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Op-Ed: We Are Not Okay



While the LGBT community is strong, we are not okay, but when you come for one minority, you come for us all.

My fiancé and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it’s not uncommon to take an “Orlando weekend.” We’re about an hour and a half away from Pulse.

Last November, we took one of those weekends. We went to Pulse with many of our friends and celebrated a friend’s birthday. We all laughed there. Took pictures there. Sang there. Hugged there. Danced there. Felt safe there. (Why wouldn’t we?)

Last Saturday night, 320 other people did the same. They all laughed there. Took pictures there. Sang there. Hugged there. Danced there. Felt safe there.

53 of them were injured there. 49 more of them died there.

But you know that. You know that the LGBT community is now at the epicenter of the country’s deadliest mass shooting, and the worst domestic terror attack since 9/11. Still, let that sink in, because not everyone has. Please, read it again:

The LGBT community, targeted because of who they love, how they love, or whose love they support, is now at the epicenter of the country’s deadliest mass shooting, and the worst terror attack since 9/11.

Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. Cousins. Best friends. Music lovers, pet owners, activists. Gone.

But the LGBT community is strong. We’re strong because we’ve always had to be. When our only way to find acceptance was at a seedy bar, and when even our right to do that was threatened, the patrons of Stonewall showed us what strength was in 1969. We carry that with us, all of us, inherently, because we’ve never had any other choice.

In 2016, we now have generations of us who have fought for our equality. We carry their strength within us, if only in the fact that perhaps for one moment, we didn’t second-guess ourselves before showing even the most minuscule display of public affection toward someone we love.

So perhaps now we’re stronger than ever. The outpouring of love and support after the massacre at Pulse, and the solidarity that so many communities have shown ours, is a stark difference from the political climate of 1969. Our rights have flourished.

The day following the massacre, I lasted half a day at work. I felt so disconnected from so many of those around me: those that acknowledged this as a sad story, sure, or perhaps that it was shocking that it was so close. (“Only over in Orlando!”)

I couldn’t fathom it. I couldn’t think about anything else. The country’s deadliest mass shooting, and the worst domestic terror attack since 9/11, was not just another sad story. It was the only story.

And that’s why, if you’re reading this—as a member of the LGBT community or not, please know that while we are strong:

We are not okay.

We are not okay when you criminalize the Muslim community because of the actions of one evil man. We have been the Muslim community: hated, feared, misunderstood. Questioned, berated, threatened, afraid to show our faces. Why would we condone treating an entire community as poorly as ours has been treated in the past, and in many scenarios, still is? When you come for one minority, you come for us all.

We are not okay when gay and bisexual men who have not been celibate for one year are unable to donate the much-needed blood to save the lives of our LGBT brothers and sisters. We do not forget that it took 30 years to even amend the Reagan-era rule which initially forbade us from giving blood at all.

We are not okay when a reality television star running for president panders to us in the wake of such an extensive loss of our lives to lie to the American people. To say that “the LBGT community is just, what’s happened to them it’s just so sad, and to be thinking about where their policies are currently with this administration is just a disgrace to that community, I will tell you right now.”

We are not okay when that Republican presumptive nominee determines for us what is a disgrace to our community. We have that covered, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s orange. He opposes same-sex marriage and supports the First Amendment Defense Act, allowing for the right to discriminate against us. He calls LGBT “LBGT” because he doesn’t know it’s LGBT. It certainly isn’t his administration’s era which repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or supports the civil rights of transgender students. (Oh, and there’s the bit about this administration’s fight to allow us to marry.)

We are not okay with the elected officials who pretend they haven’t cultivated an environment in which murderers could view us as second-class citizens, as they “defended the Constitution” hearing by hearing. By hearing.

We are not okay with the elected officials who ignore that it was our community who was targeted in this massacre. We know that we were targeted, and we will not allow you to erase our brothers and sisters in death the way that you erased them during their lives, vote by vote. By vote.

And finally, we are not okay that a man who had previously been questioned by the FBI could so readily, so easily, so legally, buy the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that he used to rob us of 49 lives. The same weapon which has no waiting period to obtain, in a state where no license is required to buy or carry it. In a country which the same weapon was used to murder 26 people and wound two more in Sandy Hook. To murder 12 and wound 70 in Aurora, Colorado. To murder 10 and wound 9 in Roseburg, Oregon. To murder 14 and wound 22 in San Bernardino.

Was Orlando different because my fiancé personally knew a victim? Was it different because nearly everyone from my immediate community on Facebook had to wonder if one of their friends were dead? Was it that Pulse was an hour and a half away? Sort of.

Every mass shooting has disgusted me. It’s filled me with rage, and with hurt, and made me question the greatness of this country as lawmakers do nothing. As more innocent people die. This didn’t disgust me more. It disgusted me differently. More intimately.

More intimately because if that shooter had opted to go to Pulse last November, instead of last weekend, most of of my immediate friends would be dead. Our Pomeranian and our Jack Russell would wonder why we still weren’t home. My family in Ohio wouldn’t be coming to my wedding at the end of this year, they’d have been coming to my funeral long before it could’ve ever taken place.

