Green Party: Sympathy for victims at Pulse Nightclub; Jill Stein’s updated statement

From the Green Party’s website, June 15th, 2016:

The Maine Green Independent Party released the following statement today in response to yesterday’s Orlando, Florida shootings:

We in the Maine Green Independent Party offer our deepest condolences to the families and communities most affected by the mass shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday morning. The shockwave from this hateful act on Latinx queer Floridians is being felt by many of us up in Maine as we ponder what it means to live in a world where our very simple choices of who to love are considered grounds for murder MAINE GREENS CALL TO END CULTURE OF VIOLENCE, HATE.

The Maine Green Independent Party denies any supposition that the kind of hate crime committed in Orlando stems from religious affiliation with Islam. The negative and hateful responses to the Islamic faith around these kinds of incidents do nothing but further incite the culture of violence. In Los Angeles, another potential shooter was stopped before he could make any attacks. In Orlando the shooter’s parents confirmed that the shooter was openly hateful of gay people and not an actively practicing Muslim.

We also oppose the claim that the shooting in Orlando was the “largest mass shooting in US history” as most media outlets have been claiming. Such a claim erases the history of violence against native peoples in America including the shootings at Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and Bloody Island, each which took over 150 lives.

Many people are quick to point out the availability of high powered assault weapons as being one of the root causes for this kind of violence, but solely removing access to weapons would not remove the potential for this level of hate. The United States is a country built on the backs of slave labor and on the appropriated land of Native Americans. We exist in a patriarchal culture where violence is respected as a means to respond to disagreements. Our major political parties ascribe to platforms of endless war. The banning of assault weapons and stronger background checks will make a difference, but not the kind of difference a flat out refusal to engage in violence as a means of problem solving would potentially bring about. We can’t though, merely point out the history and struggle with violence and toxic masculinity. Many LGBTQIA+ people are working now to find words and find the courage to continue being who they are in public, when to do so is a risk.

If you are able, make it out to your local pride weekend, kiss your same-sex or non gender binary partner in public, dress yourself in a way that makes you feel empowered and at home in your body. Offer your support for friends and family who are struggling and show up for them. If you have a car, offer to drive your friends home at night. If you have money, consider donating to an organization that works on trans rights, or another issue important to you. Show up for each other. Don’t stop questioning and working to change this broken society, the world needs you now more than ever.

Thank you and in sorrow and hopefulness,
The Maine Green Independent Party

Jill Stein

Yesterday, Jill Stein posted another response to the Orlando mass shooting on her website:

Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party Presidential candidate, released the following statement about the recent mass shooting in Orlando:

Martin Luther King Jr said that peace is not the lack of violence. It’s the presence of justice.

Orlando compels us to strive for a vision of justice in a country that respects diversity and allows people to exist freely in a safe and welcoming community – without prejudice against differences of race, religion, country of origin, sexual preference, gender identity or age. We must reject inflammatory attempts to scapegoat all Muslims for this tragedy. We must be free from fear in the streets, at work, in the ballot box, and on the dance floor – a freedom from fear that so many at that Orlando club were seeking on the dance floor that night. We should all stand in solidarity, love and support with members of the LGBTQ community.

Orlando also compels us to come to terms with the epidemic of mass shootings that this barbaric event is the most recent and extreme example of. This conversation must not be silenced by a parallel and important discussion about ending terrorism. We must have both these conversations, and not allow one to dominate the other.

We cannot ignore what the Orlando shooting has in common with Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and the near miss of the would-be homophobic shooter in Los Angeles. We must address the culture of hate and violence, the scourge of homophobia, racism, anti-immigrant violence and domestic abuse, and the desperate mental health needs of growing numbers of Americans. And we must break the stranglehold of the NRA over Congress to provide critical protections for American safety, including an assault weapons ban and background checks.

To stop ISIS, we call for ending the US supply of weapons to terrorists and for a weapons embargo to the Middle East. We also call for freezing the bank accounts of US allies like Saudi Arabia that are continuing to fund terrorism.

Ironically, while the US and allies are fighting terrorism with one hand, with the other hand the US has been the driving force behind the rise of jihadi terrorism ever since it first emerged in Afghanistan in the 1970s. It’s time to end the catastrophic wars on terror that have cost $6 trillion since 2001, tens of thousands of US soldiers killed and maimed, and over a million people killed in Iraq alone. These wars have only produced worse terrorist threats, along with failed states and mass refugee migrations. It’s time to end this failed policy and begin a US foreign policy founded on human rights, international law and diplomacy.

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