Category Archives: Hate Crimes

We Give A Damn…Do You?

Posted by: Audiegrl

WeGiveADamn.org~The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

But, it’s especially for all you straight people out there! Whether you’re already an active supporter, want to show your support for the first time, or hadn’t given equality a lot of thought before and now want to learn more, we are here to help you get informed about the issues and get involved, at a pace that works for you.

You’ll find a lot of useful information throughout the site—information that’ll engage you, surprise you and move you. You will also find a bunch of ways to get involved and show your support and encourage your straight peers to show theirs as well.

For all you gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks—we need and want you here, too! Because the site is also for you. Not only will you learn new things that might surprise and interest you, you’ll also find a lot of useful tools and resources that will help you encourage the straight people in your life to give a damn.

Like we said, the Give a Damn Campaign is for everyone. Because the only way we can truly achieve equality for all is if we all get informed and get involved. So join us today and let us know you give a damn!


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Violence Erupts Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

The Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester, New York, is vandalized by anti-health care legislation protesters. Photo courtesy WHEC.

CNN~Shots fired at a congressman’s campaign headquarters. Windows smashed at Democratic offices across the country. A coffin placed on a lawmaker’s lawn. Hate-filled voice mail messages left on members of Congress’ phone lines.

Those are just some of the incidents reported since the House passed historic health care reform legislation Sunday — a bill that became the law of the land.

The issue has unleashed a deep-seated anger from those worried about a government takeover of health care, and what they deem as the process being “rammed through” Congress.

James Leach, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, said that while many of the acts may be protected under First Amendment rights, “that doesn’t mean that they’re morally justified.”

“And we have to think of ourselves as, ‘what kind of people are we?’ ” Leach said. “Are we one people working together with rival thoughts, or are we enemies within? And I think there’s something that’s been let loose in American politics that has to be thought about.”

That anger was visible in unruly protests by health care activists at the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House members encouraged protesters outside and inside the House gallery, some of whom carried messages like “Vote no or else” or “If Brown won’t stop it, a Browning will” — a reference to newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown accompanied by a silhouette of a pistol.

But the anger has boiled over into physical and verbal threats. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother was related to the lawmaker’s yes vote.

Republicans have the right to be angry over the Democrat’s health care bill, but “resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday night.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, confirmed Thursday that his district office in Queens received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Later Thursday, Weiner told CNN that initial tests indicated the powder was not a biological agent, but that he still was awaiting final word from the New York Police Department. Workers at the office turned over their clothes for testing and were given protective suits before being allowed to go home a few hours later, Weiner said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now looking into the threats, and at least 10 House Democrats have been given extra security.

The voice mail has been vicious toward Michigan’s Bart Stupak, who switched his vote to seal the deal for the bill. He has released one of the voice mails.

“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”

“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.

On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri had a coffin placed on his lawn, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Howard. She said Tea Party protesters at his office in St. Louis had a coffin with them and later brought it to his house. The coffin was later removed, she said.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday’s vote on the health care system overhaul.

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, condemned the threats and vandalism, telling reporters Thursday that it “should not be part of a political debate.”

“There are ways for people to channel their anger, and they should do it in a constructive way,” he said.

Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, said protesters “are unfortunately crossing a line.”

“When we’re talking about violence, vandalism, threats, that crosses a legal line, in addition to being in plain old bad taste,” Mair said. “And I think that there’s a lot that is in plain old bad taste that is going on.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones being targeted.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been fired through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia.

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

“Enough is enough,” Cantor said. “It has to stop.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse hit back against Cantor’s claims.

“We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain,” he said. “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate.”

Another Republican — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida — said in a news release Thursday that she received what appeared to be a death threat on her district office’s voice mail.

“Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term. Goodbye,” the voice mail said, according to the release.

Brown-Waite said she contacted both the Capitol Police and the Hernando County sheriff, and they are “looking into the matter and subpoenaing telephone records.”

At least one of the threats aimed at lawmakers appears to be racially based.

House Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, said he has received a fax in his office with a picture of a noose drawn on it and had threatening telephone calls at his home.

“We’re giving aid and comfort to these people, and this stuff gets ratcheted up,” Clyburn told CNN. “We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about.”

Democratic officials and liberal Web sites are also upset that Sarah Palin used an image of crosshairs in a Facebook post this week listing 20 vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation. She plans to target them this election year with money from her political action committee.

Palin’s political “hit list” includes: Which Democrats has she singled out?
The list includes: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), John Salazar (CO), Betsy Markey (CO). Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL), Baron P. Hill (IN), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Tom Perriello (VA), Alan B. Mollohan (WV), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV).

