Tag Archives: gun violence

Massacre at U.S. nightclub, ISIS claims responsibility

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club,in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club,in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

By Barbara Liston
June 12, 2016

Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – A man armed with an assault rifle killed 50 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which President Barack Obama described as an act of terror and hate.

Police killed the shooter, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident and U.S. citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.

Mateen called 911 on Sunday morning and made comments saying he supported the Islamic State militant group, officials said.

“It has been reported that Mateen made calls to 911 this morning in which he stated his allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State,” said Ronald Hopper, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge on the case.

(Related story below: Islamic State claims responsibility for Orlando shooting)

U.S. officials cautioned, however, that they had no conclusive evidence of any direct connection with Islamic State or any other foreign extremist group.

“We know enough to say this was an act of terror, an act of hate,” Obama said in a speech from the White House. “As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people.”

U.S. officials have reached no definitive judgment on the killer’s precise motives, Obama added.

“We must spare no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups,” he said.

Fifty-three people were wounded in the rampage. It was the deadliest single U.S. mass shooting incident, eclipsing the 2007 massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech university.

Pulse was crowded with some 350 revellers at a Latin music night when the attack happened.

Clubgoer Joshua McGill described in a posting on Facebook how he fled the attack.

“I hid under a car and found one of the victims that was shot,” McGill said, describing trying to bandage the victim with his shirt and quietly dragging him to a nearby police officer. “Words cannot and will not describe the feeling of that. Being covered in blood. Trying to save a guy’s life.”

A hostage situation developed, and three hours later a team of SWAT officers used armoured cars to storm the club before shooting dead the gunman. It was unclear when the victims were killed.

The number of dead shocked local officials, who had initially put the death toll at 20.

“Today we’re dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. He said 39 people died inside the club, two outside, and nine others died after being rushed to hospital.

Orlando Regional Medical Center Hospital said it had admitted 44 victims, including nine who died, and had carried out 26 operations on victims.

Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

PRIOR FBI INTERVIEWS

Orlando gay nightclub mass shooting suspect Omar Mateen, 29 is shown in this undated photo. Orlando Police Department/Handout via Reuter

Orlando gay nightclub mass shooting suspect Omar Mateen, 29 is shown in this undated photo. Orlando Police Department/Handout via Reuter

Mateen had twice been interviewed by FBI agents, in 2013 and 2014, after making comments to co-workers indicating he supported militant groups, but neither interview lead to evidence of criminal activity, the FBI’s Hopper said.

As police tried to determine what motivated Mateen’s rampage, about a dozen unmarked police cars had gathered around a Port Saint Lucie house that appeared to be linked to the gunman. Police on the scene declined to comment, and neighbours said they didn’t  much activity in or around the white stucco home

“I’ve never seen anyone come in or out,” said Aryne Rackley, who has lived three doors away for the past three years. “Nobody is ever in the backyard.”

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on a congressional intelligence committee, said there were indications of “an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism,” referring to Islamic State.

Likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, said he was “right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

He called in a tweet on Sunday for “toughness and vigilance.” Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted a brief statement after the attacks, but did not speculate on the motives of the gunman.

Florida Governor Rick Scott called for Americans to hold a moment of silence at 6 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) to commemorate the dead. World leaders including Pope Francis, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and the leaders of Canada and Afghanistan condemned the attack.

Mateen was born in New York of parents who were immigrants from Afghanistan, according to a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

If confirmed as an act of terrorism, it would be the deadliest such attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda-trained hijackers crashed jetliners into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing some 3,000 people.

Mateen also referenced the ethnic Chechen brothers who killed three people in a bombing attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013, according to law enforcement officials.

The Orlando attacker was carrying an AR-15 style assault rifle and a handgun, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. He also had an unidentified “device”, said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

The choice of target was especially heart-wrenching for members of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida.

“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety,” the group said in a statement. “We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger.”

Orlando has a population of more than 270,000 and is the home of the Disney World amusement park and many other tourist attractions that drew 62 million visitors in 2014.

