Is Anti-LGBT Political Rhetoric Fueling Violent Crime Wave in City’s Gay Entertainment District?Â
Roughly 30 gay men have been attacked in Dallas’ heavily LGBT Oak Lawn neighborhood since September, but police still haven’t made a single arrest.Â
Craig Knapp, 50, became the latest victim early Saturday when he was jumped and called a homophobic slur while walking his friend’s dog a block from the Cedar Springs strip â€” home to the city’s largest gay entertainment district. Â
Knapp said two men approached him from behind and asked him the name ofÂ the dog, according to a report from KDFW-TV. When Knapp replied, “Sissy,” one of the men laughed, grabbed him by the back of the head and slammed him to the ground, before pushing his face into the pavement and kicking him.Â Knapp offered the two suspects his phone and cash, but they didn’t take it.Â
“I wanted to get out alive, plain and simple,” Knapp told WFAA-TV.
It marks at least the 17th reported attack in Oak Lawn since September, but LGBT advocates say at least a dozen others have gone unreported. Many ofÂ the victims were assaulted or robbed after leaving gay nightclubs on foot late at night, with one being stabbed repeatedly and another being struck with a baseball bat. But police have classified only two of the incidents as anti-gay hate crimes.Â
The wave of anti-gay violence in Dallas made international news last week, when The Guardian linked it to backlash over the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, as well as anti-LGBT political rhetoric related to Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance and among GOP presidential candidates.Â
â€œWe got marriage equality, we thought it was over,â€ Dallas gay bar owner Lee Daugherty told The Guardian. Two members ofÂ Daugherty’s staff have been among the victims. â€œA lot of people think it kind of ended there. It actually just started.â€
â€œWe are concerned that the heightened level of animus that surrounds the presidential campaign and the media in general â€¦ can fuel higher rates of violence against LGBT people,â€ said Chuck Smith, chief executive officer of the LGBT advocacy group EqualityÂ Texas.
In response to the attacks, LGBT activists have staged protests in Oak Lawn and outside Dallas police headquarters, calling for increased patrols. Authorities responded by temporarily placing the neighborhood on “lockdown,” and the city added street lights and security cameras in the area.Â
The LGBT community has also taken matters into its own hands, with survivors of the attacks launching aÂ support group for victims, and dozens of new recruits joining the Police Department’s Volunteers in Patrol program. One Oak Lawn resident even produced a documentary film about the anti-gay crime wave, “Take Back Oak Lawn,” that premiered last month.Â
All those efforts appear to be working, as the attacks have subsided since their peak last fall. But Knapp’s assault is another reminder that in order to have a lasting impact, they’ll need to continue for the foreseeable future.Â
Image: Screenshot viaÂ KDFW-TV
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Whistleblower Outs Kushner for COVID Task Force Failures: ‘Organized Crime Melded With Lord of the Flies’
A former member of the White House coronavirus task force explained why he blew the whistle on what he saw as deadly incompetence within the group.
Max Kennedy, Jr. — the 26-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy — told The New Yorker that he initially agreed to join the task force that was being put together by White House adviser Jared Kushner because of the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But it was such an unprecedented time,” he explained to The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. “It didn’t seem political—it seemed larger than the Administration.”
Kennedy recalled being shocked because a skeleton crew of unpaid task force volunteers were forced to use their personal laptops and email accounts to track down medical supplies.
“It was the number of people who show up to an after-school event, not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years,” he observed. “It was such a mismatch of personnel. It was one of the largest mobilization problems ever. It was so unbelievably colossal and gargantuan. The fact that they didn’t want to get any more people was so upsetting.”
Kennedy said that one political appointee on the task force, Brad Smith, urged him to create a model that predicted a maximum of 100,000 deaths because existing scientific models were “too severe.”
“I don’t know the first thing about disease modeling,” Kennedy told Smith before declining the task.
Volunteers were also urged to pay close attention to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and to ship medical supplies to her favored hospitals, Kennedy said.
Kennedy remembered Kushner stopping by the office with “an air of self-importance” on several occasions and promising to fix problems.
“But I never saw a single thing that Kushner promised change,” he said.
After quitting the position in April, Kennedy decided to defy a non-disclosure agreement by blowing the whistle in a complaint to Congress.
“I just couldn’t sleep,” he remarked. “I was so distressed and disturbed by what I’d seen.”
Kennedy said that the task force “was like a family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It was a government of chaos.”
