Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and The High Cost of Bad Governance

John Hanno, www.tarbabys.com         February 22, 2018

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School                          and The High Cost of Bad Governance

Between deaths from opioids (65,000) and gun violence (35,000), 100,000 Americans die every single year; equivalent to a 9-11 terrorist attack every 11 days. Why? Because big Pharma and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are two of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. And because the Republi-con controlled congress and the trump administration refuses to allow or even discuss sensible legislation that could begin to remedy this national nightmare.

After 3,000 people perished on 9-11, the Bush administration and Congress turned the world upside down. They spent hundreds of billions to reorganized the entire federal intelligence apparatus into the Department of Homeland Security and coordinated that effort with every state government in the country. They also squandered more than $4 trillion invading 2 countries, seeking atonement for those attacks.

At this late date, we’ve done very little battling organized and legal distribution of boatloads of opioids into the poorest counties in America and absolutely nothing to pass even modest or sensible gun control laws. Mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting and still nothing.

Rupubli-cons in congress are especially conjoined with the NRA lobby and with a base of supporters, who’s primary goal in life, is protecting their right to bear any and all arms, no matter the consequences to the other 90% of the country.

80% of Americans (and now after Parkland, more than 90%) want sensible gun control; but that doesn’t matter, targeted campaign contributions and political extortion from the gun lobby and votes from obsessive gun nuts are much more important to Republi-cons in congress and to trump, who received many millions of dollars from the NRA for his campaign.

So what’s the legislative focus and governing agenda of this toxic, diabolical and incompetent administration and Republi-con controlled congress?

Job One is the systematic dismantling of any and all accomplishments which President Obama’s administration implemented to help women, the unemployed, wage earners, the uninsured, consumers, students, immigrants and Dreamers, the poor, America’s beleaguered middle class and the world’s environment.

Job Two is to make flourishing multi-national corporations even more prosperous with their partisan tax reform scam; likewise used to make millionaires and billionaires even wealthier. Ditto… for foreign investors, who reaped 30% of the windfall from the Republi-con tax fraud.

Job three is to dismantle the institutions and their hard won regulations America has created and relied on to protect its workers, consumers, the sick and disabled, senior citizens and the retired, public lands – and National Monuments and Parks and our environment. Every federal department’s mandate is under siege and is now controlled by the evil doers who had previously attacked the very regulations and programs that once protected us.

Job four is pandering to the oil and gas and extractive industries, who aim to rape, pillage and exploit every square inch of America’s sovereignty and every public land or protected National Park or Monument. If they can’t get their way through bullying and intimidation of land owners or public officials, they use pliant politicians and courts to take what they want through Eminent Domain.

Job five, and maybe the most beneficial to political donors like the Koch’s, is to strip away any and all social safety net and entitlement programs America uses to help its less fortunate and hardest working citizens. Republic-cons and especially House Speaker Paul Ryan, have “dreamed” of dismantling Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and unemployment programs since the day they were enacted. trump and Ryan claim they want to “Make America Great Again;” but their real goal is to make every worker so desperate that they’ll grab any crap job that comes along. I still believe that’s the primary reason they have, and are still, obsessed with crippling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which once and forever freed the poorest American workers from the chains of employer controlled healthcare. They relish students burdened by decades of onerous student debt and consumers driven into bankruptcy. Workplace slavery and debtors prisons are on many corporate wish lists and are fully supported by their compliant paid representatives in congress and in the courts.

I just can’t think of one single thing trump world has done to “Make America Great Again,” for the bottom 80%.

Obama Tried to Heal America, trump’s Trying to Steal America!

trumps answer to the Parkland, Florida shooting is to arm 40% of the teachers in America. He says arming “highly adept” teachers is much less expensive than hiring guards to protect our children. That’s approximately 700,000 loaded weapons in our schools. The NRA is no doubt orgasming. We can’t possibly count the ways, this is a monumentally bad idea. trump also thinks all retired Marine generals and military officers should begin a second career as armed teachers and coaches in America’s schools. Ditto…..bad idea! And besides, they wouldn’t work for the peanuts that Republi-cons think our well trained teachers really deserve. They’re clearly obsessed with attacking teacher unions, their compensation and pensions and their well earned benefits. Ex military personal, freshly retired from the largest Socialist organization in the entire civilized world (The U.S. Military Forces) might not be receptive to working for stingy and greedy capitalists.

During an interview on MSNBC, Greg Pittman, a history teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, recited a dozen reasons why arming teachers is the worse idea he’s ever heard of. Even though he teaches the 2nd Amendment in his history classes and believes in those principles, he wants no part of the responsibility of carrying a weapon at school. He said he doesn’t get paid enough to be on a swat team, a police force or in the military. He doesn’t even get paid enough to be a teacher (“but that’s another story”). And I’m sure he and other teachers don’t want to be potential targets of swat teams rushing into a shooting crisis and looking for anyone brandishing a loaded weapon.

The NRA spokespersons have been out in force attempting to deflect the wrath of Parkland’s victims aimed directly at them. They’re attempting to pass the blame to the FBI, and the local police and even Obama and Hillary and especially the media for driving this mounting and very vocal opposition. But they fail to understand the anger.

This latest mass shooting and mass murder spree in Parkland Florida, seems to have broken the AR-15 camels back. These Parkland community protesters are clearly not going away; I don’t think these young folks, their parents and their teachers will allow their protests to die or fade. The carnage was just too raw, the injustice overwhelmed. These political and technically savvy high school students, fully supported by their school administration and the local police forces have stepped up the opposition to level DEFCON 3. They won’t be bullied by the tired stop gaps prescribed by the NRA gun nuts and their political apologists this time. These are not the low information voters that Republi-cons and trump typically rely on to advance their destructive agendas. These students and families are so angry “really pissed” and extremely savvy in social media platforms. Their crusade has spread across the country.