Also on Sunday, a man was arrested in California with assault weapons and possible explosives and told authorities he was in the Los Angeles area for the gay pride festival, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Copyright Reuters 2016

(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Zachary Fagenson in Port Saint Luice, Fla., Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mark Hosenball in Washington and Chris Michaud in New York; Writing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Alistair Bell)

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Islamic State claims responsibility for Orlando shooting

By Jonathan Landay and Mark Hosenball

A handout photograph posted by the Orlando Police Department on Twitter with the words, "Pulse shooting: In hail of gunfire in which suspect was killed, OPD officer was hit. Kevlar helmet saved his life", in reference to the operation against a gun man inside Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

A handout photograph posted by the Orlando Police Department on Twitter with the words, “Pulse shooting: In hail of gunfire in which suspect was killed, OPD officer was hit. Kevlar helmet saved his life”, in reference to the operation against a gun man inside Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Islamic State claimed responsibility on Sunday for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, but U.S. officials said they had seen no immediate evidence linking the militant group to the massacre in Orlando, Florida.

Islamic State’s claim was carried by Amaq, the organization’s news agency.

“The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,” said the Amaq statement.

At least 50 people were killed and 53 others were wounded in the Pulse nightclub before the suspected gunman was shot to death by police.

The suspected shooter was identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, a Florida resident who a senior FBI official said might have had leanings toward Islamic State.

The FBI official cautioned, however, that proving the suspected link to radical Islamism required further investigation.

Two U.S. officials familiar with the investigation into the massacre said that no evidence had yet been found showing a direct link between the massacre and Islamic State or any other militant group.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said they had yet to see any direct contacts between any extremist group and the suspect.

Speaking at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama called the attack “an act of terror” and an “act of hate,” and said the FBI would “spare no effort” to determine whether the suspect had been inspired by any extremist group.

The two officials familiar with the investigation said a leading theory was that the suspect somehow was inspired by Islamic militants.

One official said early information, the nature of which he did not disclose, indicated that the shooter was motivated by a mixture of “hate” and religion.

Federal authorities believe the shooter was Mateen, the U.S.-born son of Afghan immigrants, he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the worst mass shooting in U.S. history that took place in Orlando, Florida, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the worst mass shooting in U.S. history that took place in Orlando, Florida, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

‘ACT OF TERRORISM’

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement issued after a briefing on the massacre that several factors indicated the attack was an Islamic State-inspired “act of terrorism.”

He noted that the incident occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, that Islamic State had called for attacks during that period, the target was an LGBT nightclub and it was hit during Gay Pride weekend.

Moreover, he said, that if accurate, “according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS (Islamic State).”

An audio message purportedly issued last month by the spokesman of Islamic State called on followers to launch attacks in the United States and Europe during Ramadan, which began on June 5 in the United States.

“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America,” said the statement allegedly made by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and distributed over Twitter accounts usually associated with Islamic State.

“The smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us. If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night,” said the audio clip, the authenticity of which could not be verified.

Copyright Reuters 2016

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Peter Cooney)

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Waiting for America’s next mass murder

TOM REGAN: SUMMONING ORENDA
October, 2015

We won’t have to wait long. He’s out there right now. We don’t know his name, or where it will happen, but he will do it. We Americans will know his name within the next week or so.

It will be a he. Very few mass murders are committed by shes. It’s hard to even think of any.

He’s likely early, maybe mid-20s. He’s probably white, but not always. The mass murderer at the Navy Yard in Washington DC was black, and the one at Virginia Tech was Asian-American — but these were unusual. They are almost always white.

He’s a loner. He has trouble associating with people. He’s never had a girlfriend, which he blames on women. He’s probably smarter than he appears, but he also may have some kind of mental disability. Something that made the others pick on him, something that made them call him names in the schoolyard, names that stung like nettles, outside classrooms, maybe on the bus, names that just make him feel more isolated. And angry. Angry enough to want to get even in the worst way.

He’s brooding. Maybe he really needed that job but his damn supervisor at work just didn’t understand the pressures he was under. Or the way the others made fun of him. He knew they were glad to see him go. It was just like all the other places where he had worked and where they had fired him. They’re not going to be so glad to see me when I come back, he tells himself as he plans what he will do next.

Most likely somebody knows. Somebody always knows. But they just don’t think it could ever happen. Not here. Those kind of things happen in other places. To other people. He’s probably just talking out of his ass, the others think. He really doesn’t mean it. But he really does.

He feels like he’s a nobody. But he knows what he will do next will turn him into a somebody. Somebody important. Somebody who will lead national newscasts. Somebody whose invisible life will suddenly be visible to the entire nation. That excites him.

