Sanctuary City

This past Wednesday night, Kathryn Steinle was walking with her father along San Francisco’s famed Pier 14 when a man, seemingly at random, shot her and took off.  Her father tried desperately to help, performing CPR on his own daughter until paramedics arrived.  Sadly, Kathryn could not be saved.  She died at age 32.

Bystanders took photos of the shooter, who was arrested while walking just blocks from the scene.  His name is Francisco Sanchez, and he’s an illegal immigrant from Mexico.  It gets better: he’s been deported five different times, most recently in 2009.  He has fully seven – SEVEN – felony convictions in the US, four of them for drug trafficking.  According to officials he was just released from a California prison, where he was being held for felony re-entry.  ICE had put a detainer on Sanchez to have him deported upon his release.

San Francisco, however, is a sanctuary city.  It became one in 2013, right before the State adopted very similar policies.  So how did this bad guy end up on the pier with a gun, killing a beautiful, innocent woman so soon after being released from prison?

He was turned over to ICE by California prison officials as soon as he was released in March.  He had an outstanding case with San Francisco County on a prior arrest for marijuana possession, and ICE had to clear it up before they could deport him for the sixth time.  They turned him over to the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office and put a detainer on him so that, when the charges were cleared, he could be deported.

SFSD followed the city’s sanctuary policy and unleashed him on an unwitting public.  The Steinle family has now paid dearly.

Incredibly, SFSD has had their attorney, Freya Horne, responding to all media inquiries and she’s a real piece of work.  She has done nothing but blame everyone else for this tragedy.  “We followed both the city ordinance and our policy, which is that we don’t honor ICE detainers — which are a request, not a legal basis,” Horne said to a reporter yesterday.  This is based on Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s official policy that ICE holds are not honored without either an arrest warrant or a court’s decision that there is probable cause to hold the suspect.

In other words, SFSD isn’t willing to make their own decisions on whether an individual is dangerous enough to be handed over to immigration officials.  That’s for someone else to decide.  They’ll release everyone, no matter how dangerous they’ve been in the past, and blame the courts and/or ICE.

When ICE officials publicly said that Sanchez never should have been released, Horne went on to say that “ICE certainly could have done something,” continuing, “ICE did not do what they should do.  They could issue a warrant or get a judicial review if they are intent on keeping a person in custody.”

Basically what’s happening here is exactly what was predicted: official liberal policy has been written into law, protecting violent thugs coming into our country illegally from deportation.  Because, you know, they just want a better life, right?  They’re entitled to try, they tell us.  Then one of their protected little angels continues to break the law, resulting in the death of an innocent woman, and all we hear about is how it’s someone else’s fault.

Every time there’s a mass shooting, we can set our watches by the reaction on the left.  We need better gun control laws, they say.  People would still be alive if we had another law in place, they say.  Not one more, they tell us.  We just don’t have time to debate these things because people are dying.

Well, here you go, liberals.  We don’t have time to debate this.  People are dying.  This man was an illegal immigrant and by that virtue alone wasn’t allowed to get a gun.  He was a seven-time convicted felon and wasn’t allowed to have a gun on that fact, either.  He sure as hell didn’t pass a background check to get the gun, but he was loosed on the unsuspecting public, he got his hands on a gun, and a good woman died as a result.  He and all of his fellow illegals, regardless of which country they came from, should be immediately deported.

NOT ONE MORE.

The New Trayvon ***UPDATED***

I could not believe I had read those words in the comments when I saw the video.

Click on the link and watch the video.  It’s 12 minutes long, but you need to see it.  Here is the claim made by the poster:

“Neighbors CALL POLICE To A Texas Suburb In McKinney Texas . . . When They Learn That A Family . . . Invited ‘TOO MANY BLACK PEOPLE” to Their POOL PARTY!!”

First of all, there is nothing in the video to even suggest – let alone prove – that the neighbors called the police because there were too many black kids.  What I see is a literal mob of teenagers running wildly through the neighborhood and police officers trying to chase a couple.  Kids are yelling, screaming, running, there’s music playing, cars everywhere – and the kids aren’t all black, either.  With the ridiculous numbers of kids I can actually see in the video, I’m guessing many more weren’t seen.  That many teenagers make a lot of noise.  I know – I had a next door neighbor years ago whose daughter graduated high school and threw a very noisy party.

