Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, son of a ‘psychopathic’ bank robber, was a high-stakes gambler who ‘kept to himself’

The Washington Post reports: Before he opened fire late Sunday, killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement as a high-stakes gambler in a quiet town outside Las Vegas.

Paddock, 64, would disappear for days at a time, frequenting casinos with his longtime girlfriend, neighbors said. Relatives also said Paddock had frequently visited Las Vegas to gamble and take in concerts.

Eric Paddock said his brother often gambled in tens of thousands of dollars. “My brother is not like you and me. He plays high-stakes video poker,” he said. “He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino.” [Continue reading…]

NBC News reports: The suspected gunman behind the Las Vegas massacre made several large gambling transactions in recent weeks, according to multiple senior law enforcement officials and a casino executive.

On several occasions, Stephen Paddock gambled more than $10,000 per day — and in some cases more than than $20,000 and $30,000 a day — at Las Vegas casinos, according to an NBC News source who read the suspect’s Multiple Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) and a casino gaming executive.

According to a U.S. statute, a CTR is a Treasury- and IRS-mandated report that casinos have to file when “each transaction in currency involving cash-in and cash-out of more than $10,000 in a gaming day.”

It was not immediately clear if those transactions were losses or wins. [Continue reading…]

Slate reports: News reports suggest Stephen Paddock, a reclusive professional gambler who lived in a retirement community in Nevada, had a very limited public profile before perpetrating one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. His late father, a notorious bank robber who spent eight years on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List after escaping from a federal prison in Texas, was a very different kind of criminal. The elder Paddock, whose nicknames included “Big Daddy” and “Chrome Dome,” was charged in 1960 with stealing about $25,000 from three separate bank branches in Phoenix, Arizona. Paddock was 34 at the time, and had already been to prison twice for his role in what the Arizona Republic called “confidence games.”

According to witnesses who testified at Patrick Benjamin Paddock’s trial in 1960, an assistant bank manager took the initiative to follow him after one of the robberies and took note of the unusual radio antennas affixed to his getaway vehicle. Two days later, six FBI agents located Paddock near a gas station in downtown Las Vegas. When the bank robber tried to run one of them over with his car, the agent fired at his windshield. Paddock was arrested shortly thereafter; a search of his vehicle turned up a loaded .38 snub-nose revolver, a blackjack, and about $3,000 in cash.

Prior to his arrest, Paddock had been living in Tucson with his wife and four kids. (Most likely, the gunman who carried out Sunday night’s attack was among them.) According to a newspaper account, the family’s neighbors said they couldn’t believe that Paddock—who was known as a “hot rod racer who keeps his head shaved so he resembles Yul Brynner”—“was involved in crime.” [Continue reading…]

In social media in the aftermath of America’s latest mass shooting, once again there are objections to the fact that a white gunman is not being referred to by the press as a terrorist — the assumption being made by many that terrorist is a label reserved for brown people and mostly Muslims.

OK. Let’s call Paddock a terrorist.

There’s no disputing that he terrorized thousands of people in Las Vegas last night.

But beyond underlining the abhorrent nature of his actions, does calling the gunman a terrorist shed light on what he did?

Earlier today, ISIS made a transparently opportunistic attempt to claim Paddock as one of their own, saying he was “was ‘a soldier’ from its ranks who had converted to Islam months ago,” the Associated Press reports.

Really? Unless there’s some compelling evidence to back up this story or any other links to terrorism, I’m strongly inclined to believe Paddock’s career as a professional gambler and his family history had everything to do with the carnage he wrought and neither ISIS or any other terrorist organization or political ideology had any influence.

So why call him a terrorist?

Instead of pushing for a more inclusive use of a word that in common parlance has come to mean the worst of the worst, the most evil of human beings, maybe it’s time to face the fact that, at least in America, mass murder (typically carried out by men, usually white and using legally obtained weapons) is a much bigger problem than terrorism.

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Las Vegas shooting good news for gun makers

MarketWatch reports: Shares of gun makers rallied Monday, in the wake of what has been described as the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil.

Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands Corp.’s stock AOBC, +0.64% jumped 3.0% in afternoon trade. Volume topped 3.7 million shares, compared with the full-day average over the past 30 days of 2.1 million shares.

Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. shares RGR, +3.48% climbed 2.7% and Vista Outdoor Inc. shares VSTO, +2.44% ran up 1.8% toward a 6-week high.

Analysts say the regulatory environment is among the biggest drivers of demand for guns, as fears of tighter regulation have boosted gun sales and share prices in the past. Since President Trump was elected, however, fears of tighter regulations have faded and share prices have dropped. [Continue reading…]

For gun makers, this would have to be the perfect combination: increased fear of gun control boosting gun sales at a time when a Republican president and Congress means there is zero chance of increased gun control. Add to that the fact that the Trump administration is looking for ways to “turn the spigot” on overseas gun sales and there’s never been a better time for trading in deadly weapons.

