Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/Cs6qv
Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/Cs6qv
As thousands across the nation prepare to take to the streets on March 24, 2018, for The March for Our Lives, we’re taking a look at some of the root causes, long-lasting effects, and approaches to solving the gun violence epidemic in America. We’ll have a new installment every day this week.
That’s when a 19-year-old man shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and citizens around the country became rightfully outraged. 70% of Americans are fed up with excuses from the government and the National Rifle Association for not taking action about the circumstances that led to one of the deadliest high school shootings in modern American history.
Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky have been just a few of the numerous Parkland students leading what’s been called the #Enough or #NeverAgain movement for gun reform.
In the midst of unimaginable tragedy, these teens have been unapologetically outspoken about the collective American failure to implement safe, commonsense gun laws that a majority of Americans now believe in.
Many have garnered a huge social media following, several have been interviewed by media such as “60 Minutes” and The New Yorker, and the young activists have made it clear they aren’t backing down until things change.
They’re already making a substantial impact on policy changes and the national conversation and understanding of gun violence. But it’s time to take a step back and remember they weren’t alone in bringing this issue to the forefront.
Rather than getting handclap and raised fist emojis from thousands of Americans, black youth activists have often been demonized, labeled as “thugs,” and deemed trivial in the systematic gun reform conversation.
There are the friends of Hadiya Pendleton, a high school honor student who was killed at a park. In January 2013, they started a national Wear Orange movement to campaign against gun violence.
In September 2013, the Dream Defenders worked with NAACP leaders in an attempt to repeal the notorious Stand Your Ground law in Florida.
Black youth organized a massive march in New York City to protest gun violence and police brutality in December 2014. Tens of thousands of people attended the protest and marched for safety for all people.
In 2015, activist DeRay Mckesson helped launch Campaign Zero, an organization that proposes policy changes to curb gun and police violence.
And in July 2016, four teenage black girls organized a march and silent sit-in at Millennium Park to protest gun violence in Chicago communities.
These are just a few examples of thousands of active black teens working on gun reform over the years. Though many of these protests have been successful and meaningful, many have criticized the youth for their protest strategy.
The Parkland kids should be supported. They’ve done remarkable work that warrants the celebrity outreach they’ve received. And they’ve certainly gotten their share of criticism from the NRA and the internet.
But there are unequivocal double standards in the response to activism from young, non-black students compared with the activism of young black kids that are fighting for similar changes. In comparison, Parkland activists were quickly taken seriously and supported financially.
George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’ These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 20, 2018
so amazed at the highschool students who have been bravely outspoken in past couple of days. using their raw anger & grief in profound ways to bring overdue change for our country. they deserve our utmost respect/attention/& help. (🙏🏼EMMA, you are incredible) https://t.co/xzy6iunByj
— hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) February 18, 2018
Historically, America has failed to side with black activists on a number of issues — including gun control — and continues to do so. This inability to recognize black activism is a detriment to real change that could affect a number of different communities, including those most at risk.
After all, the impact of gun violence on black communities is staggering. Black Americans are disproportionately affected by gun violence compared with white Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black Americans are, on average, eight times more likely to be killed by firearms than those who are white.
As innumerable white men continue to barrel the black-on-black crime narrative on social media and Reddit threads as an excuse to not listen to black protesters, black kids have been in the streets, on the internet, and in government buildings advocating for change in their schools and communities.
For the record: the movement for Black lives (inclusive of all the various national & local orgs & grassroots movements) was accused of not having clear policy initiatives. It does. It did. It always has. 1/
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) February 21, 2018
Gosh. This is amazing. And a I’m not being sarcastic. I have to be honest and say that I’m a bit taken aback (and a bit hurt) that those of us who were in the streets in the past five years for Black lives didn’t receive this type of reception or public support. https://t.co/HLYXTcVdfL
— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) February 21, 2018
Critics often have even conflated the Black Lives Matter movement with violence when, in fact, most Black Lives Matter organizations center their missions around reducing violence. Black teens have organized rallies, spoken with politicians, and confronted the NRA in an effort to get guns out of dangerous hands and particularly out of communities where they’ve been especially destructive.
