Things That Matter

Four Years Later And The Grief Of The Pulse Nightclub Shooting Is Still Raw

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist entered Pulse Nightclub with an automatic rifle. The gunman killed 49 people as they danced and celebrated life with friends and family. Four years later, the community continues to mourn the tragic loss of life during Pride Month.

It has been four years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the pain is still there for many.

The attack was a devastating reminder of the brutality still plaguing the LGBTQ+ community. The global LGBTQ+ community collectively grieved over the shooting and the loss of life. It struck fear into the hearts of LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones. It has been four years and that pain and fear still exist as the community continues to find ways forward.

The immediate action from the LGBTQ+ community was to join the growing battle against gun violence in the U.S.

“I remember dancing. I remember Juan’s goofy laugh. Drew’s long, gangly arm around my should as he said, ‘I wish we said I love you more.’ I remember we accidentally wore matching outfits and before I knew it it was 2 a.m.,” Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor said to Congress in 2019. “I can remember cold water from the faucet, a plastic cup teetering on the edge of the sink. I remember gunshots. Confusion. The rancid stench of blood and smoke. I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck; my heart pounding as I crouched on the bathroom floor. I remember the face of terror on the faces of those people trapped in there with me; a panicked sprint to an open door. And I swear I can still hear every one of the 110 rounds that man pumped into the club.”

Wolf continues by talking about the confusion and desperation after as he tried to find his friends. How he had to call Juan’s family to let them know that he was dead. He talks about seeing his two best friends in caskets as a final reminder of the horrible nightmare he was living. Wolf then takes aim at the public health epidemic of gun violence that is devastated the country.

The Pulse survivor further called out President Donald Trump for emboldening this hate in America. Rather than unite the country to go together, Wolf argues that Trump has allowed for this kind of hate to go unimpeded and the ready access to guns has made this hate deadly.

People are sharing their stories and heartbreak on social media remembering the shooting.

Pulse Nightclub was an institution in Orlando for the LGBTQ+ community. Famous drag queens like Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Ginger Minj who live in Orlando have performed there. They have spoken of their own experience of hearing the news and trying to find out if their friends are okay.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is calling for greater protection for LGBTQ+ people.

“Four years ago, as members of the LGBTQ+ community were gathered together for Latin Night at Pulse nightclub during Pride Month, a terrorist armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire,” reads a statement from Biden. “He killed 49 innocent people and injured many more — at the time, the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman. And still today, it remains the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in American history.”

“The inaction of Republican lawmakers to address the scourge of gun violence in America is unacceptable,” Biden wrote. “As President, I will continue standing with you to build a more equal, more inclusive United States, where every member of the LGBTQ+ community is safe and respected.”

The Pulse shooting is a reminder every Pride Month of the battle the LGBTQ+ community still fights.

Hate took 49 people away from their friends and families. It was and continues to be a hard moment for the LGBTQ+ community, especially the Latino LGBTQ+ community.

Continue to rest easy, angels.

Your lives will never be forgotten. We love you. We miss you. We will continue to fight for a world safe and free fro LGBTQ+ people.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Things That Matter

More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Entertainment

JK Rowling Comes Out Of The Wood Work Again To Dig In Her Heels About Her Irrelevant Take On Trans Identity

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

JK Rowling might have written pages upon pages about education and lessons learned but she’s clearly not a quick study. Or at least taking her own advice.

The multi-millionaire author behind the beloved Harry Potter series earned the ire of fans earlier this year after speaking out against the trans community and underlining her own transphobia. Still, despite an onslaught of criticism and backlash, she’s decided to speak out once again. In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Rowling underlined her opinions once again about the trans community.

Speaking to the magazine for its January issue, Rowling conflated cancel culture and a lack of tolerance for hate.

In the interview with Good Housekeeping, Rowling spoke of a “climate of fear” around conversations about transgender identity. Particularly when it comes to what Rowling described as “a more nuanced conversation” concerning the “huge increase” in the number of people seeking to transition.

“I’ve had a huge postbag since speaking up on this issue and more than 90 per cent of the letters and emails have been supportive,” Rowling claimed. “My correspondence have included medical staff, social workers, prison workers, workers in women’s refuges, and members of the LGBT community, including trans people.”

