Tuesday, November 14, 2017

26 dead in Texas shooting

Victoria Siano

On Nov. 5, 2017, a gunman with a military style rifle opened fired in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people. The gunman, who was later identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, died shortly after the attack.
 The shooting is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting the state has ever seen. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72, and among the dead were a pregnant woman, several children, and the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter. Twenty others were wounded.
 According to reports, Kelley had first stopped at a gas station across Highway 87 from the church. He then proceeded to drive across the street, get out of his car, and begin firing from the outside of the church, moving to the right. He then made his way into the building, shooting the parishioners before fleeing the scene.
 Once he had emerged from the church he had a shooting exchange with a neighbor whom was able to hit Mr. Kelley, who fled in his vehicle shortly after. The neighbor followed him in his pursuit into the next county - Guadalupe County - where Kelley had managed to crash his car. He was found dead, but how he died still remains unclear, officials report.
 After hearing about the affair, President Trump, who was on his 10-day tour of Asia, had called the shooting a “mental health problem at the highest level,” while adding that Kelley was a “very deranged individual.” Subsequently, he ordered that the flags be flown half-staff at the White House and  all federal buildings through Nov. 9.

 As of right now a motive for the shooting has not been discovered, although the FBI is attempting to hack into his phone to see if it can gather any useful information. It is important to note, however, that he was dishonorably discharged from the military due to assault charges, according to Air Force records, and had repeatedly beat his wife and toddler stepson - fracturing the baby’s skull. The only reason he was able to obtain a gun was that the military had failed to enter this information into their databases.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Allegations Made Against Harvey Weinstein upend Hollywood

Riley Brennan
Co-Editor In Chief

Recent allegations made against Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein, have shaken the media, and hopefully spurred real change within the film industry.
 Many women have come forward with claims that Weinstein had sexually assaulted/harassed them, the total number reaching over 50 women. Weinstein responded to allegations following the publication of an Op-Ed piece by Lupita Nyong’o, published in the New York Times. The allegation was addressed through a representative of Weinstein’s, saying, “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”
 Following the release of further accusations, Weinstein has since made a statement apologizing for his behavior. In his statement he wrote, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”  
 While the sheer number of women accusing Weinstein is alarming, it has spurred a movement, and encouraged other victims to speak out about their own perpetrators. Many of these women stepping forward have inspired the hashtag #MeToo, where both men and women come forward about their own stories and show support for others. Now more than ever, victims have been given a platform to highlight just how prevalent sexual assault and harassment is, as well as how damaging it can be.
 A common trend in many of Weinstein’s accusers stories is the fact that they chose to wait years to finally expose the perpetrator. Actress Katherine Kendall is one of Weinstein’s victims, who waited years to speak on her personal encounter. She addressed her own feelings toward her experience in a statement, saying, “I think that when people perpetrate against you, you are the one that feels the shame,” she said. “You think that it’s just you.”

 Weinstein is not alone in his status of a powerful man in Hollywood accused of sexual assault. There’s an increasing number of people coming forward with tales of abuse at the hand of other prominent figures. The range of other men accused stretch across a variety of professions, proving that this is not solely an issue in Hollywood. Rather, it’s an issue virtually everywhere.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Fake Americans Russia created

Pete Thompson
Staff Writer

As the investigation into the Kremlin’s ties with Trump continues, Facebook has revealed more information about Russia’s creation and use of fake Americans on the social media site. Facebook revealed the Kremlin worked directly with a Russian digital marketer to create fake Facebook accounts to use the platform to promote their agenda. The digital  marketing firm, while it’s unknown whether or not they were directly state sanctioned, were the direct creators of the accounts, which spread news from DCLeaks.com, a firm US Intelligence services recognized in 2016 as being part of an effort Russian intelligence to disseminate disinformation.
 The majority of cases in which the ad firm created fake personas were superficial at best, one example outlines their ideal American.
 “Melvin Redick of Harrisburg PA a friendly looking American with a backwards baseball cap and a daughter posted on Facebook a link to a brand new website,” as reported in the New York Times, NBC, and CNN.
 “These guys show the hidden truth about George Soros, Hillary Clinton and other leaders of the US “ he wrote on June 8, 2016. “Visit #DNCLeaks website. It’s really interesting!”
 However Russia’s operation turned out to be more complex than just creating fake Americans. According to Facebook, the marketing firm purchased over $100,000in political ads, which were then seen over 340 million times. The ad space purchased seldomly targeted presidential candidates; instead, they used the ad space to discuss topics in the US, such as expressing anti-immigrant sentiments and criticizing gun control and organize rallies in support of those issues.

 Facebook has since deleted pages and accounts suspected of having ties to the Russian company and the Kremlin. Pages, like the Mr. Redick of PA, and over 400 similar pages have been deleted and Facebook staff are working to continue the purge of fake accounts while they handover more information about the campaign to investigators.

The ruinous effects of Hurricane Irma

Matthew Bracco & Charles Bray
Staff Writers

As millions faced threatening forecasts, Hurricane Irma was on a path of destruction into southern Florida, creating an evacuee count of nearly 6.6 million people. After wreaking havoc in Barbuda, leaving sixty percent of the population homeless, Irma posed an extreme threat to anyone in its path. After an effortless tearing through Barbuda, leaving the island “barely habitable,” the Category 5 hurricane was on a one way path through the Keys to South Florida.
 Residents scurried away from their homes, leaving anything and everything behind, hoping for the best possible scenario. Citizens were preparing for the most powerful Atlantic Hurricane in history, creating winds up to 185 miles per hour. On Sept. 10, Irma was upgraded from a previous Category 3 downgrade, back to a Category 4. Following that day, southern Florida was put in life threatening conditions, even though they weren’t in the eye of the storm. Finally, on Sept. 11, the storm downgraded to a category one as it headed for Tampa.