“If you see something that might be illegal, and cause thousands of civilian lives to be lost, a person has to speak out,” he insisted.
‘Huge Big WTF’: Experts Scorch CDC for Deleting New Guidance Revealing Coronavirus Is Airborne
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly updated its official coronavirus guidance to reveal the pathogen is airborne, and can stay in the air at distances greater than six feet.
Few noticed the change but CNN reported it over the weekend.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the update read.
That updated guidance has now been deleted, as Harvard professor and former DHS official Juliette Kayyam noted.
Pro-tip. Just got word from internal source that CDC took down the aerosol guidance. I don’t see it anymore. WTF.
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) September 21, 2020
She later noted CDC added a note to the page, claiming the update (which is critical information for everyone around the world) was a draft version.
“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”
Here’s how some experts are responding:
Award-winning medical science writer covering the pandemic for the New York Times:
— Apoorva Mandavilli (@apoorva_nyc) September 21, 2020
Epidemiologist, Visiting Scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:
🚨HOLY HELL—CDC has now taken down the “coronavirus is aerosol & airborne” guidance from yesterday!!!! It’s like gone!! Instead it puts up some ‘a draft version was put up in error’ bullshit language. Ummm, HHS censorship??? #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/jps57DZ43R
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 21, 2020
4) I thought Mike Caputo is on medical leave… clearly Trump HHS muzzling of the CDC from many inside levers. CDC, the once venerable agency respected around the world… now decimated to be a walking zombie 🧟♂️ of it’s former self. So utterly terrible and terrifying.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 21, 2020
Ex-Obama health care head:
BREAKING: The CDC now pulls down language saying COVID aerisolizes.
It’s reasonable to wonder who is calling the shots at the CDC and what the scientists actually think.
— Andy Slavitt @ 🏡 (@ASlavitt) September 21, 2020
Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, former Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at NYU School of Medicine:
The CDC's last bit of credibility is absolutely gone.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has walked back information posted on its website just three days ago, which stated Covid-19 can spread through aerosolized droplets." https://t.co/pslse5hICr
— uché blackstock, md (@uche_blackstock) September 21, 2020
Physician, Health Policy Researcher, NBC and MSNBC contributor:
The only thing accidental about the CDC taking down the guidance that Coronavirus is airborne at >6 ft etc is that someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue accidentally read the CDC website.
— Kavita Patel M.D. (@kavitapmd) September 21, 2020
Molecular Biologist, and President of the Federation of American Scientists:
WHO: CDC guidance on aerosol transmission was draft advice and was taken down. We need to see what the final advice is.
WHO still holds that close range respiratory droplets are the main mode of transmission. But distance, duration of exposure, ventilation are all factors. pic.twitter.com/obv2HfQcny
— Dr. Ali Nouri (@AliNouriPhD) September 21, 2020
Kayyem adds this:
CDC now says the guidance "does not reflect our current state of knowledge." That is not "we were 90% done, but needed to tinker." That is "we are pulling this thing." Most experts have for months (including Fauci last week) been saying aerosol transmission is happening. https://t.co/6SeWSkEOQi
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) September 21, 2020
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
‘People Need to Go to Prison’: CNN Analyst Blasts Trump Admin Hiding Coronavirus Is Airborne at More Than 6 Feet
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly changed its coronavirus official guidance to note that coronavirus droplets, or “aerosols,” can stay in the air far longer than previously thought and across more than just six feet.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes).”
This would be a revelation to many, who have relied on CDC guidance urging people to social distance, which it has consistently defined as staying six feet apart.
Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician Abraar Karan, who is working on Massachusetts’ COVID-19 respoinse, calls the CDC update “a significant shift.”
But the CDC also effectively loosened its guidance, suggestion to stay “at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible.”
Under the “Protect yourself and others” section, the previous version, up until sometime on Friday, read: “Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
Now it states:
Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Joe Lockhart, a CNN political analyst and former Clinton White House press secretary, took to Twitter to blast the administration.
“Actually seven months after @realDonaldTrump told Bob Woodward,” about just how deadly coronavirus is, and that it spread through the air, he wrote. “This is criminal and people need to go to prison for this.”
To be clear, President Trump knew.
“This is deadly stuff,” he told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, on tape. “You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed.”
This article has been updated to remove the word “far” from distance classifications as the CDC did not state specifically how much farther than six feet coronavirus aerosols can travel.
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