He knows people still remember the names: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza, Dylann Roof. Some people will say his name should not be mentioned. But he knows the media. The media will mention it again and again and again and they will talk to his friends (if he has any friends), and his neighbours, who will tell the media that he was a quiet boy, kept to himself. His parents will say they don’t understand how this happened, and his teachers who will say he was a good student. Oh yes, they will talk about him.

And they will talk about his guns. How he loves guns. They were so easy to get. Maybe he acquired them himself. Maybe his parents love guns and keep dozens of them in his house within easy reach. So he didn’t have to go far once his plan was set. He has so many guns because there’s really no way to stop him from getting them. The National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers have made it easier for him to get his hands on every weapon he wants than it is for him to get a drivers license.

He really doesn’t care what the gun rights people will say after the event. In fact he’s probably not even thought about it. He’s an American, and he knows Americans love guns. Because the truth is that Americans don’t care how many children, or employees, or bosses, or teachers, or students get mowed down in his revenge, as long as it’s nobody they know or love. And too bad for the ones who do know them. Second Amendment uber alles!

He also knows that no one will be able to stop him. There is no “good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy,” as the NRA likes to say. He’ll have no idea that in the last 30 years there has not been a single case of an armed individual on the scene of a mass shooting stepping forward to shoot it out. Oh, there have been cases when unarmed people have stopped mass shooters, particularly when they pause to reload. But he doesn’t have to worry about that, because he lives in the state that says you can have an ammunition clip with as many bullets as you want, because that’s the American way. He’ll just be able to shoot and shoot and shoot as long as he wants.

And then it will be over. The bodies will be lying all around him or down the hall, or in the classroom or in the office. And he knows the police will be coming. He’ll probably exchange a few shots with them just to make it more dramatic. And then he’ll sneak away into a back room and rob everyone of that sense of closure they always talk about. He’ll end it himself, but he knows he will be front page news … until the next one.

He’s out there. Truly any day now. It’s brewing up inside him. And because we in America have made it so easy for him to act, he and the others like him will kill many, many people, again and again and again. And we will wring our hands and gnash our teeth and then do nothing. Because we are hollow men and women. Full of sound and fury that signifies nothing … except an expanding body count.

Copyright Tom Regan 2015

The NRA’s primary goal is not to serve its members, but to ensure the gun manufacturers that sponsor and fund it make as much money as possible, writes Tom Regan. Above, the wares at a gun show in Houston, Texas. Photo by M&R Glasgow via Flickr, Creative Commons

Facts and Opinions is a boutique collaboration that’s independent, non-partisan, employee-owned, and funded only by readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded” fake stories, or solicit donations from partisan organizations. We appreciate, and to continue we require, your support. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Above, the wares at a gun show in Houston, Texas. Photo by M&R Glasgow via Flickr, Creative Commons

Contact Tom Regan:  motnager@gmail.com

Related on F&O:

America’s gun cult, Switzerland’s firearms culture, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs, Oct. 2015

Blame massacres on America’s National Rifle Association, by Tom Regan, Opinion, June, 2105

Maybe this time America won’t run away from better gun laws, by Tom Regan, Opinion, June, 2105

Meet the American Doctor who Donated $1 Million to Fund Gun Research, by Lois Beckett, report, April, 2014

American Republicans Oppose Gun Violence Research, by Lois Beckett, report, April, 2014

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from partisan organizations.  Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us..

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Meet the American Doctor who Donated $1 Million to Fund Gun Research

 

by Lois Beckett, ProPublica
April 22, 2014

Federal funding for research on gun violence in the United States has been restricted for nearly two decades. President Barack Obama urged Congress to allocate $10 million for new research after gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. But House Republicans say they won’t approve it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget still lists zero dollars for research on gun violence prevention.

wintemute_garen

Garen Wintermute, photo by Karin Higgins, provided by University of California, Davis

One of the researchers who lost funding in the political battle over studying firearms was Dr. Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine who runs the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. Wintemute is, by his own count, one of only a dozen researchers across the country who have continued to focus full-time on firearms violence.

To keep his research going, Wintemute has donated his own money, as the science journal Nature noted in a profile of him last year. As of the end of 2013, he has donated about $1.1 million, according to Kathryn Keyes, a fundraiser at UC Davis’ development office. His work has also continued to get funding from some foundations and the state of California.

