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Reprinted from Alternet
Islamophobic workplace intimidation figures into the background of another mass shooter conveniently painted as a jihadist.
The ongoing intrigue surrounding Omar Mateen and his massacre of 47 patrons of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida was drowned out by the political circus of two party conventions this month. The personal details about Mateen, from his vicious abuse of his first wife to credible accounts of a secret gay life to the reports of his mental instability and the autopsy results confirming him as a heavy abuser of steroids, have been forgotten or apparently suppressed by the FBI. Taken together, these elements of Mateen's person profile directly contradicted the popular portrayal of the mass killer as an Islamic extremist acting in the name of ISIS. Unsurprisingly, they have fallen down the Orwellian memory hole.
As the facts that could have interrupted the official narrative fell by the wayside, Congress and state legislatures exploited the tragedy to push for an expansion of undemocratic databases of "terror" suspects and the discriminatory no-fly list. As Sarah Lazare reported for AlterNet, police departments across the country have been leveraging the attack to lobby for expanded arsenals of military gear. At both Republican and Democratic conventions, Orlando has been invoked to summon fears of Islamic extremism at home and to gin up support for military action abroad. Meanwhile, new information continued to surface that complicated the simplistic war on terror narrative even further.
On July 18, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Department where Mateen once interned and which later oversaw his security clearance as a private security guard working at the county courthouse released a series of records detailing its interactions with Mateen. Publicized over a month after the Orlando massacre and while Republicans were gathering for their national convention, the documents were buried by the national media, receiving only scant coverage and generating negligible public discussion. Yet they revealed explosive new details about the killer that may shed light on his motives and further expose the destructive culture of racism infecting police departments across the country.