Will media rush to judgment?
At approximately 11:35 a.m. eastern Casey Mattox of the Family Research Council tweeted that there had been a shooting at their headquarters in downtown DC. While few details are known, Mattox reports that a guard was shot.
Mattox reported that they were “on lockdown” on the 5th floor, and later made it outside. Mattox tweeted a photo a few minutes later, at 10:48 a.m. eastern:
A statement was released on the FRC Blog:
Incident at FRC Headquarters
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments after an FRC security guard was shot this 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 Family Research Council, a pro-Christian nonprofit, was named a hate group in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with such groups at the Ku Klux Klan, for its “anti-gay” positions. Professor Jacobson reported on SPLC’s exaggerations and false accusations in November 2010.
From the Family Research Council website:
Since 1983, Family Research Council (FRC) has advanced faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion. FRC’s team of seasoned experts promotes these core values through policy research, public education on Capitol Hill and in the media, and grassroots mobilization. We review legislation, meet with policymakers, publish books and pamphlets, build coalitions, testify before Congress, and maintain a powerful presence in print and broadcast media. Through our outreach to pastors, we equip churches to transform the culture.
The FRC also has been targeted by groups like the Human Rights Campaign. From the Human Rights Campaign website:
The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Family Research Council (FRC) as a hate group because of their “propagation of known falsehoods — claims about [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated.”
It is possible this is a random act, and at this stage given that we do know the motive for the crime, we certainly do not want to jump to false conclusions.
We will update as more details are known.
Fox News is reporting the suspect disagreed with the Family Research Council’s policies:
The suspect “made statements regarding their policies, and then opened fire with a gun striking a security guard,” a source told Fox News. WJLA-TV7 reported the suspect was also shot.
Authorities were treating the attack as a case of domestic terrorism.
Neither the Human Rights Campaign nor the Southern Poverty Law Center responded to my requests for comment.
Update 5:42 p.m.: The Human Rights Campaign posted a joint statement, signed by the leaders of several LGBT groups, condemning the shooting.