Category Archives: crime news

Extremists: France’s Many Burning Churches

France Church Burnings

The fire that burned Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral horrified the world, but many other deliberate blazes and acts of vandalism targeting French churches go unnoticed, says Nina Shea at The National Catholic Register.

“In February, Notre Dame of Dijon was vandalized, with hosts scattered about,” she notes. “At Notre Dame Church in Nimes, a cross was recently drawn on the wall using excrement and consecrated Communion hosts. Notre Dame of France Catholic bookstore was vandalized last September.”

Indeed, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, such attacks in France have been relentless for the past four years.” Who’s behind this trend? “A variety of extremists enraged by the identities and teachings that the churches symbolize — Christianity, French nationalism and Western civilization at large.”

THE TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE STEM SCHOOL SHOOTING IN COLORADO. Failures By School Officials Just Like Parkland

On May 7th two students; Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec [Maya] McKinney, 16 opened fire at the STEM School – Highlands Ranch Colorado killing one student and injured eight others.

School Officials Warned:

  • One of the Colorado charter school shooting suspects “always joked” about massacring his classmates, a former student says. Devon Erickson, 18, “would whisper, like get really close and kinda put his arm around you, and whisper in your ear, ‘Don’t come to school tomorrow,’” explained the former student, Kevin Cole, in an interview with “Today.”
  • On Jan. 25, he apparently expressed his distaste for his classmates at STEM School Highlands Ranch, tweeting: “FUCK stem kids i swear to fucking god.”
  • On Feb. 21, he tweeted: “G-gun F-for the purpose of shooting myself.”
  • Officials at STEM School Highlands Ranch reportedly were warned five months before this week’s deadly attack of a “perfect storm” brewing on campus for “a repeat of Columbine.” Parents had been complaining about bullying, sexual assault and violence.
  • A parent told CNN that she was so concerned about the “pressure cooker” of violence, sexual assault and bullying at the Colorado school, she called to complain to a county school board member in December.
  • School district official Daniel Winsor then wrote to STEM’s administration, specifically mentioning the parent’s fears of “a repeat of Columbine,” the 1999 massacre just 7 miles from STEM, according to the letter obtained by CNN.

“Many students are suicidal and violent in school,” Winsor wrote, terming the concerns “very serious” and calling for an urgent investigation, according to CNN.

Obsessed With Dark Subjects:

Officers were on scene at a Highlands Ranch home believed to be linked to Erickson on Tuesday night. They towed a white Honda sedan with “Fuck society,” “666” and what looked like a pentagram spray-painted across it, according to local reports.

The Sexual Issues:

  • Authorities have been describing McKinney as a female juvenile named Maya
  • When McKinney appeared in court, attorney said he preferred the pronoun ‘he’
  • Friends have taken to McKinney’s Instagram to reveal he was suffering from mental health issues and ‘desperately needed’ help.

A report [The New Atlantis Journal] finds scarce scientific evidence to conclude that transgender people are “born” that way.

The 143-page paper, published in The New Atlantis Journal, combs through hundreds of studies in search of a causal, biological explanation for gender identity, but comes up empty.

“Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex — so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence,” the report states.

  • The only long-term study of transgender outcomes concluded that “Male to Female” transsexuals retain male-pattern criminality, including crimes against women.

NOTE: Their biological based aggression does not change.

[Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885%5D

  • The DSM-5 changed the listing of transgender to “gender dysphoria,” in 2013, it remains classified as a mental illness today.

The Statements Of International Experts:

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry states that Transgenderism is a mental disorder that merits treatment, that sex change is biologically impossible, and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Dr. Joseph Berger, has issued a statement saying that from a medical and scientific perspective there is no such thing as a “transgendered” person, and that terms such as “gender expression” and “gender identity” used in the bill are at the very least ambiguous, and are more an emotional appeal than a statement of scientific fact.

“The medical treatment of delusions, psychosis or emotional happiness is not surgery.”

Moreover, Dr. Berger stated that the arguments put forward by those advocating for special rights for gender confused people have no scientific value and are subjective and emotional appeals with no objective scientific basis.

Dr. Kenneth Zucker, long acknowledged as a foremost authority on gender identity issues in children, has also been a lifelong advocate for gay and transgender rights.