Not only do we see kids everywhere, it appears that the neighbors came out to help with crowd control.  None of them made any attempt to hide their faces.  I very seriously doubt that any of them called the police because there were too many black kids in the neighborhood.

Then, while one officer is trying to detain a few that ignored his orders to sit down, a group of girls start yelling at him.  He first asks them to leave, then when they refuse he has to yell at them to leave.  One decides to give him more trouble so he moves to detain her.  She fights him.  He takes her to the ground.  Then, her friends do something even more stupid – they rush the officer en masse.

I don’t know what the hell these brats’ parents taught them, but mine taught me not to talk back to a cop or to fight him when he tells me to do something.  I’ve known since well before I was that age that you don’t ever make any aggressive movement toward a cop.  It is no surprise when he pulls his sidearm.  If I had a group of people bum-rushing me, I’d pull my piece, too.  It’s notable that he never pointed it at anyone – he pulled it and kept it at the ready.  It’s what he’s trained to do when he’s given a reason to believe he’s about to be attacked.

If you’re throwing a party and the cops show up, the first indication that something illegal is going on is that everyone runs.  That would tell me (or any cop) that drugs or alcohol are likely present.  Naturally, when everyone runs, the cops are going to either catch the ones closest to them or chase the ones they looked in the face and told to sit down, which is exactly how this sounds.

This isn’t racism.  Nobody can provide a shred of evidence that that’s why the police were called.  Rather than posting a copy of the report or a recording of the call, a video is posted with a baseless claim against both the neighbors and the police officers.  Nobody questions what they’re seeing or makes any attempt to think critically about it.  Thousands upon thousands viewed this video on Facebook and commented about how wrong it was.

Welcome to Obama’s America: where your skin color dictates whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator.  Comments that this is “the new Trayvon” are beyond outrageous…they shock my conscience.  Extremism is a poor shade.

***UPDATE***

The guys over at WeaselZippers did a lot of leg work and found out that there was a private party going on at a community pool when close to 100 teenagers showed up for a rave advertised at the pool by a local rave promoter.  Apparently a girl going by the handle Young KC (@Keef_Cakez on Twitter) has been setting these things up at private HOA pools for a while and making off like a bandit.  The attendees didn’t know they weren’t allowed to be there, and showed up with alcohol and weed and several of them picked fights with residents there for the private party.

Not everything is what you hear from the race baiters.  Ask questions, then you can judge.

Do Something

Philip Joseph Duran and Mark Manes. Ever hear those two names?

You should have. At least you would have if the press had reported the truth. They are inexorably linked to the worst school shooting of our time in 1999 – Columbine. You know Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold even if you were a toddler when that shooting happened. The Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999 so shocked our conscience at the time that its infamy has been passed to the next generation.

Yet almost nobody knows who Duran and Manes are. They were both brought up on charges of selling guns to minors and both spent several years in prison for providing the TEC-9 that Harris used in his rampage. Manes was on electronic monitoring for several years after he was released.

Why do I bring this up? Lee Hirsch, founder of The BULLY Project and maker of the film BULLY, has come out in recent posts championing the recent movement of anti-gun groups claiming they simply want background checks and “all guns secured.” Hirsch may genuinely mean that, but I don’t think he realizes that the statistics he recently provided are misleading.

The leading cause of death among those under the age of 34 is MVAs – Motor Vehicle Accidents. Hirsch claims that guns cause a higher death toll among children and young adults than do cancer and heart disease. What he doesn’t tell you is that cancer and heart disease are still pretty rare among children and young adults. Gun-related deaths may outnumber those medical conditions, but a small child is eight times as likely to drown than to be killed by a gun. As a rescue worker, I run child drownings and MVAs on a routine basis. I’ve run two pediatric codes caused by MVAs so far this year and my fellow responders have run several others. Any idea how many kids I’ve run on this year crashing because of a gunshot wound? How many I ran last year?

Zero.

Drowning leads the cause of death among small children, followed by accidents and poisonings. Yet there are many who would have us believe that guns are the biggest threat to our children. The claim is being made that gun owners aren’t responsible enough and more needs to be done. None of these fine folks – who I’m sure have good intentions – are focusing on what’s really going on.

