Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Father of Christopher Leinonen speaks out"

The Detroit NewsDetroit native Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32, was among 49 people killed in Saturday night’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, according to the city of Orlando. His father, Mark Bando, responded to The Detroit News Monday with this letter.
“The website for the city of Orlando, FL has just added my son's name to the list of those killed at the Pulse nightclub shooting, so it has been confirmed.
His name was Christopher Andrew Leinonen, he went by the nickname of 'Drew' and he was gay, a fact I only learned about 5 years ago. While I was not thrilled to learn of his orientation, I accepted it as the way he was pre wired-when born. He was handsome, personable, brilliant and loved vintage movies. He grew-up, got a master's degree and became a practicing psychologist. He was born June 1, 1984.
Chris' mother Christine Leinonen was a MSP state trooper from 1981 to 1990. We were not married when he was conceived and born and he was raised by her as a single parent and he had her last name. After working a decade with MSP, Christine quit and moved down to FL, where she attended law school and became an attorney.
Before reaching high school age, Christopher lived in Macomb Co. and I had regular weekend visitation with him and paid child support for 18 years. His mother moved to FL and took him along, making regular in-person visiting very difficult, in the 1990s.
Chris graduated from Seminole FL High School and got his college degrees from UCF, which is when he began living in the Orlando area. In recent years, I only saw him in person about once per year, when I visited FL, or when he made one of his rare visits to Michigan.
Like his mother, Christopher was very idealistic about the human race, and he did not want to see the evil in the world or even to believe it existed. He used to laugh and joke and tell me I was paranoid, to carry a gun off duty, when I was a Detroit cop. He called me after September 11th, when his world view altered somewhat, after seeing planes fly into the World Trade Center. So he made the giant leap to believing there are evil people in the world, but not far enough to acquaint himself with firearms, or to get a permit to carry. If we'd spent the last 2 decades living in close proximity to each other, I have little doubt I'd have trained him to use a gun. After seeing the Paris massacre last year, I thought, "If only one of the intended victims in that large crowd had been armed, many lives could have been saved." I also thought, this couldn't happen in America, because surely, somebody in a large crowd like that would be armed, in the U.S. Wrong, history has repeated itself right here in the USA and my son and 51 others were slaughtered like helpless cattle, precisely because nobody in that club had a weapon to shoot back with.
Drew and his signifiant other Juan were both killed and I hope my son was taken quickly and without suffering. I hate to imagine some of the victims being terrorized for hours, because this armed killer was allowed to play God and exterminate them at will and in his own time schedule.
Drew phoned his mom Saturday evening before going to the club and the next morning, he was considered missing, because his mother heard about the massacre and was unable to contact him. We feared the worst and around mid day on Monday, it was confirmed that he had died at the scene.
The killer was armed and his helpless victims were not, yet the anti gun politicians still want to disarm the populace, enabling these scenarios. It is likely such attacks will continue, until the victims start shooting back. That's the lesson I take from this, for what it's worth. When the shooting started Saturday night, I'll bet there wasn't a person in the club who wouldn't have traded everything he owned in the world, for a loaded gun.
I was a uniformed patrol officer on the city of Detroit PD, from 1974-99 and retired at the same rank 25 years later, as when I joined. I worked at the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 13th and 16th Precincts, as well as the citywide Tactical Services Section, for 6 years.
I'll attach a photo of 'Drew' and myself taken last December, when he visited myself and his 1/2 sister, Jill, in Michigan. I don't think there is much more I can tell you, except that Drew was a son to be proud of and he will be missed by many people.”
Mark A. Bando

25 comments:

edutcher said...

That's the kind of letter that will have an impact.

Quite eloquent, really, but simply written by just another working stiff. It draws the line between the protected class doing their little outdated sit-in and the people who are at risk every day - everybody else.

I don't doubt discussions like that are going on all across the country and what must hit a lot of people is the fact this time it was homosexuals, but last time, it wasn't.

These people hate everybody not them. So we're all in danger.

How many votes does Hillary lose because of this?

ndspinelli said...

Trump needs to have this guy appear @ a rally. Make sure he will make a good presentation and appearance first.

MamaM said...

No, Trump doesn't need this guy to appear @ a rally.

Mr Bando is not a pawn or a tool. He's a man with much to feel and work through following the death of a son.

ndspinelli said...

Well, that of course would be up to Mr. Bando, wouldn't it? You extend the INVITATION. You give Mr. Bando the CHOICE. The invite should be open. Let Mr. Bando know you are praying for him. Let him know you respect whatever he would like to do. Personally, I would not want to be on stage talking about my son. I'm private, as are you. But, Mr. Bando wrote a letter to a newspaper. That tells you he is not that private. He wanted to talk about his son, his grief, and the reasons he believed this happened. So, if offer him the CHOICE to speak his mind to a wider audience. People grieve in a wide spectrum. It's judgemental to think that they should grieve as we do.

AllenS said...

Mr. Bando has his head screwed on correctly.

Methadras said...