Palin’s team is fighting claims that she is encouraging threats of violence. One House member mentioned her Facebook posting during a Wednesday meeting on safety concerns, a Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash. Mention of the map brought audible groans to the room, the source said.

An adviser to Palin responded by pointing to several instances in which the former Alaska governor has urged supporters to focus their energies on civil debate and action at the ballot box, not extremist activities.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Cities, CNN, Creepy right-wing antics, Crime, Democrats, DNC, Facebook, Hate Crimes, Health Care Reform, MSNBC, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, States, Tea Party Protestors, Twitter, United States, Violence

James Von Brunn Dead: Holocaust Museum Shooter Died In Hospital



James von Brunn

James von Brunn

AP—The 89-year-old man accused of a deadly shooting at Washington’s Holocaust museum died Wednesday in a prison hospital. At Butner federal prison in North Carolina, spokeswoman Denise Simmons announced that James von Brunn died shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Von Brunn’s lawyer, A.J. Kramer, called the death “a sad end to a tragic situation,” but declined further comment.

The elderly suspect had been awaiting trial for the killing of security guard Stephen T. Johns at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10. Von Brunn had been wounded by return fire but survived.

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Statement from the Holocaust Memorial Museum~~January 6, 2010

The Museum’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns’ family at this time. Officer Johns died heroically defending the Museum, visitors and staff. This tragedy is a powerful reminder that our cause of fighting hatred remains more urgent than ever.

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Filed under Crime, Hate Crimes, Police, True Crime, Uncategorized

Tampa Police: Marine Reservist Attacked Greek Priest He Mistook for a Terrorist

Posted by Audiegrl

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

St. Petersburg Times/Jamal Thalji—A Marine reservist armed with a tire iron beat and chased a man he thought was an Arab terrorist and even called 911 to say he was detaining the man, police said.

But the man he assaulted was actually a Greek Orthodox priest visiting from overseas who spoke limited English, police said.

That’s why police arrested reservist Jasen D. Bruce on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Police said they’re also investigating whether Bruce, 28, committed a hate crime.

The incident took place around 6:35 p.m. Monday, police said. The priest, Alexios Marakis, 29, is from Crete, Greece. He is visiting St. Nicholas Greek Cathedral at 17 E Tarpon Ave. but police said he was in the Westshore area to bless another retired Greek priest.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

But Marakis apparently got lost and exited northbound Interstate 275 into downtown Tampa, police said.

The priest followed several cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments on Twiggs Street. He got out of his car and asked Bruce for help.

Instead of offering help, Bruce struck the priest on the head with a tire iron, police said.

He then chased the priest for three blocks to the Madison Avenue and Meridian Avenue, police said, and even called 911 to say that an Arabic man tried to rob him.

Bruce said he was going to take the Arab into custody. When police arrived, Bruce told them the victim was a terrorist.

The priest was taken to Tampa General Hospital. There, a translator helped Marakis speak to police.

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The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten.

The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten

SunCoastNews/Josh Poltilove—In a 911 call, Bruce made a derogatory comment about a man he said was a terrorist and was trying to rob him and had grabbed him in a sexual manner, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

When officers arrived, police say, Bruce told them he heard the man say “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.”

That’s what they say before they blow you up,” Bruce said, according to police.

But at a news conference today, Bruce’s attorney said his client didn’t understand what Marakis said.

Lance Cpl. Bruce defended himself with the full legality of the law for being sexually attacked and potentially robbed,” lawyer Jeffrey Brown said.

Bruce, 28, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was released on $7,500 bail.

McElroy said Bruce “teared up when we told him that (Marakis) was a Greek Orthodox priest and not a terrorist.”

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Marakis, 29, was treated at Tampa General Hospital and released. He told investigators he’s visiting St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs.

Marakis declined to comment today, saying he does not speak much English. The Rev. Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas said Marakis is doing well.

Before deciding whether the incident qualifies as a hate crime, police will determine whether Bruce’s motive was based on a belief that Marakis was Arabic.

The Marines Reserve will wait for the investigation to conclude before taking any action, an official said.

In 2007, Bruce was accused of pushing a tow truck driver in the back and chest when his Jaguar was about to be towed, records show. Bruce told police the truck driver had grabbed him to stop him getting in his car.

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Filed under Christianity, Florida, Greece, Hate Crimes, Islam/Muslim, Military, Police, Religion, Reserve, Tampa, FL, Uncategorized, Violence