Something the press hasn’t mentioned about the Newtown shooting is that the law actually worked. Adam Lanza attempted to buy a rifle and when a background check turned him away, he had to improvise. They also don’t mention much that his mother did have several guns, but kept them locked in a safe. Her guns were secured. Adam found a way around all of these things. Every safeguard these groups say they want was already in place that day and the bad guy still found a way to do what he wanted to do – he stole the guns, killed his mother, and went to the school.

You know what would have stopped him there? A good guy with a gun. It wasn’t possible because our schools have become victim zones. One or two teachers with training could have stopped that monster in his tracks. Unfortunately, people have gotten so focused on simply doing something that they’ve let the facts get muddled.

There are laws in place to provide punishment for people who act as straw purchasers (knowingly buying guns for other people, often because those people can’t legally purchase guns themselves).  What about private sellers?  I’ve sold a privately-owned firearm before, and I know what the law says.  I still have to do due diligence to make sure that the buyer is allowed to own a firearm.  If I sell to someone I have even a suspicion shouldn’t have a gun, I can be held at least partially responsible for what they do with it.

Now the activists are in full swing.  They’re not just trying to write laws that already exist, they’re going completely overboard.  They want to ban all people with a mental illness from being able to purchase a firearm.  I’ve even heard some say that PTSD and bipolar disorder should preclude someone from owning a firearm – and I have friends who have gotten letters from the VA informing them that because they have PTSD, they will be required to relinquish their privately-owned guns.  Following this logic, I, a rescue worker with PTSD, should never be allowed to have a gun because of the stigma attached to mental illness – a stigma we’ve been fighting for years so that people who need help will seek it.

Suddenly there is no differentiation between those who are a danger to society and those who aren’t, even though we have a mountain of evidence to prove that all of the most recent shooters were clinical psychopaths who left flashing neon trails for everyone to follow.  Conservatives are repeatedly targeted as dangerous because we exercise our Second Amendment rights, yet we have proof that the shooters in Aurora, Tucson, and Virginia Tech were all extreme liberals, and the Newtown shooter showed similar tendencies.  All four were also highly intelligent, if mentally unstable.

Rather than stop and think, we just have to do something.

A Curse Upon The American Landscape

“There are few things I hate more than the NRA. I mean, truly, I think they’re pigs. I think they don’t care about human life. I think they are a curse upon the American Landscape.”

These words were uttered by Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, during an interview with Rolling Stone about the “kill what you eat” movement. He later admitted that the story he was talking about had absolutely nothing to do with guns – he just “wanted to get that out there.”

Really, Bryant? You think we’re pigs?

You think we don’t care about American life? Really? That’s why we carry guns, because we don’t care? How sadly mistaken you are, sir. We carry guns precisely because we care about life.

Scenario: you’re leaving the grocery store with your family. It’s the middle of the afternoon, so there are people everywhere. There’s some event going on in the parking lot, but you’re not interested; you keep walking. Suddenly, some unknown man pulls out a gun and starts shooting people – and those people aren’t moving. They’re just standing there while the shooter walks down the line and kills them, one at a time. What do you do?

I can tell you exactly what I would do. I would not give a warning. I would not give him any opportunity. I would send my family running to the parking lot while I took up a position safe to the victims, pull my sidearm, and double-tap that bastard until he stopped twitching. Why? Because if I don’t, he will keep killing. I have no idea what this guy’s problem is, but I do know that he’s killing innocent people. I don’t have time in this scenario to talk to him. I have to assume that if he’s willing to kill unarmed people for no reason, he will not be reasoned with. Killing innocent people is not a reasonable act.

What do you expect people to do during that situation? Run and hide? Why are you so averse to the idea of civilians having the right to defend themselves?

We don’t carry guns because we want to kill people. We carry guns because we know it is a deterrent. When I worked in prisons as an officer, the one thing I heard violent criminals say routinely is that they would not target people who were armed (I’m talking about rapists, abusers, and robbers). I mean, think about it…why would a bad guy walk into a store where they know half the patrons are likely to be packing heat? Robbing a store is a selfish ambition, one that the perp is unlikely to commit if it doesn’t benefit him. Rape, abuse – those are all things that are crimes of selfishness and opportunity. I fail to understand why the right to keep and bear arms is such a threat to you.

Then again, you’re an elitist snob. I don’t expect you to be reasonable.

The Out List: Dustin Lance Black

HBO recently released a pseudo-documentary called “The Out List,” an opportunity for celebrities and activists to share parts of their stories and their beliefs. As expected, it was a liberal screed on how evil conservatives are. They had one token conservative – Log Cabin Republicans leader R. Clarke Cooper. He was amazing. Most of the rest were infuriating. Here I begin my response to some of them.