However, much to the consternation of adult transgender activists, Zucker believes that gender-dysphoric pre-pubertal children are best served by helping them align their gender identity with their anatomic sex. This view ultimately cost him his 30-year directorship of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

  • While approximately 6.7 percent of the general United States population suffers from depression and 18 percent grapple with some iteration of an anxiety disorder, nearly half of all individuals who identify as transgender experience these issues.

What’s more, over 41 percent of trans men and women are estimated to have attempted suicide — a rate that’s nearly nine times as high as the rate of cisgender Americans.

NOTE: Social stigma has been shown to NOT be a factor in this.

  • A 2011 Swedish study, it looked at mortality and morbidity after gender reassignment surgery and found that people who changed genders had a higher risk of suicide.

In this study, all the sex-reassigned persons in Sweden from 1973–2003 (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) were compared to a comparable random control group. The sex-reassigned persons had substantially higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and suicide, and substantially higher rates of attempted suicide….Gender surgery is not effective treatment for depression, anxiety or mental disorders.

Transgender people have extremely high suicide rates, aggression, depression and anxiety disorder.  

Anglican & Catholics: Persecuted Christians and Their Passive PC Leaders

Murder of Christians

After the Easter slaughter in Sri Lanka, why did bishops fail to stand up for their flock?

Last week, I wrote about the West’s unerring capacity for self-immolation. Forgive me for returning to the subject, but last weekend’s massacre in Sri Lanka has underscored how self-destructive our elites can be.

When 250 people were killed by suicide bombers, many of them as they attended Easter Sunday services, it was a harrowing reminder of the intensifying persecution of Christians around the world. The slaughter followed similar assaults in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Indonesia and a dozen other countries in the past year alone. According to a recent Pew Research study, Christians are the most widely harassed faithful on Earth. They were attacked for their religion in 144 countries in 2016, more than Muslims, Jews or any other group.

So you would think that the latest horror might induce the official Christian leadership to speak out in defense of their people. John Sentamu, the archbishop of York—the second-highest-ranking cleric in the Anglican communion—had an opportunity. Interviewed on the BBC on Monday, he was asked if this was now a moment to plant a flag for Christians who find themselves under siege.

The archbishop whiffed. “Violence of any sort, to any community, any group, is totally unacceptable. The flag I want to fly is a flag of peace,” he said. Along with the Catholic cardinal of Colombo, he wanted to “ask Christians to refrain from taking any retributory steps against their Muslim brothers.”

One of the most prominent pastors in the world, faced with the scattering of his flock by a pack of murderous wolves, manages to avoid blaming the perpetrators for the carnage and actually worries aloud that the problem might actually be the Christians. Quite a feat after 300 or so of your coreligionists have been blown to bits by supporters of a fanatical religious ideology. Jesus wept, as the Bible tells us.

Why does this keep happening? To be fair, part of the explanation is that this is the very essence of the Christian message: Turn the other cheek. Find the beam in our own eye before pointing to the mote in others. As a creed for individual living, it is imperfectible. But for an entire community under attack, it’s a recipe for self-extinction.

Christian leaders in the West are afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media.

According to another Anglican bishop, Philip Mountstephen of Truro, who is leading a church inquiry into the rising persecution of Christians, the reason for the widespread reluctance among leaders—religious and secular—to take the continuing war against Christians seriously is a lingering sense of historical responsibility. “There is a lot of postcolonial guilt around a residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white Western privilege,” he told the Times of London.

This would be absurd even if the people who were being murdered in their hundreds each year were indeed wealthy white Christians in stately homes and colonial mansions. Yet, as the bishop went on to point out, the vast majority of Christians suffering today aren’t white wealthy Westerners. Most are from the relatively poor global South: Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America. To their already unsupportable lot of grinding poverty, they must add the risk of being assaulted by governments, religious vigilantes, gangs and others.

To compound their plight, it seems many Christian leaders in the West are so afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media and cultural establishment that they won’t even speak out. These clerics often find it more congenial to weigh in forcefully on other issues of pressing concern, where they know they’re in no danger of losing invitations for TV interviews and fancy premieres.

