Earlier today, there was an apparent act of political violence committed at the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington DC. The gunman shot an FRC guard, Leo Johnson, in the arm. Johnson heroically disarmed the shooter even though wounded, preventing any further violence.
The FRC is one of the most powerful social conservative groups in the country. From wikipedia:
The function of the FRC is to promote what it considers to be traditional family values, by advocating and lobbying for socially conservative policies. It advocates against LGBT rights, abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research, and pornography.We aren't yet 100% sure what motivated the attack. A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the shooter uttered a negative remark about the FRC before discharging his weapon. Other officials reported that he had materials relating to Chick-fil-A in his backpack.
Perhaps it is not what it appears to be, and we should not jump to any conclusions. Even if this were a random act of violence, it is still a crime and we should offer praise for Mr. Johnson and compassion toward those who feel victimized because it took place where they happen to go to work. Let's hope this was not in fact a politically motivated crime. If it turns out that this attack was politically motivated, then we will condemn it for what it is: Terrorism.
If a violent person targets an institution for its political beliefs or people for their race, country of origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or any other aspect of their identity, that is especially dangerous and destabilizing to any society. It threatens the very fabric of our democracy. I know that liberals and conservatives fundamentally agree on that.
I was proud to read the statement issued jointly by thirty-four gay rights groups:
"We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers. The motivation and circumstances behind today's tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident."President Obama and Governor Romney both issued statements condemning the shooting, both saying that such violence has no place in our society.
Three hundred and sixty four days out of this year, I will stand opposed to everything for which the FRC stands. Tonight I stand with them, with their members, their employees and their families. No one in America should ever have to feel that they are a target because of who they are or what they believe.