Orange County Communities Enraged Over Viral Hate Crime

Orange County Students Face Repercussions For Hateful Image

Just recently a photo was published on social media depicting a series of Orange County high school students posed in front of swastika made from beer cups while holding out their arms in a Nazi salute. This image, taken at a party, pictures students from several schools within both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The students now identified via classmates etc. are facing serious repercussions and backlash from communities across the US and especially within Orange County.

Communities of Jewish individuals have come together to speak out about this topic and the sadness and anger it provokes. Students from schools within the OC/LA area mentioned they were not surprised and that, “swastikas are carved into bathroom walls and desks on campus.” Anti-Semitism still exists and it is becoming more and more prevalent as time progresses. Other students have turned to social media to express their disappointment in their community for allowing Anti-Semitic behaviors to persist while asking individuals to open their eyes and work to create change.

Angered parents of students across Orange County have spoken out about this issue, many of them members of the Jewish community as well. Amongst the parents was Mr. and Mrs. Bernstein who spoke out about this issue that touched home.

In January of 2018, college student Blaze Bernstein was murdered within Orange County, CA. Bernstein, a 19-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania and member of both the LGBTQ+ and Jewish community, was found deceased and brutally stabbed in what seemed to be an inhumane act rooted in both homophobia and hate.

Both Blaze’s parents spoke out about the current situation recently stating it was hate like this that murdered their son. Anti-Semitic and homophobic behavior that led to the loss of a beautiful life. Truth lies in their statements as, unchecked hateful behavior within high schools not only in Orange County provides an outlet for hate crimes across the country, Blaze’s tragic death being only one of many.

What Can We Do As A Community?

Promoting the rights of all individuals within our society is imperative when looking for solutions to the wave of hate we have been facing. The behavior of these students is disgraceful and hurtful to our community, reflecting ignorance and a lack of knowledge. Many of the students have taken the defensive side justifying their actions mentioning it was merely, “fun and games” or that it was, “humorous.” It is important to speak out and report this type of behavior as it it truly has the power to divide our communities.

If you witness something it is important you report the crime to a hotline or your local police station immediately.

Hate Crime National Hotline (USA)
206-350-HATE (4283)

It is also important to support your local organizations promoting the rights and equality of all individuals despite race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. There are myriad organizations members of all communities can join that focus on providing protection and a sense of security to the many marginalized communities within our society.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King.

Florida Shooting: What We Know

Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire on students and faculty Wednesday afternoon killing 17, and wounding others.  Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High had a planned fire drill Wednesday morning, so when the second alarm blared through the speakers students were confused but didn’t think much of the situation.  It was not until they heard gunshot that students  began to frantically flee and barricade themselves desperate to stay alive.

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Nikolas Cruz, 19, Time

Cruz had been previously expelled and recognized as a danger on school grounds by the schools administrators, his expulsion was a product of his violence presented towards his ex-girlfriends current boyfriend.   Recent statements from students attending Marjory Stoneman mention Cruz had a tendency to “obsessively stalk”  or “threaten” many females within the school.  Classmates had also mentioned Nikolas would make, “dark, gun-related jokes” joking about, “shooting people or shooting up establishments” (USA Today).  Many students were able to immediately identify their former classmate equipped with smoke grenades, an AR-15 style weapon, and a gas mask.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Wikipedia

After arriving at the campus, Cruz entered buildings where he immediately opened chaotic fire shooting through windows, computer screens, ceilings etc.  Many students hid inside closets, bathroom stalls, and classrooms however others found themselves attempting to flee the campus in order to reach a safe ground.  Students remaining on campus witnessed bullets spraying through classrooms in no particular direction hitting their classmates, and shattering windows.  Students used their mobile phones, specifically Snapchat, to record these traumatizing moments, while others texted their friends and families what they thought was their final goodbye.

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Students evacuating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, France 24

Cruz had killed the majority of the victims on campus however did shoot and kill an individual down the street.  It was mentioned that Cruz did not remain on campus throughout the duration of the shootings, and was constantly, “on and off campus”.  Cruz was eventually identified and taken into custody by local law enforcement officers, and has since been charged with 17 counts of murder.

