Monday News: Equality wins


GOVERNOR COOPER ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER BANNING CONVERSION THERAPY: No taxpayer money should be used for “conversion therapy” practices that treat being gay as a mental illness, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday when he signed a new executive order targeting the controversial therapy. “No child should be told that they must change their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Kendra R. Johnson, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality NC, in a press release. “We’re grateful that Gov. Cooper agrees. We are committed to ending this debunked practice and will work for statewide protections.” Conversion therapy is the process of trying to force LGBTQ people to change their sexual identity or preference. It can use techniques ranging from prayer to electrical shocks. The American Psychiatric Association considers it an unethical practice with “no credible evidence” to back it.

DURHAM COUNCILMAN CHARLIE REECE DEFENDS RESIDENTS WHO GOT MASSIVE WATER BILLS: “This is an absolutely huge screwup on the part of the city and there’s no two ways about it,” Reece wrote in a Facebook post. “I do not believe that our customers should bear the burden of any errors in estimation made by the water department, especially going back years.” Residents recently received their water bills and some found an unexpected additional balance due, they say. Mary Lyons, a Lavender Avenue homeowner for more than 23 years, and Tanya Kinsella, who has been in her Durham home since February 2017, say they’ve paid their bills faithfully. So the extra $831 on Lyons’ bill came as a shock, she said. “Out of the blue, when you’ve been paying your water bill on time, and assuming all is good, receiving something like this is just unfathomable to me,” Lyons said. Kinsella said her bill included an extra $561.

MAN TRIED TO ENTER GENERAL ASSEMBLY WITH HANDGUN AND AMMO: General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said in an interview Friday that this was the first instance of a gun being found during the screening process. Abraham James Zeiger was arrested and charged with one count of carrying a concealed gun and one count of violating legislative building rules. Brock said Zeiger came into the Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St., on Wednesday morning and was asked by the security staff whether he had any firearms in his bag. He told the screeners he wasn’t sure, Brock said. When Zeiger went through the X-ray scanners, Brock said, security saw something that “didn’t look right” in the bag so they searched it. They found a 9 mm handgun and two magazines, each loaded with 15 bullets, according to Brock. Because of how the gun was situated in the bag, Brock said, the screeners couldn’t tell what it was. They could just tell it was a metal object. Brock said the incident was a “total surprise” and that Zeiger was not known to the police department. Zeiger does not have a conceal carry permit.

BACK-TO-BACK MASS SHOOTINGS CLAIM 29 LIVES OVER THE WEEKEND: It took just 30 seconds in Ohio and zero bullets in Texas for officers to stop two mass shooters this weekend, but not before 29 people were killed and about 50 injured in less than 24 hours. Officers gunned down the Ohio shooter at the doorstep of a bar-turned-hiding place in the middle of Dayton's nightclub district, and arrested the El Paso shooter as hundreds fled a crowded shopping center. Though the two attacks staggered a nation accustomed to gun violence, the bigger shock may have been that the death toll wasn't worse. In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically. Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people.

EL PASO SHOOTER POSTED ON 8CHAN SHORTLY BEFORE GOING ON KILLING SPREE: Since GamerGate, 8chan has become a catchall website for internet-based communities whose behavior gets them evicted from more mainstream sites. It hosts one of the largest gatherings of supporters of QAnon, who claim that there is an international bureaucracy plotting against the Trump administration. And it has been an online home for “incels,” men who lament being “involuntarily celibate,” and other fringe movements. “8chan is almost like a bulletin board where the worst offenders go to share their terrible ideas,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. “It’s become a sounding board where people share ideas, and where these kinds of ideologies are amplified and expanded on, and ultimately, people are radicalized as a result.” 8chan has been run out of the Philippines by Jim Watkins, a United States Army veteran, since 2015, when Mr. Brennan gave up control of the site. Mr. Watkins, who runs 8chan along with his son, Ronald, has remained defiant in the face of criticism, and has resisted calls to moderate or shut down the site. On Sunday, a banner at the top of 8chan’s home page read, “Welcome to 8chan, the Darkest Reaches of the Internet.”