The Washington Post reports: After a lifetime of angst and embarrassment, Omar Mateen was on the verge of realizing a longtime dream in the spring of 2007.
He was about to graduate from a Florida training academy that would put him on a path to being a police officer. He had left behind his youth as a pudgy, often-bullied kid to become a bulked-up bodybuilder. He was learning how to shoot a gun. Now it was all about to fall apart.
At a class barbecue, Mateen told a fellow cadet he was “allergic” to pork, and he got teased about it. Mateen blew up, recalled several cadets who were present, and said he couldn’t eat anything off the grill.
“I asked him if he was Muslim and he denied it,” Roy Wolf said. “I said, ‘It doesn’t matter to me if you are.’ . . . He got mad, really angry.”
A short while later — just a week after the Virginia Tech shooting that left 32 victims dead — Mateen asked a classmate whether he would report him if he brought a gun to campus, documents show. The next thing students knew, Mateen had been kicked out of the academy for a pattern of sleeping in class, plus the gun threat, which officials described in documents as “at best extremely disturbing.”
Mateen was never charged, and so the incident became one more anecdote in a life punctuated by many such moments, outbursts when his insecurities and inner conflict erupted into rage — a pattern culminating Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst shooting in U.S. history.
Mateen appeared conflicted about his religion and his sexuality, according to dozens of interviews with those who knew him. He married twice, each time to a woman he had met online, even though he also seemed drawn to gay life and culture. [Continue reading…]