according to interviews with relatives, friends, ex-classmates, former co-workers and acquaintances: Being Arab American meant he stood out in a small South Florida town and was bullied in school. He switched jobs constantly and became increasingly frustrated, unpredictable, sporadically religious, and prone to anger.

Some of Mateen’s high school classmates pinpointed a particularly strange moment on Sept. 11, 2001, when they were watching the attack on the World Trade Center unfold on live TV.

Four classmates said Mateen cheered and made mocking comments, which got him pulled from class and may have led to his departure from the school. His unusual behavior that day was also corroborated by other classmates in public posts on Facebook.

The Martin County School District referred all questions about Mateen’s time as a student to the FBI.

Robert Zirkle, then a freshman in the Martin school district, said that after 9/11, he saw Mateen excited and making fun of how America was attacked.

“He was making plane noises on the bus, acting like he was running into a building,” said Zirkle. “I don’t really know if he was doing it because he was being taught some stuff at home or just doing it for attention because he didn’t have a lot of friends.

“We all rode the same bus. We weren’t really close friends, but friends at least a little,” he said. “After 9/11 happened, he started changing and acting different.”

At the time, Mateen was attending the Spectrum alternative school, a campus in Stuart, Fla., for students with behavioral issues.

One former student who was sitting in the same class as Mateen said he remembers the morning of 9/11 clearly: “Teachers said, ‘Turn on the TV.’ We see the one plane hit. And then see the second plane hit. . . . He was smiling. It was almost like surreal how happy he was about what had happened to us.”

The former student said Mateen stood up after the second tower was hit and claimed that Osama bin Laden was his uncle.

“Back then, we didn’t even really know who Osama bin Laden was,” the classmate said. “But he talked about shooting AK-47s. . . . He said he shot them and his uncle taught him how to shoot them.”

The ex-classmate spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear that business clients would find out that he attended a school for poorly behaving students. He recalled others in the class growing angry. “The teacher could tell we wanted to hurt him. So the teacher grabbed him,” he said, and sent him to the dean’s office.

In a Facebook post, another student similarly described Mateen’s standing up and cheering on 9/11.

A third classmate said he distinctly remembers Mateen’s actions that day because both of them were sent to the dean’s office at the same time for acting out when the towers were hit. That third student spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared being bombarded by media requests.

“I was sleeping in class and woke up to see people jumping off buildings, so I started swearing and they sent me up,” the former student said. When he arrived at the dean’s office, Mateen was also there, apparently for saying rude things about Americans deserving to be attacked, said this student, who was not in the classroom to witness the comments.

The first former classmate, who was in the classroom, vividly recalled Mateen’s father picking him up after he got in trouble. “I remember his dad walking up,” he said. “And in the courtyard in front of everyone, the dad slapped him right across the face.”

After that day, Zirkle said, “he kept doing it and saying crazy things. It’s weird. He was totally cool before 9/11, and then something changed.”

Zirkle and others think Mateen was suspended or expelled from the school shortly afterward.

But such memories don’t fit with those of Kenneth Winstanley, a friend of Mateen’s in junior high and high school, who said he did not recall Mateen celebrating the Sept. 11 attacks and doubted his friend would have done that. Winstanley was not in the same room as Mateen that day.

“I never heard about him doing anything like that,’’ said Winstanley, who attended school with Mateen from grades six through 10. “Someone would have said something. We were friends. If he was caught celebrating something like that, he would have gotten beaten up.’’

Winstanley said he never saw signs of radicalization in Mateen in high school, adding, “I know Omar liked America.’’ He said the two once had a conversation about Mateen’s Muslim faith. “Omar explained the Muslim religion to me,’’ Winstanley said. “He didn’t go crazy into it. It was just some of the things his culture does, the food they eat. Nothing radical Islam at all.’’

Sarah Zaidi, who was best friends with one of Mateen’s three sisters, described the Mateens as “an all-American family.”

“His mom worked for a while at a day-care center. His dad did stuff with stocks and investment,” Zaidi said. “They were pretty moderate as Muslims. None of the sisters or mom even wore a headscarf like some Muslims do.”

Two of Mateen’s sisters are now married and have kids in the same area, Zaidi said. A third is a hairdresser and cosmetologist.

But as the only son, Mateen seemed to have fewer friends than his sisters.

