Tag: shooting

George Zimmerman proves once again that he has no sense of decency

George Zimmerman, who is best-known for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, is now in the news yet again. This time, he’s selling off the gun that he used to kill an innocent teenager:

George Zimmerman says he is auctioning off the gun he used to kill Miami teen Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman made the announcement on Wednesday night during a newscast on Orlando’s WOFL television.

The online auction starts Thursday. The opening bid is set at $5,000.

I wouldn’t pay a damn penny for any firearm, let alone $5,000+ for a firearm that George Zimmerman used to kill an innocent black teenager. Zimmerman has absolutely no sense of decency, and, quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of Zimmerman being treated like a celebrity by the corporate media.

New York Daily News cover on San Bernardino shooting: “God Isn’t Fixing This”

God Isn't Fixing Gun Violence - NY Daily News Cover
December 3, 2015 cover of the New York Daily News (image courtesy of New York Daily News)

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California. The mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. As of the writing of this blog post, at least 14 people were killed by the perpetrators of the mass shooting.

This is yet another example of lax gun laws in this country allowing people with violent intentions to carry out a mass shooting in America. As someone who has a developmental disorder (Asperger’s syndrome), I find it sickening that a mass shooting was carried out at a place designed to help those with developmental disabilities.

At the other end of the country from San Bernardino, in the New York City metropolitan area, the cover of tomorrow’s New York Daily News will feature the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”, as well as tweets from three U.S. Senators who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination (Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). As an atheist, I fully understand that prayers aren’t going to do a damn thing to prevent mass shootings in this country. Only implementation of common-sense gun safety and gun control measures, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons will prevent mass shootings from occurring in this country.

 

Anti-abortion politicians and activists are fueling right-wing domestic terrorism in America

Republican politicians and right-wing political activists have, by constantly railing against the idea that women should be able to control their own bodies and releasing heavily-edited videos as part of a political smear campaign, have encouraged terrorist attacks against the reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood, two of which have occurred within the last month and a half.

The recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that has received the most media attention was the recent shooting and siege of the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, in which perpetrator Robert Lewis Dear killed three people, Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart, and Garrett Swasey, and wounded several others before surrendering to police.

However, another recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that hasn’t gotten anywhere near as much media attention was an attack that occurred a little more than a month ago. That attack involved a hatchet attack at the Claremont, New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinic, and the attack resulted in extensive property damage to the clinic, as well as water damage to an adjacent business:

A minor was arrested early on Wednesday after allegedly vandalizing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“Today’s damage was particularly extensive including the use of a hatchet to destroy computers, furniture, plumbing fixtures, office equipment, medical equipment, phone lines, windows and walls,” Police Chief Alexander Scott said in a statement.

Officers spotted the suspect while checking the building. Scott added that the suspect also defaced the office’s walls with spray paint, and that his actions also caused flooding that affected a business adjacent to the office. As a result, the clinic was closed as of Wednesday afternoon.

By my definition of terrorism, any act intended to kill, maim, injure, and/or stoke fear in a large group of people in the name of a political ideology is an act of terrorism.

In the same way that ISIS is inspiring Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who aren’t officially affiliated with ISIS to carry out “lone wolf”-style terrorist attacks, Republican elected officials and presidential candidates are inspiring anti-abortion terrorists to carry out “lone wolf”-style attacks at women’s health clinics right here in America. In fact, it’s not proper to call these types of terrorists “lone wolves”, as some in the media have described the Colorado Springs terrorist. I prefer to use the term “stoked wolves” to describe terrorists who don’t have any known affiliation with a terrorist group or other entity, but are inspired by a terrorist group or other entity to carry out a terrorist attack.

 

GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood an apology

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois (much of north-central and parts of east-central Illinois, stretching from South Beloit in Winnebago County to Sheldon in Iroquois County) falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood was wrong to claim that its Colorado Springs, Colorado office was the target of a terrorist attack that started earlier today:

The truth of the matter is that the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was (apparently) the target of the Colorado Springs shooting (which is still an ongoing situation as I write this blog post), as ABC News is reporting that, according to law enforcement, the shooting began at the clinic. Planned Parenthood has every right to claim that they were the target of a terrorist attack, and Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood and the American people an apology.

