In Orlando, Pulse patrons identify mass shooter as a club regular

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Matt Mitchell, 42, of Orlando who was born and raised in Orlando, takes a moment on Tuesday to pray at a growing memorial for the victims of the mass shooting Sunday at the Pulse Nightclub. Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP
Matt Mitchell, 42, of Orlando who was born and raised in Orlando, takes a moment on Tuesday to pray at a growing memorial for the victims of the mass shooting Sunday at the Pulse Nightclub. Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Matt Mitchell, 42, of Orlando who was born and raised in Orlando, takes a moment on Tuesday to pray at a growing memorial for the victims of the mass shooting Sunday at the Pulse Nightclub. Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP

And suddenly, Omar Mateen is something more than an Islamic terrorist wannabe who killed 49 people in a gay dance club because of his outrage over Western sexual mores. From the Washington Post:

Kevin West said he was in the parking lot at the Pulse nightclub at 1 a.m. Sunday when he recognized Omar Mateen walking in.



The men had met more than a year ago when Mateen reached out to West on Jack’d, a dating app for men. They then lost touch until three months ago, when Mateen made contact again, mentioned that he would be in Orlando soon and suggested meeting for a drink. West had also seen Mateen at Pulse multiple times before.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

At least four regular customers at the Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people said Monday that they had seen Omar Mateen there before.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Ty Smith said.

The Associated Press has this video:


On Monday, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, was speaking to Rose Scott of “Closer Look” on WABE (90.1FM), making what has now become the routine statements of condolences and condemnations. But Mitchell also made this point:

“Terrorism is not unique to any religion. The people who usually attack gay night clubs are radical rightwing Christian extremists. Eric Robert Rudolph bombed an abortion clinic, a gay night club and the Olympics [all in Atlanta in 1996]. No one confused him for a proper representation of Christianity. But the reason for that is that Christianity very familiar to everyone in the country. So it wasn’t a big leap for people to understand Eric Robert Rudolph does not represent Christianity. Nor does the KKK nor does the Westboro Baptist Church.

“But because Islam is in many ways foreign to the American people, it’s harder for the American people to make that distinction between a radical, unbalanced irreligious Muslim doing something crazy and normal mainstream Islam.


Details of Donald Trump’s Wednesday rally are coming together: Noon at the Fox Theatre, doors open at 9 a.m. Attendees are limited to two tickets each, per the event website. The venue holds fewer than 4,700 people, which is less than half the capacity of the site of Trump’s last Georgia rally at the World Congress Center.

But here are some rules, apparently aimed at keeping professional photographers at bay:

No posters, banners, or signs may be brought into the event. There is no dress code. No professional cameras with a detachable lens are permitted. No tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or GoPros. ID is not required for entry. For further questions, please email

The last presidential contender to hold a campaign event at the Fox was Bernie Sanders back in November. Check out our photos from that event here. 


Is it time to bring back the congressional Committee on Un-American Activities in the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack, which was carried out by a self-radicalized American citizen?

Kind of, said Georgian and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in a recent Fox News appearance, per The Huffington Post:

“We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis. We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after Nazis and we made it illegal to help the Nazis. We’re going to presently have to go take the similar steps here,” Gingrich said, according to the online news publication


On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went into birther mode, suggesting in a “Fox & Friends” interview that there may be a sinister motive in President Barack Obama’s approach to fighting terrorism. Said Trump:

“There are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. He doesn’t want to see what’s happening.”

Later on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly asked Trump to elaborate. Replied the candidate:

“I can’t define it. I mean, nobody knows what’s going on, nobody knows why he doesn’t have more anger, why he doesn’t more competitive zeal.

“He’s a competitive person. Why doesn’t he have more competitive zeal to knock them out, Bill? Look at what’s going on? Look at what’s happening? This Orlando attack was just absolutely horrendous and yet he still doesn’t use the word of radical Islamic terror.”

All of which could explain this abrupt Tweet from a usually sedate U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta:


In a Sunday post, we noted that Bernie Sanders’ reluctance to end his quest for the White House fit into a growing reluctance among defeated political candidates to concede to their victors. We received two thoughtful responses.

First, from former state lawmaker Ed Lindsey, a Republican from Atlanta:

I have made a couple of concession calls in my lifetime.

The first came in 2000 when I lost a State Senate race to Rusty Paul. That call led to a breakfast and a friendship and in 2004 to Rusty calling me to talk me into running for the State House.

The second came two years ago and may be more important down the road for the lesson taught. It became apparent fairly quickly that primary 2014 was not going to be my night. I was tired and I asked my campaign manager for the cell numbers for Barry Loudermilk and Bob Barr. He asked if I wanted to wait until the morning and I thought about it for a second, but I then looked around at my team of mostly college students – which included my twins – and recognized that it was important that not only that I do it but for them to see me do it. I made the calls with them watching.

And another:

This is Brendan Murphy. I just ran unsuccessfully for State Court Judge in a three person race. I enjoyed your column about the “concession call.” I’m sorry to hear that the call is on the decline. You’ll be glad to know that at least in our Cobb judicial race, it is alive and well. As a younger candidate, I was very tempted to send a “concession text.”

However, on Election Night when it was clear that there would be no runoff, I looked at our team and confirmed that calling was the right thing to do. I got the silent nod, and I went off to a quiet spot to end our campaign with dignity. I then called the other unsuccessful candidate to share a brief moment of commiseration. I’m proud of both the way we ran our campaign and the way we concluded it. I hope the call makes a comeback–and next time, I’m on the receiving end!

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