Orlando’s aftermath: Three different responses


UPDATED: At the end. . .

First, from Reuters, a call to loosen the reins of the surveillance state is rebuffed:

A Republican-backed proposal in the Senate to expand the FBI’s secretive surveillance powers after the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub last week fell two votes short on Wednesday of the 60 needed to advance.

The measure was a Republican response to the massacre after a push for gun-control measures sponsored by both major U.S. parties failed earlier this week.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell switched his vote to ‘no’ at the end of the unusually long hour vote to allow him the opportunity to bring it up for consideration again.

The legislation would broaden the type of telephone and internet records the Federal Bureau of Investigation could request from companies such as the Google unit of Alphabet Inc and Verizon Communications Inc without a warrant. Opponents said it threatened civil liberties and did little to improve national security.

And from the New York Times, a move toward voluntary disclosure:

The worst mass shooting in United States history by a single perpetrator, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, has sent the nation reeling and ignited heated conversations about firearm access, terrorism and homophobia. It has also had the incidental effect of pushing some gay people in this increasingly Latino community out of the closet.

Some had their sexuality revealed by accident: Gertrude Merced learned that her 25-year-old son, Enrique, was gay only after she heard the news of his death. Others, though, have chosen to expose their inner lives, stirred by the outpouring of support for Orlando’s gay community or wrought with sorrow and unable to keep their secrets in anymore.

>snip<

Most of the people packed into the club in the early morning on June 12 were too young to remember the early days of the AIDS crisis, when disease and tragedy exposed gay men like never before, prompting some of them on their death beds to reveal their sexuality to family and friends. But some older members of Orlando’s gay community see this post-Pulse catharsis as an echo of that time, with a notable exception.

“This time around, we’re so much further along in our own self-acceptance,” said Tom Dyer, 60, who has been chronicling Central Florida’s gay community since he founded Watermark, a local magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, in 1994. Broader cultural attitudes, he added, have changed, too.

UPDATE: Just in from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

A sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives by Democratic members stretched into Wednesday night and appeared likely to continue throughout Thursday as the protesters turned to Periscope and Facebook Live to broadcast demands for a vote on legislation to restrict gun purchases by suspected terrorists.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he would not bow to the demand for a vote, and there were suggestions he would attempt to clear the House floor during the night. But Democrats said they were prepared to be arrested and many said they would spend the night in the House chamber to make sure the sit-in was not ended.

“In residency, when I was trying to be a doctor, we would stay up sometimes from 24 to 36 hours and I’ve certainly slept at nurses stations,” said Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from Sacramento, California, who went home to grab his glasses and a toothbrush to prepare to overnight. “And I think that is the least of our problems . . . because how comfortable is that mom that lost her child in Orlando?”

It was dramatic political theater 10 days after a gunman who’d twice been investigated for links to terrorism attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, leaving 49 people dead and 53 wounded, and just one day after the Senate failed to move forward legislation intended to block suspected terrorists from purchasing weapons.

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