They, like an overwhelming majority of critical thinking Americans, understand the common denominator in this whole GD mess is the AR-15 rifle, a military weapon of mass destruction, based on the M-16 military rifle, a weapon that our domestic military forces keeps securely locked and “unloaded,” at all times. I qualified as a Army Sharpshooter on an M-16. We were never allowed to take our weapons or a single bullet off of the firing range, and were under constant supervision by drill sergeants and range spotters the entire time we were on that range. If our weapons were aimed anywhere but down range, we could end up in the brig. Our weapons were always locked and unloaded, even on the range. And they were always locked up when off the range. Thank goodness, after I qualified, I never touched that weapon the rest of my 3 years of service.

But the NRA has fondly labeled the AR-15, the “New American Minuteman Rifle.” Based on the military M-16, these are the primary weapons of choice for mass shootings. But these are not defensive weapons, they are weapons designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible.

These weapons were banned for 10 years, they should be banned again. 8,000,000 of them are in the hands of ordinary American gun owners. How many of them are securely locked up? How many are locked and unloaded? How many are used away from an official firing range? How many are easily available to children or irresponsible adults or folks with mental issues? How many are only used under strict supervision?

What’s in the make-up of rabid gun toting people that drives them to accumulate as many weapons of mass slaughter as they can possibly afford or even use. There are now more guns in America than people, more than 310 million. Yet the number of gun owning households is shrinking. Less than 30% of American households own a gun. Some individuals surprisingly own dozens or even hundreds of weapons. The desires and the  speculative and debatable needs of this small minority of obsessive’s are laying waste to America’s schools, its communities and its moral conscience.

We don’t allow people to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. We don’t allow commercial drivers to transport people without a valid CDL license. We don’t allow commercial drivers to obtain a CDL license if they have certain medical conditions. We don’t allow commercial vehicles on the road if they aren’t safely maintained. We limit the number of hours they can drive. We don’t allow professionals to perform hundreds of different professions unless they’re properly trained and licensed. We require people who drive on our roads and highways to have insurance in case they harm someone. Why? Because we’ve determined, through research and law, that its in the best interests of the American public. Why, in heavens name do we allow people to purchase high powered killing machines at any age, even if they have mental disabilities and even if they don’t have money and can only buy them on credit? We also don’t require them to purchase liability insurance. If we did, maybe gun owners would be forced to be more responsible for the carnage.

Slate and others reported last week that “an ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.”

And “after Wednesday’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, you can add 3,000 more kids to that list. Together, America’s school shooting survivors would make up a city the size of Savannah, Georgia or Syracuse, New York. A whole city knowing the trauma of what we still, wrongly, insist on calling the unthinkable. That’s to say nothing of another 300,000 parents, give or take, and tens of thousands of teachers and other adults who were there too.”

Another report by Everytown for Gun Safety claims: “the total number of school shootings in the United States since the beginning of the year is 18 (or roughly three per week).” Admittedly, some of these incidents were minor events, but clearly, the trend to violence in America’s breeding grounds for learning are going in the wrong direction.

On MSNBC’s February 22nd The Last Word with Lawrence ODonnell program, Lawrence reminded us that AR-15 rifles can effectively fire between 80 and 90 bullets per minute at 2,182 miles per hour or 3,200 ft per second, before highlighting a story written by Florida radiologist Heather Sher and published in The Atlantic Magazine. Heather writes:

“In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

“The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.”

“One of my ER colleagues was waiting nervously for his own children outside the school. While the shooting was still in progress, the first responders were gathering up victims whenever they could and carrying them outside the building. Even as a physician trained in trauma situations, though, there was nothing he could do at the scene to help to save the victims who had been shot with an AR-15. Most of them died on the spot, with no fighting chance at life.”

“Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim’s body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and importing more than three times the energy of, a typical 9 mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine cartridge with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading.”

“As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 or other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet. I have friends who own AR-15 rifles; they enjoy shooting them at target practice for sport, and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their hobby supersedes my right to send my own children to school, to a movie theater, or to a concert and to know that they are safe. Can the answer really be to subject our school children to active shooter drills—to learn to hide under desks, turn off the lights, lock the door and be silent—instead of addressing the root cause of the problem and passing legislation to take AR-15-style weapons out of the hands of civilians?”

“As a radiologist, I have now seen high velocity AR-15 gunshot wounds firsthand, an experience that most radiologists in our country will never have. I pray that these are the last such wounds I have to see, and that AR-15-style weapons and high-capacity magazines are banned for use by civilians in the United States, once and for all.”

trump, NRA spokes persons and unrepentant Republi-con congress folks restate the same old tired remedies that haven’t worked since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban enacted in 1994 expired in 2004. It boils down to arming every good guy with a gun in order to discourage every bad guy with a gun.

Granted, police officials in Florida and the FBI dropped the ball by not taking more serious the pleas of folks worried about the Florida shooter, but the main factor in the carnage we witnessed last week can be laid at the feet of those who manufacture, promote and allow virtually anyone to purchase AR-15’s and other high powered weapons of mass murder.

We have a commander in chief and a congress who shirk their duty and oaths of office to defend America and our constitution.

trumps proposed budget cuts funding for schools security and proposes a 23% cut in Medicaid, which provides 25% of the cost for mental health treatment in the country.

The very first piece of legislation Trump signed was to make it easier for people with mental health issues to purchase guns.

Cuts in welfare programs and to SSI and Social Security Disability and Medicare only drives more folks into desperate situations.