(READER DISCRETION ADVISED) Dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting shows that McDonald did NOT lunge at officer

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a tweet containing a graphic video depicting a person being shot and killed. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


Earlier today, the police car dashcam video of the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke clearly shows that McDonald did not lunge at Van Dyke or any other police officer. In fact, the video shows that, even if McDonald intended to lunge at Van Dyke or a different officer (which is not 100% clear, although McDonald did turn around to face the squad car that the dashcam footage was recorded from right before being shot), he didn’t have time to do so before Van Dyke repeatedly shot McDonald. Van Dyke was immediately behind a white police van when he opened fire on McDonald, and, from the perspective of the dashcam, Van Dyke was shooting from left to right at McDonald.

Here’s the dashcam video:

https://twitter.com/goldietaylor/status/669302334200160256

McDonald was shot a total of 16 times by Van Drew, and McDonald died as a result of the shooting. Van Drew has been officially charged with first-degree murder, which, in Illinois, is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011), although the case has not yet gone to trial.

Furthermore, Chicago Police have deleted security footage from a Burger King fast food restaurant near the site of the shooting, according to a report from Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV, citing a district manager for Burger King:

https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/669198386420170752

It’s clear to me that the Chicago Police Department tried to cover up evidence of one of their officers shooting and killing a black teenager. Whoever deleted the Burger King security camera footage should, if possible, be charged with destroying evidence or whatever applicable criminal charge would apply in this scenario.

Hillary Clinton wants to destroy rural America by putting gun manufacturers completely out of business

Losing ground in recent Democratic presidential primary and caucus opinion polls, Hillary Clinton is trying one last thing to save her campaign from falling behind the Bernie Sanders campaign in the opinion polls in even more states. She’s proposing ending the gun manufacturers’ legal immunity from lawsuits every time someone uses one of their products for its intended purpose of killing a person or other living thing (such as a deer or a rabbit).

Make no mistake about it, gun violence is a serious problem in this country. We have far more mass shootings in this country than any other country, and, to put it mildly, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. I strongly support common-sense gun safety measures like universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and enacting a ban on assault weapons outside of the military, and these are all measures that Bernie Sanders supports. However, I cannot reasonably support completely eliminating legal immunity for gun manufacturers for reasons I will explain in the following paragraph.

I live in a region of Illinois that has a lot of deer hunters. While I’m not a hunter myself, and I’d never use a firearm for any reason, I can tell you for certain that Hillary’s plan to allow people to sue gun manufacturers every time some jackass decides to use a gun for its intended purpose of killing someone would put gun manufacturers in this country completely out of business, at least in regards to the civilian market. Without anyone to manufacture guns for the purposes of deer-hunting, downstate Illinois would lose a large part of its economy if Hillary were to get her way.

I thank Bernie Sanders for standing up and opposing the ridiculous idea of ending lawsuit immunity for gun manufacturers. He’s a real friend of rural America.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Roanoke, Virginia local news reporter and news photographer shot and killed on live television

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article includes a vivid description of a murder that many readers would find to be unsettling.


Alison Parker (left) and Adam Ward (right) (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News Twitter page)
Alison Parker (left) and Adam Ward (right) (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News Twitter page)

Alison Parker, a reporter for WDBJ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, and Adam Ward, a news photographer for the same station, were shot and killed earlier this morning at Bridgewater Plaza (a miniature golf course, arcade room, shops, and restaurants that primarily serve tourists at Smith Mountain Lake) in Moneta, Virginia. The shooting occurred as Parker was doing a live, on-air interview. Parker was 24 years of age; Ward was 27 years of age. Vester Flanagan, a former WDBJ reporter who went under the stage name Bryce Williams when he was a WDBJ employee, was the perpetrator of the attack; Flanagan fled the scene and committed suicide in another part of Virginia.

I’ve seen video of the shooting once (it’s been plastered all over social media), and I don’t want to see it again, but I will give a description of the shooting. Parker was interviewing a subject about a light subject of some kind and several shots were fired. Parker remained very calm as the first couple of shots that were fired, but then Parker began screaming extremely loudly (although I didn’t actually see a bullet enter Parker’s body on-camera, I’m guessing Parker began screaming after she had been hit by one or more bullets), and then the camera was knocked over in a way that it was filming a deck or balcony and that Parker was not in the view of the camera lens. It’s the single most disturbing thing I’ve ever watched online.

