Nerds help to heal the world…

… by voting for Democrats. From “Letter from [MIT] President Reif: Consoling each other and helping to heal the world”:

As our nation once again confronts heartbreaking mass violence, sending this annual reminder of MIT’s policies against harassment may feel to some as inconsequential and almost irrelevant.

By reminding us that violence, racism, harassment and bullying are out of bounds – period – our policies can help lead us from error. Yet they cannot lead us towards the light: the essential duty to treat each other with respect, sympathy, decency, humility and kindness; the responsibility each of us has to make sure that everyone at MIT can truly feel at home; the challenge of finding a way to repair our fractured nation. This work we must do for ourselves.

Our policies also demonstrate that official statements matter – for good or ill. For instance, a recent draft of a government policy would redefine gender in a way that would erase the dignity and lived reality of well over a million transgender Americans, including many members of our MIT community. And next week in Massachusetts, the civil rights of these Americans are up for a vote.

Is there a political party that an MIT community member could vote for that would oppose this effort by the Trump Administration?

Ultimately, nothing we do or say at MIT can reverse the fact that, from Pittsburgh to Jeffersontown, Charleston to Orlando, a baseball field in Maryland to the Boston Marathon, fellow human beings have been targeted and killed for being themselves.

“Orlando” is a reference to Omar Mateen’s shooting rampage? Is there any evidence that he targeted the Pulse nightclub because it catered to a gay clientele?

8 thoughts on “Nerds help to heal the world…

  1. Regarding Omar’s nightclub shooting, the coroner’s office never released the info about how many bullet wounds of victims matched the police bullets!

    Below are some quotes and links from the wikipedia article references:

    “The autopsies do not indicate if any of the victims were accidentally shot by law enforcement on June 12, the Orlando Sentinel reported, or if anyone died as police negotiated with Mateen for three hours.”

    ” Is there any evidence that he targeted the Pulse nightclub because it catered to a gay clientele?”

    No, but he constitutes evidence that our immigration and refugee policy is misguided.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/08/08/autopsies-victims-pulse-nightclub-shooting/88431710/

    “The autopsies do not indicate if any of the victims were accidentally shot by law enforcement or if anyone died because of significant blood loss as police negotiated with gunman Omar Mateen for three hours.”

    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-pulse-shooting-more-autopsies-20160808-story.html

    “But the autopsy still doesn’t answer many key questions that have haunted Leinonen for weeks: whether her son was hit accidentally by law enforcement, where he was found in the club and if he suffered for hours inside before officers breached an entry.”

    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-pulse-shooting-autopsy-reports-20160805-story.html

    Given the strict “no comment” policy on the question about victims killed by “friendly fire”, the most likely conclusion is that some were indeed killed by the police.

    • Sorry, the below lines were supposed to be the beginning of my post:

      ” Is there any evidence that he targeted the Pulse nightclub because it catered to a gay clientele?”

      No, but he constitutes evidence that our immigration and refugee policy is misguided.

  2. Mateen originally planned to attack Disney, then decided against it last minute due to security concerns. He then decided to attack a (straight) nightclub, but got lost on the way there (Google Maps are hard!) and ended up at Pulse by mistake.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-omar-mateen-cell-records-night-of-pulse-shooting-20180305-story,amp.html

    The homophobia angle was completely fabricated; Mateen likely didn’t even know Pulse was a gay nightclub when he opened fire. A pet peeve of mine is how often this is trotted out as an example of a homophobic attack when the facts so clearly contradict this.

    • The Wikipedia article indicates that Omar Mateen indicates that he had some history of negative remarks about gays and Hispanics. He murdered 49 people who were nearly all gay and/or Hispanic. There’s some evidence put forward by his wife’s lawyer that his targeting of a gay nightclub was a coincidence. So what should we conclude from this? Does the president of MIT owe Mr. Mateen an apology because he’s merely a mass murderer, not a mass murderer motivated by hatred of people based on their ethnicity or orientation?

    • Um, no, my point is that this shooting was not actually a homophobic hate crime, any more than the Vegas shooting was an anti-country music fans hate crime. What happened at Pulse was tragic and awful but those who died were targeted because they were Americans, not because they were gay.

    • In that case the president of MIT is correct. The victims were “targeted and killed for being themselves.”

  3. Thanks, Karen.

    One of my favorite parts of the MIT email is “can help lead us from error”. It sounds like something a 17th century Puritan minister would say. Religion is not dead at MIT. It just has a slightly different form!

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