The opioid crisis costs America $500 billion a year. I couldn’t even guess what security costs for our schools and public buildings. I’m sure it costs hundreds of billions more. The totals could be more than a trillion dollars for these two national plagues.

Its the primary job of elected representatives to responsibly pass legislation to solve these monumental problems, not to protect those who profit from these solvable calamities.

The well rehearsed post murder spree empty speeches no longer, if ever, comfort anyone except the maker.

In 1934, America banned machine guns because they were too dangerous. AR-15 are even more lethal.

Most of America knows what has to be done. An immediate first start must include universal background checks, banning AR-15’s and other high velocity assault weapons, banning high capacity magazines and keeping weapons out of the hands of folks with mental problems and criminal backgrounds. 3,000 angry and determined young people, their families and teachers, their police departments and medical trauma personnel from Parkland, Florida all know what has to be done. Administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shouldn’t have to accept the sacrifice of their teachers who gave up their lives for their students.

trump, the NRA and the Republi-cons in congress are clearly part of the problem, not capable of any sensible solution. These morally and financially corrupt cowards, who empower and favor the worst parts of the gun industry over America’s children, must change or be removed from public office.

John Hanno, www.tarbabys.com

This ought a help!

Bramhall

Related:

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

The Atlantic

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

They weren’t the first victims of a mass shooting the Florida radiologist had seen—but their wounds were radically different.

Lisa Marie Pane / AP

By Heather Sher       February 22, 2018

As I opened the CT scan last week to read the next case, I was baffled. The history simply read “gunshot wound.” I have been a radiologist in one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation for 13 years, and have diagnosed thousands of handgun injuries to the brain, lung, liver, spleen, bowel, and other vital organs. I thought that I knew all that I needed to know about gunshot wounds, but the specific pattern of injury on my computer screen was one that I had seen only once before.

In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

A year ago, when a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, hitting 11 people in 90 seconds, I was also on call. It was not until I had diagnosed the third of the six victims who were transported to the trauma center that I realized something out-of-the-ordinary must have happened. The gunshot wounds were the same low velocity handgun injuries as those I diagnose every day; only their rapid succession set them apart. And all six of the victims who arrived at the hospital that day survived.

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Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim’s body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine cartridge with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading.

I have seen a handful of AR-15 injuries in my career. I saw one from a man shot in the back by a SWAT team years ago. The injury along the path of the bullet from an AR-15 is vastly different from a low-velocity handgun injury. The bullet from an AR-15 passes through the body like a cigarette boat travelling at maximum speed through a tiny canal. The tissue next to the bullet is elastic—moving away from the bullet like waves of water displaced by the boat—and then returns and settles back. This process is called cavitation; it leaves the displaced tissue damaged or killed. The high-velocity bullet causes a swath of tissue damage that extends several inches from its path. It does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic bleeding. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange.

With an AR-15, the shooter does not have to be particularly accurate. The victim does not have to be unlucky. If a victim takes a direct hit to the liver from an AR-15, the damage is far graver than that of a simple handgun shot injury. Handgun injuries to the liver are generally survivable unless the bullet hits the main blood supply to the liver. An AR-15 bullet wound to the middle of the liver would cause so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to a trauma center to receive our care.

One of my ER colleagues was waiting nervously for his own children outside the school. While the shooting was still in progress, the first responders were gathering up victims whenever they could and carrying them outside the building. Even as a physician trained in trauma situations, though, there was nothing he could do at the scene to help to save the victims who had been shot with an AR-15. Most of them died on the spot, with no fighting chance at life.

As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 or other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet. I have friends who own AR-15 rifles; they enjoy shooting them at target practice for sport, and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their hobby supersedes my right to send my own children to school, to a movie theater, or to a concert and to know that they are safe. Can the answer really be to subject our school children to active shooter drills—to learn to hide under desks, turn off the lights, lock the door and be silent—instead of addressing the root cause of the problem and passing legislation to take AR-15-style weapons out of the hands of civilians?

But in the aftermath of this shooting, in the face of specific questioning, our government leaders did not want to discuss gun control even when asked directly about these issues. Florida Senator Marco Rubio warned not to “jump to conclusions that there’s some law we could have passed that could have prevented it.” A reporter asked House Speaker Paul Ryan about gun control, and he replied, “As you know, mental health is often a big problem underlying these tragedies.” And on Tuesday, Florida’s state legislature voted against considering a ban on AR-15-type rifles, 71 to 36.

If politicians want to back comprehensive mental-health reform, I am all for it. As a medical doctor, I’ve witnessed firsthand the toll that mental-health issues take on families and the individuals themselves who have no access to satisfactory long-term mental-health care. But the president and Congress should not use this issue as an excuse to deliberately overlook the fact that the use of AR-15 rifles is the common denominator in many mass shootings.

A medical professor taught me about the dangers of drawing incorrect conclusions from data with the example of gum chewing, smokers, and lung cancer. He said smokers may be more likely to chew gum to cover bad breath, but that one cannot look at the data and decide that gum chewing causes lung cancer. It is the same type of erroneous logic that focuses on mental health after mass shootings, when banning the sale of semi-automatic rifles would be a far more effective means of preventing them.

Banning the AR-15 should not be a partisan issue. While there may be no consensus on many questions of gun control, there seems to be broad support for removing high-velocity, lethal weaponry and high-capacity magazines from the market, which would drastically reduce the incidence of mass murders. Every constitutionally guaranteed right that we are blessed to enjoy comes with responsibilities. Even our right to free speech is not limitless. Second Amendment gun rights must respect the same boundaries.

