Patience Carter (Video still via FOX 10 Phoenix)
One reason the images of the dead from the Pulse mass shooting are top-heavy with Latinos is the fact that it was Latin Night at the club. I was wondering today if Mateen might have selected that night for a reason.
Now, in a compelling piece of testimony that teases out a different sort of racial angle, a young black woman who survived the shooting and was in the bathroom when Mateen called 911 reports that he did seem to specifically spare black people.
Via Vibe: Patience Carter recalls the chaos:
At first we didn’t know they were gunshots. I didn’t know. I was so confused. Like, wow, a club would do all this to get people to leave their club. I thought it was BB Gun at first, or the DJ was playing some sort of sound of gunshots, I didn’t think they were actually gunshots. But the fear inside me made me drop to the floor anyway.
After going back in to retrieve friends, she hid in the bathroom, and was there when Mateen entered after having just mowed down dozens of people indiscriminately:
After that he even spoke to us directly in the bathroom. He said, “Are there any black people in here?” I was too afraid to answer. But there was an African-American male in the stall where most of my body was, and he had answered and he said, “Yes, there are about six or seven of us,” and the gunman responded back to him saying, “I don’t have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough.” He made a statement saying it wasn’t about black people. This isn’t the reason why he’s doing this, but through the conversation with 911, he said the reason why he’s doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.
From this and other eyewitness accounts, I think it is now clear that it would be simplistic to characterize Mateen's actions as wholly about being a closet case (presuming he ever had sex with men, or wanted to), or wholly about being radicalized, but I would caution that all the chatter emphasizing the former does not supersede the fact that he did, obviously, become deranged and pledged allegiance to ISIL ... an organization with which I'm sure he had no meaningful contact.
Nor did he need to; he just needed to read up on them, and buy guns.
Full video of Ms. Carter's remarks after the jump ...