Dustin Lance Black is a screenplay writer and filmmaker. His first major work was Big Love; he later won an Academy Award for writing Milk. In his segment, he revealed that he was raised as a Mormon. He said, “I have heard some filmmakers say they don’t want to be labeled as ‘gay filmmakers.’ I am a gay filmmaker! I’m a gay guy, I’m not ashamed of that! I’m pretty proud of that, in fact!” He went on to talk about the passage of California’s Prop 8 – the voter-passed ban on gay marriage after the California Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal. He wept about how horrible it was and said, “that law cost lives.”

First of all, there is nothing wrong with a gay person not wanting to be labeled a gay filmmaker. Just because a gay person wants to appeal to a broad audience and has no interest in being pigeonholed for the whole of their career doesn’t mean they are ashamed to be gay. It doesn’t mean that They are bad somehow. There is nothing wrong with wanting one’s work to be widely available and widely accepted. If you’re proud, fantastic! That does not mean that everyone out there who is gay and is in the film industry needs to be like you. I’m pretty sure the gay rights movement was at least partially about the right to be different.

As for Prop 8…I’m sorry, but I don’t believe for a second that Prop 8 cost lives. gay people have been treated far worse in the past. When I was a kid in Houston, you did not admit you were gay. There was no such thing as a gay-straight alliance. When I told some of the neighborhood kids that I wished I’d been born a boy, their mothers all got together and staged a proxy intervention with my mother. When I was a kid, things were very different. Black is not that much older than me, so I would think he would have experienced some of the anti-gay sentiment that dominated pop culture back then. Prop 8 cost lives? I think churches pushing families to abandon their gay children was far worse. That is the sort of thing that costs lives, Mr. Black.

I might also point out that Prop 8 was passed by the electorate in a state that went wildly for Barack Obama. In my mind that is evidence that anti-gay sentiment is not necessarily a party problem but a people problem.

Tomorrow: Christine Quinn goes on a rant about those eeeeevil Republicans!

The Death of a Dream

A grand jury in Ferguson, MO has been meeting since the end of August. They have heard more than 60 witnesses and seen reams of evidence. They’ve seen the injuries to police officer Darren Wilson. They’ve seen crime scene photos. They’ve seen the forensic evidence from inside Officer Wilson’s police cruiser. Tonight, the grand jury’s decision was made public.

They determined that the evidence showed Officer Wilson did exactly what he was supposed to do. He was found innocent and an indictment was not handed down.

Almost instantly, rioting began. State troopers were in place before the verdict was read, armed with rifles and full riot gear. Barricades were knocked over, rocks and bricks were thrown at police, windows were broken, and the rioters rapidly graduated to marching down the street, looting and setting businesses on fire.

If Dr. King could see what is going on right now, he would be openly mourning the death of his famous dream.

The “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra was born of the claim that Michael Brown’s buddy made to police after the shooting – that Brown had his hands up and was trying to surrender. We later found that Brown had just committed a strong-arm robbery, then when contacted by Officer Wilson he attacked the officer in his cruiser, tried to grab his gun, got shot during the struggle (after repeatedly punching the officer in the head), then tried to walk away. THEN, when Officer Wilson got out and ordered him to stop, Brown turned and said, “what are you gonna do, shoot me?” and charged him. The killing shot was fired into the top of Brown’s head, indicating that Brown was actually charging when he died.

None of that makes any difference. The evidence shows that there was no racism involved. No racist comments were made. Yet because an “unarmed young black man” was shot and killed, it absolutely has to be because the white officer who fired the shots was a racist. That’s the only outcome that any of these cretins are willing to entertain. This is the result of a lack of education and generation after generation of deep-seeded hatred being ingrained into these communities.

Yes, racism exists. Unfortunately I see it almost singularly from Blacks and Hispanics. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke passionately of his dream on August 28, 1963. He believed it so much that he refused to become violent in his drive to achieve equality. Today, most of the protesters would openly tell you that they don’t want justice for Darren Wilson. They have already written him off.

“I have a dream that all of G-d’s children – black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, protestants and catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘free at last, free at last, thank G-d almighty, we are free at last!'”

Sadly, tonight that dream has died.