Instead of praise, many of the teens and young black people active in protesting injustice were shut down, ignored, or, worse, persecuted.
19-yr-old Josh Williams is currently in prison serving out his 8-yr sentence for his role as a youth leader during the Ferguson Uprising. I love how much the nation is rallying behind the Parkland teens. I wish the nation had and would also rally behind youth like Josh. #FreeJosh
— Sophie Ellman-Golan (@EgSophie) February 21, 2018
When we financially support organizations that mobilize to decrease violence in communities, call out racist statements on social media made in response to black kids calling out injustice, and praise black kids just as much as other youth when they protest, strategize, and organize, we can create a system that supports the values of all people.
The road to justice and commonsense gun reform is long and complex, but young people of all demographics have shown this world that change is possible when we listen.
Let’s ensure our society is listening to all voices — not just those who fit a certain narrative.
At least 15 killed when Israeli soldiers open fire during mass demonstrations in Gaza
Gaza hospitals, running low on blood and overstretched by the huge number of wounded, were reeling after one of the enclaves bloodiest days outside of open war, in which Israeli soldiers shot 773 people with live ammunition, according to the ministry of health.
Fifteen of the wounded died, said the ministry spokesperson Dr Ashraf al-Qidra. Most of the dead were aged between 17 and 35 years old, he said. The injuries were on the upper part of the body. He added that the remainder of the wounded, some of whom were in a critical condition, had been shot with live ammunition.
The violence erupted on Friday after mass demonstrations took place demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to land in Israel.
Tens of thousands of people, including women and children, had planned to camp several hundred metres from the Israeli frontier, which surrounds the 140-square-mile Gaza strip on two sides, on the first day of a peaceful, six-week protest.
But from the main camps, groups of mostly young men approached the border at several locations and started throwing stones and burning tyres. Soldiers responded by opening fire throughout the day.
More than 1,400 people were wounded, mostly by bullets but also rubber-coated rounds and tear-gas inhalation, the health ministry said. The Guardian was unable to independently verify the ministrys figures.
On Friday, in less than 30 minutes, reporters saw 10 people with bullet wounds carried away on stretchers at one of the demonstrations.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, declared Saturday a national day of mourning. More demonstrations are planned.
Israel said it has positioned snipers and responded to rioting Palestinians with dispersal means and firing towards main instigators. It said the movement was a Hamas-orchestrated ploy and it was identifying terror attacks under the camouflage of riots.
The military pointed to what it said was an attempted shooting attack by a terror cell in the northern part of the Gaza strip on Friday. It added that it had responded with gunfire and by targeting three nearby Hamas sites with tanks and fighter jets. The military sent a video to journalists showing men appearing to tamper with the separation fence and said that Hamas had earlier sent a seven-year-old girl across the border, whom Israeli soldiers returned to her parents.
The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said: The international community must not be deceived by what he called a well-organised and violent terror gathering.
Hamas, which backed the protest, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. In the past few weeks, Israeli forces say they have caught people attempting to cut through the frontier to launch attacks.
The UN security council held emergency talks to discuss the risks of further escalation but failed to agree on a statement. There is fear that the situation might deteriorate in the coming days, said the assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, Tay-Brook Zerihoun.
The UN secretary general, Antnio Guterres, has called for an independent and transparent investigation into the violence, according to his spokesman Farhan Haq.
The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said what happened in Gaza was a heinous massacre. He said Palestinians expect the security council to shoulder its responsibility and defuse this volatile situation, which clearly constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
Fridays death toll stood at 16 and included a farmer killed by an Israeli tank shell before dawn as he picked parsley near the border, according to the health ministry. An Israeli army spokesman said the man was operating suspiciously.
Al-Qidra said hospitals were running low on several blood types.
British Physicist Stephen Hawking, the most iconic and brilliant scientist of his generation, has died aged 76.
Despite a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, leading to paralysis, Hawking was able to bring to light several groundbreaking theories in the field of quantum physics, while making the complex field accessible to millions through a series of bestselling books.
Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1963, after experiencing difficulties with his movements in his final year at Oxford University. He was given just two years to live by doctors at the time, but went on to live with it for more than 50 years, an incredibly long time for an ALS sufferer. Unfortunately there is still very little known about the causes of ALS, and currently no cure. You may remember the successful awareness raising campaign for ALS that went viral a couple of years back, the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’ $115 million dollars were raised for research into the disease, resulting in some important discoveries.
Devastated by his diagnosis, Hawking nevertheless continued his work while his physical capabilities declined. Despite all of the setbacks he encountered, he always found ways to overcome them. He got around in a motorized wheelchair, and was able to communicate through an automated speech system, which gave him his iconic, computerized voice.
As well as his achievements in the field of quantum physics, and his determined quest to find a ‘unified theory’ that would aid us in our goal to gain a ‘complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence,’ Hawking’s celebrity helped to popularize and bring cosmology to a whole new generation of people.
His bestselling books and appearances on TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory helped to promote an enthusiasm for science that will endure well beyond his passing. He has opened the door for present and future scientists through his brilliant theories and discoveries, his determination in the face of adversity, and his inspiration to millions of people all over the world. He will be sorely missed.
Washington (CNN)“Clueless” star and former Fox News commentator Stacey Dash is withdrawing her congressional bid, a representative for the actress confirmed to CNN Friday.
It sounds like a very tough and uncertain road head for Scott Baio and his wife, Renee.
According to media reports and confirmed by Baio himself, Renee has been diagnosed with what’s being terms “moderate to severe” chronic microvascular disease — a condition that affects the brain and may have a profound impact on the rest of her life.
The actor confirmed Renee’s diagnosis first through Twitter on Saturday night (below):
And afterwards, Baio spoke to the media about the health news, as well.
Speaking with The Blast, Baio said:
“She was a former stuntwoman and had a massive brain injury in  due to a jet ski accident. We don’t know if her tumors and this new disease has anything to do with this … All we know is she must live as stress-free, depression free and anxiety free life as possible and a get good amount of sleep each night. This new disease can cause strokes and dementia.”
So, so scary.
Self-care becomes critical for Renee at this point — and it’s doubly scary considering Renee’s history of brain tumors.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Baio family.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]
The first time Isabelle Robinson met Nikolas Cruz, he knocked the wind out of her and smirked as he watched her cry.
“The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking,” Robinson, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, writes in an op-ed for The New York Times. “I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.”
It’s a chilling picture, one made even more frightening by the fact that Robinson assumed that adults would take notice and take care of the situation. She even showed Cruz kindness. Five years later, Robinson writes, she was huddled in a closet as he took 17 lives.
This is an idea that has been perpetrated by the leaders of the “Walk Up, Not Out” movement that made headlines leading up to nationwide school walkouts on March 14.
On the surface, the idea is deceptively logical: If more people were friendly to those deemed “outsiders,” gun violence would decrease and schools would become safer places.
But the reality of the situation is much different. As Robinson recounts in her op-ed, kindness is exactly what she tried to show Cruz. In eighth grade, a year after she says he physically assaulted her, she was assigned to tutor him. She did her best to push down her feelings of fear as Cruz continued to harass her.
“Despite my discomfort, I sat down with him, alone,” she writes. “I was forced to endure his cursing me out and ogling my chest until the hourlong session ended. When I was done, I felt a surge of pride for having organized his binder and helped him with his homework.”
“Looking back, I am horrified. I now understand that I was left, unassisted, with a student who had a known history of rage and brutality.”
The reason Robinson didn’t refuse the assignment? She cites a “desire to please” and to be seen as mature. “I would have done almost anything to win the approval of my teachers.”
Make no mistake, Robinson isn’t against the idea of kindness. But kindness isn’t enough. And when it comes to solving issues like gun violence, students — who load up their backpacks and go to school with the expectation of learning in a safe environment — should never be the first line of defense. Nor should the blame for violence be placed squarely on those who have been victimized in school shootings.