“He was brutally bullied,” said Justin Delancy, who rode the bus with Mateen for several years. “He was a chubby kid and got bullied about his weight. He was probably one of the only kids of Arab descent. That made him stand out a bit as well.”

On some mornings, kids wouldn’t let Mateen sit beside them. On others, he’d get slapped on the back of his head, Delancy said. “He’d try to joke and laugh and make fun of himself to get the attention off of himself. But it didn’t work.”

Court records released Monday depict a meandering life for Mateen after he left the alternative school. He graduated in 2006 from Martin County’s adult vocational school, where struggling students go to get GEDs. He earned an associate’s degree from Indian River State College in 2006.

In the court documents, Mateen disclosed his work history, a string of jobs from 2002 to 2006 at GNC, Hollister, Gold’s Gym, Nutrition World, Walgreens, Chick-fil-A, Circuit City, and Publix.

In 2009, Mateen married Sitora Yusufiy, who has said in interviews that Mateen beat her severely. They separated about nine months later. A judge ruled in 2011 that their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

After he married a second time, his current wife, Noor Z. Salman, also left him to return to her childhood home in Rodeo, Calif., with their 3-year-old son, acquaintances said.

Friends and co-workers gave conflicting reports about Mateen’s religiosity and personality. To some, he was extremely pious and serious. But others described him chasing girls, going to parties, and drinking.

“He was fun,” said Ryan Jones, 27, who said he often went out with Mateen.

Former classmate Samuel King and his friends also hung out with Mateen at the mall, where Mateen worked at the GNC store after high school and King at Ruby Tuesday. Half the workers at the restaurant were openly gay, King said, including himself. “He had to know it, but I never got any sense of homophobia or aggression from him.”

Over the past two days, King and others have revisited their interactions with Mateen, trying to find signs of how he turned into someone capable of such violence.

On Monday, Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, insisted that his son was not motivated by Islamist radical ideology, describing the 29-year-old as “a good son” who did not appear agitated or angry in the days before the shooting.

In an interview at his home in Port St. Lucie, the father offered no hints about what could have driven his son.

When asked about Mateen’s 911 call pledging loyalty to the Islamic State, his father said he did not believe it was genuine.

“I think he just wanted to boast of himself,” he said. “No radicalism, no. He doesn’t have a beard even. . . . I don’t think religion or Islam had anything to do with this.”

His father also glossed over the anger and homophobia that, a day earlier, he recounted witnessing in Mateen after his son saw a gay couple being affectionate in Miami. “He was surprised about it. That was it.”

In a video posted to Facebook early Monday, the father said: “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality. This is not for the servants” of God.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, government officials were also trying to piece together the family’s background for clues. They said they do not know when Mateen’s father left the country, but noted that millions fled after the Soviet Union’s invasion in 1979.

Mateen’s father, however, maintained a strong affiliation with Afghanistan, hosting a television show broadcast from California that weighed in on the country’s political affairs. He also filmed dozens of sparsely viewed, rambling YouTube videos portraying himself as an important Afghan analyst and leader.

The most recent video on the father’s YouTube channel shows him declaring his candidacy for the Afghan presidency. But the timing is strange, coming a year after presidential elections were held in Afghanistan. And the elder Mateen appears incoherent at times in the video, jumping abruptly from topic to topic.

Sitting on his living-room couch, the father said he saw no warning signs up to the day before the shootings, when he last saw his son.

“He was well behaved. His appearance was perfect,” he said. “I didn’t see any sign of worrying or being upset or nervous.”

 Last segment(brutally bullied) by
William Wan and Anne Hull who reported from Orlando. Journalists Arelis R. Hernandez in Orlando, Lee Powell and Zachary Fagenson in Fort Pierce, Tim Craig in Afghanistan, and Julie Tate, Alice Crites, Amy Brittain, Jerry Markon, Brian Murphy, and Max Bearak in Washington contributed to this report.

Has the Shootings Changed Ted Cruz,Ryan,Trump and GOP Stance on Gay Rights?

The Orlando massacre is unlikely to mean much change in how the Republican Party deals with gay rights.

The Sunday shootings gave the GOP, long struggling to erase an image of intolerance, a big stage to show its support and sympathy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. But a day later there was little sign that the party would take the opportunity to alter its positions on key gay-rights issues.

Presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday emphasized his belief that cracking down on terrorists would be a boost for gay rights. Meanwhile, other influential party voices are expected to insist that the party take a strong stand for “religious liberty” in the Republican platform, a phrase used to describe legislation that critics charge allows religious conservatives to cite their beliefs in discriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Gay-rights advocates say such legislation merely masks opposition to same-sex marriage, something the Supreme Court ruled a constitutionally protected right one year ago.
What might be different when the party’s platform committee begins meeting July 11 is the tone. “I don’t know if it changes the arguments. Maybe it changes the tenor,” said Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum, the Alton, Illinois-based conservative group active on Republican platform issues.

“Religious liberty” has been an important rallying cry for conservatives. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose supporters will have a big say on the platform, made the issue a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

Trump was cheered last week when he told the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Washington conference he would uphold “religious freedom, the right for people of faith to freely practice their faith, so important.”

Republican gay-rights activists said they were heartened Monday by at least part of Trump’s comments after the shootings.

“I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, and Jewish people, are the targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence,” the New York real-estate mogul said in a speech on terrorist issues.

 Trump gives a show paid by gay’s blood. .A draft dodger hugs the flag, What does it mean?

Donald Trump

Trump suggested the way to assure rights for gay people and others is to get tougher on terrorism. “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation,” he said.

This tie to national security is expected to be a recurring Republican theme, a way of showing how the GOP aims to protect gay rights.

“The Orlando shootings are a reminder of the major issues facing the country,” said Roger Beckett, executive director of the Ashbrook Center in Ohio, a research center named for a former conservative Republican congressman that offers instructional programs on government.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, said he found Trump’s statements and those of other GOP candidates a “tipping point in the LGBT rights movement in the United States.”

At least, he said, they were acknowledging that gay people had been targeted for attack. And that’s better than what happened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when televangelists blamed gays among others for the catastrophe.

The reaction after Orlando, Angelo said, shows “that people can have civil disagreements about things like marriage, but come together when Americans are attacked simply because of who they are.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, after the Orlando shootings

But none of that means any big policy or platform change is imminent.

Across the country, Republicans have backed measures in the name of religious freedom that many gay-rights activists find offensive. In Indiana last year, for example, Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation barring state and local governments from hindering people’s ability to practice their religion. Though sexual orientation wasn’t specifically mentioned in the measure, many saw it as permitting businesses to deny services to LGBT people.

After major corporations threatened to stop doing business in the state, Pence relented.

That didn’t stop others. After North Carolina passed HB2, its “bathroom law,” this spring limiting transgender people to the restrooms of their birth sex, the Obama administration issued a directive telling school systems to permit students to use the restrooms that align with their gender identity. A dozen states are challenging that action in a federal lawsuit.

61% Percentage of people in a Gallup poll last month who said same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid
The challenge for the Republican Party remains the same. In a report on how to expand the GOP, a high-level party study urged “We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too.”

However, no one is predicting any big breakthroughs anytime soon. “This situation is still too fluid to make any proclamations regarding the GOP platform,” said Angelo.

“Religious freedom” advocates are determined to see their principles survive, and Trump’s forces so far have sent no signals they will oppose religious liberty planks in the platform.

The Family Leader, an influential Iowa-based Christian group, “will continue to stand on the principles of the Bible in regards to God’s design for marriage and will continue to defend the unalienable right of religious liberty endowed upon us all by our Creator,” said spokesman Drew Zahn.

But thanks to Orlando, any anger will be muted. “The Orlando shootings are going to moderate that conversation,” said the Ashbrook Center’s Beckett.

BY DAVID LIGHTMAN: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

June 14, 2016

France and the World Honors the Victims of Orlando


From across the world, officials and public figures are expressing condemnation and shock over the Florida mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub on Sunday, when police say a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire, killing at least 49 people and wounding dozens.