War on Who?

Joni Ernst pulled out a win in Iowa tonight to oust Democrats from a seat they’d held for a long time. Democrats thought the seat would be an easy win, but she proved them wrong. Tonight, the National Guard Lieutenant Commander (married to a retired Command Sgt. Major from the Army Rangers) became the first woman ever to represent Iowa in the US Senate.

I’m proud as all get-out that Ernst is a conservative. I’m proud to support her. If a woman has to run next time around for President, I’d love to see her have a go. She’s outstanding.

Liberals can take their so-called “war on women” and shove it.

(Next up: my take on the end of the Houston Pastors debacle.)

Wedding Bells, Part II

With the sudden marriage rights granted in three states last week came a lot of to-do about how religious organizations will be impacted. One of the biggest (not-yet-a-) problems being raised right now is the possibility of gay couples attempting to sue churches to force them to perform their wedding ceremonies. That has not happened yet, although I believe that eventually it will.

You wouldn’t know that it hasn’t happened yet, though – not if you’re listening to the Christians on social media.

The Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was recently sued by a gay couple. The owners and ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, refused to perform gay nuptials for a couple. That couple filed a complaint with the city, claiming discrimination. The ministers quickly found themselves facing possible fines and jail time under city non-discrimination ordinances, and Christians all over the net started falling all over themselves. “We told you the gays would do this!” they’ve screamed. “You tried to tell us they’d never be able to sue churches to force this on us, but look – THEY’RE DONG IT!!!”

One problem: The Hitching Post isn’t a church. It’s a licensed, for-profit business. Since it’s not listed as a religious organization, it falls under the same non-discrimination laws that all city businesses are required to abide by.

I’m not saying this is a battle that shouldn’t be fought. I am saying that the reaction to this has been way over-the-top given the facts of the case. A lot of very un-Christ-like remarks have been made in some conversations, and one person took the time to private message me on Facebook simply for pointing out the fact that this didn’t involve a church and say some things that were…well, let’s just say Jesus wept.

All of this falls under “the law of unintended consequences.” Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barred businesses from discriminating. The cause of that portion of the law was the requirement that blacks – or “coloreds” as they were referred to at the time – have separate (and often less comfortable) accommodations at restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. Since segregation had to end, it all had to end. The law, however, cannot be applied to only one group. It has to be applied to all. The result has been that businesses licensed by the government (and all businesses are required to have a license these days) are now barred from discriminating against anyone. The result is often harsh – from hefty fines to jail and/or losing one’s business. We’ve seen several businesses attacked over the past couple of years for refusing to take part in gay wedding ceremonies, including photographers, bakers, and tailors.

What’s happened this week to The Hitching Post takes it to a new level. We now must ask ourselves where the government nanny state stops and people are allowed to make their own decisions. If we strike down all anti-discrimination laws, then businesses can start discriminating against anyone. They can put out signs telling gays, blacks, Jews, or even Christians to stay away. The idea here is that a business that does discriminate could then be tried in the court of public opinion; a business owner could find themselves bankrupt after turning someone away.

I admit I don’t know exactly how it should be handled. I do know that the original complaint against The Hitching Post was valid according to the law. The best way for them to beat it is to file as a religious corporation, and they apparently have, which means they may now be protected. Maybe, because marriage is often seen as a religious institution, businesses that cater specifically to weddings should consider filing as religious corporations. I hope the Knapps win this, because I don’t believe anyone should be forced to do anything that runs contrary to their religious beliefs.

Either way, the religious portion of the right wing has nearly gone off the deep end on this story. Everyone needs to take a breath. Educate yourself before you lose your mind about something. Not only will you look less sophomoric, you’ll likely save your blood pressure in the process.

POST SCRIPT: If the day ever comes when gay leftist groups begin attacking religious rights over gay marriage, I will be out front, breaking my personal rules about never protesting in public, leading the charge to protect religious liberties. Just to make that clear.

Wedding Bells, Part I

With the new rights of same-sex couples in three states to get married has come a lot of arguing – often permeated by misinformation and outright lies. What should be a simple matter best left to history is turning into a hideous back-and-forth about the rights of the individual and the majority (not to mention the difference between a business and a church).

