Federal Hate Crime Charges Possible
48-year old Martin Blackwell is in police custody, charged with pouring boiling hot water on a sleeping couple â€“ because they are gay.Â Marquez Tolbert (photo, above) andÂ Anthony Gooden, both 21, were sleeping in the Atlanta, Georgia home of Gooden’s mother when Blackwell, her boyfriend, allegedly attacked them, saying,Â â€œGet out of my house with all that gay.â€
Caution: Disturbing images below
The two men say they rushed out of the house and knocked on several neighbors’ doors before finding anyone to help them. Tolbert required skin grafts from his leg and spent 10 days hospitalized. Gooden was released from the hospital last week, about a month after the February 12 attack.
“The pain doesn’t let you sleep. It’s just, like, it’s excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn’t go anywhere,â€ Marquez Tolbert told WSB-TV. â€œIt doesn’t dial down, anything. It’s just there.”
“I can barely think straight because the burning, the stinging is everywhere,â€ he added.
“The couple says that there was no fight before the attack and that they ‘had no idea of the hatred he held in his hear,'” the NY Daily News reports.
Blackwell, charged with two counts of aggravated battery,Â reportedly said the two men will “be alright, it was just a little hot water on them.”Â The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Blackwell “described disgust with the menâ€™s relationship in the police report.”
There is a GoFundMe page set up forÂ Marquez Tolbert’s medical expenses. Here is a photo detailing his injuries:
Image, top, viaÂ WSB-TV
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Florida Republican Levies ‘Threat’ Against Biden Over Guns After Being Investigated for Cyberintimidation
Florida State Representative Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, Wednesday morning posted what some say appears to be a threat against President Joe Biden. Tuesday evening the President addressed the nation just hours after 19 second, third, and fourth-grade school children and two teachers were massacred in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings.
“We as a nation have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby. When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” President Biden implored Americans as he spoke barely more than one hour after landing at the White House after a five-day Asia trip.
Early Tuesday morning Rep. Fine tweeted: “I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President — try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.”
Some online are seeing that as an apparent threat.
“This sounds like a threat against the President,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Is this a threat Randy?” asked another.
Several reported the tweet to Twitter Safety, and more responded by tweeting it to the FBI and Secret Service.
One user whose bio says she is an Internet Safety Expert tweeted “18 U.S.C. §871(a).” That is the federal law for ‘Threats against President and successors to the Presidency.”
Rep. Fine has been investigated but not prosecuted for cyberintimidation, among other allegations.
In February, “prosecutors announced that after an exhaustive investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a thorough review by Chief Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons …, no criminal charges would be filed in allegations leveled at State Representative Randy Fine by Brevard County School Board Member Jennifer Jenkins, and Publisher Robert Burns,” the Florida State Attorney’s Office stated.
“Jenkins and Burns alleged that between July and August of 2021, Fine had committed the offenses of Corruption by Threat Against a Public Servant; Cyberintimidation by Publication; Stalking; Residency Qualification Violations; Campaign Finance Violations; and Voter Fraud (Oct. 2019 – Nov. 2020).”
The State Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Fine, but State Attorney Phil Archer added: “Although no criminal charges are being filed, I am concerned that the continued use of heated rhetoric on social media and public statements by both sides, could produce a volatile and dangerous escalation we should all seek to avoid.”
Top Texas Republicans Resist Gun Control and Push for More Armed Teachers and Police at Schools in Wake of Uvalde Shooting
“Top Texas Republicans resist gun control and push for more armed teachers and police at schools in wake of Uvalde shooting” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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In the hours after a gunman killed more than 20 people at a South Texas elementary school Tuesday, the state’s top Republicans sought to immediately squelch the possibility of gun control measures in the wake of yet another mass shooting.
As the death toll mounted from the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde and President Joe Biden vowed to push for stricter gun laws, Texas Republicans made it clear that any kind of gun restriction in response to the tragedy was off the table.
“Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”
In an appearance on the far-right television network Newsmax, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly dismissed the notion of enacting restrictions on firearms — reasoning that shooters wouldn’t follow the law anyway.
“I’d much rather have law-abiding citizens armed and trained so that they can respond when something like this happens because it’s not going to be the last time,” Paxton said.
Meanwhile, Biden called for a renewed push to reform the nation’s gun laws in the wake of the shooting during a nationwide address Tuesday evening.
“We as a nation have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” Biden said.
In the wake of mass shootings at Santa Fe High School in 2018 and a Walmart in El Paso in 2019, Texas Republicans vowed to take steps to prevent similar killing sprees in the future and passed laws that cover issues like identifying potentially dangerous students, training school employees to deal with emergencies and giving teachers more access to guns.
But in gun-friendly Texas, any laws restricting access to firearms have been a nonstarter. Instead, state legislators have expanded access to firearms — including with a law allowing residents to carry guns without a permit.
On Tuesday, Republican officials revived ideas to stop future mass shooters — arming teachers and school administrators, putting more police officers on campus and limiting entryways to school buildings.
“We have to harden these targets so that no one can get in ever except through one entrance,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Tucker Carlson in an appearance on Fox News. “Maybe that would help. Maybe that would stop someone.”
Gov. Greg Abbott, Cruz and former President Donald Trump are scheduled to talk in Houston on Friday at the National Rifle Association’s 2022 annual meeting. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Abbott’s Democratic opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, called on Abbott to skip the convention and tell the NRA to take the convention elsewhere.
“Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend’s NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas,” O’Rourke tweeted Tuesday night.
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/24/texas-republicans-uvalde-gun-control/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
Biden: ‘When in God’s Name Are We Going to Stand Up to the Gun Lobby?’
President Joe Biden arrived at the White House at 7:18 PM ET Tuesday evening after a five day trip to Asia. About 75 minutes later he stood before television cameras in the Roosevelt Room and asked America, “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”
As the President made his way on Air Force One back to the United States he was confronted with the news that multiple elementary school children – first reported as two, then 14, and now 18 – along with at least one teacher, had been gunned down in yet another mass shooting, this time at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“I’d hoped, when I became president, I would not have to do this again. Another massacre at a Texas elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders,” President Biden, clearly emotional and choked up, announced. “As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When, in God’s name, will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”
Just ten days earlier a gunman, an avowed white supremacist and antisemite, shot and killed 10 Black people in a local Buffalo grocery store.
“I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage,” he said. “For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”
President Biden added, “if an 18-year-old can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons, it’s just wrong. What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? Deer aren’t running through the forests with kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick.”
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
Pres. Biden: “As a nation, we have to ask: When, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When, in God’s name, will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” https://t.co/AAqNDbY83f pic.twitter.com/YNfzMdmf0e
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 25, 2022
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