When a man shot and wounded security guard Leo Johnson at the Family Research Council (FRC) on August 15, the shooter left little doubt as to why.
According to the FBI, Floyd Lee Corkins II fired a nine-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun in the lobby of the Washington-based pro-family group. He also had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack, plus 50 rounds of ammunition. And, according to Fox News, he said as Mr. Johnson disarmed him: “Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”
The motto of Family Research Council, where I worked for 10 years and where we helped draft the federal Defense of Marriage Act, is “Faith, Family and Freedom,” which is over the building’s entrance.
You have to dig deep into most media reports to find out that Mr. Corkins had been a volunteer at the D.C. Center for LGBT Community, a group for “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” people. This contrasts sharply with other media reports, such as the ones about the Swedish mass murderer Anders Breivik, who was quickly and incorrectly identified as a “fundamentalist Christian.”
Since this is a column and not a court of law, I’ll make the common-sense observation that the FRC shooter’s motive seems clear. In fact, it’s as unmistakable as that of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, who shouted “Allah hu Akbar” while killing 13 of his colleagues at Fort Hood in 2009, after which authorities said they could not determine a motive.
So far, law enforcement won’t say whether the FRC shooting was a “hate crime.” By contrast, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. told a memorial service on August 10 for victims of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a white supremacist that it was “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”
It’s not that hate is not a factor in these tragedies – just that the label is unevenly applied.
The Family Research Council shooting came in the wake of FRC’s defense of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s remarks defending marriage, which had triggered threats from big city mayors against the Atlanta-based fast food chain.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who has hundreds of thousands of church-goers in his domain who view marriage the same way Dan Cathy does, sent a tweet about “hate chicken.” I would love to hear him explain all this to the Bible-believing pastors whom he counts as friends. On Thursday, the mayor who equates support for traditional marriage with “hate” was calling for more gun control as an answer to the FRC attack.