In the News
LI Herald: After Orlando, sadness and stepped-up security in New York
As the shocking details of last Sunday’s mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., emerged this week, local police and community organizations ramped up security, and gathered for prayer.
“We are appalled at the deaths of the innocent victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, and we’re keeping them and their loved ones in our prayers,” said Deacon Richard LaRossa, a pastoral associate at the Parish of St. Raymond’s Catholic Church in East Rockaway. “We pray also for those who have been injured, as well as for the police, doctors and nurses who helped them. May God help us and our country as we try to come to grips with this senseless act of hatred.”
“The shooting in Orlando was a horrific tragedy, and I’m praying for all those who lost loved ones in this attack, all the victims still fighting to survive, and the entire Orlando LGBT community,” said U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice. “In the days and weeks to come, we have a lot of questions to answer about why and how this attack occurred.”
Rice pointed out that the man who carried out the worst mass shooting in American history was using an AR-15 military-style assault rifle — the same weapon used in shootings at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif.; at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.; at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.; and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., among others.
“These kinds of guns aren’t used for sport or self-defense,” Rice said. “They are weapons of war, designed to inflict massive casualties in a short amount of time, and there is absolutely no reason why they should be sold to civilians.” She said she had cosponsored legislation to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and to ban the sale of the high-capacity ammunition feeding devices that allow for such deadly rates of fire.
Referring to the National Rifle Association, Rice added, “I don’t care how much money extremists like the NRA spend to defeat these bills — the American people want to see action, and I’ll keep fighting to get these common-sense measures passed before we all have to turn on the TV and see another one of our public spaces turned into a scene of unimaginable horror.”
The LGBT community speaks out
“I’m absolutely grieving over the fact that our LGBT brothers and sisters, and our community and family, have been in this tragic situation,” said Juli Grey-Owens, a Long Island LGBTQA Visibility Coalition committee member. “This was someone who was a terrorist, who believed in ISIS and was filled with hate. That, to me, is not so much a hate crime as much as it is an issue of terrorism. He probably thought that this was a way to put fear in people — and I’m sure he hated LGBT people.”
The LGBT Network, an association of nonprofit organizations serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities of Long Island and Queens, set up an emergency line for those needing to talk or text with someone about the shooting. The number is (631) 647-0142.
County takes safety measures
On Monday, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter held a press conference to discuss the training of county police and new equipment available to them.
Nassau County Police Department officials showcased new ballistic helmets and vests for officers on patrol as well as some of the department’s newest anti-terror assets, which include the Rook, a tactical machine for hostage rescue and barricaded suspects, and the Med Cat, a multi-purpose vehicle with rapid medical intervention capabilities.
“First and foremost, we extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families of this weekend’s terror attack,” Mangano said.
“Since the incident in Orlando, the Nassau County Police Department began intensifying police patrols throughout local communities,” he continued, “and has assigned officers from the NCPD’s Bureau of Special Operation and Criminal Intelligence Response Team to patrol local malls, areas of large gatherings and critical infrastructure.
“Officers of the Nassau County Police Department have been trained extensively to protect residents …,” Mangano added. “The Nassau County Police Department’s Intelligence Unit continues to work around the clock in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force to provide officers with counter-terrorism bulletins. While there is no specific threat to Nassau County, we must all remain vigilant in the fight against terror, as everyone can help be the eyes and ears for law enforcement. If you see something, say something — and dial 911.”