I would respectfully suggest to the bishops of the Anglican persuasion—and quite a few of their Catholic brethren too—that however serious and acute you might think the threat of climate change or workplace discrimination, the larger and more immediate threat to Christians in many parts of the world is that they might not get through their next church service without someone dispatching them to eternity to shouts of “Allahu akbar.”

Addressing the rising threat of persecution will require concerted and complex action, policies enacted by governments to isolate and pursue the murderers and those who abet them, and direct support of threatened communities. None of that will be easy. But surely it must start with a willingness by church leaders to call the threat what it is.

By Gerard Baker

How a student’s dad became a sex cult ringleader at Sarah Lawrence College

A New York con man and old friend of disgraced ex-NYPD top cop Bernie Kerik became the ringleader of a Nxivm-like cult at Sarah Lawrence College — brainwashing his daughter and her friends into following his so-called teachings, while taking advantage of them sexually and emotionally, according to a New York Magazine expose.

Bay Ridge-born Lawrence Ray, 59, who was convicted of securities fraud in 2003, reportedly manipulated the bright college kids into following his so-called self-improvement program, controlling every aspect of their lives and convincing them to give him money and sex.

Some of the students were able to escape the cult, but others remain under Ray’s spell, according to the report.

The alleged con began in 2010 when Ray moved in with his daughter, Talia, and her 19-year-old friends in a drab dorm on the Bronxville campus and in an Upper East Side apartment he rented during school breaks. He had just been released from prison after being locked up for violating his parole in the 2003 case, the article says.

Slowly, he wrapped the kids up in his web, convincing them to undergo pseudo-therapy sessions with him and divulge their deepest childhood traumas, according to the article.

Any trivial mistake like scratching a pan, to Ray, was proof that the kids were trying to “sabotage” him and led to cruel punishments.

One student, Daniel Barban Levin, said Ray forced him to wear a “necklace” made of aluminum foil balls around his testicles and once threatened to dismember him with a knife. Levin, who felt unsure about his sexuality, said he was once forced to wear a dress and penetrate himself with a dildo in front of his housemates, who laughed. He moved out in 2013.

The middle-aged man allegedly manipulated some of the coeds into having sex with him, sometimes in groups.

“I got so freaked out. There was no consent in that situation,” Levin said about one girl named Isabella. “[She] may have seemed to be pursuing all of this, but her mind was being twisted by [Ray].”

Ray convinced the kids to have their parents pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars, the article says. Many of the students attempted suicide, but police told their worried parents nothing could be done since they were adults.

To keep the students in his grasp, Ray appears to have convinced them of a widespread government conspiracy theory involving former top cop Kerik and Rudy Giuliani.

Ray was the best man at Kerik’s 1998 wedding but turned on his friend, telling the federal government about the fallen cop’s ties to the mob via a construction chief named Frank DiTommaso.

“It’s clear they want to kill us,” Ray told the magazine about Kerik and DiTommaso. “They’re arrogant, they’re violent, they’re terrible people.”

Ray firmly believes he and his followers have been poisoned by Kerik agents, but wouldn’t delve into specifics, according to the magazine.

Through his lawyer, Glenn Ripa, he denied almost every allegation in the article. But in conversation, he admitted taking cash from at least one of the women.

“My intentions are honorable intentions,” he said.

By Tamar Lapin

The truth about the ‘global white extremist threat’

No Jews

Last week, The New York Times featured an illustrated timeline of “white extremist” killings over the last nine years. According to the Times, the record shows “an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring with greater frequency in the West.”

The idea that white supremacist violence is a growing global threat has gained more currency recently, notably in the wake of the ghastly Christchurch mosque massacre. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, asserted that “White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017.”

No one will deny that people who kill in the name of white supremacy commit evil, but is it true that white extremists are sowing a growing amount of worldwide mayhem? The evidence suggests otherwise.

Even a superficial glance at the record indicates that of the nearly 20,000 people killed in thousands of extremist killings in 2017, white supremacists were responsible for very few.

The worst terrorist event of 2017, according to the State Department, was the explosion of a truck bomb in Somalia, which killed more than 580 people. This act is believed to have been the work of Al-Shabaab, which was responsible for 97 percent of the 370 instances of extremist killings in Somalia in 2017, accounting for about 1,400 deaths.

