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Delfeayo Marsalis’ award-winning orchestra
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Louisiana's Tony Perkins Blames SPLC for Shooting
A day after a shooting that injured a man injured a man and reportedly could've been worse at the Washington D.C. headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council, the group's chairman decided to fire another volley - albeit one that wasn't laced with gunpowder- back across the aisle. On the steps of the building, FRC Director and former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins accused the Southern Poverty Law Center for essentially creating the atmosphere that propelled Floyd Corkins to enter the office building with 15 Chick Fil A sandwiches, 50 rounds of ammunition and a gun that was eventually used to shoot Leo Johnson.
Perkins said the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks and litigates against groups it believes to be responsible for hate and discrimination, was responsible for "reckless rhetoric."
"Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy," said Perkins, who has been linked with the formation of the Louisiana Family Forum. "Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation in what the FBI has characterized as an act of domestic terrorism."
At the Washington press conference, Perkins acknowledged that Corkins - who is not affiliated with SPLC - was the one who fired the gun. Johnson was shot in the arm. Despite his injuries, he wrestled the gun away from Corkins and held him down until authorities arrived, according to reports. Corkins' attack has been linked to politics, as he reportedly told Johnson something approximating "I don't like your politics," and feels very strongly about tolerance for homosexuals.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which frequently weighs in on Louisiana issues, started labeling the Family Research Council a hate group in 2010 because "it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people," according to a statement issued soon after Perkins' presser.
"Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people," the statement, authored by SPLC fellow Mark Potok, said.
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