Tuesday Reads: Republicans and Marriage Equality, The Aryan Brotherhood, and Other NewsPosted: April 2, 2013
I’ve got some kind of virus, and it’s making my brain very fuzzy. For the past three days I’ve been having trouble even staying awake. I think I’m better, but this morning I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for an hour without getting anything written. So I guess I’ll just get started and see what happens.
I guess one of the reasons I’ve been a little stuck is that I’ve been reading about Matt Salmon. Matt is gay and he’s also the son of Arizona Rep. Matthew J. Salmon, who spent yesterday telling the media that–unlike Ohio Sen Rob Portman–having a gay son hasn’t changed his attitudes about gay marriage. From The Washington Post:
In an interview aired over the weekend, Rep. Matt J. Salmon (R-Ariz.) told a local news station that his son’s homosexuality has not led him to change his position on gay marriage.
“I don’t support the gay marriage,” the congressman said. But Salmon emphasized that he loved and respected his son and did not consider homosexuality a choice.
“My son is by far one of the most important people in my life. I love him more than I can say,” an emotional Salmon told 3TV. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t have respect, it doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize with some of the issues. It just means I haven’t evolved to that stage.” [….]
“We respect each others’ opinions and we just know that on certain issues we have to agree to disagree,” the congressman’s son, Matt R. Salmon, told The Post. “I love my father and realize that he can have the opinions that he has, and they might differ from mine, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about him.”
Here’s the video of the interview via Mediaite:
I wasn’t that impressed with Rob Portman’s change of attitude–he realized his own son was gay and then suddenly decided gay marriage was okay. But at least Portman showed some empathy. Salmon sounds just plain cruel.
The younger Matt (father and son have different middle initials-the son is Matt R. Salmon) still supported his father’s run for Congress. His partner is Kent Flake, who is also the second cousin of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Rep. Matt J. Salmon and Sen. Jeff Flake are both Mormons.
It’s nice that father and son still have a relationship, but it has to be incredibly painful for Matt to know that his own father disapproves of who you are and stands in the way of your marrying the person you love. According to Think Progress,
Portman clearly coordinated his announcement with his son, Will, in mind. The family released photos of Rob and Will spending time together, Will tweeted his support for his father that day, and last week wrote about how they made the decision together. Salmon has done the opposite, speaking without the consent of his son in an attempt to soften his own anti-gay positions, including past support for banning same-sex marriage and adoption.
I’m not sure how TP knows that Salmon spoke without this son’s consent, but Matt’s family has not been particularly supportive–at least according to an interview he gave to the Arizona New Times in 2010. For further reading, here is Will Portman’s coming out statement at the Yale Daily News.
All of this makes me so sad. Bigotry is so ugly and hurtful, and it’s amazing to me that people who have gone through this pain can still remain Republicans.
In Other News…
Evan Ebel, the man who shot Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements was released from jail because of a “clerical error.” He should have stayed locked up for another four years.
Ebel was on parole from Colorado prisons and was not legally allowed to purchase a weapon. He is believed to have used a gun to kill Clements on March 19 at Clements’ Colorado home. He is also believed to be involved in the death of a Domino’s delivery man, Nathan Leon, in Denver.
Ebel was then pulled over by Texas authorities two days later and engaged in a high-speed chase and gun battle with them. He was shot and died later at a hospital.
Ebel was a member of a “white supremacist gang 211 Crew.” It’s not yet clear if that is relevant to the murders, but coincidentally or not, there have been three recent murders in Texas that may be linked to a white supremacist group, “the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.”
Kaufman County, Texas (CNN) — As state and federal investigators flood this north Texas county searching for clues in the killing of two prosecutors in two months, the 100,000 people who live here can do little but nervously watch, and hope.
“The residents are, I think, astounded,” said Delois Stolusky, who has lived in the county seat of Kaufman for 30 years. “It’s just, one and one make two. You can’t keep from connecting these. And it’s just scary because we have no clue of who did the first shooting. And no clue, of course, yet who did this one. And, so of course our concern is what’s going to happen next.”
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, died in a shooting at their home over the weekend. Friends discovered their bodies Saturday, nearly two months to the day after someone killed McLelland’s chief felony prosecutor, Mark Hasse, in a daytime shooting outside the county courthouse.
Law enforcement officials have no clues in the shootings, but there are suspicions that the Aryan Brotherhood could be involved.
But McLelland’s office was one of numerous Texas and federal agencies involved in a multi-year investigation that led to the indictment last year of 34 alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, including four of its senior leaders, on racketeering charges.
At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny A. Breuer called the indictment a “devastating blow” to the organization, which he said used threats and violence — including murder — against those who violate its rules or pose a threat to the enterprise….
While authorities have not said whether they have linked the deaths of Hasse and McLelland, or the involvement of white supremacists, Texas law enforcement agencies did warn shortly after the November 2012 indictment that there was “credible information” that members of the Aryan Brotherhood were planning to retaliate.
This is very creepy, and after learning about this I was interested to read this piece at The Daily Beast by an African American former prison inmate who understandably chooses to remain anonymous: Why I Fear the Aryan Brotherhood—and You Should, Too. Here’s the introduction. I hope you’ll be interested enough to read the whole thing.
Four people have been killed since the beginning of the year in a series of shootings that appear to be connected to the homegrown jihadists of the Aryan Brotherhood. Mike McLelland, the district attorney of Texas’s Kaufman County, and his wife, Cynthia Woodward, became the latest victims this past weekend. Before that, McLelland’s former colleague Mark Hasse was shot in January. Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements was gunned down in mid-March.
The Brotherhood, also known as The Brand, AB, and One-Two, was formed during the 1960s by a group of white convicts serving time at San Quentin. They allegedly were fed up with white prisoners being victimized by the two predominant gangs, the Black Gorilla Family (BGF) and the Mexican Mafia and decided to form a gang of their own for self-protection. While initially closely associated with Nazism ideologically, many adherents belong to the group for the identity and purpose it provides. The ironclad rule for entrée into the Brotherhood is simple: kill a black or a Hispanic prisoner. The other rule, which is just as ironclad, gave rise to their motto: “Blood In/Blood Out.”
Quitting isn’t an option. There’s only death.
I got up close and personal with members of the Brotherhood more than 20 years ago in Nevada. Due to the relatively sparse population in northern Nevada, the feds didn’t have their own lockup in which to house pretrial detainees, or at least they didn’t back then. So they rented a “range”— a row—of 14 cells in Nevada’s maximum-security prison in Carson City to house defendants going back and forth to Federal Court in nearby Reno.
I have some more reads for you that I’ll give you in link dump style, because otherwise I’ll never be able to finish this post with my brain working so slowly.
According to the Greek Reporter, politicians in Cyprus got special treatment: Cypriot Politicians’ Loans Written Off.
Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider: Russian Businessman Was Offered Chance To Smuggle €1 Million Out Of Cyprus For A €200,000 Fee
The NYT Sunday Magazine had a long article about Oikos University mass murderer One L. Goh: That Other School Shooting.
Barney Frank spoke to the Portland (ME) Press Herald: Social Security ‘entitlement’ deserves funding and respect: We should ensure its solvency by applying the payroll tax to earnings of $250,000 to $400,000.
The New York Times editorialized against cuts to Social Security: Social Security, Present and Future.
National Geographic: Cicadas Coming to U.S. East Coast This Spring. (Once every 17 years.)
Business Insider: Macy’s Accidentally Puts $1,500 Necklace On Sale For $47