We contacted Wintemute to talk about his research, the politics of studying firearms, and how much we really know about whether gun control laws work.

At the end of one of our conversations, Wintemute volunteered that he is also a donor to ProPublica, something the editorial staff had not known. (He and his family’s foundation have donated less than $1,500 over four years.)

Here is the condensed version of our conversations, edited for length and clarity.

What research were you doing when the CDC ended your funding?

We were looking at risk factors for criminal activity among people who had legally purchased handguns. A person can have a misdemeanor rap sheet as long as his arm and still be able to purchase firearms legally in most parts of the country.

In California, there is an archive of handgun transfers. You could draw a random sample of people who purchased handguns and see their overall risk of committing crimes later. We found people who had misdemeanor convictions for nonviolent offenses were five times as likely to commit violence in the future than people with no criminal records. People who had multiple prior misdemeanor convictions for violent crimes [like simple assault and battery or brandishing a firearm] were 15 times as likely to be arrested down the road for crimes like murder and rape and robbery and aggravated assault.

What happened when the CDC cut off your funding?

As I recall, we were in the middle of our project period. We had the expectation that we would be continuing the funds according to the initial award.

When CDC’s funding went away, some private foundations stepped up. But there was a growing sense that little or nothing was going to be done about the problem, at least at the federal level. Why put your money into this one when Congress won’t be doing anything about it?

When did you start donating your own money to keep your research going, and what does the money support?

There came a point when I decided that the work we do is as important as the work of the other nonprofits to which I gave donations. I decided, I’m going to keep the lights on. I told our small staff — three people besides me — I will make that happen personally if need be.

A million dollars is a lot of money. Where does it come from?

Some of it is gifts from stock that was given to me by my father. He’s a businessman. He ran a small company that did well and that’s done well in his retirement. I didn’t earn that. I’ve always seen myself as the steward of that resource.

Some of it is my cash. It boils down to this: I earn an ER doc’s salary. I lead a very simple life. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a television. My rent is $840 a month. It’s easy to save. I don’t drive a fancy car. I don’t go out to eat.

One recent study from Harvard researchers found that there were lower gun death rates in states with more restrictive gun laws. The study got a lot of press. But you’ve been very critical of its conclusions. What’s wrong with this kind of analysis?

Almost all the effects they had seen from mortality in the study had to do with suicide. But the laws were largely intended to prevent homicide.

Number two: Correlation is not causation. Rates of gun deaths are lower where rates of gun ownership are lower. That’s true. We know that. It’s also easier to pass laws like this where the rates of gun ownership are lower. There aren’t that many guns around, there isn’t that large a constituency of gun owners.

States with lots of laws have lower firearm death rates, but the fact that two things occur at the same time does not mean that one of those things caused the other.

So is there any evidence that denying people the right to legally purchase guns has an impact on crime?

[In 1991] California began denying people who had been convicted of violent misdemeanors. Our group took advantage of this natural experiment. Everyone in the study tried to buy a handgun from a licensed seller. One group tried to do it under the terms of the new policy, and their purchases were denied. The other group tried it in the two years before the policy, and their purchases were approved.

The people who got their guns were 25 to 30 percent more likely to be arrested for crimes involving firearms or violence. There was no difference in arrests for crimes that did not involve violence. The difference was specific to the types of crimes the law was supposed to affect.

We also looked at denial for felons and found the same effect. Felons who were denied had a lower risk of being arrested for crimes of violence down the road than were people with felony arrests who were able to purchase their guns.

So do we know whether background checks for all purchases — as President Obama has proposed — would actually prevent violence?

There are not hard data on whether universal background checks work better than what we have at the moment. But there’s lots of suggestive evidence.

One piece of that evidence we have comes from the state of Missouri, a new study by Daniel Webster. Missouri had universal background checks and repealed them. In very short order, there was evidence of increasing gun trafficking. The guns that were recovered after use in crime were getting newer. The inference was it was much easier for people to acquire guns for criminal purposes.

You are planning a broad study about whether comprehensive background checks work. What will that research look like?

Six states — Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois and New York — have just adopted comprehensive background checks, and they’ve all taken effect already. The provisions of their laws vary, and they started from different places.

The intent of our study is to come as close as possible to determining whether there is a causal relationship between comprehensive background check policies and important measures like crime and mortality.

Do you think there’s any chance the CDC will get new funding to resume gun violence research?