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What makes America first in gun violence

Vox reports: America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.

1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany

[Continue reading…]

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GOP effort to ease gun restrictions put on hold

Politico reports: A controversial bill to loosen restrictions on purchasing gun silencers won’t be reaching the House floor anytime soon following a horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 59 dead and hundreds more wounded, according to GOP sources.

Another bill to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns with them to another state could also be impacted by the tragedy, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

In what has become a familiar pattern, President Donald Trump and lawmakers in both parties issued somber statements of condolences following Sunday’s shooting, in which a heavily armed gunman opened fire at a crowd attending a concert. A number of Democrats called for immediate hearings and votes on gun-control measures, while Republicans and conservatives countered that it was inappropriate to talk politics when the tragedy was still fresh.

“Politicizing this terrible tragedy is, I think, beyond disgusting,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Monday afternoon.

“Unfortunately I think some of the statements that have been made are fairly predicable. A time with 50-plus people are dead and 500 people are wounded is not a time to be politicizing this. There’s plenty of time to talk after a respectful period,” he added.

While there is virtually no chance that any new gun-control measures will be enacted in a GOP-controlled Congress or with Trump in the White House, the shooting could derail consideration of the silencer bill, known as the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, at least in the short term. [Continue reading…]

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Las Vegas mass murderer, Stephen Paddock, was a retiree, licensed hunter and private pilot

ABC News reports: Police questioned the suspect’s girlfriend Marilou Danley, 62, who appears to have lived with Paddock in Mesquite, Nev., about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, but local authorities told ABC News that they do not believe she was involved in the shooting.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Police said Paddock had no criminal history, save a minor citation. He appears to have worked as an accountant or auditor and was a licensed hunter and private pilot. [Continue reading…]

Heavy reports: Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, had lived on Babbling Brook Court in Mesquite, Nevada, since June 2016. He previously lived in Reno, Nevada, from 2011 to 2016, and also had an address in Melbourne, Florida, from 2013 to 2015. He has also lived in Henderson, Nevada, and several locations in Texas and California since 1990. He was born April 9, 1953.

Mesquite is located about 80 miles, or an hour and 16 minutes, away from Las Vegas, along Nevada’s border with Arizona. Mesquite, a city in Clark County, is home to about 17,400 people, including several retirement communities, along with casinos and golf courses. [Continue reading…]

In the interests of accuracy, I should point out that I refer to Paddock as a “retiree” in the loose sense of the term — which is to say, he had reached retirement age and was living in a retirement community. What his source of income was, I have no idea.

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ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting with firearms

The Wall Street Journal reports: The American Civil Liberties Union, taking a tougher stance on armed protests, will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms, the group’s executive director said.

Following clashes over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., the civil-rights group also will screen clients more closely for the potential of violence at their rallies, said Anthony Romero, who has been the ACLU’s executive director since 2001.

The ACLU’s Virginia branch defended the right of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other groups under the banner “Unite the Right” to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park.

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” said Mr. Romero.

The revised policy marries the 97-year-old civil-rights group’s First Amendment work with the organization’s stance on firearms, which aligns with many municipalities and states that bar protesters from carrying weapons.

“If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else,” Mr. Romero said, adding that the decision was in keeping with a 2015 policy adopted by the ACLU’s national board in support of “reasonable” firearm regulation. [Continue reading…]

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Virginia did its utmost to ease James Hodgkinson’s path to violence

David Frum writes: America is more vulnerable to assassins than most other democracies, for many reasons. The United States is a less-surveilled society than Britain or France. American police forces are more decentralized than those of most European countries. Above all, the U.S. is vulnerable to this crime because targeted killing typically requires access to a gun—and guns are easier to acquire here than in any comparably developed society. We’ll learn more about when the Alexandria murderer decided on his crime, and whether his weapon was legally acquired. The commonwealth of Virginia certainly did its utmost to ease his way, however, by conferring the legal right to move about with an openly brandished rifle. (The City of Alexandria, though, where the shooting took place, bars the open carry of assault weapons.)

In the wake of this crime, as after the Gabby Giffords attack in 2011, we’ll soon be talking about whether and when political rhetoric goes too far. It’s an important conversation to have, and the fact that the president of the United States is himself the country’s noisiest inciter of political violence does not give license to anyone else to do the same. Precisely because the president has put himself so outside the boundary of political decency, it is vitally important to define and defend that border. President Trump’s delight in violence against his opponents is something to isolate and condemn, not something to condone or emulate. [Continue reading…]

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Congressional gunman had a history of domestic violence

The Daily Beast reports: The gunman who attacked members of Congress on Wednesday morning, wounding a GOP leader, had a long history of domestic violence that included the use of a gun and hated Republicans.

