In the wake of the horrific shooting in Orlando that left 50 dead, a political struggle is forming on whether to define this act as an anti-gay crime or an act of radical Islamic terrorism.
The answer, it’s quickly starting to seem, is both of these, and more. A picture is quickly starting to form of who Omar Mateen, the shooter, was. His ex-wife describes a man who was controlling and abusive. A colleague says he was always using racial and sexual slurs and “talked about killing people all the time.” Both his ex-wife and his father describe him as homophobic, with his father saying he spun into a rage at the sight of two men kissing. He was clearly fond of guns, having not one, but two concealed carry licenses. He worked at a security firm, a career that can be attractive to men with dominance and control issues. He was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for making threats to a coworker.
There is a common theme here: Toxic masculinity.