Some three dozen voices of the LGBTQ, Muslim and interfaith communities joined Los Angeles Police leaders Tuesday afternoon for a news conference that made its point even before anyone spoke: the City of Angels finds strength in diversity, presenting a united front against hate.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called the gathering in response to the terror attack that left 49 dead Sunday at an Orlando nightclub popular with the LGBTQ community. A day later in Paris, an avowed supporter of the Islamic state jihadi movement killed two police officers.
"With us here, to our left, to our right, to our side, is our definition of Los Angeles," said LAPD Deputy Chief Bea Girmala, the chief's liaison to the LGBTQ community.
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"I have a message for anyone who promotes a cult of death...You don't represent me," said Salam Al-Marayati, president and co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with the LBGTQ community. We are one. We are all part of one humanity. We will defend each other. And we will work together with each other in partnership and in love."
"If there's a message to take from tragedy,it's that it doesn't have to be divisive among groups and people. We can all learn not just to tolerate, but to work together in collaboration," said Roger Coggan, director of legal services for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Chief Beck made an appeal for citizens to be alert and to be involved.
"If you see something, say something," said Beck, encouraging use of the department's recently rolled out app, iWatch LA, for reporting suspicions.
During a question-and-answer session, Beck said he believes restrictions on gun ammunition can hobble attackers bent on mass casualties. For rifles, Beck favors banning magazines that are detachable and quickly replaced with another magazine full of bullets. Instead, Beck believes rifles should be top-loading, so that once the ammunition in the magazine is spent, new rounds can be loaded only one bullet a time.
Such a proposal is among the gun control measures now being considered by lawmakers in Sacramento. A ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is already local law under ordinances in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Gun rights advocates argue that such restrictions would be contrary to the 2nd amendment.