“It is not the obligation of children to befriend classmates who have demonstrated aggressive, unpredictable, or violent tendencies,” Robinson writes. “It is the responsibility of the school administration and guidance department to seek out those students and get them the help that they need, even if it is extremely specialized attention that cannot be provided at the same institution.”
Robinson’s story is both heartbreaking and all too familiar. A tragedy like Parkland has everyone demanding answers and seeking solutions. But too often, the conversation steers to victim-blaming, with fingers quickly being pointed at the survivors for not doing enough to prevent the tragedy. Even when, as in Robinson’s case, students actually put themselves in potential danger trying to be kind.
“The implication that Mr. Cruz’s mental health problems could have been solved if only he had been loved more by his fellow students is both a gross misunderstanding … and a dangerous suggestion that puts children on the front line,” Robinson states.
But then what should be done? While children are leading the #NeverAgain movement, they can’t be the only ones who demand change. As adults, we must protect them at all costs. And that means we must listen. And we must take action by recognizing that kindness isn’t the first line of defense against mass shootings — widespread gun reform is.
A couple of events over the past few weeks brought to mind two towering people who had a tremendous effect on the Archdiocese of New York and the U.S. more broadly. Their witness is worth remembering, especially in this political moment.
Last Saturday’s feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of our cathedral and archdiocese, reminded me of Archbishop John Hughes. As the first archbishop of New York (1842-64), “Dagger John” displayed dramatic reverence for the dignity of Irish immigrants. Thousands arrived daily in New York — penniless, starving and sometimes ill — only to be met with hostility, bigotry and injustice.
An immigrant himself, Hughes prophetically and vigorously defended their dignity. Because the schools at the time were hostile to these immigrants, he initiated Catholic schools to provide children with a good education sensitive to their religion and to prepare them as responsible, patriotic citizens. The schools worked. Many remain open to this day, their mission unchanged.
The second event was the recent funeral of a great African-American woman, Dolores Grier. A convert to Catholicism, she was named vice chancellor of the archdiocese three decades ago by Cardinal John O’Connor; she was the first layperson and first woman to hold the prestigious position. Grier was passionate about civil rights, especially the right to life of babies in the womb. She never missed an opportunity to defend, lovingly but forcefully, their right to life.
Grier attributed her pro-life sensitivity to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who preached that abortion was an act of genocide against minorities. No wonder, she often observed, abortuaries were clustered in poor black and brown neighborhoods. The statistics today confirm her observation: In 2013 there were more black babies aborted in New York City (29,007) than were born here (24,758), according to a report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
In 2013 there were more black babies aborted in New York City (29,007) than were born here (24,758).
The values Archbishop Hughes and Dolores Grier cherished — the dignity and sanctity of human life, the importance of Catholic schools, the defense of a baby’s civil rights — were, and still are, widely embraced by Catholics. This often led Catholics to become loyal Democrats. I remember my own grandmother whispering to me, “We Catholics don’t trust those Republicans.”
Such is no longer the case, a cause of sadness to many Catholics, me included. The two causes so vigorously promoted by Hughes and Grier—the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb — largely have been rejected by the party of our youth. An esteemed pro-life Democrat in Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, effectively was blacklisted by his own party. Last year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party.
Last year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party.
It is particularly chilly for us here in the state Hughes and Grier proudly called their earthly home. In recent years, some Democrats in the New York state Assembly repeatedly blocked education tax credit legislation, which would have helped middle-class and low-income families make the choice to select Catholic or other nonpublic schools for their children. Opposing the bill reduces the ability of fine Catholic schools across the state to continue their mission of serving the poor, many of them immigrants.
More sobering, what is already the most radical abortion license in the country may soon be even more morbidly expanded. For instance, under the proposed Reproductive Health Act, doctors would not be required to care for a baby who survives an abortion. The newborn simply would be allowed to die without any legal implications. And abortions would be legal up to the moment of birth.
The “big tent” of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent. Annafi Wahed, a former staffer to Hillary Clinton, recently wrote in this newspaper about her experience attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. She complimented the conservative attendees, pointing out that most made her feel welcome at their meeting. They listened attentively to her views — a courtesy, she had to admit, that would not be given to them at a meeting of political liberals.