The CDC is the appropriate agency to review the potential impact of banning AR-15 style rifles and high-capacity magazines on the incidence of mass shootings. The agency was effectively barred from studying gun violence as a public-health issue in 1996 by a statutory provision known as the Dickey amendment. This provision needs to be repealed so that the CDC can study this issue and make sensible gun-policy recommendations to Congress.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994 included language which prohibited semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, and also large-capacity magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds. The ban was allowed to expire after 10 years on September 13, 2004. The mass murders that followed the ban’s lapse make clear that it must be reinstated.

On Wednesday night, Rubio said at a town-hall event hosted by CNN that it is impossible to create effective gun regulations because there are too many “loopholes” and that a “plastic grip” can make the difference between a gun that is legal and illegal. But if we can see the different impacts of high- and low-velocity rounds clinically, then the government can also draw such distinctions.

As a radiologist, I have now seen high velocity AR-15 gunshot wounds firsthand, an experience that most radiologists in our country will never have. I pray that these are the last such wounds I have to see, and that AR-15-style weapons and high-capacity magazines are banned for use by civilians in the United States, once and for all.

The 1 Cartoon About School Shootings Every American Needs to See

PopSugar

Parkland Shooting and Gun Control Cartoon by Pia Guerra

The 1 Cartoon About School Shootings Every American Needs to See

By Chelsea Adelaine Hassler      February 22, 2018

An absolutely stunning cartoon drawn in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, is breaking hearts across the internet — and it’s an image that we won’t (and shouldn’t) soon forget.

“Hero’s Welcome” is the brainchild of artist Pia Guerra and depicts Aaron Feis — the football coach and security guard who was killed when he used himself as a human shield to protect Parkland students — being ushered toward a group of children and adults by a young girl saying, “Come on, Mister Feis! So many of us want to meet you!”

“It’s not often that an image pops in your brain and you feel a lump in your throat,” Guerra told The Washington Post, noting that the crowd in the cartoon is representative of all the many individuals who have tragically lost their lives in school shootings over the years and that the cartoon was a direct response to her feeling helpless in the face of yet another mass gun tragedy.

Guerra posted the image to Twitter, and it has since gone viral — serving as yet another incredibly important reminder of the important role that each and every individual voice plays in the fight for gun control and how essential it is to our own safety as Americans to make those voices heard at the highest levels.

#NeverAgain: ‘This generation … The next generation will never have to worry about this.’

Naples Daily News

#NeverAgain: ‘This generation … The next generation will never have to worry about this.’

Patrick Riley     February 18, 2018

A press conference was held Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at the Florida Capitol Senate building in Tallahassee as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students advocate for stricter gun control and mental health laws.

NDN 0216 Parkland Student 003

Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News)

PARKLAND – A contingent of 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history Wednesday, will travel to the state capital to speak with lawmakers about enacting stricter gun laws.

“Our coping mechanism is dealing with it in a political aspect,” said Jaclyn Corin, a junior at the high school who organized the trip.

“I know that a lot of us in the school have different coping mechanisms, and it’s good that we do because we need a wide variety of comfort and mourning, but also political action.”

The students will pack into buses Tuesday and make the nearly 450-mile trek from Parkland to Tallahassee, where they will split up into groups of 10 to talk to 10 state senators and representatives from both parties Wednesday. The journey comes less than a week after a gunman killed 17 people at the school.

More: Trump to hold ‘listening session’ with Florida high school students

More: Florida school shooting: Hundreds rally for stricter gun laws after massacre

More: Collier schools react to Parkland shooting with increased security

“The action has been so quick,” said Corin, 17. “And that’s necessary because this is a fresh and open wound and we can’t let it close up. We need to do something about it before it just disappears like it always has.”

Corin, who was hiding in a classroom during the shooting, said a family friend connected her with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose aide helped her start organizing the trip.

A handful of other Democratic politicians, including state Sens. Lauren Book and Kevin Rader and state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Jared Moskowitz, also helped, she said.

“I knew that I wanted to change something,” Corin said. “I’m the type of person, when something bad happens to me, I can’t just sit back and cry and go in a ball. I like to speak out and I like to act and distract myself from pain.”

Because the Legislature is in the middle of a session, the group can’t introduce new bills but will instead focus on pre-existing ones “that haven’t gotten the time and consideration that they deserve” regarding assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and mental health screenings, Corin said.

Included on the students’ list of top priorities is a ban on military-style assault weapons, like the AR-15 used in the shooting. That rifle and other assault weapons were banned in 1994 by President Bill Clinton as part of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, but that ban expired in 2004.

Hundreds gather for gun control rally after Parkland shooting

A woman yells in response to a speech during a gun

A woman yells in response to a speech during a gun control rally in front of the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Students, community members, elected officials and gun control advocates gathered together to call for common sense gun laws and firearm safety legislation in the wake of the school shooting that left 17 people dead and 15 others injured this past Wednesday in Parkland, Fla.                                     Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News

The gun has been the “weapon of choice” in shootings from San Bernardino to Las Vegas and Newtown, Corin said.

“The AR-15 was what caused all of this,” she said. “We need that out. I don’t know how people haven’t realized that yet, because it’s a continuing pattern.”

Corin emphasized that the group’s pitch is to elected officials on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s just about kids’ lives,” she said. “Looking into their eyes and telling our stories, we just hope is going to make a huge difference.”

Corin and many of her fellow classmates have garnered national attention for their outspokenness on the issues of gun control in the days since the massacre.

Some of their most vocal leaders, like Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg, have appeared on national and international news outlets and have had celebrities reach out to them on social media.