Many people don’t realize this, but journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Even if they’re not covering war or some other type of hostility, journalists, especially if they work in television, are regularly in the public eye and do their jobs with the constant threat that someone might harm, or even kill, them for whatever reason. Additionally, those who work with journalists, such as news photographers, face the same threats as journalists do. Parker and Ward were shot and killed while doing a fluff piece.

Another shooting by law enforcement in Ferguson, yet it wasn’t a trending topic on Facebook for hours

On the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, yet another police shooting has taken place in Ferguson. Details are sketchy at this point, but, at least two shootings, at least one of which was a shooting carried out by law enforcement, occurred last night in Ferguson amid protests. While law enforcement is claiming that they were fired upon by protestors, I’ve not seen any eyewitnesses on social media back up the police’s claim. Based on video that I’ve seen online (due to the graphic nature of the video, I’m not going to repost it on here), the victim of the shooting that was carried out by law enforcement is a black male.

However, for a few hours after the shootings, Ferguson was not a trending topic at all on Facebook, at least on my computer, having only started trending several minutes ago. In contrast, Ferguson has been a trending topic on Twitter since immediately after the shootings took place, if not before then. I’m really suspicious as to why this is the case, to put it mildly.

How taxpayers effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting

You might be shocked to find out about this, but taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was perpetrated by 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof and claimed the lives of nine people, including Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney (D-Ridgeland).

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative news organization, detailed how taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass murder at Mother Emanuel in their report:

Alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof wrote that he was never the same after discovering a website with “pages upon pages of these brutal black on white murders.”

The pages that left Roof in disbelief were the product of a white-nationalist group subsidized by American taxpayers.

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc. is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4). Such groups pay no federal taxes, a form of government subsidy.

To summarize all of that, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist organization, incorporated as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization, legally exempted itself from federal taxation, and published racist screeds on its website that prompted Roof to perpetrate a mass murder in a place of worship. In other words, the federal government effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting by exempting the CCC from federal taxes.

The CCC may legally be a “social welfare” organization, but, in reality, they are not a social welfare organization. The CCC is a white supremacist organization that, among other things, publicly supports far-right, anti-immigration politicians and political parties, glorifies black-on-white violent crimes, absurdly blames Chicago’s high murder rate on a misperceived lack of guns in the city, and has posted ads from at least one company selling Confederate flags online to its website. Furthermore, the CCC’s president, Earl P. Holt, has donated to many Republican politicians, including, among many others, Joni Ernst, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Jim Oberweis, Louie Gohmert, Todd Akin, Tom Emmer, Allen West, and Steve King; in fact, in some campaign finance reports, Holt listed himself as a “slumlord”. For the federal government to effectively subsidize such a hateful organization is, in my opinion, absolutely disgusting.

Illinois Republican Congressman Aaron Schock surrounds himself with a racist press secretary

Benjamin Cole, a former Baptist minister and mouthpiece for the energy industry who is now the senior adviser for policy and communications (i.e., press secretary) for Republican Congressman Aaron Schock of Peoria, Illinois, made racist Facebook posts referring to black people as “animals” and “hood rats” and wanting his D.C. neighborhood to gentrify (i.e., run the blacks, other minorities, and poor people out of the neighborhood):

While I strongly believe that shooting people and using or threatening to use a glass bottle as a weapon is highly unacceptable, referring to blacks as “animals” and hood rats” and calling for blacks, other minorities, and poor people to be run out of a neighborhood is racist and also highly unacceptable. Black people are not animals or rats, they’re people.

It’s been one scandal after another for Aaron Schock recently. First, he apparently violated congressional ethics laws by recently having his office decorated in the lavish style of the Lord Grantham’s room on the British TV series Downton Abbey, which airs in the United Kingdom on the British TV network ITV and is televised by many PBS public television stations here in the United States as part of the Masterpiece anthology series, and now his spokesman has been exposed as as a vile racist.