The Eiffel Tower will shine in the colors of a rainbow on Monday night, starting at 10:45 p.m. (2045 GMT) to honor victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club. Paris City Hall began paying respects in the afternoon with a display of American and rainbow flags, while French President Francois Hollande condemned the mass killing as an attack on freedom. He vowed to toughen the fight against terrorism "at the side of the American people."
"It's American that was hit but freedom that was targeted," Hollande said after signing a book of condolences at the U.S. Embassy, "freedom to choose one's sexual orientation, the freedom to determine one's way of life."
France feels deeply the horror of deadly attacks after the November terror attacks on a music hall, restaurants and bars and the main sports stadium killed 130. That was preceded by attacks on a satirical newspaper and a kosher grocery store. All were claimed by the Islamic State group.
With tears, song and defiance, thousands of people gathered in London for a vigil in honor of the victims. 
Mourners packed narrow Old Compton St. in Soho, the heart of London's gay nightlife district, on Monday evening. Bearing rainbow flags and signs reading "stand with Orlando," Londoners observed two minutes' silence, before 49 balloons - one for each person killed - were released into the air.
Senior politicians including London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the vigil near the Admiral Duncan pub, where three people died and dozens were wounded in a 1999 bomb attack by a far-right extremist.
British lawmakers also held a minute's silence Monday after what Home Secretary Theresa May called "not just an act of terror but an act of homophobic hatred."
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron have sent messages of condolence from Britain for the attack.
J.K. Rowling says one victim of the Orlando killings worked on the Harry Potter Ride at the Universal Studios theme park.
The author tweeted a picture of 22-year-old Luis Vielma in a Hogwarts school tie, and said: "I can't stop crying."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it's important to continue with "our open, tolerant life" following attacks such as the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.
Speaking during a visit to China on Monday, Merkel said that "we have a heavy heart" over the fact that "the hatred and malignancy of a single person" cost so many lives.
She added: "We are firmly determined, even when such murderous attacks put us into deep sorrow, to continue with our open, tolerant life."
In downtown Berlin, dozens of people have come together in front of the U.S. Embassy to mourn the victims of the Orlando shooting. People were setting white lilies and pink roses next to teddy bears in front of a rainbow flag and an American flag.
The U.N. human rights chief has denounced the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Zeid Ra'ad Hussein, commenting at the opening of the three-week Human Rights Council session in Geneva, chronicled a number of human rights abuses and concerns.
He added: "I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or — as we saw yesterday — their sexual orientation."
The world's largest body of Muslim-majority nations condemned the mass shooting but also warned against "political campaigning and self-serving agendas" in the wake of the tragedy.
The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said in a statement Monday that "the massacre, as terrible as it is, must not be taken out of its context as a domestic American case."
The OIC says it is concerned that "hasty judgment" and "Islamophobic discourse" have emerged before a full investigation into the motivations and causes of the attack.
The organization also conveyed its condolences to the families of the victims of "this horrible act."
It says the teachings of Islam are based on peace and tolerance, and that terrorism is a crime against humanity.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin says in a letter to President Barack Obama that Israel stands "shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters" after the attack on the LGBT community. Rivlin sent his condolences, saying there is "no comfort for those who have had their loved ones torn away from them."
The Orlando attack has dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. On Wednesday two Palestinian gunmen killed four people at a popular shopping and restaurant area in Tel Aviv. LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history is a "senseless act of terror and hate" and that "Palestinians stand with the American people in this difficult time."
The statement made no direct reference to the LGBT community. Homosexuality is deeply taboo in the conservative Palestinian society. Gay Palestinians tend to be secretive about their social lives and some have crossed into Israel to live openly safely.
The sentiment is reflected throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told the Cabinet as he opened the weekly meeting live on television on Monday morning that the Orlando attack "tells us that terrorism knows no religion, boundary and geography. Terrorism must be eliminated."
He says that Afghans "do not support terrorism but the victims of terrorist attacks" and offered his condolences to the people and government of the United States. "Our hearts and minds are with our U.S. partners." He also urged "collective actions to end such attacks."
Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf condemned the Orlando shooting, saying 'this is a sobering reminder that extremism and terrorism are on the rise.'
Musharraf, who is facing court cases at home but left Pakistan in March for treatment abroad, says on his Facebook page the world must "address the root causes of global terrorism to suck the oxygen out of the extremist narrative of hate, intolerance, bigotry and the promotion of obscurantist ideology that is radicalizing vulnerable Muslims around the world."
Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Washington condemned "in the strongest terms the attack on innocent people in Orlando" in a statement Monday from Ambassador Abdullah Al Saud. He said that Saudi Arabia "will continue our work with the United States and our partners in the international community for an end to these senseless acts of violence and terror." The statement did not mention the fact the attack happened at a gay nightclub.
Saudi Arabia outlaws same-sex relationships and non-Muslim gays and lesbians can be sentenced to death by stoning, according to Human Rights Watch. Such executions have not been carried out in recent years.
Iran condemned the attack, but also made no mention of the fact that it happened in a gay nightclub.
State TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying "Iran, based on its main policies of condemning terrorism and its strong determination to confront this ominous phenomenon, condemns the Orlando terrorist attack."
In Iran, sodomy convictions can carry a death sentence, while lesbians can face 100 lashes, according to Human Rights Watch.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry condemned the Orlando attack "in the strongest possible terms," and offered condolences to the American government and people. "Egypt stands next to the American people in these difficult times, offering sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery."