The sheer and utter vacuous idiocy from the RMPC's anti-gun, anti-2A stance is beyond hysterical at this stage after Orlando. The lies they tell and continue to perpetuate are unbelievable.

edutcher said...

MamaM said...

No, Trump doesn't need this guy to appear @ a rally.

Mr Bando is not a pawn or a tool. He's a man with much to feel and work through following the death of a son.


You never know. Trump has had other people who want their voices heard speak at his rallies.

If the man asked, I'll bet he'd be given 10 minutes (or whatever) to make his voice heard.

edutcher said...

A Surber piece on what the Orlando thing is really about and who is standing up for in this case, homosexuals, and who isn't.

This is the stuff that changes minds.

Methadras said...

I texted a buddy of mine, who just happens to be a homosexual and asked him if he wanted to go to the range with me and I got a big fat emphatic NO!!! Then a couple of days later he texted me back and said he thought about it and asked me if the offer still stood and I said of course it did. We are going this weekend and I'm going to teach him how to shoot and help him pick out a weapon that will fit his needs.

He keeps texting me how excited he is about it.

Sixty Grit said...

Mae West, call your office.

edutcher said...

Methadras said...

I'm going to teach him how to shoot and help him pick out a weapon that will fit his needs.

Don't say that to Titus or he'll think you want to go steady.

MamaM said...

You never know. Trump has had other people who want their voices heard speak at his rallies.

I know this much about trauma and grief; making use of the written word to tell a story that's close to one's heart is much different than standing up in a public venue to personally share something that's not yet been fully processed.

Writing a story allows time for the emotions and thoughts that rise while doing so to be felt and worked through at one's own pace. There's no such buffer available with a public presentation.

And no, ND. I don't extend the invitation. I don't give Mr Bando a choice. And I don't recommend Trump do so either.

ndspinelli said...

I'm not saying he attend a rally this week, or even this month. I would ask you what about an invite 3-4 months from now. But, your metaphysical certitude on this tells me why even bother asking.

edutcher said...

MamaM said...

Writing a story allows time for the emotions and thoughts that rise while doing so to be felt and worked through at one's own pace. There's no such buffer available with a public presentation.

As I said, it would be the father's decision. If he asked, I think Trump would give him a platform, but I doubt he's going to have his people solicit something like that.

windbag said...

While I was not thrilled to learn of his orientation, I accepted it as the way he was pre wired-when born.

And this statement will be the one that the gun control freaks will focus on. They'll dismiss everything else he said and charge him with homophobia because he wasn't thrilled about his son's homosexuality, and only accepted it rather than applauded it.

Third Coast said...

Mr. Bando talked about this on a local radio station last week. His verbal description was just as concise as the letter he wrote. If he decided to appear for Trump, I've no doubt he'd be well spoken and would use his background as a cop to explain why we can't be naive about this stuff.

AllenS said...

Thank you, Meth for trying to help someone overcome their fear of guns.

MamaM said...

Don't haul metaphysical certitude out on me, ND.

It's the certitude in your statement that "Trump needs to have this guy appear @ a rally" that prompted my response.

If Trump decided to send a personal response to Mr Bondo, and Mr Bondo, upon receiving it were to decide to make it public, I'd be good with that. That's far different in my mind from Trump needing to use someone's story of grief to make a political point.

ndspinelli said...

chrissake, Mama! I'm one of the most tepid Trump voters here. You backed way off of your stern and terse, "No, Trump does not need this guy to appear at a rally" and followed up w/, "I don't extend the invitation. I don't give Mr. Bando a choice." Now we are simply separated by semantics and logistics. I respect your being protective of Mr. Bando. I was as well, we just needed to discuss it a bit.

MamaM said...

"Trump needs to have this guy appear at a rally." and "I like to see Trump invite this guy to a rally" are two different statements.

I don't think Trump needs to have the bereaved father of a recently murdered son appear at a political rally. Doing so seems unseemly to me. Regardless of how well spoken and contained the father appears to be.

To clarify my 9:22, if Mr Bondo upon receiving a response from Trump to his letter, were to decide to make Trump's response public, I'd be good with that.

ndspinelli said...

Thank you for your passion and responses. I believe we are largely in agreement. I was cavalier in my original wording which evoked your empathy and passion.

Trooper York said...

This was a very interesting thread. Very informative.

Trooper York said...

I think the point is moot. Trump does not have to ask anyone to stand on the stage to tell their story. Victim family after victim family come to him. He comforts them. He listens to them. He gives them a platform if they want to speak out. They are very grateful to him for that opportunity. Just listen to them in their own words.

If this family wants to speak out I am sure he will listen and give them a platform if that is what they want. It is up to them not us to decide what is appropriate.

ndspinelli said...

Third Coast, Thanks for the info on Mr. Bando. Your take on his verbal skills are consistent w/ Mr. Bando's letter.

Methadras said...

AllenS said...

Thank you, Meth for trying to help someone overcome their fear of guns.


It's the least I could do. I'll give you all a synopsis of the experience when we are done.