Observations on the Orlando Shooting

When I awoke on June 12, I reached for my cellphone as I always do upon waking, and saw a group message from my sister to our parents and myself.  The message was about the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. She was letting us know that she was safe. See, my sister and my parents all live in Orlando. In fact, my sister lives with a roommate just a few miles from Pulse. Moreover, she’s friends with many people in the queer community down there, and has been to that club before. I was deeply, deeply heartened to know that she wasn’t among the victims of that horrific tragedy (nor was her roommate, who actually considered going there that night.Normally when I wake in the morning, I need about half an hour to become alert and “with it”. Not on that day. The news immediately rocked me out of my post-sleep slump. I searched around for more information on the shooting and found that 20 people were listed dead with many more injured. A few hours later, that number shot up to 50, though it was later learned that one of the people listed among the dead was actually alive. Wielding a semi-automatic pistol and an AR-15 rifle (both quick-reloading weapons) that he was able to buy with ease roughly a week before his attack, Mateen ruthlessly, maliciously, destroyed dozens upon dozens of LGBTQIA lives. His actions also irrevocably altered the lives of those victims who survived, some of whom are still fighting to stay alive. The act of terror also had a ripple effect, extending outward from Orlando to the rest of the state and beyond. How could it not? It felt like….it WAS an act of terror upon a community constantly faced with an oppressive heteronormative, cisnormative society that says YOUR LIVES DON’T MATTER. Like many, I was struck by the horror of that day. I was affected as were so many others. I do not pretend to have been victimized like those that died, or the survivors. But as a member of the LGBTQIA community, the events of that night did have an effect upon me. The following is less a blog post and more of an attempt to get my thoughts out in something resembling a coherent form.

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Observations on the Orlando Shooting
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Terrorism in San Bernardino

It hasn’t even been a week.

Five days after a misogynistic, anti-choice terrorist shot and killed 3 people and injured 9 more at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, another mass shooting happened today. In San Bernardino, California. At Inland Regional Center-a center that serves more than 30,000 people with developmental disabilities (as well as their families)-three heavily armed terrorists shot and killed 14 people and injured 18. According to authorities, the gunmen looked to be on a mission.  They came to the center during a banquet on a mission to commit an act of domestic terrorism-one of the deadliest we’ve had in the United States since the Newtown school massacre in 2012 (yes, we have that here in the United States and it’s a significantly greater threat to the citizens of this country than Islamic extremists).

And it has been less than a week. Sigh.

After the initial shooting, the attackers fled, beginning a manhunt that lasted several hours and ending in a firefight with the police. Two of the three suspects were shot and killed. The third suspect is in custody. All of them had assault rifles and handguns and wore ‘assault-style’ clothes. It is too early to know the motives of the terrorists, but I suspect we’ll find out in the days and weeks ahead.

One thing I do know is that incidents like this Just. Keep. Happening. and as of this writing, we’ve had 355 mass shootings this year and it’s only day #336. On average, we’ve had more than one mass shooting per day this year.

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Terrorism in San Bernardino

Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad

Terrorism
Fucking terrorists. By now, most people who keep track of news to any significant degree are aware of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I’ve read several articles relating to the attacks from US sources, but wanted to get news from sources closer to Paris, so I’ve been reading France24. The attacks, which apparently took place at six different locations in and around Paris, occurred around 10 pm (local time). Last time I took a look at fatalities, more than 127 people had died, with 180 injured (and 80 of those were serious injuries). You can take a wild guess who is claiming responsibility. Once again it’s those assholes in ISIS:

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Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad

The legacy of the Confederacy lives on in white supremacists like Dylann Roof

Congregants honor the nine people murdered last week at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. They were slain in a terrorist attack by a white supremacist attempting to incite a race war.

Last week, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof drove two hours from his home in Columbia, South Carolina to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. After being welcomed in with open arms by the African-American churchgoers, Roof sat. And sat. And sat. A little over an hour after he arrived, he jumped back into his car and sped away, leaving behind the bodies of 9 people he shot to death in a horrific act of racial terrorism that has justifiably outraged the nation. Thanks to a perceptive florist, the 14+ hour manhunt for the killer ended in Shelby, North Carolina, more than 245 miles from Charleston. Following his arrest, he has been charged with 9 counts of murder and possession of a firearm. His bond is set at $1 million. The shock and bewilderment felt by many USAmericans upon first hearing of his deadly crime largely centered around “why would someone do this”. The answer to that was made apparent less than 24 hours after his shooting rampage:
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The legacy of the Confederacy lives on in white supremacists like Dylann Roof