Egypt's statement urged for international solidarity and a "firm, comprehensive approach to confronting terrorism, which knows no borders or religion, and is incompatible with all humanitarian principles and values."
The United Arab Emirates — home to the Western-friendly metropolises of Abu Dhabi and Dubai— condemned "the terrorist attack" in Orlando, expressed its solidarity with the United States and called on the international community to work to "eliminate the scourge of terrorism."
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry is strongly condemning the "cowardly" attack in Orlando, expressing solidarity with the victims and the U.S. government and blaming the massacre on the Islamic State group. It says no country or person is safe from "this global blind terrorism."
The Lebanese statement doesn't explicitly mention attacks on homosexuals. But religiously-mixed Lebanon is the most liberal among the region's Arab nations regarding same-sex relationships, with an active LBGT community. Although technically homosexuality is against Lebanese law, activists have strongly challenged it in courts.
People have been bringing flowers and rainbow flags to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to show their solidarity with victims of the shooting since early Monday.
An Associated Press reporter saw two young men take out a placard saying "Love wins" before police officers came up and led them away.
Russia passed a law in 2013 banning the so-called propaganda of gay relationships among minors, which authorities have used to ban any public displays of support for the gay community.
A vigil honoring those killed and wounded in a Florida nightclub shooting drew at least a dozen people to the front gate of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants passed around white and yellow candles to light in memory of those killed.
"We are distraught by what happened in Orlando," said Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, the vigil's organizer. "We are looking for a way to express our condolences and solidarity with the people and government of the United States to raise awareness of problems of violence against the LGBT community."
U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davis came out to speak with the Thai LGBT activists and lit a candle.
Separately, Thailand's Royal Palace released a message to President Obama from King Bhumibol Adulyadej expressing sympathy and condolences to him and the bereaved families "for their irreparable loss caused by this shocking incident."
Indonesia's foreign ministry said the government condemns the attack and extends deepest sympathy to the families of victims and the American people.
But Fahri Hamzah, the deputy speaker of Indonesia's parliament, tweeted that the mass killing happened because LGBT people are too visible. Anti-gay rhetoric by officials has been increasingly common in the world's most populous Muslim nation over the past year, fueled by army leaders and conservative religious groups who view homosexuality as an import from the West. Hamzah was recently booted out of his party for ethical violations.
China's official Xinhua News Agency issued a statement saying President Xi Jinping had telephoned his American counterpart Barack Obama to express his condolences over the Orlando shootings.
Xi was quoted as saying that "on behalf of the government and people of China, I convey to President Obama and the American government and people my deepest sympathies, sincere condolences and deep grief for the victims."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned the Orlando nightclub attack and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.
Abe told reporters Monday in Oita that "Japan stands together with the people of the United States" and that "this despicable act of terror cannot be tolerated."
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the Orlando mass shooting was "an attack on all of us — on all our freedoms, the freedom to gather together, to celebrate, to share time with friends."
He said he spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Australia, John Berry, "and formally conveyed to him Australians' sympathy, condolences and resolute solidarity in the face of this shocking act of hate and terror."
"Together, at home and abroad, we continue the fight against terrorism and stand up for the values of our free nations," Turnbull said.
The mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub happened shortly after a same-sex kiss was removed from a production of the musical "Les Miserables" in Singapore, and after the government said it would look into rules of foreign funding for gay pride parades like Pink Dot.
Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Facebook: "Another senseless shooting. ... It just goes on and on. The madness is not going to stop."
The prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia, Najib Razak, said he was "horrified" by the Orlando mass shooting. "Islam abhors killing of innocent people," he tweeted.
A few Malaysians, using pseudonyms, wrote on social media that they approved of the attack at the gay nightclub because the victims were "sinners," but they were quickly condemned by many others.
Mexicans largely reacted to the Orlando nightclub shootings with messages of sympathy for the victims. President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condolences.
Many also lamented that mass shootings have become too common in the United States. "My first reaction on hearing the news was horror, but not disbelief," columnist Gabriel Guerra wrote in the newspaper El Universal. "This is another of the innumerable armed attacks that occur daily in the United States."
In the conservative state of Jalisco, a midlevel government official posted on Facebook that "It's a shame there were only 50 and not 100." Jalisco Gov. Aristoteles Sandoval said he had ordered that the employee be fired and promised that "expressions of discrimination will not be tolerated under any circumstances."
People at a gay pride parade in Rio de Janeiro observed a minute of silence Sunday to honor the victims of the Orlando shootings.
"What happened in the United States was unacceptable violence. We are all shocked and cannot face this fact as normal, never," event organizer Loren Alecander told the broadcaster Globo.
In Sao Paulo, dozens of people attended a vigil Sunday night carrying candles and banners that read "Pray for Orlando."
The government issued a statement condemning the killings and expressing solidarity with victims' relatives and the U.S. government.
"We are going through terrible times, times of discrimination and intolerance that are taking human lives," said President Dilma Rousseff, who has been suspended pending an impeachment trial.
Warsaw residents and authorities have placed flowers, rainbow flags and lit lights in front of the U.S. Embassy in a sign of respect for the victims.
Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission in Warsaw, John C. Law, came out to the dozens of people gathered in the street to thank them for their gestures of sympathy.
Warsaw Deputy Mayor, Jacek Wojciechowicz, placed a wreath in the city's red and yellow colors.
Among the flowers and lights were printed-out pictures of the victims.