And I am urging you, all of you – if we truly are all Orlando – to make sure that the next mass shooting, and there will be another, isn’t the community you call home. That it doesn’t speak to you intimately.

Speak out. Be heard. Be seen.


Silence is acceptance, and we owe it to those in Orlando, in Sandy Hook, in Aurora, in Roseburg, in San Bernardino, to become the voices that they lost.


Image by Maia Weinstock via Flickr and a CC license

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Trump Appears to Think Jeb Bush Was President: ‘He Got Us Into the Middle East’



During a rally in South Carolina on Monday, Donald Trump appeared to confuse former Florida GOP Governor Jeb Bush with his brother, former President George W. Bush, while bragging to supporters how he beat him.

Jeb Bush, who was largely considered to be the default Republican Party nominee for the 2016 presidential election when he launched his campaign, dropped out in February of 2016 after the South Carolina primary.

“When I come here, everyone thought Bush was going to win,” Trump said, before claiming he was “up by about 50 points” over Bush. “They thought Bush because Bush was supposedly a military person.”

“You know what he was…He got us into the Middle East,” Trump claimed, wrongly. “How did that work out?”

READ MORE: ‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did

“But they also thought that Bush might win. Jeb. Remember Jeb? He used the word ‘Jeb,’ he didn’t use the word ‘Bush,’ I said, ‘You mean he’s ashamed of the last name?’ and then they immediately started using the name Bush,” Trump claimed.

The ex-president went on to continue denigrating Jeb Bush, accusing him of bringing his mother to campaign with him.

“Remember,” Trump said, “he brought his mother, his wonderful mother who’s 94 years old and it was pouring and they’re wheeling her around and it’s raining and horrible. I said, ‘Who would do that your mother, 94 years old. How desperate are you to win?”

Media Matters’ Craig Harrington, commenting on Trump’s latest gaffe, observed: “In the past two weeks, Donald Trump has:

– Warned that Joe Biden might start ‘World War 2’
– Confused his 2016 election opponent (Hillary Clinton) with former President Barack Obama
– Confused his 2016 primary opponent (Jeb Bush) with former President George W. Bush.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

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Fulton County Judge in Trump Case Orders Jurors’ Identities and Images Must Be Protected



The Fulton County Superior Court judge presiding over Georgia’s RICO, conspiracy, and election interference case against Donald Trump on Monday afternoon ordered the identities and images of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain secret, ordering they may only be referred to by a number.

“No person shall videotape, photograph, draw in a realistic or otherwise identifiable manner, or otherwise record images, statements, or conversations of jurors/prospective jurors in any manner” that would violate a Superior Court rule, Judge Scott McAfee ordered, “except that the jury foreperson’s announcement of the verdict or questions to the judge may be audio recorded.”

“Jurors or prospective jurors shall be identified by number only in court filings or in open court,” he added.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

Judge McAfee also ordered no juror’s or prospective juror’s identity, “including names, addresses, telephone numbers, or identifying employment information” may be revealed.

MSNBC’s Katie Phang posted the order, and added: “Another important part of the Order: no responses from juror questionnaires or notes about jury selection shall be disclosed, unless permitted by the Court.”

Judge McAfee’s order comes after Donald Trump’s weekend of attacks on his former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Trump strongly suggested he should be executed for treason. Trump also strongly suggested he would target Comcast, NBC News, and MSNBC if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

Responding to the news, MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan observed, “We have just normalized the fact that the former president, and GOP presidential frontrunner, is basically a mob boss.”


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‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did



During a photo shoot at a South Carolina gun shop, Donald Trump posed with and then said he wanted to buy a Glock, asking if it is “a good gun.”

Some say it might be illegal to sell a gun to anyone under criminal indictment, and if he took the gun with him that too might be illegal. It was not clear if, despite saying he would, he actually bought the firearm. The Trump campaign initially said he had, although later backtracked on its claim, and deleted the social media post saying he had.

In the photo op (video below,) Trump posed with several people, including the Republican Attorney General of South Carolina, Alan Wilson, who has held that elected position since 2011.

“Trump’s spokesman announced that Trump bought a Glock today in South Carolina. He even posted video,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob. “If Trump took the gun with him, that’s a federal crime since he’s under indictment. There’s also a law against selling a gun to someone under federal indictment like Trump.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

Reuters’ crime and justice reporter Brad Heath posted the federal laws that might apply, as well as Trump’s campaign spokesperson’s clip of the ex-president’s remarks, and his spokesperson saying, “President Trump purchases a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!”

CNN analyst Stephen Gutowski, who writes about gun policy, added, “It would be a crime for him to actually buy this gun because he’s under felony indictment. Did he actually go through with this purchase?”

“People under felony indictments can’t ‘receive’ new firearms. That also means you can’t buy them,” he also wrote.

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang wrote, “I don’t know if he actually bought the gun. At least it didn’t happen in this video. Also, the Attorney General of South Carolina is in this video. Is he watching Trump commit a crime?”

But some pointed to a federal judge in Texas’ ruling from last year. Reuters reported, a “federal law prohibiting people under felony indictment from buying firearms is unconstitutional.”

Watch the video below or at this link.



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