Yes Mr. O’Reilly, let’s look at some stats

FOX “News” commentator Bill O’Reilly has made a career out of being an obnoxious, racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexistmisogynistic bigot (an extremely lucrative career). The highly rated conservative pundit (who, I am shocked to find out, is only #43 in Iris Vander Pluym’s Abattoir; what’s an asshole like O’Reilly gotta do to move up the list?!) regularly engages in inflammatory rhetoric that’s clearly designed to gin up his conservative viewership. If there was a personification of the phrase ‘punching down‘, it would probably look like Bill O’Reilly. I find the man so repellent that I don’t even want to hear his voice. I don’t know how the folks over at Right Wing Watch can stand it (and O’Reilly is far from the only craptastic conservative they report on). Thankfully, listening to his voice is not necessary for me to learn the latest awful thing he’s said. For that, I have but to turn to Raw Story:

Continue reading “Yes Mr. O’Reilly, let’s look at some stats”

Yes Mr. O’Reilly, let’s look at some stats

Yes Mr. O'Reilly, let's look at some stats

FOX “News” commentator Bill O’Reilly has made a career out of being an obnoxious, racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexistmisogynistic bigot (an extremely lucrative career). The highly rated conservative pundit (who, I am shocked to find out, is only #43 in Iris Vander Pluym’s Abattoir; what’s an asshole like O’Reilly gotta do to move up the list?!) regularly engages in inflammatory rhetoric that’s clearly designed to gin up his conservative viewership. If there was a personification of the phrase ‘punching down‘, it would probably look like Bill O’Reilly. I find the man so repellent that I don’t even want to hear his voice. I don’t know how the folks over at Right Wing Watch can stand it (and O’Reilly is far from the only craptastic conservative they report on). Thankfully, listening to his voice is not necessary for me to learn the latest awful thing he’s said. For that, I have but to turn to Raw Story:

Continue reading “Yes Mr. O'Reilly, let's look at some stats”

Yes Mr. O'Reilly, let's look at some stats

FBI domestic intelligence chief attempted to convince Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to kill himself

Geez. This is just fucking horrible. I know that many Americans were upset over the actions of civil rights leaders, especially Dr. King. I knew he suffered from death threats (and attempts). I knew that he scared many people.  I didn’t know how far up the chain that fear ran.  Apparently, it went all the way up to the FBI (and probably farther).  From Vox:

“We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security,” FBI domestic intelligence chief William Sullivan wrote in a memo two days later. A massive surveillance operation on King was quickly approved, and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover became increasingly fixated on proving that King had Communist ties, and discrediting him generally.

The surveillance failed to show that King was a Communist, but it did result in many tapes of extramarital sexual liaisons by King. So, the next year, Sullivan sent the following unsigned letter to King’s home.  An unredacted version of it was only recently unearthed by Yale historian Beverly Gage, and published in the New York Times Wednesday:

Notice how Sullivan doesn’t address Dr. King’s advocacy for equality?

Notice how he attempts to smear his character?

All you people who scream ‘ad hominem attack’ whenever someone is insulted, take note.  This is an ad hominem attack.  Sullivan doesn’t address the substance of Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech. He doesn’t comment on the fight for equal rights. Instead, he seeks to tar Dr. King by bringing up shit that has nothing to do with his activism. Yeah, Dr. King was a human being who made mistakes, but none of those mistakes have fuck-all to do with his struggle to fight for civil rights.  I’m actually astonished a letter like this came out from a high ranking government official.  It’s a personal attack dripping with religious symbolism. It also seems to me to be the act of a white supremacist who is trying to terrorize a member of a minority group. I wonder if Sullivan was ever punished. No, I doubt he ever was.

FBI domestic intelligence chief attempted to convince Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to kill himself

Utah State University gets bomb threat for hosting Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist, video game critic, and author of Feminist Frequency (a critical web video series that explores the representations of women in video games). She is often the target of harassment, rape threats, and threats of violence to herself and her loved ones.  She received a bomb threat earlier this year:

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Utah State University gets bomb threat for hosting Anita Sarkeesian

Good news out of Ferguson

Highway Patrol has taken over from the police in Ferguson, Missouri.  The difference is profound:

Highway patrol captain Ron Johnson leading protesters:

Ryan Reilly notes the differences between the Highway Patrol and police handling of the protests:

Finally.

I hope the protesters will be able to exercise their constitutional rights without incident and that the media will be allowed to tell the story of what has happened in Ferguson.

Sadly, since the murder of Michael Brown, two more unarmed black men have been shot by police.

 

(incidentally, the ‘terrorism’ tag for this post is due to the actions of the police and SWAT teams in Ferguson.  The actions they undertook against an almost overwhelmingly peaceful protest, as well as the reporters attempting to document the story  were very much terroristic.)

 

 

 

Good news out of Ferguson

Images and Tweets from Ferguson, Missouri

Here are some images out of Ferguson.

More tweets and images from Ferguson.

Snipers aimed at American citizens in Ferguson.

SWAT team in Ferguson.

Journalists being arrested in Ferguson?

 

What the hell is going on?  A city in the US is being treated like a war zone.  

 

Images and Tweets from Ferguson, Missouri