I think hell will freeze over before this Congress gives them money. The good news is that funding from other sources is starting to pick up. The National Institute of Health — it’s the first time in their history that they have issued a formal program announcement, a request for proposals on firearms violence.

The NRA has been critical of your work, and says you’re funded by anti-gun groups.

I won’t take money from advocacy organizations.

So, what groups would be on that list?

The National Rifle Association, The Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Actions, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Have you ever accepted funding from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

I have not.

How do you draw the line between nonprofits whose funding you do accept, and “advocacy organizations”?

I’ve been offered money to do studies where the conclusion was basically determined from the design of the study. It wasn’t really science. The organization that was offering to fund the study was also going to control the interpretation of what the analysis meant. They were going to make the decision of whether or not the study got published. As a scientist, I just can’t enter into such an agreement. We have to let people know what the truth is, even if the truth makes someone uncomfortable.

Has your research ever made gun control advocates uncomfortable?

I did a gun show study. When I started crunching numbers on gun show sales, and looking at the surveys, I came to realize — as interesting as this is, gun shows themselves are not a big part of the problem. I felt obligated to add this into my report.

Before we released the study, I had a conference call with a bunch of organizations that I knew were interested in working to close the gun show loophole, and I told them what we were saying. That was a very uncomfortable conversation. People got very angry. It was going to make it more difficult for them to do what they wanted, which was to close the gun show loophole.

You recently did a large survey of federal firearms dealers. What was the most interesting finding?

We learned that a majority — not a large majority, but a majority — of gun dealers and pawn brokers are in favor of comprehensive background checks.

Do you know why some dealers supported background checks and others didn’t?

There is a sense in the country that retailers who have lots of traced guns [i.e. guns that show up at crime scenes] are themselves bad guys, and I just don’t believe that is always the case.

Retailers who had higher frequencies of attempted straw purchases, higher frequencies of attempted off-the-books-purchases, were more in favor of comprehensive background checks. They’re in the business. They know that when they say “no” to somebody, that guy is just going to go somewhere else to someone who says, “yes,” and they don’t want it to happen. They said “no,” so they want the system to say, “No.”

One of the policy proposals you’ve been looking at is whether people with a history of alcohol abuse should also be banned from purchasing firearms. Is this ever going to be a realistic policy — that two DUIs could mean that someone could lose their legal right to buy guns?

Yes. Last year, I floated the idea to the California legislature, and the legislature passed it. The governor vetoed it, or we’d have it now. His veto message said there’s not enough evidence. There’s tons of evidence of alcohol as a risk factor of violent activity. I think he meant evidence specific to gun owners. We’ve started one study, and are in the process of another. We’ll come back with the evidence.

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New: Hurricane Carter, and U.S. Gun Violence Research

For Canadian journalist Cheryl Hawkes, Rubin (Hurricane) Carter’s death over Easter brought back memories  about the quiet, private and powerful man who was, for a while, her neighbour in Toronto. You will find her column in our Loose Leaf salon — along with a video of Bob Dylan’s song dedicated to Carter.

Also today F&O also publishes ProPublica’s investigation into Republicans opposed to funding research on gun violence in America. The report is in the Publica section of Dispatches.

Both stories are free, for public access.

Hurricane Carter, Champion of the World. By Cheryl Hawkes

carter (discard after use)Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, who spent 19 years in a United States prison for a triple murder he did not commit, died of prostate cancer on Easter Sunday at his home in Toronto. He was 76. Toronto journalist Cheryl Hawkes remembers the man who, for a few years, was her neighbour: “a man who had given a lot of thought to how we treat one another in this world and to the deadly power of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

American Republicans Oppose Gun Violence Research. By Lois Beckett, ProPublica

For nearly 20 years, the United States Congress has pushed America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to steer clear of firearms violence research. After the 2012  shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — when Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults — Jack Kingston, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that sets CDC funding, was one of a few Republicans who expressed a willingness to reconsider the need for gun control laws and finding “common ground” on research. That was then, this is now. Now, Kingston faces stiff competition from other Republicans  touting gun rights — and there is no talk of common ground.

 

Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, FactsandOpinions serves, and is funded by, readers. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes. Our original paywalled work in Dispatches, Think and Photo-Essays is available for a $1 site day pass or at a modest subscription price. Use the SUBSCRIBE  form to the right, on our free Frontlines blog, to receive notices of all new work on site.

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