As the facts begin to emerge from the Orlando killing, the profile of the killer seems less and less like one of a terrorist than the familiar profile of a mentally ill man who got a hold of an assault weapon. Reports that the killer had solicited contacts from “Grinder” – a gay social app – and that he had been to Pulse previously, suggest either that he was more likely a self-hating latent homosexual. There is no doubt that he went to Pulse that evening to kill as many people as possible – the reason why he purchased an AR-15 – but it is unclear if his motivation was political, or simply a function of his own personal hatred.
In the past he had been investigated by the FBI after he told others that he had family ties to al-Qaeda and to Hezbollah. What is significant about that is that Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda are Sunni and enemies of each other and both are enemies of the Shia (Hezbollah). These are incompatible affiliations. Was this a sick man looking for identity or for attention, not a dedicated terrorist with an ideological/political agenda, or maybe just a murderer who switched ideologies anytime to justify his actions? Add onto those facts that he didn’t confess any “allegiance” to Daesh until after he was already holed-up and trapped in the bathroom and then in a second call professed his identification with the Marathon bombers (not ISIS affiliated.) Then you have a person with a changing agenda or struggling to find one other than his true motivation.
I think this man was mentally ill and decided to make his act of hatred an act of terrorism to garner more attention and meaning to his meaningless act of hatred. Somehow he wanted to divert attention away from his own ambivalence about his sexuality. It happens all the time. Homophobia is a defense against a person’s own unacceptable impulses. In our society, this too often translates into a violent defense as a desperate rejection of themselves… kill the gay person and therefore kill the gay desire they have. Maybe that is too psychological for the media and certainly not as sensational (or useful) for those who want to incite hatred of Muslims… Sorry NRA and Trump supporters, this is looking like just another typical American mass shooting.