If Rowling’s claim causes your brow to raise it should. Particularly because detransition, or a reversal of a transgender identification or gender transition, has been shown to be more common in the earlier stages of a person’s transition, particularly before surgeries. Moreover, research analysis conducted from 2016 and 2017 found that of 3,398 trans patients who had appointments at an NHS Gender Identity Service less than one percent said that they had experienced “transitioned-related regret, or had detransitioned.”

In June, J.K. Rowling, the author who taught us as young readers the importance of love, light, and acceptance with her Harry Potter series stomped out all of the magic like a troll bursting into a dungeon. That’s right, in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide protests for racial justice, J.K. Rowling decided to use her global platform to tout her transphobic views to the 14.5 million Twitter users who follow her.

The writer has made various problematic comments about trans people in the past and her latest sound-off is confirmation that this whole time the author has been Dolores Umbridge in sheep’s clothing.

Just when you thought she couldn’t get worse, Rowling apparently decided to create a Horcrux and put a part of her soul in her newest novel: “Troubled Blood.”

In recent years, Rowling has soiled her reputation as one of the most beloved authors of all time by hawking negative views of trans people. In her latest book, she keeps it up.

Troubled Blood is Rowling’s fifth and latest book in her Cormoran Strike mystery series which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Non surprisingly it debuted on selves on September 15 to incensed reviews. According to a review published in the Telegraph, the book follows the disappearance of a woman who is believed to be a victim of “a transvestite serial killer.” The review underlines that the moral of the book is “never trust a man in a dress.”

Soon after the Telegraph’s review was published a Twitter storm attached to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling began. One user tweeted that Rowling had employed “deeply harmful tropes about our community. But she doesn’t care — this is deliberate. It’s gross.”

Daniel Radcliffe, the face behind the titular characters in the Harry Potter films, has stepped up in the past as the Chosen One in a fight against the currently canceled author who built his career.

Fortunately, Radcliffe joined his fellow Dumbledore’s Army alums Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger in The Cursed Child) in speaking out against Rowling’s recent transphobic comments and showing solidarity with the trans community.

In June Rowling’s name became trending on Twitter after she mocked a headline about “people who menstruate.”

The author posted an article about creating equality for “people who menstruate” amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The article, which was posted by Devex, had a headline that read “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Addressing the article, Rowling tweeted “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Users on Twitter were quick to slam Rowling for her ignorant tweet highlighting how her words were harmful to trans men and women but also to cisgender women who do not menstruate. As a reminder, not all cisgender women have periods: some have hysterectomies, in old age, we also go through menopause.

In response to her comments, Radcliff underlined in a letter for The Trevor Project that he wanted to speak out because of his work for the trans community.

Speaking about trans women Radcliff wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Radcliffe isn’t the only one who has spoken out against Rowling’s harmful words. Eddie Redmayne, the lead actor in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, also spoke out against J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets.

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself,” Redmayne said in a statement to Variety. “This is an ongoing process… As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”

In a tweet posted to her account, Dumezweni shared a tweet listing a series of prominent transgender women.

No doubt, Rowling’s words proved to be extremely upsetting for fans of Rowling who found her stories to be a light in their darkness.

“I decided not to kill myself because I wanted to know how Harry’s story ended,” one user wrote. “For a long time, that was all that kept me alive. Until I met my husband who helped me learn to love myself and to want to live. You just insulted him to my face. I hate you.”

Many were quick to slam Rowling, letting her know that her message of exclusionary language makes the lives of trans people more difficult.

“You have power and influence. Why would you do this? What does it achieve?” Singer-songwriter Mary Lambert tweeted. “Do you feel like more of a woman when you punch down? Are you threatened? Some trans men menstruate. Why does that affect you? Why do you want to police that?”

GLAAD also condemned Rowling’s comments and “for targeting trans people”

“JK Rowling continues to align herself with an ideology which willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans,” the organization wrote. In 2020, there is no excuse for targeting trans people.”

No surprise, Rowling’s response to critics was just about as pathetic as any apology from her would be at this point. In a subsequent Twitter thread, she wrote that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”

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