Orlando Gunman Attended the Gay Club and Used Gay Dating App

This killer seemed to have been confused and full of hatred of which some had to be directed at himself.  He grew up in a homophobic atmosphere particularly from his father who even after the shoot out still posted homophobic comments on Monday.  This man does not seem to be part of any terrorist organization. His wanting people to know he was doing this because of ISIS and then naming he is doing it for Hezbollah, which one contradicts the other because they are opposing  organizations. This does not seem to make sense. Didn’t he know that,  like a muslim would? 
May be it was something else he wanted to hide. All his secrets will come out now and his sad, confused and hateful life will lay exposed like a cadaver on the autopsy table.

I wish people will concentrate less on the religion of this man and concentrate on the religion of this man’s father (doubtful of how religious and attuned he was as a muslim) also, more on his life and what he pretended to be. People should concentrate on homophobia. The fear of gays whom in many times fear homosexuality because they are  gay themselves. Also it was homophobia that killed these people not any religion in particular, it was a gay bar ge frequented filled with gay people that he chose as his target.

It’s going to be very interesting when the three FBI investigations come out with the reason he was exonerated of those. There he is making all these terrorist comments of killing cops and so on and then he is investigated and cleared. 

To me all these means is,  we are getting ahead of the facts. There is more to come and we should go easy with jumping to conclusions that seemed obvious but this man seems to be a little more complicated than given credit for.

 The first question the FBI is trying to answer is, What connections were there to any terrorist group? Why was he wanting to die like expressed in at least one occasion long before this shooting? All the evidence shows he wanted to die. Not to talk or negotiate. He left his hostages in the bathroom and stepped outside to meet the cops and their bullets.
His father’s remarks on Facebook: 

The father of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen, Seddique Mir Mateen, posted a video on Facebook on Monday addressing his son's actions.
He was "not aware what complexities he had in his heart, and what caused him to go to this gay and lesbian club and shoot 50 people," he said in Dari, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.
He added that "in this month of Ramadan, the gay and lesbian issue is something that God will punish," though "the servants of God shouldn't have anything to do with it," and he was saddened by the shooting.

The gunman who attacked a Florida LGBT nightclub had attended the club before the attack and had used a gay dating and chat app, witnesses said.

Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, said Omar Mateen messaged him on and off for a year before the shooting using the gay chat and dating app Jack’d.

But they never met – until early Sunday morning.

West was dropping off a friend at the club when he noticed Mateen – whom he knew by sight but not by name – crossing the street wearing a dark cap and carrying a black cellphone about 1 a.m., an hour before the shooting.

“He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey,’” and nodded his head, West said. “I could tell by the eyes.”

At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen 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," said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.

He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he said.

"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."

As soon as West saw photos released of Mateen after the shooting, he said, he drove to his local police station, where officers summoned FBI officials, who showed him a photo of Mateen on a computer screen.