The moment Nikolas Cruz was taken into custody by local law enforcement after killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Fla. Wednesday. 
Nikolas Cruz being taken into custody by the law enforcement after brutally murdering 17, WPTV West Palm Beach

12 bodies were found on campus, one off campus, and others succumbed to their fatal injuries on the way to the hospital or at the hospital.  The known victims are as listed:

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Aaron Feis, MassLive.com

Aaron Feis – Assistant football coach killed after throwing himself in front of  the spray of bullets to shield the students.

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Nicholas Dworet, NY Daily News

Nicholas Dworet – Nicholas was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, and a  swimmer recruited by the University of Indianapolis.

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Jaime Guttenberg, Sky News

Jaime Guttenberg – Jaime was among the 17 individuals who lost their lives in this inhumane tragedy.

Meadow Pollack was killed on February 14, 2018 when Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Meadow Pollack, Facebook

Meadow Pollack – Meadow was among many who were thought to be missing until her father confirmed her passing this morning.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211229977607668&set=gm.1801617480134672&type=3&theater
Gina Montalto, Facebook

Gina Montalto – Gina was a member of her school’s color guard team, and unfortunately succumbed to her injuries Wednesday night.

Luke Hoyer was killed by a gunman who shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Luke Hoyer, Family Handout

Luke Hoyer – Luke was one among the 17 individuals shot and killed by Nikolas Cruz.

Martin Duque was killed when Nikolas Cruz Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Martin Duque, GOFUNDME

Martin Duque – Martin, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

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Peter Wang, Facebook

Peter Wang – Peter, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

 Joaquin Oliver's family are searching for the young man, saying he was at the school when the shooting started
Joaquin Oliver, Facebook

Joaquin Oliver – Joaquin’s passing was confirmed by his cousin Thursday morning.

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Cara Loughran, Facebook

Cara Loughran – Cara’s passing was confirmed by a peer counselor at the church in which she attended.

Scott Beigel, Facebook

Scott Beigel – Mr.Beigel was a geography teacher at the school, aiding students in reaching safety however unfortunately being shot and killed during the process.

Alaina Petty, Facebook

Alaina Petty – Alaina was confirmed deceased by the Bishop of the Coral Springs Ward, alongside her great aunt Thursday morning.

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Alyssa Alhadeff, Facebook

Alyssa Alhadeff – Alyssa’s death was confirmed by her soccer club Thursday morning via Facebook.

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Chris Hixon, Facebook

Chris Hixon – Chris was an athletic director at the High School who fell upon the 17 victims of the shooting.

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Madeleine Wilford, Facebook

Madeleine Wilford – Madeleine was among the victims of the school shooting Wednesday.

Our hearts and condolences go to the families of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Shooting.

*this is a developing story as updates become available they will be posted*

Trumps New Military Ban

featured image courtesy of Elite Daily 

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On July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump sent out a series of three messages on the social media platform Twitter. The three messages included new information about a certain group of people from the LGBTQ Community. They said, in order, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……” “….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..” “….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”

In writing these messages Trump stated that transgender individuals are burdens, which created an uprising on every social media platform. Hashtags were created and reused from old, forgotten about protests. Celebrities took to Instagram and Twitter to reblog pictures and captions that littered every corner of the internet. Celebrities/Politicians spoke their mind over Twitter.

Tom Perez tweeted “To the members of the transgender community: You are not a “burden.” Do not let this president shake you. We support you, we stand with you.” The tweet was liked more than 70,000 times and retweeted more than 35,000 times.

An old tweet from Ivanka Trump said, “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” That tweet was quoted by another twitter user James Cordon who, on July 26, said, “Hey Ivanka, James here. Hope all is good, quick question, can you… Erm… Call your dad and have a talk. X” That was in response to what her father had tweeted just earlier that day.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, tweeted “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.”

Since Trump’s tweets people have stopped to wonder, ‘Is this constitutional?’ ‘what about those who are already in the military? will he really take 15,000 individuals out of the army?’ ‘isn’t he basically un-arming our military?’

However, none of these things can shake our community. Why? Because President Trump’s many actions carried out during his term have shown us, multiple times over, that when you silence and discriminate against one community, all others stand up to shout louder and stronger for those who can’t.