The deadliest extremist attack in Egypt’s history took place in 2017, when ISIS-Sinai terrorists converged on a mosque and slaughtered 312 people when they came outside.

White nationalists committed none of the above violent acts, and that’s nothing remarkable: Almost all the world’s extremist violence is concentrated in a handful of regions, where very few white people live. In areas where whites do live (America, Canada, Europe and Australia/New Zealand), white nationalists do indeed perpetrate a significant proportion of the relatively uncommon acts of extremist violence.

Again, this is unsurprising, because whites make up the overwhelming majority of the population there.

The New York Times timeline of “white extremist” murders covers nine years and 15 incidents, bookended by the heinous and indisputably racist attacks in Norway (in 2011) and Christchurch. Some of the most prominent killings among the remaining 13 incidents, though, resist categorization as acts of white racial terror.

Ali Sonboly, the son of Iranian Shiite Muslim immigrants and visibly a racial minority, carried out the 2016 Munich mall shooting. The 2016 Umpqua Community College shooting was carried out by a self-identified “mixed-race” man, as was the 2014 Isla Vista massacre, whose perpetrator believed that being half-Chinese made him unattractive to women.

The 2018 Toronto van massacre was perpetrated by a white man who declared that he was part of an “Incel Rebellion” against the “Chads and Stacys” of the world — in other words, he was angry that he could not get a girlfriend and was committed to overthrowing the “beautiful people.” The Times’ inclusion of these four incidents calls into question the value of its diagnosis of “white extremist killers.”

When Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that white supremacists were responsible for the most extremist killings of 2017, she was obviously wrong (if she meant worldwide, which is unclear from her tweet). There were at least 8,500 such incidents worldwide that year, and white supremacists accounted for perhaps 15 or 20 of them, depending how you count.

Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez was thinking of the US and relying on an Anti-Defamation League report, “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2017.” According to the ADL, 34 people were killed as a result of extremist violence that year in the United States, eight of them by Sayfullo Saipov on Halloween in lower Manhattan. Another victim was Heather Heyer, who was run over by James Fields during the Charlottesville protests.

Heyer’s killing can legitimately be labeled an act of white-nationalist violence, as Fields was an open admirer of Hitler and the Confederacy. But the other murders that the ADL counts as “extremist-related” are fuzzy, even by the ADL’s standards.

For instance, Frank Ancona, a Klan member from Missouri, was killed in a domestic dispute by his wife, also a Klan member.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the US Extremist Crime Database, reports that the frequency of violent hate crime in the United States has been about the same for 50 years.

White supremacy is insane and immoral, and it may be a significant threat. But it doesn’t account for anywhere near the preponderance of global extremist violence, though one might get a different impression from recent coverage.

Seth Barron is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, from which this column is adapted.

Are Far-Right Extremist Crimes Rising? No

Truth Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Recently, President Trump said he doesn’t believe white nationalism is a growing problem—and at home in the U.S., he’s right.

The problem isn’t growing. It’s never subsided.

“There has been a steady rate of far-right extreme crimes since at least 1970, when we started collecting data,” said Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.  “What has changed is the emphasis on reporting far-right extremism. It produces the perception that there is a new increase. It’s not true.”

Strictly speaking, far-right terrorism has gone up, Dr. Jensen said—eight fatal attacks occurred in 2014 and seven in 2017 after decades of no more than three a year—but the broader class of extremist crimes, which includes terrorism, hate crimes and mixed motive crimes, has not.

START’s Global Terrorism Database, used to produce the State Department’s annual terrorism report for Congress, documents 180,000 attacks world-wide from 1970 forward.

Because it includes only premeditated attacks committed with the explicit purpose of promoting an ideology, its numbers are smaller than some other data sets.

One of the most sweeping is the U.S. Extremist Crime Database, a collection of violent and financial crimes committed by political extremists in the U.S. from 1990 forward—and it’s the persistence of far-right ideology this data reflects that alarms experts.

“The most striking thing is the resilience of the threat,” said Joshua D. Freilich, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and co-director of the Extremist Crime Database. “It’s consistent in terms of the level of activity.”