Emma González, 18, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at North Community Park on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. González became a viral sensation after videos of her impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally Saturday in Fort Lauderdale flooded social media. Now, she is helping to lead the #NeverAgain movement with her fellow classmates. “It’s funny. I didn’t even have a Twitter account before two hours ago and it was trending on Twitter all day yesterday,” González said. “I have become somewhat of a spokesperson for this, but we’re all saying the same thing. That’s why we teamed up together like this because we know each other, we love each other very much and we all agree on the same stuff. We’re happy that all of us are still alive and we’re gonna make sure it stays that way for the people in our neighboring communities. For our neighbors, our cousins, this generation, not the next generation because the next generation will never have to worry about this because of us.” (Photo: Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News)

“Maybe it’s because we’re old enough to talk about it,” said Gonzalez, a senior at the school, when asked why the students’ advocacy for change has been so visible.

“They sent us to school to get a thorough education and they act shocked that we’re educated.”

Corin said the pervasiveness of social media has also helped spread the group’s message of “Never Again.”

Emma Gonzalez, 18, center, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is surrounded by her friends as she answers a social media message from actress and singer Zendaya at North Community Park on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Gonzalez became a viral sensation after videos of her impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale flooded social media. Now, she is helping to lead the #NeverAgain movement with her fellow classmates. (Photo: Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News)

“The fact that this can all be spread and our want for change can be spread in the click of a button is just so helpful,” she said. “And we’re going to use that to our advantage.”

The trip to Tallahassee comes on the heels of a gun control rally Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, where students pleaded for stricter gun laws and blasted officials who have taken political donations from the National Rifle Association. The students are currently planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., on March 24 to demand legislative action by Congress to address gun violence.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to host students and teachers from the school for a listening session Wednesday, although it is unclear which students will be invited to the session.

“This is just our opportunity,” said Gonzalez, 18, a senior at the school, referring to the Tallahassee trip. “This is the time to do this.”

The tight-knit group of students is poised to make sure those who come after them won’t have to suffer the way they did, she said.

“This generation,” Gonzalez said. “Not the next generation. Because the next generation will never have to worry about this.”

U.S. Courts Jailing Thousands over Civil Debts ‘Without Due Process,’ ACLU Says

Newsweek

U.S. Courts Jailing Thousands over Civil Debts ‘Without Due Process,’ ACLU Says

 Chantal Da Silva, Newsweek      February 21, 2018

Scott Walker to sign bills that will deprive poor families of public assistance

ThinkProgress

Scott Walker to sign bills that will deprive poor families of public assistance

Even more rules designed to kick low-income families further down the economic ladder.

Alan Pyke       February 21, 2018

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) with Donald Trump at a campaign event in 2016. Credit : Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Poor families in Wisconsin will soon get kicked off of food stamps and evicted from their public housing under a package of laws passed Tuesday by the state Senate.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) pushed state lawmakers to double down on his previous tweaks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other safety net systems. Taken together, the earlier changes and those passed Tuesday make Wisconsin a living experiment with very old conservative policy ideas. The changes are hard-hearted and soft-brained, a recipe for greater human misery masquerading as a plan to lift the destitute back toward dignity.

One bill ups existing work requirements for food stamps. Another sets humiliating new conditions for eligibility to live in public housing. Others set aside money to pay private companies that contract with the state if those companies can realize further savings.

Food stamps recipients are already required to work to receive the meager stipend SNAP provides. Though media coverage often portrays legislation like Wisconsin’s as a new corrective action, the truth is SNAP families already work. When unemployment reaches a crisis level in a given geographic area, state administrators are allowed to waive the federal requirement that able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) work or volunteer at least 20 hours per week. That flexibility is essential to the program’s ability to cushion recessions. If there are no jobs and a family that can’t find work loses food benefits, the program can’t do what it’s supposed to, and poor people will go hungry.

Walker has already stripped his state’s food aid system of that essential responsiveness to economic conditions. A law he signed in 2015 barred Wisconsin from ever waiving the work rules, regardless of unemployment levels. For every person who found a job that met that 2015 bill’s requirements, 3.5 food stamps recipients were kicked off of the program, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

How Do You Help A Food Stamp Recipient Get A Job?

That kind of lopsided outcome — three or four times as many people dumped into the gutter as lifted into the workforce — will be replicated under the additional changes adopted this week. One bill approved by the Senate Tuesday will increase the existing work requirement from 20 hours a week to 30.

Wisconsin’s newest tweaks to food stamps rules spotlight the deception inherent to conservative policy ideas on poverty. Even if you accept the premise that a hard-and-fast requirement to work helps move people toward self-sufficiency — which you shouldn’t, since requiring work does nothing to create job opportunities— it is absurd to think that raising the bar for qualifying work hours by 50 percent will do the same.

Someone who’s been able to find a part-time job would suddenly lose food stamps anyhow if their boss won’t schedule them for 10 more hours a week. Resetting the definition of an acceptable food stamps beneficiary to “someone clocking 30 hours a week” only narrows the eligibility pool. This is a plan to kick people off of food stamps, not to improve anyone’s quality of life.

Walker’s agenda will cost Wisconsin taxpayers $38 million a year to implement. The inevitable savings from kicking people off of anti-poverty programs will accrue to the U.S. Treasury, not his state. Benefits are covered entirely through federal dollars, with states paying only a share of the administrative costs of SNAP.

Wisconsin Republicans Don’t Want Food Stamp Recipients Buying Beans, Potatoes, Pasta Sauce

Other bills passed Tuesday go even further to restrict access to safety net systems. The state will impose an asset test for food stamps, barring anyone who owns a home appraised at more than $321,200 or whose car is worth $20,000. Like work rules, asset tests are an old idea long understood to depress quality of life without any positive impact on poverty. Several states have gone the other direction in recent years and abandoned old asset rules.

