Friday, April 15, 2016

Lambda Legal has DC fundraiser; Washington Post pubs big story on bar-restaurant-soft-target security and DHS meeting with business owners

Last night, I did patronize a Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund money raiser ($50) on the Patio and ground floor of Town.

Unlike many other fundraisers, this one had no hors d’oeuvres.  So I walked over the Nellies Sports Bar a block away for dinner, and found everyone talking about Bryce Harper’s grand slam home run and the four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.  And the Washington Caps hockey game was about to start, which the Caps would win, 2-0.  I still haven’t been to a pro hockey or basketball game yet, not quite as interesting.  (Soccer and pro football, yes, despite Malcolm Gladwell.)

Lambda Legal’s case work is probably getting narrower in scope, as skirmishes still flare over “religious freedom” laws and transgender issues.  We don’t have the big existential questions of a few years ago (“don’t ask don’t tell”), but I fear that the “wrong” president could cause them to come back.  Donald Trump I’m now more concerned about, as well as Ted Cruz (although the latter’s most recent comments sound more libertarian).  Cruz is the only candidate so far to discuss the possible implications of WMD’s (next paragraph).  Kasich has accepted modern reality (in his best interest).  Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson may be closer to electability than any such candidate from the past.

There’s a very disturbing story on the front page of the Style Section of the Washington Post (paywall) this Friday, April 15, 2016, by Dan Zak, “Alert Level Green” (referring to the old red-orange-yellow-blue-green threat advisory).  I have not wanted to discuss bar security very much here.  The article discusses meetings near the White House between Homeland Security, the FBI, and business owners.  For the most part, the article can speak for itself.  I won’t go through the names here, although I have to say that back in 1971 I took a heterosexual date to the Black Cat!   It isn’t hard to “connect the dots” with recent history in France and Belgium (since the start of 2015, especially), and imagine what they had to talk about.  The bar owners did say that the fake-id problem proliferates (a problem that was demonstrated back in 2004 in a episode of “Everwood”, and which affects the backstory of my own “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” screenplay).  I don’t think that the NRA’s idea (maybe the Libertarian Party’s) that every law abiding citizen should be able to defend himself or herself in any public soft venue is very realistic; no sports facility or bar or disco wants to allow weapons when there can be hundred to thousands of people in a place in close proximity.  Airport-style screening for weapons is done now at Nationals Park without causing delays;  it may be practical for some larger discos, maybe larger theater multiplexes.  In the US, the biggest problems haven’t come from “radical Islamic terrorism” (to use the words of Ted Cruz), they’ve come from mentally ill people with weapons.
Western style “democratic capitalism” has made enemies, though, by creating a world that doesn’t make sense to some people – at least I could see that with some lower income students when I worked as a substitute teacher, which I’m too “busy” for right now.  There is a tendency for some radical cultures to hold individuals morally responsible for what the cultures they depend on do.  That notion seems to me to be a little more pronounced in “radical Islam” than even in extreme “religious right” forms of evangelical Christianity.  The more “group centered” a culture is, the more homophobic it usually is.
Given the controversy of this story, DC Metropolitan Police are now heavily covering major clubs in DC on weekends.

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