Tragedy waiting to happen? Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia allow loaded guns in bars

Looking at the states in question, perhaps we should not be surprised, but seriously, how is this a good idea ANYWHERE in this gun-loving, hair-trigger temper, liquored-up society? (NYT):

Happy-hour beers were going for at Past Perfect, a cavernous bar just off this city’s strip of honky-tonks and tourist shops when Adam Ringenberg walked in with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the front pocket of his gray slacks.

Mr. Ringenberg, a technology consultant, is one of the state’s nearly 300,000 handgun permit holders who have recently seen their rights greatly expanded by a new law – one of the nation’s first – that allows them to carry loaded firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

…The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right – not just in connection with a well-regulated militia – to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.

…State Representative Curry Todd, a Republican who first introduced the guns-in-bars bill here, said that carrying a gun inside a tavern was never the law’s primary intention. Rather, he said, the law lets people defend themselves while walking to and from restaurants.

The purported mitigating factor here is the gun-toter cannot drink alcohol in the establishment. If these laws are challenged in states with big urban city centers and gun restrictions fall by the wayside, you can imagine the chaos that will ensue.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

The Tragedy Of Gay Teen Suicide – A Roundup

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As we all know, discussion about gay teen suicide has swelled over the last week. Why the sudden increase? Who is to blame? What needs to be done about the problem? Read on for reactions and opinions on the subject from members of the gay community, journalists and others.

Raymond  road Dan Savage points the finger at who is partly to blame for the recent suicides of gay teens like Tyler Clementi: "Tyler's roommate did not act alone. There are accomplices out there: uncaring teachers, criminally negligent school administrators, classmates who bullied and harassed Tyler, "Christian" churches and hate groups that warp some young minds and torment others, politicians on the right and left who exploit and perpetuate anti-gay prejudice, perhaps even Tyler's own family. We need to learn more. And more charges need to be brought. Not just criminal charges against a couple of stupid teenagers who should've known better but didn't. But ethical charges need to leveled against adults and institutions that knew better but didn't care."

 road Salon's take on Tyler Clementi's story: "I think the part of Clementi's story that most appeals to a larger sense of moral outrage is the availability of two easily identifiable villains: The teenagers who giggled at their prank, filming the gay roommate and showing the world his private moment. But is that, alone, really what drove Clementi off the edge? Most of the other kids identified above lived through years of merciless taunting, humiliation, terrorized because their honest, naked selves didn't fit in. Surely Clementi's roommate, whom he considered a decent roommate in a lot of ways, wasn't the first person to single him out for ridicule, though he may have been the first to live-stream it. But I don't think that one act drove him to suicide, except in combination with the homophobia that Clementi envisioned raining down on him, full blast, for the rest of his life. He felt it coming from all areas of the country, all eyes on him and not just seeing him but judging him, laughing at him, condemning him to hell."

 road Teaching Tolerance, a division of The Southern Poverty Law Center, will premiere Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History in Washington, DC on Tuesday: "Bullied chronicles the powerful story of a student who stood up to his anti-gay tormentors and filed a federal lawsuit against his school district. The suit led to a landmark federal court decision holding that school officials could be held accountable for not stopping the harassment and abuse of gay students."

 road NOM's Maggie Gallagher continues to disgust by making the ridiculous claim that “nothing in the press accounts suggest the kids who did this were motivated by homophobia.”

 road The New York Times lists tools against homophobic bullying.

Seth  road Tehachapi Unified School District announces that it will work with the city's police department "to hold an assembly on tolerance" (though I think it should actually be an assembly on acceptance) after 13-year-old Asher Brown's suicide.

 road U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued this statement: "This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear. This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it's students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop."

 road Just this summer GLSEN published a report on the bullying of gay teens: "The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns."

 road Amidst all of the tragic loss recently, Focus on the Family is still criticizing the GLSEN report. Something they've done before as recently as this past August.

 road Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg believes in creating laws against bullying: "But sympathy is not enough–we all have a responsibility to take action, and to keep working until all young people are safe and respected, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must push for laws on the federal level and in every state that prohibit bullying and discrimination. We must hold people accountable, and use the courts when necessary. And most importantly, we must love and teach all our children to be their best selves and to respect and support others to do the same."

 road Watch video of a tribute held for Clementi at Rutgers just yesterday, AFTER THE JUMP.

Have you read something that you think needs to be added to this roundup? Send it to tips@towleroad.com.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Mother of gay murder victim Richard Hernandez dies without seeing justice for her son’s death

Richard Hernandez

A few weeks ago Rudy Araiza, who was a close friend of gay Dallas murder victim Richard Hernandez’s, voiced his frustration over continued delays in the prosecution of Hernandez’s accused killer, Seth Lawton Winder. Today, Araiza sends along word that Hernandez’s mother has passed away:

“Well I’m witting this letter to just reach out to you and inform you that it’s a terrible thing when your son’s passing is still at a point where no justice has been made for going on two years. And in your own life (Richard’s mom) you are struggling with pain, sadness, emptiness and health problems that don’t make it any easier to live with, until one day you die. Only to never really understand or find the justice you wanted for your son, yourself, friends or family, and having so much on your plate. Mary Garcia Hernandez passed away Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 from health issues she was dealing with. I can only pray to God and thank Him for not making her suffer anymore. Now in my heart I know that although she was suffering from the loss of her oldest son, and her health, that God will bring them together in the heavens above. I pray that her family will one day come to see the light from all this tragedy that has happened within a two year time span, and that we hold together and send a prayer out to them for all their grief.”

Sincerely,

Rudy Araiza

—  John Wright