 However, the damage that Hurricane Irma placed upon the islands leading to Florida, and on Florida, is catastrophic. For the Caribbean Islands, hope is slim, as their houses and lives were torn apart, making living conditions uninhabitable. As the week of terror ended, people return to their homes, some lucky, but for most, sadly, not so much. It will take months, even years for some to rebuild from the complete destruction of their homes, towns, and cities, but there is always the hope that the citizens of the locations affected, do not have to repeat this agony.

The Dangers of Trump Labelling Kim Jong Un a Rocket Man

Sydney Luff
Staff Writer

Name calling has come to play a key role in American and North Korean politics; however ridiculous these insults seem, their relevance only adds to the possible war that is rapidly approaching. Twitter is currently being used as the outlet of choice for passive aggressive insults and blatant name calling between major political figures. Specifically, words like “dotard” and “rocket man” have been used by both President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un to describe each other.
 Usually verbal slights are thought to be below the many sophisticated men and women who are involved with the government today. However, recently on Twitter the current war of words between Pres. Trump and Kim Jong Un that many characterize as childish, could possibly lead to war.
 “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
 This is an example of Trump’s purposeful stabs at the North Korean dictator on Twitter, documented on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Not only has Trump uploaded this comment to his social media account, but he has also added that Kim is on a suicide mission.
 Retaliation was not far behind when Kim described Trump as a, “mentally deranged U.S. dotard whom he would tame with fire”.  
 It is evident Kim has no patience for the president and is only getting angrier.
 The two countries aren’t the only ones who are experiencing the tension, China appears to be feeling it too. “China on Monday called for all sides in the North Korean missile crisis to show restraint and not add oil to the flames amid an exchange of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”. China openly states that neither leader should be focused on insulting each other, but should be dealing with issues in a more mature manner. For example, the extremely controversial missiles that are being launched by North Korea, more precisely those that have flown over Japan. Nuclear weapons are known for being disastrous for the climate; therefore, the U.S. and the soviets signed a treaty limiting their testing back when John F. Kennedy was president, over 50 years ago. This is not the same however, for Kim who continuously tests  rockets and plans to do an atmospheric test of a hydrogen bomb. His ultimate goal is to threaten the mainland of the US. His YouTube fantasy videos feature North Korean armaments obliterating Washington D.C.

 As of now North Korea is unable to launch a missile far enough to reach the U.S mainland, but sources say this is estimated to happen in about 18 months. This does not prohibit North Korea from bombing the U.S allies for example South Korea and Japan. Hopefully, next time political matters will be discussed in a more official manner rather than on social media. If this war does break out, be sure that it will be extremely unpleasant.

Trump Administration Proposes a New Travel Ban

Victoria Siano


One Sunday, Sept. 24, it was announced that the Trump administration will be enacting a new travel ban that will permanently ban about all travel to the United States for seven specific countries, believing it to be the best way to safeguard against national security threats posed by letting citizens from these countries in.
 Starting this month, on Oct. 18, a majority of citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea will be banned from entering the United States until they meet the minimum standards for identifying and screening potential travelers and sharing the information with US law enforcement officials. It has been described as being significantly more targeted than its predecessor, as it essentially outlines a specific set of travel restrictions for each country, although in most cases this means that people from those countries will not be permitted to permanently emigrate, study, or go on vacation in the United States.
 The new order will not apply to permanent residents of the United States who currently hold visas or are international students or employees of businesses in the US from targeted countries, however, it does not cover people seeking refuge here. Rather, the issue will be covered in a new set of separate rules that the Trump administration will release in the days to come.
 This ban functions as a continuation of President Trump’s plan to fulfill his campaign promise of addressing terrorist threats by tightening entry into the country though more specific and flexible means than before, making it more likely than his original travel ban (which set off challenges to his legal authority) to stand up to legal scrutiny. However, it has still been met with significant opposition, as critics have complained that the ban still pertains to mainly Muslim countries.
 In response to these accusations, President Trump released a statement: “We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Relieving Hurricane Harvey

By Colin Morton
Staff Writer

 Hurricane Harvey was the first of the seemingly never ending marathon of hurricanes in 2017.  This one made landfall in Texas. It rampaged for 10 days straight and destroyed many homes.  Organizations from all over the world are working together to help Texas recover.
 There are no limits to who can help.  For example, country singer Clint Black was interviewed by Rolling Stone, and he said, “We braced ourselves through the night as the flood waters grew closer to our family's doorsteps in Houston and Katy.”  
 He was affected by the natural disaster, and he feels everybody else affected felt the same way as he did.  This caused him, along with Don Henley and Lyle Lovett to perform a concert to raise funds for the “revival” of Texas.  Also, whole businesses are getting in on donating to help Texas. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy states that they are “investing well rather than investing quickly, addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may be yet to emerge.”  They are really digging deep and finding the hidden issues that are lacking funding, then they assist them.  
 As of Sept. 3, CNN Money reported a total of $157 million had been donated toward Hurricane Harvey relief. Walmart, Verizon, and Dell have been  the main contributors.  Walmart donated a total of $20 million.  Verizon donated $10 million.  Michael Dell (founder of the Dell computer company) donated $36 million.  Other companies contributed smaller amounts, but they are still over $1 million donations.
The money is mostly going toward services for the victims.  It is going toward rebuilding houses and other buildings, and cleaning up debris.  Many victims are angry because none of the money is being directly donated to them.
 Hopefully, Texas will recover in the near future.