Walker’s policy package also extends the same logic he has used for food stamps to public housing. Wisconsin residents who live in subsidized housing would have to submit to drug tests and find paying work or be booted onto the street.

Walker got his votes, but under a cloud of undemocratic illegitimacy. The governor is holding two seats — one in the Senate and another in the Assembly — vacant throughout this year’s legislative session, seemingly for fear that anti-Republican sentiment would hand the two chairs to Democrats.

Republicans would still hold majorities in each chamber even if the two vacancies went blue, and Walker would probably still get to sign the same poverty-increasing package. But his defiance of state laws mandating special elections “as promptly as possible” casts the policy changes in a dim light.

Florida school shooting: These are the 17 victims

NBC News

Florida school shooting: These are the 17 victims

 

Image: 16 of the 17 fatal victims of the Parkland school shooting.
16 of the 17 fatal victims of the Parkland school shooting. 

 

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14 – Student

Image: Alyssa Alhadeff

Alyssa wanted to become a lawyer as well as a professional soccer player, according to her mother Lori, who attended a vigil for victims on Thursday.

She was a member of the school’s Parkland Soccer Club, who honored her in a Facebook post.

“Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our club and community. Alyssa will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event,” the post read.

Scott Beigel, 35 – Geography Teacher and Cross Country Coach

Image: Scott Beigel

Scott Beigel Family photo

Beigel was one of several adults at the school who died while protecting students from streams of gunfire.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Beigel was shot and killed when he unlocked his classroom door in order to allow students to take refuge from the gunman. He was mortally wounded while trying to re-lock the door.

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14 – Student

Image: Martin Duque

Martin Duque. Courtesy Miguel Duque

Martin was described as “a very funny kid, outgoing and sometimes really quiet,” in a description posted by his older brother, Miguel, on GoFundMe.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Miguel also paid tribute to his brother on Instagram, stating, “Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place. Duques forever man I love you junior!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!” The caption was accompanied by a photo of Martin.

RELATED: FBI got tip on Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz in January, but didn’t ‘follow protocols’

Nicholas Dworet, 17 – Student

Image: Nicholas Dworet

Nicholas Dworet

Nicholas was a swimmer at the school who had committed to competing at the college level at the University of Indianapolis at the beginning of February. He was named by the Sun-Sentinel a second-team All-County swimmer in Broward County for his 100-yard freestyle time.

His brother, Alexander, was grazed by a bullet in the back of his head.

In a statement made on Friday, Nicholas’ family said that he “dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo” and that “he believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best.”

Aaron Feis, 37 – Assistant Football Coach and Security Guard

Image: Coach Aaron Feis has been identified as a deceased victim in the shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

Coach Aaron Feis Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Football team

Feis died while using his body to shield students from bullets as the gunman opened fire.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, a personal friend of Feis’, noted that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alum and former football player was a beloved protector of those in the community.

“When Aaron Feis died — when he was killed, tragically, inhumanely — he did it protecting others, you can guarantee that, cause that’s who Aaron Feis was,” Israel said. “The kids in this community loved him, they adored him. He was one of the greatest people I knew, he was a phenomenal man.”

RELATED: Parkland school shooting: Football coach Aaron Feis died shielding students

Jaime Guttenberg, 14 – Student

Parkland shooting

Jaime Guttenberg via Facebook

Guttenberg was a dancer who was described as the “life of the party” during a statement made by her father, Fred, at a candlelight vigil on Thursday.

“My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family get’s through this,” Fred wrote in a Facebook post that was also made on Thursday.

Guttenberg’s Facebook page has been made into a memorialized account and features photos of her posing with friends and family.

Christopher Hixon, 49 – Athetic Director, Wrestling Coach and Security Specialist

Image: Chris Hixon

Chris Hixon Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Hixon came from a family with an extensive background in the military and served in the U.S. Navy. He also was a huge influence on the school’s wrestling team and was killed while patrolling the school’s campus as part of his job as security specialist.

Douglas wrestler Karlos Valentin described the impact that Hixon has on his wrestlers in a statement made to the Sun-Sentinel.

“Coach Hixon, for me, was a father figure,” said Valentin, a senior heavyweight. ”We were pretty much with him six days a week – three-to-four-to-five hours. His loss was just terrible.”

Luke Hoyer, 15 – Student

Image: Luke Hoyer

Luke Hoyer Family photo

Luke was described as a “good kid” who “never got in trouble” by his grandparents, who live in South Carolina.

His uncle, Toni Brownlee, also posted about his death on Facebook: “This has devastated our family and we’re all in shock and disbelief. Our hearts are broken. Luke was a beautiful human being and greatly loved.”

RELATED: Day before Parkland, grandmother foiled grandson’s alleged school shooting plans

Cara Loughran, 14 – Student

Cara was a beach-lover and dancer whose death was felt deeply by her aunt, Lindsay Fontana.

“This morning, I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted,” Fontana wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it can not happen to other people’s families.”

According to The Baltimore Sun, Loughran’s death was also felt by Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins, who received Irish dance training at the Drake School in Florida. Loughran was one of three dancers at the school who also attended Douglas.

Gina Montalto, 14 – Student

Image: Gina Montalto

Gina Montalto via Facebook

Gina’s family described her as a hardworking student with a keen sense of humor who “melted each heart with an infectious smile that light up a room.”

“She was a kind spirit, always eager to lend a helping hand,” the family said in a statement. “Gina will be missed not only by her family, but by everyone whose life she touched.”

Gina was also a member of Douglas’ winter guard on the school’s state-champion marching band, which was scheduled to perform at a regional competition in Tampa on Saturday, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

The winter guard’s instructor, Manuel Miranda, wrote a Facebook post about Montalto on Wednesday.

