Aug 16

That’s another ‘dog bites man’ headline. But had the circumstances been the opposite, a shooter armed and angry opening fire in the DC headquarters of a social policy advocacy group would have been all over the news cycles with endless analysis of its grave ramifications.

Remember how quickly some media rushed to pin the Tucson shooting to some sort of right wing political extremism? More recently, recall how a major network newsman rushed to pin the Colorado theater shooter with the Tea Party? In this case, the target was conservatives, and the shooter was motivated by the politically charged issue of gay marriage. And media were virtually silent.

Here’s what happened, as reported by a very few handful (if even) of sources.

CBS, for one.

A man suspected of shooting and wounding a security guard in the lobby of a Christian lobbying group had been volunteering at a community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

A law enforcement official has identified the suspect arrested in Wednesday’s shooting as Floyd Corkins II of Herndon, Va. Investigators were interviewing his neighbors.

Another official says the shooter made a negative reference about the work of the Family Research Council before opening fire. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

David Mariner is executive director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community. He says Corkins had been volunteering at the center for about the past 6 months. Mariner describes Corkins as “kind, gentle and unassuming.”

While police have not yet stated what motivated Corkins, a coalition of 25 gay rights groups released a statement through GLAAD condemning the shooting.

“The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident,” the statement read.

Fox News reports:

An FBI affidavit in the investigation of a shooting Wednesday at the downtown Washington, D.C., offices of the Family Research Council says the accused gunman uttered a statement to the effect of, “I don’t like your politics,” before reaching into a backpack for a handgun and opening fire.

Floyd Lee Corkins II, of Herndon, Va., 28, is charged with assault with intent to kill, in addition to federal firearms charges.

Corkins was wearing a white prison jumpsuit and showed no visible emotions or reactions at federal court Thursday….

Leo Johnson, an unarmed building operations manager, is being lauded by D.C. police as a hero for stopping and disarming Corkins before he could get into the building.

Surveillance video shows Johnson interacting with Corkins before he allegedly opened fire, striking Johnson in the arm. The security guard managed to wrestle Corkins to the ground and disarm him before he could get inside the group’s offices.

“The security guard here is a hero, as far as I¹m concerned,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. “He did his job. The person never made it past the front.”

Sources told Fox News that after Johnson disarmed Corkins, the gunman said: “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”

Talk about hate crime….

Which we should. With civility, finally.

Here’s a good roundup.

I too hope this near-miss will inspire some folks to pull-back on their rhetoric, but I think it unlikely. A lot of people in this Year of Our Lord 2012 have sprung gas leaks, and they’re just floating in suspense, waiting for someone to just strike the proper match so it all goes ka-boom.

And the seeming reluctance of the press to cover this story as it was breaking, and the many hours of presidential silence in its wake, do nothing to dissuade folks that ka-boom would be so very bad, after all, as long as it was against the right sorts of people.

Yes, we need to talk about this. With the respect for truth and honesty and human dignity we proclaim.

Tagged with:
Feb 05

It has been deeply revealing and we have learned much.

First of all, that the relationship existed. After all the years of doubt or uncertainty by many contributors to the Pink Ribbon campaign over whether the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure donated some of those funds to Planned Parenthood, it’s all out there now. So there will never be another Pink October or any other fundraising campaign in which ubiquitous pink ribbons  and the Komen logo of the breast cancer awareness giant will not be associated with Planned Parenthood, the abortion giant.

Second, we saw the full weight of Planned Parenthood’s power and fury. On a hair trigger, they and their supporters fired off relentless rounds of volleys through a vast social media network. And they either pressured or cajoled nearly two dozen US senators to leap into the fire and lobby on their behalf, all on practically no notice.

Senators Frank Lautenberg, Patty Murray and 20 other Democrats have prepared a letter, obtained by Reuters, saying Komen’s move “threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-savings services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.”

They certainly didn’t take the time to research the veracity of their claim about access and services, and anything else pertaining to the truth of the matter.

“It would be tragic if any woman, let alone thousands of women, lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” said the letter, which was due to be sent later on Thursday.

It all worked, and fast, which is a big lesson for the pro-life movement. Whatever else Planned Parenthood is, it is highly successful in everything it does nationally, at the local level and highest levels of government obviously up to the White House itself. And it is highly successful as a force to be reckoned with because it is relentless in applying pressure and mobilizing rapid response forces that frame a message, make it go viral and then make it stick. They make it clear that there will be consequences to non-compliance with their demands, and they follow through.

This, with another tenor but no less tenacity, is a model for the pro-life or any movement to notice and consider. Leave aside PP’s bullying for another post…

Social activism can change policies and laws when people unite behind a cause with a fervent commitment, make a clear statement meant to ’stick’, mobilize a network through social media, make a sustained effort to make the message go viral, and refuse to go away or back down. And make it clear there will be consequences to the response or lack of one.

The movement should be unapologetically forceful, but unassailably positive and relentlessly determined. And it helps when it’s an election year.

Tagged with:
Dec 15

This used to be a bigger issue.

And it used to be called the Time Man of the Year.

Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that “for better or for worse, …has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

But look at its beginnings…

The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927 with Time editors contemplating newsworthy stories possible during a slow news week. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.

So keep things in perspective. In fact…

Since then, individual people, classes of people, the computer, and Planet Earth have all been selected for the special year-end issue.

And people have become more selective in accessing credible and relevant news sources. Time has suffered readership and relevance in that process.

That seems to be reflected in reaction to this year’s annual special year end edition, honoring The Protester. And the editors’ list of ‘runner ups.’

And the ‘People Who Mattered’ list.

By what sliding scale do they measure people who matter?

And it strikes me as more than a little negligent that the magazine would devote such a lengthy and seemingly sensitive social commentary on the democracyof social activism and not recognize the spark or impetus generated by the Tea Party.

I encountered this story twice on radio Thursday, once as guest and once as host. When I was the guest, the host said he was just about ready to move on past this story because it wasn’t generating any listener interest. And when I was host the guest said she thought the whole issue was politically and ideologically driven and narrowly-focused, but then she added ‘Oh well, whatever…’ and changed the subject.

I have a proposal. Since this is such a big issue, let it be remembered that the citizens who wanted change and took the opportunity to mobilize for it were so honored. And next year, let’s see Time honor ‘The Voter.’

Tagged with:
preload preload preload