Shaping a life and molding a terrorist

By Andy Winemiller -

All of us who have children understand how impressionable they are. We mold their minds and values. At the end of it all, we get a little adult which we’ve created.

Of course, there are times a kid simply goes astray. No matter how good a job we do, sometimes you can’t help stubborn, stupid or rebellious.

My year or so as a father isn’t the only experience on which I base this opinion.

Most of the time, when I learned a little about a soldier’s life, it made sense why he was who he was. Home life explained a lot about a youngster.

There’s been one young man in the news a lot lately, and I can’t help but point out he was once that impressionable child. He was molded by a family — more specifically a father — filled with hate for everything I love and embrace.

Omar Mateen didn’t have to go down in history as a coward who killed 49 unarmed people in an Orlando nightclub. He could have been a doctor, an attorney, a teacher or, well, anything but a mass shooter.

That’s why in these days following Father’s Day, I must wish Seddique Mir Mateen a happy Father’s Day.

Normally, I would consider a person’s family off limits, but in this case not so much. Omar Mateen’s shooting spree was driven by hate, so it’s only pertinent we blame the person who shaped Omar Mateen’s views toward the world.

I can’t even fathom the amount of hate a person who kills dozens of innocent and unarmed people feels, and if you’re thinking he was mentally ill, my answer is most folks who kill people are mentally ill to at least some extent. It doesn’t change the fact history will judge them as murderers, and it doesn’t change the fact murderers are often a product of their environment.

Seddique Mateen’s radio show is called the “Durand Jirga Show,” referencing a disputed border between his home country of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Having served on the Durand line, I can tell you folks from Afghanistan hate those from Pakistan. They will kill each other if they have the opportunity.

In fact, people in Afghanistan kill each other over a lot of things for which we’d simply file suit. I once saw two body bags leave our aid station because of a land dispute. Another time two Afghan Border Patrol soldiers killed each other over something stupid. The people there would also kill each other over which brand of Islam they follow.

I don’t know if they just don’t value life as we do, or if there’s something in the water.

What I do know is Seddique Mateen was a product of this world, and he used a radio show to rant about Pakistan and, according to many accounts, project anti-American sentiment.

Experts have described Seddique Mateen as “delusional.” He expressed pro-Taliban views, apparently, and he even has dressed up in military fatigues. At times he describes himself as the exiled leader of the country.

It’s easy to see how a kid growing up in that environment might not grow to appreciate America and its freedoms. It’s easy for me to see how a young adult, having grown up around such rhetoric, might eventually kill innocent Americans.

The Orlando shooting wasn’t all about America versus the Taliban. It also may have had much to do with something much more deep than Omar or Seddique Mateen’s views on the world.

In the days after the tragedy, we’ve learned much of Omar and Seddique Mateen’s views on homosexuality.

Seddique Mateen tweeted, “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” adding it’s, “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

There’s no doubt in my mind Omar Mateen heard this sort of rhetoric at home, and that was probably extremely disturbing for him given some other stuff we’ve learned.

Other publications have reported information about Omar Mateen seeking to date other men. He also went to gay night clubs.

To me, it seems Omar Mateen was set up for failure from the beginning. He grew up in a home led by a man who preached “delusional” pro-Taliban rhetoric.

Then he also likely felt the head of his household would not embrace him for who he was.

That seems like a recipe for disaster to me. It seems like a recipe for a young radical Islamic man who feared the very person he was becoming to go kill a bunch of innocent people.

I’m not sure how to fight this war, which is clearly right here at home. When does somebody’s freedom of speech end? When does treason begin? How long do we let folks enjoy the freedoms of our country while contributing to violence against it?

I don’t know where that line is.

However, I do think a cruise missile is an appropriate Father’s Day gift for an anti-American Taliban supporter. Last I checked — like when they were trying to drop mortars on my head and shoot rockets into my camp — we were at war with the Taliban.

And we’d better understand we are at war with radical Islam, because they definately know they’re at war with us.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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