“My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel,” Miranda wrote.

Joaquin Oliver, 17 – Student

Image: Florida Victim Joaquin Oliver

Joaquin Oliver

Joaquin was a hip hop and sports lover who became a naturalized American citizen in January 2017, after moving to the United States from Venezuela at the age of 3, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Because students often had difficulty pronouncing his name, Oliver went by the nickname “Guac,” short for “guacamole.”

“He’s just a goofball. He’s the only kid you’d know that would dye his hair bleach-blond, walk around school, put some tiger stripes in and just be unique. He was a unique soul,” said Tyra Hemans, 19, who said she had been friends with Oliver since freshman year.

Alaina Petty, 14 – Student

Image: Alaina Petty

Alaina Petty Courtesy of the family

Alaina was extremely devoted to her local community, according to a statement made by her family via the Latter-day Saints Living publication.

“It is important to sum up all that Alaina was and meant to her family and friends,” the statement said. “Alaina was a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her. Alaina loved to serve.”

RELATED: After Florida shooting, Trump offers comfort — to gun owners

Meadow Pollack, 18 – Student

Image: Meadow Pollack

Meadow Pollack via Facebook

According to her cousin, Jake Maisner, Meadow was the youngest member of her family and enjoyed spending time with her family, the ­Sun-Sentinel reports.

Maisner also added that his cousin had planned on attending Lynn University in Boca Raton after she graduated.

Helena Ramsay, 17 – Student

Image: Helena Ramsey

Helena Ramsey via Facebook

Her relative, Curtis Page Jr., posted on Facebook that Helena was “a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone.”

Page also noted that Helena was planning on going to college next year.

Alexander Schachter, 14 – Student

Image: Alex Schachter

Alex Schachter via Facebook

According to a GoFundMepage setup by Schachter’s family in the wake of his death, Schachter played the trombone and baritone as a member of Douglas’ marching band.

Schachter’s family stated on the page that “He was a sweetheart of a kid!” and “survived by his heartbroken parents, three siblings, grandparents and countless cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.”

Carmen Schentrup, 16 – Student

Image: Carmen Schentrup

Carmen Schentrup via Broward County Schools

Last September, Carmen was named one of 53 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists in the county. She was one of 10 Douglas students to qualify as a semifinalist, according to The Eagle Eye, the school’s student-run news magazine.

Carmen was also a piano student who had performed on Saturday at Broward College for the South Florida Music Teachers Association Spring Festival.

Peter Wang, 15 – Student

Image: Peter Wang

Peter Wang. via Sun Sentinel

Peter was a member of the JROTC program at Douglas. His cousin, Aaron Chen, told the Miami Heraldthat Peter was last seen wearing his uniform and holding the door open so that people could escape. He had planned on celebrating the Chinese New Year with his family.

Peter’s friend, Gabriel Ammirata, also told the paper that he “funny, nice and a great friend. He’s been my best friend since third grade.”

Wisconsin GOP takes over gun bill from Democrats

Associated Press

Wisconsin GOP takes over gun bill from Democrats

Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond, Associated Press    February 21, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democrats tried to pressure Republicans into passing universal background checks for gun buyers Tuesday but GOP leaders outmaneuvered them, seizing control of the legislation and rewriting it to fund armed guards in schools.

The move capped a day of furious debate over gun control in the state Capitol in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel began the day by telling WTMJ-AM radio he would be open to letting teachers and others go armed in schools.

“Law-abiding gun owners don’t go and shoot up schools,” Schimel said. “When you make a school a gun-free school zone, the only person you’re stopping is the law-abiding gun owner who doesn’t want to get in trouble.”

Democrats, meanwhile, held a morning news conference demanding the GOP pass Democratic measures that would institute universal background checks, prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from buying guns and ban bump stock sales.

Students from all of Madison’s high schools appeared alongside the Democrats and demanded action.

“The incompetence of legislators who are bought out by the (National Rifle Association) has barred us from change that is long overdue,” Madison East High School junior Anne Motoviloff said.

Republicans control both houses of the Legislature. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos dismissed the Democrats’ demands as a “sad, cynical” political stunt to capture headlines. He said none of the bills have broad support in the Assembly and Democrats have never tried to talk to him about the proposals.

Minutes after the Assembly convened Tuesday afternoon, Democrats made a motion to place the universal background check proposal on the day’s agenda. In a surprise move, Republicans voted to take up the bill.

They then immediately amended it to wipe out the background checks. They added language that would create a state grant program to fund armed guards in schools. The NRA has suggested placing armed guards in every American school.

Under the Wisconsin bill, the guards would have to be police officers or former police officers. A number of schools in the state already have police liaison officers.

The GOP added other language to the bill that would make buying a gun for someone who can’t legally possess one a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison — right now it’s a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail — and create a mandatory four-year prison sentence for repeat gun violators. The mandatory sentence would end in mid-2022, when the state Justice Department would produce a report reviewing the sentence’s effectiveness.

Democrats howled that Republicans had hijacked their bill, saying armed guards can’t prevent school shootings and Republicans would take stronger action if people were dying from measles. They tried to amend the bill to restore background checks, bringing the chamber to a halt for hours as Republicans tried to decide how to handle the amendment. Republicans eventually defeated the amendment 60-35.

“This is a real, real public health crisis our state is facing,” Rep. Melissa Sargent, a Madison Democrat, said. “We need to address it as such.”

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, an Oconomowoc Republican, said celebrities and politicians use armed guards.

