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Gunman attacks Family Research Council

August 15, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
Here's some more fodder for the culture wars.

Leo Johnson, a security guard at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington D.C., was shot in the arm this morning by a man who allegedly resents what the conservative organization stands for.

According to reports, Johnson asked the suspect, Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, what he was doing there and Corkins opened fire, hitting Johnson in the arm. Johnson and others then wrestled him to the ground and waited for authorities.

Fox News reported that Corkins may have been carrying a bag from Chick-fil-A, a restaurant that became controversial when the chain's owner expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. The announcement triggered protests, including a kiss-in by gay and lesbian activists at the opening of one store, and boycotts of the organization. Others, including the Family Research Council, expressed their support for the chain's owner.

Fox News also reported that sources said Corkins pleaded with the security guard not to shoot him after the guard wrestled him to the ground and took his gun away. Corkins allegedly said "Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the incident as a case of domestic terrorism but does not yet know much about his possible motivation. The Associated Press reported that Corkins has volunteered at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center in DC and the director described him as "kind, gentle, and unassuming." If so, he apparently got over it long enough to get a gun. Regardless, a hate crime seems likely motivation to me.

Johnson's wound is fortunately not considered life threatening. He was listed in stable condition, according to the Washington Post. He is also being called a hero for stopping more people from being hurt or killed.

It's going to be very interesting to see what the coverage of this case looks like over the next few days. I would assume that Corkins might well be mentally ill, since that seems to be the case with a lot of shooters and would-be shooters. Sane people do not generally try to shoot up buildings, even if they disagree with someone's politics.

I would assume there will be more calls for gun control, most of which will probably be ignored.

I see anonymous comments on news forums that basically amount to "The Family Research Council was asking for it" because of their strong conservative views. I don't think anyone actually wishes injury upon others, or at least I hope not. A few conspiracy theorists suggest that this is actually an elaborate conservative plot set up to disprove the theory that mass shootings or hate crimes are all the fault of white conservatives. It's amazing what nutty comments are made after something like this happens.

Most people are sane and condemn the violence and wish Johnson a swift recovery. There are already condemnations of violence coming from both sides of the political aisle. Hopefully that attitude will stick and there will be no copycats out there.

Violence of this kind is yet another reminder that we live in a fallen world.


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