BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
SANDY HOOK SHOOTING
In a tragedy of nearly indescribably proportions 20 children and 26 people total were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. A visibly emotional President Obama addressed the media regarding the shooting and said "we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this." The White House however says that today is not the day to discuss gun control. Well if not today, then when?
Proving that he is just as evil as we all think he is, AFA Spokesman Bryan Fischer took a moment to blame the shooting on the school's lack of devotion to God.
Seems that everything else pales in comparison to the news from Connecticut, but there were a lot of crazy things being said about gay issues today. Despite the recent public outcry, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan came to the defense of Justice Scalia. Meanwhile it turns out that Scalia's son was a member of a Catholic group that tries to stop men with gay tendencies from acting on them. Uh oh. Also Jon Stewart weighs in with his two cents on the Scalia comments and the GOP opposition to gay marriage.
In his message for World Peace Day, Pope Benedict said that gay marriage offends human truth. He also recently gave a personal blessing to the Ugandan lawmaker who expressed a desire to pass the "Kill the Gays" bill as a Christmas gift. By the way, it's been shelved for now as parliament has adjourned.
An Evangelical College Chancellor in Virginia says that no one is gay at his school because everyone promises they won't be. Todd Akin wants to protect the right to harass gays in the military. Also, an assistant coach on the Vikings wants Chris Kluwe to just focus on punting.
Tom Daley shows us that Santa can be sexy. Interesting mistletoe placement by the way. Also Ian McKellen promotes coming out of the closet and the Amazing Race winners have a message of support for a bullied gay teen.
The words "Kindergarten" and "dead" should never be near one another. All school shootings are tragedies, but there is something particularly soul-crushing about gun violence that victimizes the beautiful, helpless, and idealistic innocence of the youngest members of the next generation. They should be learning to craft sentences and expanding their imaginations with Jake and the Neverland pirates. They should not be the victims of a senseless lunatic who used this country's lax gun enforcement laws to execute his insane agenda.
Unfortunately, I can imagine what's going through the minds of the strategists at the National Rifle Association (NRA). For decades, the NRA has raised and spent millions executing a policy that Charlton Heston explained best: "You can have my gun, when you pry it from my cold, dead hands." The organization says it supports sensible gun control, but really it doesn't. It has opposed every gun control measure at the state and federal level. It has challenged several of them in court, winning a few spectacular cases at the conservative Supreme Court. It has overturned several of them on election day, and threatened elected lawmakers with harsh payback if they vote against them.
In some ways, the NRA is like any other powerful lobby, winning cases here, passing laws there, and raising money for friendly politicians. But, there's a difference between the NRA and, say, the Chamber of Commerce. The NRA deals with guns. It deals in death.
The organization's strategists have done a remarkable job turning the "let's not politicize a tragedy" canard into an iron barrier against regulation by going beyond platitudes and taking a rich political tradition of civil libertarianism and radicalizing it. They don't like the government telling them what to do, what to eat, and what to kill. They take pride in the nostalgia and go-it-alone mentality of gun ownership and the American frontier, and because this tradition is so deeply engrained in certain segments of the population, the NRA can tap into an almost endless cache of civic indignation whenever the state or federal government does something.
The truth of the matter is that radical libertarianism has acted as a shield against any real national discussion about sensible gun control. The moment the topic is raised, the notions of propriety and silence in mourning spring up as a pretext. It allows conservatives to ignore statistics, sociology, and reality. We know that the majority of mass killers in the United States use weapons that they acquired legally. So, we should toss the theory that gun control only burdens hunters and not the lunatics who are intent on getting a gun anyway. We also have evidence that gun availability is linked to high murder rates and that gun control is linked to low gun deaths. To the NRA, none of this really matters because a bloated, ahistorical notion of radical individual freedom has taken over the thinking centers of the American brain.
It cannot be that the moments after 20 children are killed is too soon to discuss what to do about it; if anything, it is too late. What's really going on is the siren spell of radical libertarianism, a hex cast to confuse a population sympathetic to freedom yet unaware that the NRA wants this "machine of war" on the streets.
Ari Ezra Waldman teaches at Brooklyn Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. His research focuses on technology, privacy, speech, and gay rights. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.