Since 1990, far-right extremists have killed 477 people in 214 attacks in the U.S., according to the crime data. A majority of the assaults targeted minorities, with 241 people dying in 170 attacks. (In the same period, the Global Terrorism Database records 31 far-right attacks with one or more deaths.)History of Violence Fatal events in the U.S., by attacker typeSource: Joshua D. Freilich, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“We haven’t seen a year since 1990 with no far-right homicides,” said Jeff Gruenewald, a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis who studies domestic terrorism and extremism.

U.S. crimes by Islamist extremists have tended to be deadlier than far-right crimes, but they have also been more sporadic. Since 1990, Islamist extremists have conducted 50 assaults killing 3,148 people, a figure that includes 2,997 9/11 victims.

Homicides by far-left extremists, whose attacks peaked in the 1970s, are now uncommon.

The crime database, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, assembles records from legal documents, news accounts, watchdog groups and other publicly available sources. To be included, the crimes must have been committed for ideological reasons.

The database defines far-right extremists as fiercely nationalistic; anti-global; suspicious of federal authority; reverent of individual liberties, especially the right to own guns and be free of taxes; believing in conspiracy theories; and, in some cases, antagonistic toward specific racial or religious groups. The mainstream conservative movement and the mainstream Christian right are not included.

Islamist extremists are defined as rejecting the traditional Muslim respect for Christians and Jews; believing Islamic law should be forcibly implemented; believing the U.S. supports the humiliation of Islam; holding all Americans responsible for government actions; and endorsing violence against those they deem corrupt.

Based on these definitions, the crime database includes the 2015 San Bernardino, Calif., shooting, where a married couple killed 14 county employees at a holiday gathering after one spouse pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group on Facebook.

It also includes the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that occurred when an antigovernment militant detonated a truck packed with explosives outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

But it excludes the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where a gunman killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival, because there was no clear evidence that ideology motivated the killer.

The Global Terrorism Database treats each of these events the same way. But it leaves out unpremeditated hate crimes such as the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained behind a truck and dragged for 2 miles by three white supremacists.

A third data set, Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States, or PIRUS, examines extremists in an effort to deduce when, and how, they were radicalized.

The data, which is also assembled by START, includes 2,148 violent and nonviolent individuals who committed ideologically motivated crimes in the U.S. or who associated with domestic or foreign extremist organizations from 1948 through 2017.

Far-right extremists are the largest ideological group in the database, accounting for 43% of the entries. Islamists account for 23%.

PIRUS shows radicalization occurring in waves. The latest wave of far-right radicalization began in the 1980s and continues today.

“It’s not a brand new thing,” Dr. Jensen said. “It’s certainly a very real national security concern right now, but it’s something we’ve dealt with for quite some time.”

By Jo Craven McGinty

Legal Prostitution Is a Moneymaker for Thugs

State Sens. Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Brad Hoylman, along with ­Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, announced last week that they are crafting a bill to “fully decriminalize” what they call “sex work” in the Empire State. Their agenda sounds progressive, but it should alarm anyone who cares about women’s rights.

What these lawmakers are really advocating is the legitimization of pimping, brothel-keeping and the buying of sex. That is what full ­decriminalization means.

Wherever it’s fully legalized or decriminalized, prostitution proves to be a disaster for prostituted women, most of whom are pulled into the sex trade by traffickers and pimps eager to seize the massive profits ­legal prostitution offers.

Permitting men to purchase sex with impunity increases demand for prostitution, which makes selling women’s bodies a lucrative enterprise. That, in turn, is a boon to sex traffickers.

A 2013 study in the European Journal of Law and Economics compared data from countries that had legalized prostitution versus those that hadn’t. It found that trafficking and sexual exploitation are “most prevalent in countries where prostitution is ­legalized.” Conversely, the ­researchers found “a causal link from harsher prostitution laws to reduced trafficking.”

What Salazar & Co. propose is a trafficker’s dream come true.

Curious to know what legalizing the sex trade looks like? Look no further than Germany, considered “Europe’s biggest brothel,” where more than a million men purchase sex every day from an estimated 400,000 women, mostly from Eastern Europe and the undeveloped world, sold in more than 3,500 brothels.

In Germany, “sex entrepreneurs” run multimillion-dollar enterprises through online virgin auctions, drive-in sex stalls, outdoor “sex boxes,” mega-brothels and all you-can-consume 24/7 flat-rate sex buffets.