“Why don’t we insist our children are protected with the same fervor?” Kleefisch said. “I’m flabbergasted at the disingenuousness of our colleagues’ challenges to this real measure.”

In the end, the bill passed 71-24 with nine Democrats voting for it. Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz insisted that he put Republicans right where he wanted them by forcing them to vote against background checks, a stance that will help Democrats on the campaign trail.

The measure now goes to the state Senate, which passed its own bill Tuesday that would make buying a gun for someone who can’t legally possess one a felony punishable by six years in prison. That bill now goes to the Assembly.

‘There’s just no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of ordinary citizens’

Yahoo News

One of America’s best marksmen on gun control: ‘There’s just no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of ordinary citizens’

Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports        February 21, 2018 

American biathlete Lowell Bailey has no interest in owning a weapon that is “designed to kill another human being.” (Getty)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Lowell Bailey is one of the best marksmen in America. The North Carolina native is so proficient with a gun that he has made a living off it. He is an Olympian biathlete. So his opinion on the roiling gun debate in his country is worth hearing.

On Tuesday night, after he had finished competing, he gave it.

“We’re a sport that uses a .22-caliber rifle,” Bailey said. “A .22-caliber rifle that shoots a single round is a much different thing than an AR-15. In my opinion, there’s just no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of ordinary citizens.”

Bailey said he does not own an AR-15 and has no desire to get one.

“I have no interest in owning a weapon that can kill another human being – that’s designed to kill another human being,” he said. “And to do it in an expeditious way. Why is that allowed? It’s maddening.”

It’s especially maddening in the wake of yet another deadly school shooting back in the States. Since Bailey and his teammates have arrived here to live their Olympic dreams, America has mourned the deaths of 17 innocent people who lost their lives in a high school in Parkland, Florida. These athletes have mourned, too.

“Every time something like that happens, it makes me sick to my stomach, to think about,” said another member of the U.S. mixed relay team, Susan Dunklee. “This is so far removed from that kind of shooting. This is precision shooting. We’re using a .22. But there is that association of being a firearm, and it takes a lot of the joy I have out of pursuing a sport like this.”

Biathlon requires incredible physical fitness and mental strength. It also requires daily training and responsibility when using a firearm. The shadow of gun violence is beyond distressing to them.

“All of us are very saddened by it,” said Joanne Firesteel Reid. “We have to take it in our own way. As a target shooter you don’t even associate what you’re doing with something like that.”

Bailey says he supports the assault weapons ban that was in place in the U.S. for 10 years and then allowed to expire in 2004. He added that his nation’s gun laws come up in conversations he has with competitors from other countries.

“They’re absolutely baffled,” he said. “They’re baffled at the political landscape of the United States, and how we can continue to put an assault rifle into the hands of anyone who wants to walk into a gun store and buy one.”

Gun laws in South Korea are quite strict. So strict, in fact, that it affects this sport. While in most competitions, biathletes are allowed to store their rifles in their rooms, that practice is forbidden here. Competitors must keep their guns at the venue, locked away at all times unless they are using them for practice.

“They’re under lock and key,” Dunklee said. “We each have our own key. We ski around with them, then we bring them right back. Very controlled. Russia does that too.”

It is inconvenient to an extent. “It would be like if you’re a runner and someone locked up your running shoes,” said Reid. But it’s something the biathletes understand. Rules are rules, and they’re there for safety.

It’s somewhat telling that in this country, some of the most responsible and careful gun owners on the planet, the Olympic biathletes, are kept from having their own rifles in their rooms.

“Sometimes it’s even nice not to have a gun staring you in the face all day,” said the fourth member of Team USA, Tim Burke.

American Tim Burke, an avid hunter, says: “If locking up all of my sports rifles, my hunting rifles, meant saving one life, I would do it.”

Burke also spoke up on Tuesday after the team’s race, in which it finished 15th. He was not as expressive as Bailey and Dunklee, but it was clear he was upset by what happened in Florida.

“Not only am I a biathlete, I’m also an avid hunter,” he said. “If locking up all of my sports rifles, my hunting rifles, meant saving one life, I would do it.”

The fear among many American gun owners is that the government will confiscate their weapons and infringe upon their Constitutional right to bear arms. The reasons for that concern go back to the founding of the country, and a wariness of a too-powerful government that lasts to this day.

But there’s a way to preserve the sanctity of the Second Amendment and make a change for safety’s sake. There is a path to preserve our history, protect our kids and defend our way of life.

“There was a time in our country when the means to defend yourself against an oppressive government was an appropriate justification,” Bailey said. “That time has passed.”

He paused for a second before continuing: “That’s a debate. But I think there needs to be a respectful dialogue, an open dialogue without special interests involved. It’s time our politicians sat down and made some tough choices. What’s more important? Owning an AR-15 or having innocent school children get killed?”

Bailey, who is not a member of the National Rifle Association, has a daughter and another child on the way. His heart breaks for the families affected by this tragedy and all the others. This matters to him as a citizen and as a parent.

“I compete against all these World Cup nations,” he said. “Germany, Norway. How good are they on the range? They’re great at rifle marksmanship. Do you know how strict their gun control laws are? It’s a travesty that America hasn’t changed and continues to go down this path.

“It makes me want to cry.”

Billionaire Bill Gates says his taxes are too low.

CNN
February 18, 2018

Bill Gates says he’s paid more than $10 billion in taxes but that the government should make wealthy people like him “pay significantly higher taxes” http://cnn.it/2Cuj7th

Billionaire Bill Gates says his taxes are too low

Bill Gates says he's paid more than $10 billion in taxes but that the government should make wealthy people like him "pay significantly higher taxes" http://cnn.it/2Cuj7th

Posted by CNN on Sunday, February 18, 2018