Last week, things happened at a pretty dizzying pace. The Supreme Court refused to hear a case regarding challenges to gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. The Ninth Circuit had determined the bans were Unconstitutional, running afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. The refusal of SCOTUS to hear the case meant that the Ninth Circuit ruling stood, effectively striking down gay marriage bans in those states. Activists in Arizona immediately jumped on the opportunity, arguing that the Ninth Circuit’s decision applied to all of the states in the division. Same-sex marriage was immediately made legal when AG Tom Horne announced that it wasn’t worth fighting and he was ordering the court clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples forthwith.

The argument being made by most of those opposed to same-sex marriage is that the majority voted to approve the ban, so it should be allowed to stand. Several have also tried to say that there was no ban – that the law (known in 2008 as Prop 102) was only about defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. Unfortunately, both of these arguments hold no water. Arizona’s laws regarding marriage had specifically targeted same-sex marriage, going so far as to bar state and local officials from recognizing such marriages that had been performed in other states (a la DOMA). The court wasn’t ruling on whether gay marriage was right – it was ruling that a law that singled out a particular subset of the population was Unconstitutional and could not be allowed to stand. They were right on that.

As for the majority argument? We are a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. Tyranny of the majority does not rule the day in America. The minority cannot be told they don’t have rights simply because the majority doesn’t want them to. I’m sure a rather strong majority of voters in Mississippi and Alabama wanted to keep Jim Crow laws when the federal government forcibly repealed them in 1964, but that didn’t make them right and it didn’t mean the court should have upheld them. There’s a majority of very liberal people in Chicago and Washington, DC. Gun laws for a long time have been so strict that carrying (or, in many cases, even owning) guns has been nearly impossible. SCOTUS had to stand up for the minority and tell the majority they were violating everyone’s rights. This is the same principle. The majority determines a lot of things; there are some things, however, best not left to a simple majority. That is the point of a Republic.

Then there’s the “G-d” argument. “G-d says marriage is between one man and one woman, so that’s the way it’s supposed to be!” If you want to believe that, it’s up to you. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong. I am here to tell you that you cannot codify your personal religious belief into law. The only mention of religion in the entire Constitution is in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That means that no government entity or law can tell you what you are allowed to believe. On the same token, it also means that the government cannot pass any law based purely on one religious belief or another. Your rights to believe that I am a sinner for being gay are protected. Your right to tell me I’m a sinner for being gay are protected. You have no right to pass a law against me because I’m gay.

Which will lead into the next article…Wedding Bells, Part II: The Hitching Post!

In Ten or Twenty Years

A few years ago, as I was getting ready to attend a friend’s birthday party, I got a phone call that I wasn’t expecting. A guy I worked with in public safety, a good Christian with a strong family, had a major problem – his young teenage daughter told him she was a lesbian, and he discovered that she was being aggressively pursued by an adult woman who was undeterred by his warnings that his daughter was well below the age of consent. I apologized to my other friend and raced to my buddy’s house to find this woman standing on his front doorstep, in full PRIDE mode, reading him the riot act about how “love is love, you don’t get to tell your kid who she’s allowed to love!”

I lost it. Before I had even said hello, I rode right up on her six and unleashed on her. I started with, “what part of JAIL BAIT do you fail to understand?!?” From there I explained (at the top of my lungs, because it’s only fair the the neighbors hear the rebuke at nearly midnight) that the fact that he wanted to protect his 14-year-old from ANY predator, male or female, did not make him a hatemonger. I suppose hearing another obvious lesbian tear into her did the trick, because she all but ran away and they never heard from her again. I spent the next three hours talking to the teenager about how gays and lesbians can be just as predatory as straight people, she was too young for sexual activity at age 14, and she needed to give her parents time to adjust to her talking about being gay. It took a couple of weeks but she finally accepted the fact that her parents didn’t judge her for being gay – they only wanted to protect her. It was typical teenage angst for her to assume that her parents wanted this woman out of her life merely because it was a same-sex relationship.

Recently, a slightly similar situation unfolded, albeit without the creepy older woman yelling at the front door. Another public safety colleague, one of the toughest old grizzled men I know, called me in tears. I could hear yelling and screaming in the background. His 16-year old daughter told them all that she thought she might be a lesbian. They had always been against gay marriage and attended a church that regularly taught you should not consort with gay people. Her revelation had been a massive shock to them. The “outing,” as it were, had happened nearly a week prior – his wife and older daughter had called in the youth pastor and some of her friends from church to stage an intervention, and it was ending in disaster. He didn’t know what to do; all he knew was that he was about to lose his daughter and he couldn’t stand it.