In “Paradise,” one of Germany’s mega-brothels, around 3,000 men purchase 150 women’s bodies for sex on a daily basis. Josie, a woman working there, told a documentary filmmaker that she had slept with around 15,000 customers: “When I say that, it makes me feel so sad.”

Josie’s make-up bag includes a tube of xylocaine anesthetic gel to numb the physical pain resulting from being used by up to 20 men a day. Last year, a German court convicted the owner of Paradise, Jürgen Rudloff, of abetting human trafficking.

“Sex work” is a clever euphemism preferred by the pimp lobby to whitewash and sanitize the brutalities inherent to prostitution. It’s not a “job” but a system of gender inequality: An estimated 98 percent of the 42 million people in prostitution worldwide are women, while 99 percent of those who buy them are men.

Prostitution is also a form of violence against women. Studies show that 71 percent of prostituted women are physically assaulted on the job; 68 percent experience post-traumatic stress disorder at the same levels as combat veterans and victims of torture; 89 percent wish to escape prostitution.

A 2004 mortality study of 1,969 female prostitutes, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that homicide accounted for roughly half of the deaths. The ­researchers noted: “No population of women studied previously had a . . . percentage of deaths due to murder even approximating those observed in our cohort.”

No wonder many progressives are up in arms over the proposed legislation. As Taina Bien-Aimé, ­executive director of the New York-based Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, told me, “For New York legislators to propose decriminalizing such abuse as long as men pay for it is an abject betrayal of women’s right to equality.”

Governments that claim to care about women’s equality, dignity and safety should never adopt laws that enable exploiters, such as pimps and sex buyers, to operate freely.

A better alternative is the abolition or Nordic model. First ­adopted in Sweden, then in Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France and Israel, the Nordic model protects women in prostitution by offering social services and exit opportunities, while targeting those who use and profit from their bodies: sex buyers, pimps and traffickers.

It is this model that truly dignifies and values women. Salazar & Co. should take heed.

Laila Mickelwait is the director of abolition for Exodus Cry, which works to abolish sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry.

By Laila Mickelwait

Antifa Activist facing assault charges on U.S. Marines is tied to DNC

Antifa leader Joseph Alcoff

What a difference a year made for Joseph Alcoff.

On Monday, the 37-year-old has a court date in connection with charges he’s facing in Philadelphia that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation for allegedly being part of an Antifa mob in November that attacked two Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, both Hispanic. Alcoff and two others charged in the attack have pleaded not guilty.

But while Democratic officials are distancing themselves from Alcoff now, until recently he was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals.

His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders.

As the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform, Alcoff participated in congressional Democratic press conferences, was a guest on a House Democratic podcast and met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2016 through 2018.

He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating.

Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials on April 2016, again in March 2017 and a third time in May 2017, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

During this time, he reportedly was an Antifa leader in Washington. Alcoff’s former employer had little to say about the matter.

“As of December, Mr. Alcoff no longer works for AFR,” Carter Dougherty, spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, told Fox News in an email.

Dougherty didn’t answer whether Alcoff had been fired or resigned. He also didn’t answer whether the organization was aware of Alcoff’s associations during his employment.

Alcoff was reportedly also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, the group responsible for gathering and shouting threats outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November and for heckling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi at a Washington restaurant in September. Reports have not said Alcoff was directly involved in either incident; only that he was associated with the group.

Democrats are hardly eager to be associated with Alcoff now. Most spokespersons for Democratic members of Congress did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, or distanced themselves from Alcoff.

In one appearance, Alcoff dressed up as “Lenny the Loan Shark” at an event last Marchheld outside the CFPB headquarters, which featured Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.

“The congressman has never interacted with him nor has he taken any financial policy advice from him. Their names have appeared on the same piece of paper,” Beyer spokesman Aaron Fritschner told Fox News. “He appeared at the same press conference, but they didn’t speak to each other. This person was literally wearing a shark outfit.”

In the February 2018 press statement, House and Senate Democrats co-sponsoring the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, which boosted regulation on payday lenders, issued versions of a press release, most including the Alcoff quote.

“The Consumer Bureau and Congress have in the past understood the way that payday lenders structure loans to catch Americans in a cycle of debt with exorbitant interest rates,” Alcoff said in the press releases. “It is unfortunate that some in Washington would rather open the loan shark gates than continue to think about sensible borrower protections. The SAFE Lending Act would put Washington back on track to stop the debt trap.”