The “big tent” of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent.
I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties. But it saddens me, and weakens the democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics now slams the door on us.
To Archbishop Hughes, Dolores Grier, and Grandma Dolan, I’m sorry to have to write this. But not as sad as you are to know it is true.
Cardinal Dolan is archbishop of New York.
New Mexico is a battleground in the fight over once public waterways, sparking fears it could set a national precedent
As Scott Carpenter and a few friends paddled down the Pecos river in New Mexico last May, taking advantage of spring run-off, the lead boater yelled out and made a swirling hand motion over his head in the universal signal to pull over to shore. The paddlers eddied out in time to avoid running straight through three strings of barbed wire obstructing the river.
Swinging in the wind, the sign hanging from the fence read PRIVATE PROPERTY: No Trespassing.
One member of their party waded into the swift water to lift the wire with a paddle for the others to float under. As they continued downstream, Carpenter, a recreational boater from Albuquerque, looked over his shoulder a see a figure standing outside the big ranch house up the hill. He offered a wave, but received nothing in return.
Its a scene playing out with increasing frequency in New Mexico, where a recent bid to legally privatize streams has public users like Carpenter more than a little alarmed, not least for the precedent it might set beyond the borders of this western state.
While the fight over US public lands has reached a fever pitch unlike anything seen in recent decades, and the Trump interior department seeks to lease out vast areas to private interests for mining and drilling, the fate of public waterways has largely flown under the radar. Now New Mexico has become a battleground for that very issue, with the state government, landowners, and outfitters on one side of the fight and anglers, boaters, recreationalists and heritage users on the other. At the heart of the argument: who owns the water that has long been considered the lifeblood of the arid west.
Strokes and hugs are being edged out of our lives, with doctors, teachers and colleagues increasingly hesitant about social touching. Is this hypervigilance of boundaries beginning to harm our mental health?
When did you last touch someone outside your family or intimate relationship? I dont mean a brush of the fingers when you took your parcel from the delivery guy. I mean: when did you pat the arm or back of a stranger, colleague or friend? My own touch diary says that I have touched five people to whom Im not related in the past seven days. One was a newborn and two were accidental (that was the delivery guy). Touch is the first sense humans develop in the womb, possessed even of 1.5cm embryos. But somewhere in adulthood what was instinctive to us as children has come to feel awkward, out of bounds.
In countless ways social touch is being nudged from our lives. In the UK, doctors were warned last month to avoid comforting patients with hugs lest they provoke legal action, and a government report found that foster carers were frightened to hug children in their care for the same reason. In the US the girl scouts caused a furore last December when it admonished parents for telling their daughters to hug relatives because she doesnt owe anyone a hug. Teachers hesitate to touch pupils. And in the UK, in a loneliness epidemic, half a million older people go at least five days a week without seeing or touching a soul.
Sensing this deficit, a touch industry is burgeoning in Europe, Australia and the US, where professional cuddlers operate workshops, parties and one-to-one sessions to soothe the touch-deprived. At Cuddle Up To Me, a cuddle retail centre in Portland, Oregon, clients browse a 72-cuddle menu. Poses includes the Alligator, the Mamma Bear and, less appealingly, the Tarantino. In Japan, a Tranquility chair has been developed, its soft arms wrapping the sitter in a floppy embrace.
Is this what a crisis of touch looks like? And if so, what do humans risk losing, when we lose touch?
Of course we are moving away from touch! exclaims Francis McGlone, a professor in neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores university and a leader in the field of affective touch. He is worried. We have demonised touch to a level at which it sparks off hysterical responses, it sparks off legislative processes, and this lack of touch is not good for mental health. He has heard of teachers asking children to stick on a plaster themselves, rather than touch them and risk a complaint. We seem to have been creating a touch-averse world, he says. Its time to recover the social power of touch.
Touch is commonly thought of as a single sense, but it is much more complex than that. Some nerve endings recognise itch, others vibration, pain, pressure and texture. And one exists solely to recognise a gentle stroking touch.