I had just gotten off shift so I rushed to his house. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have long been used to being the peacemaker, just not with people I know personally. Tossing a complete stranger off of a friend’s property is very different from pulling family members apart. I arrived to find the argument still in full swing – and the youth pastor was not helping at all. He was feeding the tension. I politely stopped all discussion and asked that everyone separate. EVERYONE. When the youth pastor objected (quite loudly), I asked him to leave. “The goal here is to make peace,” I said, “and you’re not helping that end. Please, go home.” I felt absolutely stunned that he left and my friend’s wife never blew up at me, because as soon as I told him to leave I fully expected her to.

I took my friend out to the back yard and let him unload. He told me about his daughter coming out, saying she wasn’t certain but she thought she was probably a lesbian. No, she didn’t have a girlfriend, but that could change at any moment. He didn’t think she had become sexually active. His wife had spent four days since not speaking to their younger daughter at all. His son was away at college and didn’t know what was going on, but he was about to, because someone had sent him several text messages just before the intervention. His older daughter had done nothing but get angry for the past four days. Nobody asked him about this intervention, but apparently his wife had roped the youth pastor and a handful of her friends from church into talking her into “gay rehab.” The situation rapidly spiraled out of control when the younger daughter refused to agree to it and the youth pastor started goading everyone to speak up and quoting scripture very loudly, as if he were preaching a sermon. As we talked, his son called him – without asking what was going on, his son told him, “kick those idiots out of the house right now or we’ll never see her again.”

Without hesitation, he turned to me and asked if I would talk to his family. I’ve never in my life had nervousness set in that suddenly – my heart skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. I managed to eek out a, “sure,” and in a fog followed him back inside. His wife was in her room. The older daughter was on the couch with their friends. The younger daughter was in her room, sobbing almost uncontrollably. I told my friend not to pick any fights and go sit in his study. I asked the friends to leave; they did protest, at which point I said, “I grew up in your culture. I went to private Christian school. I was even homeschooled for a little while. I know exactly what you’ve been taught and I know exactly what you’re trying to do here. It’s not helping. So when you all decide that it’s better to love your friend than judge her, feel free to come back. For now, go home.” One opened her mouth again but I pointed at the door and said, “OUT!” It was louder and more forceful than intended, but they did as I wanted. It felt so strange to once again be throwing perfect strangers out of a friend’s house, but it was the only way the peace would be kept.

The one thing that made things settle down almost immediately was the revelation that I’m a lesbian, but I’m conservative. They didn’t think such a creature existed. One of the things they had been most afraid of was how her politics would turn (which I couldn’t help but laugh at). Another of their big issues was, “what will our friends at church think?”

That last one threw me for a loop. I had heard that sort of thing before but had never encountered it personally (aside from my own personal fear after I came out). How could a parent so readily reject their own child because their church congregation may not approve?

There’s no excuse. I can possibly understand the fear that a child will be hurt, drastically change their politics, never have children, or even walk away from their faith…I do not and will never understand judgment from church being a reason. Sitting there listening to this teenager’s mother talk about how the church will never approve I had a very difficult time not lashing out at her. I allowed her to finish and then, as calmly and professionally as I could, let her know that their approval was not an acceptable reason to reject any member of her family. It wasn’t worth it. If you continue to allow that to be a deciding factor in your reaction, I explained, one day you would regret it and wish you had her back.

It didn’t fix everything. The idea was to get everyone to calm down and think, and that goal was achieved. I’ve talked to my friend and his daughter over the phone several times since then. I’ve tried to impress upon her the importance of respecting her parents even if she doesn’t agree with them or they’re flat wrong. I’ve tried to make sure she understands that 16 is not old enough to start having sex, and she needs to save that for adulthood – and the right person. I still feel inadequate to be in the role I find myself in, but I would rather they make the attempt than give up, which I feel like they all want to do sometimes.

It kills me to see so many families still being torn apart by an unwillingness to accept their children no matter what. Yet another friend recently let slip that a child in her care has come out and it isn’t going well. I hope that soon we won’t have to worry about this quite as much anymore.

Until then, I beg of everyone – ask yourself what you’ll think and feel ten years from now. If you disown your child when they come out, will you still be happy with that choice in ten or twenty years? Is losing face with your friends really worth it?