In August, Alcoff was a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast, criticizing the decline of the CFPB under the Trump administration.

“It’s been an incredible kind of erosion [Trump administration actions] recently, but these are really, really important basic functions [CFPB’s mission] that people across the country should be able to look to Washington and expect,” Alcoff said on the podcast.

In connection with the subsequent attack in Philadelphia, the two Hispanic Marines said the Antifa mob of about 10 or 12 attackers shouted racial slurs during the beating. Only three from the mob were identified and arrested. The attack happened at the same time as a right-wing rally in Philadelphia, which Antifa showed up to protest. The Marines who were assaulted said they were not even aware of the rally.

“On one side, you have the Proud Boys, a racist group of Nazi thugs. On the other side, you have anti-racist activists,” Alcoff’s lawyer Michael Coard told Philadelphia Magazine. “Unfortunately, in the mix, there were two Marines who were caught up in the whole thing as innocent bystanders.”

Coard, an African American activist in Philadelphia, also told the magazine regarding the alleged slurs, “The question that I have for the D.A.’s office and the police is this: Does anybody think that I, Michael Coard, would represent a racist? … I would never represent a racist. In fact, if I believed that he was a racist, I would prosecute him myself.”

By Fred Lucas

 

Black and Armed in America

Colion Noir

For me, being black and armed in America is intellectually taxing. Add the fact that I am one of the most recognized gun rights advocates in the country, and it can be downright exhausting.

As a black man, some people expect me to say that being armed and black in America is dangerous. My whole life I’ve heard that a black man with a gun is always going to be considered a threat. I’ve also carried a gun for years and have been pulled over many times while carrying a gun with no problems—and I have no plans of stopping.

Guns have done more to keep blacks safe in this country than being unarmed has ever done.

So, do I think it is safe to be black and armed in America? In truth, I think it is unsafe to be black and not armed in America. Guns have done more to keep blacks safe in this country than being unarmed has ever done. I also believe that the more black people arm themselves, the safer it will be to be black and armed.

Just consider: Harriet Tubman carried a revolver to protect against slave catchers and their dogs while she led black slaves to their freedom. Black civil rights activist Robert F. Williams obtained a charter from the National Rifle Association and set up a rifle club to defend blacks in Jonesboro, Ark., from the Ku Klux Klan and other attackers. The Black Panthers followed police around, armed with firearms and law books to police the police. C.O. Chinn was a black man during the civil rights era who was armed to the teeth and provided security to the “nonviolent” sectors of the civil rights movement. The Deacons for Defense and Justice, an armed African-American self-defense group, was founded in 1964 to protect civil rights activists and their families. Black men used guns during the Civil War to fight for their freedom. And countless black Americans use guns every day to protect themselves, their families and others they love.

Guns keep black people safe. It is true that, compared to a lot of their non-black counterparts, gun ownership among blacks can come with a unique set of risks. But I believe it is important to realize that these risks don’t outweigh the benefits.

The first time I carried a concealed firearm, I experienced a wide array of emotions. I waited a long time for my permit to come in, so I was giddy with excitement when the wait was over. I felt empowered knowing that I didn’t need to rely on a police officer magically appearing if I were attacked.

But I also felt anxiety. I was a young black man with a gun, and up until that point, I had been taught that if a cop ever realized I had a gun on me, he’d more likely think I was a criminal than a legal concealed carrier. As a result, I took the painstaking effort to make sure my gun was completely undetectable. I even learned what signs cops look for to determine if someone was carrying a gun and made it a point not to do those things.

But one question remains: Why the hell would I, as a young black man, get a concealed-carry license and carry a gun on me 90 percent of the time if I believed all this? I decided to carry a firearm despite the perceived dangers from the police for the same reasons teenage gangbangers and drug dealers carry guns illegally—they are more worried about being caught without a gun by an enemy than with one by a cop. In the same way, on a subconscious level, I was more concerned about being caught without a gun by a criminal than I was by a cop when I was legally carrying a firearm. 

The anxiety of avoiding the ordeal of being seen as a threat by police if you have to draw your firearm in public is not limited to blacks.