“I said, ‘That’s him,’” West said, and turned over his phone and Jack’d log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.

Also Monday, officials said Mateen appeared to have been radicalized by Islamic extremists on the Internet but expressed sympathies with radical groups that violently oppose each other.

On Sunday morning, Mateen told a 911 dispatcher that he was attacking Pulse on behalf of the leader of Islamic State, FBI Director James B. Comey said at a news conference Monday. Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed by a SWAT team and was among the 50 found dead at the site. Fifty-three more were wounded.

But Mateen, who was born in New York, had also expressed solidarity with the 2013 Boston bombers and an American suicide bomber who belonged to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria opposed to Islamic State, Comey said.

The FBI previously investigated Mateen, a security guard, for 11 months for telling co-workers in 2013 that he had relatives connected to Al Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim extremist group, while claiming he was a member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, Comey said. Both groups oppose Islamic State and each other.

The FBI also briefly investigated Mateen in 2014 on suspicion of watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Awlaki and for attending a mosque in Florida with a man who later became a suicide bomber for Al Nusra Front in Syria, which also opposes Islamic State. Both investigations were closed without an arrest. Comey defended his agents’ work but said the agency would still conduct a review.

“We know that this killing is upsetting to all Americans. We hope that our fellow Americans will not let fear become disabling,” Comey said. He added that fear “is what these savages want.”

FBI agents scrambled Monday to recover data from Mateen’s electronic media — cellphones, computers and other devices — hoping to find clues to what sparked the massacre at the nightclub, according to current and former FBI officials.

The shooting also dominated the presidential campaign Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton called for stricter gun control and Republican Donald Trump called for tighter immigration rules.

As of midday Monday, all but two of the 49 slain victims had been publicly identified after notification of their families. They were mostly Latino men.

“There was blood all over the street. You can see where people were dragged,” said Patty Sheehan, Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner, pointing toward the building and grimacing.

This is the heart of her downtown district. Sheehan knows the owner of the club and a bartender who witnessed the shooting and described to her how it unfolded.

“When the police went in, they told people, ‘Raise your hand if you’re alive,’ ” she said. “Some of the living covered themselves with the dead.”

She and other officials have asked residents to hold off on staging a vigil until all the victims are identified.

Orlando terror attack updates: Gunman once claimed to be member of Hezbollah, FBI says
“We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “We will be defined by how we respond.”

Police responding to the nightclub attack had attempted to negotiate with Mateen for hours, Police Chief John Mina said, rescuing dozens of people and confronting the shooter only when he mentioned explosives and they believed “further loss of life was imminent.”

Mina outlined the police response during a Monday briefing near the nightclub, flanked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Dyer, federal investigators and prosecutors.

The shooting was reported at 2:02 a.m. Sunday when an off-duty Orlando police officer at the club initially confronted Mateen near an entrance and the two engaged in a gun battle, Mina said.

When more police responded, additional officers entered the club and traded fire with the gunman.

"At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people and get them out of the club," Mina said.

Mateen holed up with four to five hostages in a bathroom, while 15 to 20 more people were trapped in another bathroom nearby, Mina said. That’s when police backed off.

“Based on statements made by the suspect about explosives and an explosive vest, we did retreat,” Mina said.
A team of negotiators arrived and began communicating with Mateen, who sounded “cool and calm,” Mina said.

Mina said negotiators didn’t have much leverage with the gunman.

“He really wasn’t asking for anything,” the police chief said. “We were doing the asking.”

Mina would not say whether Mateen appeared to be on a suicide mission. But police kept talking to him and shortly before 5 a.m., Mina said, “that talk became a crisis for us.”

Officials decided to enter the building, Mina said, because, “there was a timeline given [by Mateen] and we believed there was an imminent loss of life.”

Police made an “explosive breach” into the building, then used an armored BearCat vehicle to punch a hole about 2 squrea feet in the wall so that dozens could escape, Mina said.

Mateen also emerged from the hole, armed with a long gun and handgun, and confronted SWAT officers backed against a wall who returned fire, killing him, Mina said.

The police chief said Mateen did not shoot between the time he retreated to the bathroom and when police breached the building. Mina defended the decision to wait and attempt to negotiate with the shooter before police finally forced their way into the building.

Mina said he was confident no one was shot during the delay nor was shot by friendly fire.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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