Follow Ari on Twitter at @ariezrawaldman.
Via Warren Throckmorton:
According to Parliament spokeswoman Helen Kawesa, Parliament will adjourn today until February 4, 2013. After considering the Accountants Bill, Parliament will begin a Christmas recess with the next scheduled sitting being in the new year. Thus, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will not have a second reading until at least February of next year.
Obama addressed today's tragic school shooting in Connecticut, wiping away tears as he spoke to reporters:
"The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old...They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own....We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years, and each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do...These neighbors are our neighbors, and these children are our children, and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this — regardless of the politics."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
AFA Spokesman Bryan Fischer Says Children Died in Shooting Because School Did Not Embrace God: VIDEO
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer had something heinous to say about the tragic school shooting in Connecticut today. He said that God allowed the shooting to happen because prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments are not taught in public schools and "God is a gentleman" who does not go where he is not wanted, Right Wing Watch reports:
Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn't because "God is not going to go where he is not wanted" and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Real-life Hunger Games coming to TV.
NOM begins campaign to prove to the Supreme Court that LGBT people are far too powerful to be a vulnerable minority group.
The homes of designer/director Tom Ford.
Tom Cruise is militant about the running of his Bel Air home.
Columbus Dispatch poll: Ohioans evenly divided on gay marriage and marijuana. “Although Ohioans are deadlocked on the legalization of marijuana, it is an issue that it is not clear what will happen once it becomes a matter of public discourse. ... Same-sex marriage has been discussed, and everybody has an opinion about it.”
House GOP holds Sandy disaster relief hostage.
Actor Scott Evans pleaded not guilty after being charged with trying to buy cocaine off a police officer earlier this month, TMZ reports. The incident took place on December 4, after which Evans posted $10,000 bail. He's due in court again on January 14.
BBC-commissioned report: LGBT people "still relatively invisible" across media. "Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Holby City were among the shows praised by the report for their inclusion of incidental LGB characters. 'Doctor Who quite often has a gay character in it but it isn't always an issue or the plotline,' said anti-hate crime charity Galop. 'It's just incidental which has been quite nice.'"
New Michigan handgun law allows guns in schools.
Kellan Lutz for InStyle Man Russia.
Gay Princeton student Duncan Hosie, who challenged Scalia earlier this week, came out only a month ago: "Hosie, who asked the question to Scalia at a campus lecture on Monday night, said he was offended by some of the justice's written opinions on cases related to gay rights. In the process, he revealed his homosexuality to the 800 people in attendance and the perhaps millions who read coverage in the Associated Press or London Daily Mail or saw his appearance on MSNBC Tuesday night. Hosie had come out to his family just a little over one month ago, over fall break."
Madonna dancer reveals on-set photo of new Madonna video.
Two teens arrested in strangulation of gay Brazilian student: ‘He wanted to kiss me and I wanted to kill him’, declared the boy who killed Biancão to daily Campo Grande News.
Gay Houston meteorologist Frank Billingsley gets married.
An update from the State Department on how they are advancing equality for LGBT people abroad.
Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent: An item.
Anthony Kennedy's history of support for gay rights: "The Reagan-appointed justice has pained liberals on many occasions, most recently this summer when he voted to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. But when it comes to gay rights, Kennedy has written passionately in its favor, spearheading the court’s two key rulings for gay equality."
Doctors use retooled HIV to fight Leukemia.
Transphobia in the classroom at Houston Community College: "The morning of my final Dec. 11, 2012 In my Human Sexuality class at HCC Town & Country campus my Professor Dr. Janice Grecco took a final blow at me with her uneducated and ignorantly egregious attack on Transsexual and Intersex people ( more directly ME) and not only did she inform people that you can get HIV from kissing (while knowing I am HIV +) during the first month of class, and telling stories of how transgender people are really just gay men who can’t handle being gay and they feel it is easier to change genders and they chose to “mutilate their bodies and the resulting vagina neither looks nor works like a real woman’s vagina” I then spoke out and said that is hardly the truth, that I am a living experience of the situation Dr. Grecco was very defensive when I began to challenge the information she was presenting to the class as inaccurate."