Note, I am not saying that I can’t become the victim of a cop or another armed citizen who, because of my race and the gun I carry, might treat me like a threat instead of another legally armed citizen. What I am saying is that those people are the exception, not the rule.

Since last July, there have been three cases in which a black good guy with a gun was shot and killed by police. At the time of this writing, these cases are still under investigation, so I’m not going to speculate on the motivation behind the shootings. But I will say that the anxiety of avoiding the ordeal of being seen as a threat by police if you have to draw your firearm in public is not limited to blacks. After carrying a firearm for some time, I began researching and learning more about the intricacies of concealed carry. I discovered that the question of what to do so you don’t get shot by a cop if you have to pull your gun in public had been a topic of discussion in the online gun community for years, by gun owners of all races.

Though we are fortunate to have the Second Amendment in this country, we also have a large segment of the country that believes anyone carrying a gun who is not law enforcement is a bad guy. Unfortunately, some who believe this become police officers. I believe threat identification and de-escalation have long been weak points of training in police departments. In a country with the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, learning how to deal with potentially armed citizens at the scene of an active-shooter situation should be a top priority for all police training. Long story short, if you’re going to carry a badge and gun in this country, unless a person is actively shooting at you, shooting at other people who are clearly not a threat, or threateningly presenting a firearm, you should err on the side of the possibility that the person might be a good guy with a gun.

This country’s “mainstream” media machine, in its rabid attempt to vilify guns and sway people away from exercising their Second Amendment rights, has done everything in its power to push the image of bad gun owners as the rule, instead of the exception. Our media have excessively promoted the image of the armed, gang-banging, hyper-aggressive, violent black male, while at the same time pushing the narrative that all white male gun owners are potential mass-shooting domestic terrorists who hate black people. Are we then surprised that there might be incidents in which a good black guy with a gun is prematurely seen as a bad guy with a gun by someone who’s only image of a black man with a gun has been what the media have portrayed?

If such a tragedy occurs, the same media that have mastered the art of sensationalizing these incidents will breathlessly report and speculate about racial motivations, without having any truly relevant information or facts. They do this to insidiously reaffirm the narrative they have been pushing for years—if you are black and carry a gun, you will be shot. Ironically, the same media never talk about racist origins of gun control laws, or how most such laws were designed to keep guns out of the hands of blacks. Nor do they discuss how the very same violent image of black men they push today is the same image that was used in the past to scare unassuming whites, causing some of them to support those racist gun control laws.

Two years ago, I received a message from the mother of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black concealed-carry license holder who was pulled over and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez when he thought Castile was reaching for his gun. The letter was a scathing critique of my response to the shooting. The part of the message that hit the hardest was her closing line: “You ain’t no exception; the same thing can happen to you.”

Admittedly, the letter made me feel terrible. But what was I supposed to do? Stop carrying my gun? Stop exercising my rights? What happened to Castile was terrible, and, like I said in my open letter about it, it could have been avoided altogether if the officer had conducted the stop the way he was trained to perform a felony stop. Nevertheless, cases like Castile’s are still the exception.

I know one thing is for sure: It has never been safer to be black and armed in this country than it is right now.

I know that’s not a popular thing to say as a black man in today’s political climate, but that’s why these cases are such a big deal when they do occur. And even then, the motivations behind the shootings are never clear-cut—at least not clear-cut enough to say that a cop shot a black guy with a gun just because he was a black guy with a gun, and not for some other reason, justified or not. As a result, these cases send my cognitive dissonance—about what I’ve been told my whole life, what I’ve actually experienced, what the statistics show, and what reality has presented—into a downward spiral where I second-guess myself into oblivion on these issues.

However, I know one thing is for sure: It has never been safer to be black and armed in this country than it is right now. There were times in the past when it was legal to beat and even kill a black person who was found to have a gun, or any other weapon, on him. Today, there are black gun rights groups, social media accounts dedicated to black gun ownership, black firearm instructors and black gun rights advocates. There was a time when it was not safe for blacks to vote, but we continued doing it anyway. Regardless of how dangerous it might or might not become to be black and armed in this country, I’ll continue to exercise my natural rights the same way black people of the past—who faced more significant and more consistent harm—chose to exercise theirs. 

by Colion Noir