More

Obama nailed why we can't forget the Orlando shooting was at an LGBTQ club.

'No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.'

Obama nailed why we can't forget the Orlando shooting was at an LGBTQ club.

In the early hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.


Pulse is an LGBTQ nightclub. That the attack happened there was no coincidence. It appears the gunman — who pledged allegiance to the Islamic state the night he killed at least 50 people — reportedly held deeply homophobic attitudes.

Sunday afternoon, President Obama addressed the nation, highlighting what made this most recent act of terror unique.

While the president confirmed the FBI is investigating the incident and thanked the courageous first responders who saved many lives, he also made a point to note why the location of this attack should not be overlooked.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

"This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender," he said in his speech. "The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live."

"The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights."

The president is right. Dating back to the Stonewall Riots of the 1960s, LGBTQ nightclubs and bars have been much more than just spaces to have fun on a Friday night. These venues are where people have organized, protested, pushed for progress, and found safe spaces amid a hostile outside world.

This wasn't just an attack on Americans writ large — it was an attack on the freedoms that LGBTQ people have rallied for for decades.

"No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans," Obama said.

The president also used his speech to highlight the continued need to act against gun violence.

Sunday morning's tragedy — the deadliest shooting in American history — is yet another example of why rampant gun violence in the U.S. is a uniquely American phenomenon.

"This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub," Obama said.

"And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well."

Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images.

June is pride month across the country. As we celebrate progress made while honoring those who lost their lives in Orlando, let's also remember what inspires us to keep fighting: hope.

As LGBTQ rights activist Harvey Milk once said, "The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope."

"Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right."

Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images.

Watch Obama's speech addressing the Orlando mass shooting:

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less