Questions are many about Mateen

In Omar Mateen’s twisted mind, he was an “Islamic soldier” whose self-professed loyalty to the Islamic State terrorist group was more important than any moral compunctions he might have had about slaughtering 49 innocent people. The FBI says he was “radicalized domestically,” not directed by the IS.

But exactly how was he converted into a brutal murderer? Was the process entirely personal, with the internet his only teacher? Or were other people right here in the United States pushing him along?

Propagandists working for the IS and other Islamic terrorist groups have developed powerful brainwashing tools. We know that from the number of people in this country and others who succumb to the groups’ use of social media and attempt to go to the Middle East to fight for the extremists.

But it also is known that at least one other person, his wife, knew of Mateen’s plan to invade the Orlando nightclub where the carnage occurred. She may have even helped him “case” the establishment.

No doubt Mateen was aware the overwhelming majority of U.S. Muslims have no sympathy for terrorists who consciously twist Islamic teachings. But it is known a tiny minority support the extremists.

Did Mateen have help and encouragement from any of them?

The FBI is continuing what no doubt will be an exhaustive investigation of Mateen and his wife. Already there have been signs of political correctness in what the press has been told about the situation. For example, the authorities initially omitted from transcripts the names of people and organizations to which Mateen pledged allegiance in his calls to police. Later, they revealed the killer specified the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

If reports about Mateen’s wife are true, she should be charged as an accessory to murder. And if others encouraged him or even knew of his violent conversion and failed to alert authorities, they, too, should be charged.

Mateen is being referred to as a “lone wolf.” But wolves very seldom operate alone. They travel and hunt in packs.