LGBT Hate Crime in Orlando Kills At Least 50, Injures More Than Another 50

By Nel Ward, June 12, 2016

Over 100 people were shot and at least 50 of them are dead in a mass shooting early this morning at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (FLA), a popular gay bar. Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the largest mass shooting in the United States, was killed after three hours when a SWAT team swarmed into the bar. Mateen was armed with ammunition, a handgun, and an AR-15-type assault-style rifle, the civilian variant of the military M-16 rifle, according to Orlando Police Chief John Mina. The firearms were legally purchased, and the killer had active security officer and firearm licenses. His family said he worked as a private security officer.

Mateen’s father said that “this had nothing to do with religion,” but his son became very angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami. The man’s ex-wife said that he was unstable and had violent tendencies. She said that he wasabusive and beat her repeatedly during their marriage. He had given her no indications that he was devoted to radical Islam.

Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, issued this statement in response:

“Last night, the worst domestic terror attack since 911 has tragically hit American LGBT families head on—children, moms, dads, neighbors, friends—lives that are changed forever. In the days ahead we will come to know the latest victims of hatred—mostly young men and women who were simply out for a night of dancing and enjoyment of our community during LGBT Pride month. These victims of a hate crime targeting an LGBT club had their futures stolen, had their dreams stolen, their potential contributions stolen from us all.

“The LGBT Orlando community and our allies in Central Florida are both strong and unified. We send a world of love and prayers to all who are grieving today and to all who will begin the hard journey to recover from untold wounds, both physical and emotional. But our love and prayers are simply not enough. Hate and separation continue to bring forth too much grief, too many stolen lives across the whole world.

“As we reach out to comfort the Orlando families, and as we support the courage for the injured to heal, may we also have the strength to address and deal with the roots of hatred and separation that target any minority community with violence, anywhere in the world. May we find a way forward to make this act of horrendous violence a commitment to come together and so honor the memories of those who were killed today.”

Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson stated:

“Spaces like Pulse aren’t just bars and clubs. They are a lifeline to many LGBTQ people —a place to be free and open. Falling almost exactly one year after the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, this tragedy is a reminder of all the ways that hate, intolerance and violence show up. As we seek to make sense of this tragedy and so many others, we do so focused on building a culture of inclusion, respect, liberation and love.”

Barbara Poma, co-owner of Pulse, founded the club to honor her brother who died of AIDS in 1991 and to support the LGBT community. She and her business partner, Ron Legler, survived the shooting. The night before this horrific killing, a St. Petersburg man shot and killed 22-year-old Christina Gimmie, while she was signing autographs after her show at The Plaza Live theater. She had won third place on NBC’s The Voice on Season 6.

President Obama called this “an act of terror and an act of hate.” He said:

“This is an especially heartbreaking day for all of our friends, our fellow Americans, who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The shooter targeted a night club where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a night club, it is a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us, and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.”

Calls have gone out for blood donors, but men who have had sex with other men in the past year are prevented from donating, according to FDA guidelines. This policy is greatly softened since the first policy banning gay donors was adopted in 1983, but Orlando clinics are still following the 23-year-old protocols. Current tests can sense antibodies that develop within two weeks of infection, reducing the risk of receiving HIV to about 1 in 2 million, but rules for donating blood ignore this science. Other high-risk populations such as illegal drug users and prostitutes have no limits in donating blood.

In its typical hate-filled rhetoric, Fox network hosts blamed President Obama because he had made the country less safe. Donald Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” Immediately afterblaming “the immigrants” for the massacre, Trump said, “I am going to be a President for all Americans.” (Mateen was a U.S. citizen.) Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick posted Galatians 6:7 on Twitter: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Other Republicans who voted for unlimited ownership of guns and against LGBT rights are sending the customary “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Anyone who attacks our LGBT community will be gone after with the fullest extent of the law.” In Florida, that usually means the law is only for straight white men. If Mateen were still alive, he might be able to use the defense that LGBT people threaten him.

The report that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS has received more attention than the fact that this tragedy is a hate crime. If one self-identified Muslim kills, it’s an act that conservatives call radical Islamic terrorism so that they can push their narrow, bigoted agenda. If one self-identified Christian kills, as in the murder of three people at a Colorado abortion clinic, they think that it has nothing to do with Christianity. To conservatives, it is the act of a mentally unbalanced person. Nowhere has the mainstream media published the fact that people in the United States are much more likely to be killed by right-wing extremists, many of them self-identified Christians, than by Muslims.

Some Christian leaders call for killing all “homosexuals”; three GOP presidential candidates attended a conference this past year where the leader called for these “executions.” A Christian lawyer in California has proposed killing LGBT people with bullets to the head. More than that, he proposes that citizens should not have to face any charges if they LGBT people.  Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, calls gay Christians “the enemy.” As hate crime rates against all other segments of the population go down, hate crimes against LGBT people increase. And until this morning, these crimes were not by Muslims.

Conservative leaders, such as Ted Cruz, call for an end to “political correctness” and the restriction of “immigrants.” They are enraged because the 9th Circuit Court has ruled in favor of the California law banning concealed weapons outside the home and the 2nd Circuit Court ruled in favor of a Connecticut law that bans assault-type weapons and large magazines of weapons. Blame ISIS, they cry, while ignoring the two other largest gun massacres, one in Newton (CT) where 29 people were left dead and the other at Virginia Tech University that left 33 dead.

This Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court may hear an appeal to the decision from the 2nd Circuit Court about whether to hear Shew v. Malloy or put off that determination for another week or two. The 2nd Circuit Court had upheld a law that bans assault-type weapons and large ammunition magazines. In his decision that the Connecticut law does not violate the constitution’s Second Amendment, U.S. Circuit Judge José A. Cabranes wrote:

“New York and Connecticut have adequately established a substantial relationship between the prohibition of both semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines and the important — indeed compelling — state interest in controlling crime.”

I want two things. The next time a self-identified Christian kills someone, I want it announced that a Christian performed the crime. And I want controls on gun ownership. And yes, I’m not going to get either wish.

[Update: Florida Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to recognize that killing and injuring over 100 people in a gay bar is a hate crime.

Statement from Terry O’Neill, NOW president:

We cannot say that we live in a free society when LGBTQIA people have to always wonder if horrific violence is just around the corner, or creeping up in the rearview mirror. Hate crimes against this community haven’t disappeared just because courts, political leaders and businesses now support expanded rights. We must remain vigilant against the threat of violence, but we must also speak out against a climate of bigotry and hatred that rejects or devalues LGBTQIA rights.

https://nelsnewday.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/lgbt-hate-crime-in-orlando-kills-at-least-50-injures-more-than-another-50/

A Little Perspective on Hillary Clinton

WED APR 15, 2015 AT 07:26 PM PDT
by xaxnar

There’s a certain amount of wrangling back and forth here at Kos over the prospect of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president. I am NOT going to go into the pros and cons of Hillary as a candidate. I am instead going to point to Charles P. Pierce and Paul Krugman who are both making an important observation.

More below the Orange Omnilepticon.

Paul Krugman had an important column on April 13, 2015. Titled “It Takes A Party”, Krugman laid it out concisely in this paragraph:

In any case, there has never been a time in American history when the alleged personal traits of candidates mattered less. As we head into 2016, each party is quite unified on major policy issues — and these unified positions are very far from each other. The huge, substantive gulf between the parties will be reflected in the policy positions of whomever they nominate, and will almost surely be reflected in the actual policies adopted by whoever wins.
emphasis added
Krugman enumerates the vast gulf between the two parties with a number of examples. To select just one (and you should really read the whole column), consider:

Any Democrat would retain the tax hikes on high-income Americans that went into effect in 2013, and possibly seek more. Any Republican would try to cut taxes on the wealthy — House Republicans plan to vote next week to repeal the estate tax — while slashing programs that aid low-income families.
Charles P. Pierce at Esquire also holds forth, referencing Hillary Clinton in a compare and contrast exercise:
Because I am always here to help, I will now present a list of what we already know about a potential Rodham Clinton’s presidency.
If she is elected, she unequivocally will accept the science of anthropogenic climate change and treat it as a crisis. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, she unequivocally will support marriage equality, and oppose discrimination against our fellow citizens based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential.

If she is elected, she will not destroy the Affordable Care Act, an article of faith among all the Republican candidates, real or potential.

That’s just a partial excerpt – again I urge you to Read The Whole Thing.
The point is, both Krugman and Pierce are dreading the next 18-19 months and all of the personality-based analysis and horse-race style reporting that is going to dominate the media, as opposed to actually spelling out what the party that wins will do. Whomever ends up as the banner carrier for either party, however you feel about him (or her) – there is a real choice here, with real consequences.

The media is going to do everything it can to blur the differences, and you will hear pundits calling for someone “who can bring us all together.” Well, screw that shit.

We are a divided nation because there is a real battle for what kind of country this is going to be – and defeat is not an option. Sitting this one out, or holding out for ideological purity is not an option either. Republicans may be batshit insane, and wrong on every issue – but they keep winning because they all point their guns in the same direction. Democratic disunity (See Pierce here) and a Quixotic fixation on candidates who are not running or can’t possibly win is a luxury that advances no agenda.

The Republicans will do everything they can to make it all about ‘character’ and ‘values’ – nebulous things that can be spun in a variety of ways. Their authoritarian inclinations lead to a desire at the gut level for a ‘strong’ leader to protect them and give them orders while making the world something simple for them to deal with. They prefer personality based contests because they know they can’t win if the race turns on substance – what they will actually do if elected, and what they have already done. The media will go along with them because it makes for easy reporting. They love having a narrative.

And that’s what we have to remember. We can have a narrative too – but let’s make it larger than any one person. Let’s make it one that connects with people at a gut level as well as with reality. We have plenty of accomplishments to point to – and a lot of people unhappy with where America will be headed if the GOP prevails. We need to make that connection in the voters minds. Krugman and Pierce both supply us with a list of talking points. Let’s build on that, and, as Krugman puts it “may the best party win.”

7:16 AM PT: UPDATE If you want some personality-driven ‘fun’ try the Hillary Temperature Quiz Gail Collins has put together. http://www.nytimes.com/…

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/16/1378042/-A-Little-Perspective-on-Hillary-Clinton?detail=email