Illinois gun shop raffles AR-15 rifle to benefit Orlando victims

"We don't believe this is a gun issue, this is a terrorism issue and this is an act against American citizens," says Bert Irslinger, Jr., owner of Second Amendment Sports, a gun shop in McHenry, Illinois.

Mr. Irslinger says he is going to donate raffle proceeds for an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle raffle to the OneOrlando Fund, plus an extra $2,000, perhaps to compensate for his bad taste.

Omar Mateen, the shooter who killed 49 people in Orlando's Pulse nightclub massacre, did not use an AR-15 in the shooting. Mateen killed his victims with a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol. But American fans of military-style assault rifles have wasted no time exploiting the massacre to popularize their weapon of choice. Read the rest

Celebrating life and joy in the face of anti-LGBT hatred

Everyone processes grief differently. One attendee at this year's Electric Daisy Carnival wore these fabulous kandi bracelets "honoring the 49 lives taken at Pulse." Orlando nightclubs were packed with defiant crowds. Read the rest

Trump's conspiracy theory catchphrase: "There's something going on"

Little-mentioned but often-said is Trump's other catchphrase: "there's something going on." It's used to insinuate a conspiracy, to trigger feelings of paranoia and fear in his audience without committing to specifics. He screwed up over the weekend and attached it to a too-concrete suggestion that President Obama was somehow involved in the Orlando nightclub massacre.

In the fallout, he ended up withdrawing the Washington Post's credentials to cover his rallies and press events after the newspaper reported plainly on his remarks. So who better than them to explain that now-obvious phrase's meaning?

That phrase, according to political scientists who study conspiracy theories, is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.

The idea that people in positions of power or influence are conspiring to conceal sinister truths from the public can be inherently appealing, because it helps make sense of tragedy and satisfies the human need for certainty and order. Yet politicians hoping to take advantage of these tendencies must rely on vague and suggestive statements, since any specific accusation could be easily disproved.

"He's leaving it to the audience to piece together what he's saying," said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami, in a recent interview.

Read the rest

Orlando killer frequented Pulse nightclub, described as gay by ex-wife and friends

Omar Mateen, perpetrator of America's deadliest civilian mass shooting, was a regular at the gay nightclub where he killed 49 people this weekend. His friends believe he is gay, his ex-wife told an interviewer much the same, and other people who frequent the club describe his drunken and often angry presence there. Read the rest

Freedom Tower displays pride colors

New York governor Andrew Cuomo released this photo last night of 1 World Trade Center displaying the pride colors.

“From Stonewall to marriage equality to protecting transgender individuals to the first-in-the nation executive action to ban conversion therapy, New York has led the way in the fight for LGBT rights. In this state, we believe that no matter your race, creed, color, gender identity or expression you have the right live your life free from persecution and prejudice.

"This senseless act of terror reminds us that there are those who seek to undermine these very values and the progress we have achieved. We will not let this happen. An attack on one is an attack on all. New York joins the rest of the nation in rejecting this hate, fear and extremism and stands shoulder to shoulder with the LGBT community.

“Tonight, I am directing One World Trade Center to be lit the colors of the pride flag in a tribute to LGBT Americans and the lives that were lost. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest thoughts and prayers to those affected by this horrendous tragedy.”

This gesture will doubtless draw irritated sighs from the New York Times, which published a column by Frank Bruni making clear that the slaughter of 50 people at a gay nightclub by a homophobic terrorist isn't about gay people, who should accept that "this isn’t a moment for identity politics" which "could muddle the significance of the carnage." Read the rest

A thing to remember regarding the Orlando shootings

50 people were killed at an Orlando gay nightclub by a terrorist. Usually, John Oliver offers a caustic, mocking routine that details and breaks down the stupidity for his viewers' bitter amusement. But not this time. Read the rest