Wednesday morning, a gunman attempted to enter a Washington, D.C.-based pro-family advocacy group. Objecting to the conservative organization’s work, Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, opened fire in the headquarters of the Family Research Council, wounding a security guard before being wrestled to the floor.
Leo Johnson is being lauded as a hero for thwarting what could have been a deadly attack.
"The security guard here is a hero, in my opinion," D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said of Johnson, who was shot in the left arm and reported to be in stable condition.
Ministry Leaders React
The non-profit organization Focus on the Family was quick to respond to the shooting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at FRC,” president Jim Daly said in a statement. “Senseless shootings like this are always tragic; but there’s an extra measure of sadness and disbelief when it hits so close to home. We are thankful that the heroic security guard who subdued his alleged shooter was not more seriously wounded.”
Focus on the Family is familiar with physical attacks because of its ideology. It had a shooting of its own in 1994 when a gunman took several people hostage at the ministry’s Colorado Springs headquarters.
“No person or group of any ideological stripe -- left, right or center -- should have to fear physical violence for passionately articulating and acting on their deeply help convictions in the realm of public policy,” said Daly. “That is the very definition of terrorism.”
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins made the following comments after an FRC security guard was shot Wednesday morning:
"The police are investigating this incident. Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family."
The Interfaith Alliance has also voiced its concern. An organization who states its goal is to protect faith and freedom by respecting individual rights, president Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy said violent behavior must come to an end.
"We don’t yet know the details of [Wednesday's] shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, but our thoughts and prayers are with the injured security guard and his colleagues at FRC,” said Gaddy. “What we do know is that these all too frequent shootings must stop. Whatever our disagreements, be they substantive policy arguments, misguided bigotry, or petty misunderstandings, guns cannot be the answer. Rather than disrespecting people because they hold ideas with which we disagree and turning on them with violence, we must find our way back to civility. Otherwise, as a nation, we will lose our democracy and our moral compass."
The Associated Press reports the alleged gunman volunteered as a front desk assistant at Washington, D.C.’s Center for the LGBT Community. While the FBI is still investigating Corkin’s motives for the attack, it is reported the Herndon, Virginia resident had issues with the advocacy group’s support of marriage between a man and a woman.
Twenty-three gay rights leaders from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations released a statement that condemned the shooting.
“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 statement reads.
“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.”
The Media Research Center (MRC), who follows liberal media bias, maintains most of the network media outlets gave limited coverage of the shooting. MRC president Brent Bozell contends the mainstream media has created a climate where violence against conservatives and Christians is tolerated.
“Liberals claim they want to create a culture of tolerance,” said Bozell. “Instead the liberal media have created a culture that not only tolerates, but validates anti-Christian and anti-conservative violence.”
MRC reports neither NBC Nightly News nor CBS Evening News produced a full story on the FRC shooting, instead committing only 17 and 20 seconds respectively for anchor briefs that omitted the shooter’s motive. Only ABC World News produced a full report, which included possible motivations for the violent attack.
Sources claim the gunman walked into the FRC and said, “It’s not about you, it’s about the policy,” and shot the guard. The FRC’s mission statement reads, in part, “FRC shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and family.”
Bozell notes the NBC and CBS reflect a long list of omissions which indicates a consistent pattern of the media minimizing or spinning acts of hate and violence perpetrated by liberals.
“Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labeled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups. We’d be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos,” said Bozell.
Russ Jones is a 25-year award-winning journalist and correspondent. He is co-publisher of various Christian news sites such as ChristianPress.com, OxfordFamily.com and a media consultant to a number of political and cause-oriented campaigns. He is also a freelance correspondent for the American Family Radio Network, Crosswalk.com and various Christian TV networks. Jones holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and St. Paul School of Theology. Russ is married to Jackie and together they have four children. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.com.russjones.
Photo courtesy Religion News Service
Publication date: August 16, 2012