James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on a congressional baseball practice outside of Washington, D.C., a senior law-enforcement official told The Daily Beast. Hodgkinson was killed by police.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, two Capitol Police officers, and congressional staffers were wounded. They are all expected to survive, according to police.

Hodgkinson may have practiced before the attack, a neighbor told The Daily Beast.

On March 24, neighbor William Schaumleffel called the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office to complain that Hodgkinson had fired approximately 15 shots outside. A responding officer found Hodgkinson shooting into nearby trees and advised him to stop, according to a sheriff’s report, which added that Hodgkinson had a valid firearm license.

“I thought, my God, what is that guy shooting?” Schaumleffel recalled.

He told The Daily Beast that he was out in his backyard with his grandchildren when the shooting started. He heard one shot, then another, and then three in rapid succession.

Hodgkinson held the gun to his shoulder and fired across Schaumleffel’s field, he said. Schaumleffel said he yelled to him to say that there were houses in that direction and that he should stop, but wasn’t sure if he heard him.

The shooting started again, in what Schaumleffel now calls “target practice.”

“I told my wife, hey, I’m gonna call the sheriff. He’s liable to turn the gun on us,” Schaumleffel said.

Schaumleffel said had never met the Hodgkinson, and said that almost everyone in the neighborhood owned a gun. But no one starts shooting randomly, into the distance, like Hodgkinson did.

“He was being very reckless that day,” Schaumleffel said.

Shortly after the incident, Hodgkinson reportedly left Illinois and was living in Virginia.

Hodgkinson had a history of violence that did not rise to the level to prohibit him from legally owning a firearm.

Hodgkinson was the foster father of at least two girls. The first, Wanda Ashley Stock, 17, committed suicide in 1996 by pouring gasoline on herself and setting herself on fire after a few months of living with the Hodgkinsons, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. The Hodgkinsons gave an interview to the paper after her suicide, calling her a “very practical, level-headed girl.”

Privacy laws do not allow the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to release foster records.

In 2002, Hodgkinson became the foster father of another girl whom he allegedly abused, according to police record. [Continue reading…]

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Americans spent an estimated $17 billion on ammunition while Obama was president

Philip Bump writes: The eight years during which Barack Obama served as president were a boom time for the gun industry. Obama’s consistent and futile efforts to introduce new regulations restricting gun sales were whipped into rhetoric about imminent crackdowns on gun ownership — rhetoric that predated Obama’s election, much less his policy efforts.

There’s been some indication that gun sales have receded in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. The go-to metric for gun sales — a figure that isn’t directly compiled by the government — is the number of federal background checks completed during a month. The biggest month for such checks tends to be December, as people buy firearms as Christmas gifts. In December 2015, the FBI conducted 3.3 million background checks. In December 2016, after Trump’s win? 2.8 million.

Over the first two months of the year, the number of checks completed totaled 4.3 million. In January and February 2016, the total was 5.2 million. That’s a 2017 decline of 17 percent — but it was also the third-highest January-February total on record. (The FBI started conducting background checks in 1998.) [Continue reading…]

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American husbands are incomparably more deadly than terrorists

Nicholas Kristof writes: It’s true that Muslim Americans — both born in the United States and immigrants from countries other than those subject to Trump’s restrictions — have carried out deadly terrorism in America. There have been 123 such murders since the 9/11 attacks — and 230,000 other murders.

Last year Americans were less likely to be killed by Muslim terrorists than for being Muslim, according to Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina. The former is a risk of approximately one in six million; the latter, one in one million.

The bottom line is that most years in the U.S., ladders kill far more Americans than Muslim terrorists do. Same with bathtubs. Ditto for stairs. And lightning.

Above all, fear spouses: Husbands are incomparably more deadly in America than jihadist terrorists.

And husbands are so deadly in part because in America they have ready access to firearms, even when they have a history of violence. In other countries, brutish husbands put wives in hospitals; in America, they put them in graves. [Continue reading…]

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Gary Younge: America’s deserving and undeserving dead children

It’s rare to hear an author say, “Researching and writing this book has made me want to scream.”  But perhaps it’s not surprising, given the topic of Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives — the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly death-by-gun of startling numbers of kids in this country — and the time he spent tracking down the stories of the young Americans who died on a single day in November 2013 in separate incidents nationwide.

After all, these days, the U.S. is a haven and a heaven for guns.  It’s hard to find another nation on the planet — except in places like Syria or Afghanistan where whole populations have been thrown into desperate internecine conflicts — in which guns are so readily available. Between 1968 and 2015, the number of guns in the U.S. essentially doubled to 300 million. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, American arms manufacturers doubled their production of weapons to almost 11 million a year.  And those guns have gotten more deadly as well.  Military-style assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns are now the weapons of choice for mass killers and “lone wolf” terrorists in this country.  In almost all cases those killers got their guns and ammo (often high-capacity magazines capable of holding 15 to 100 rounds) in perfectly legal fashion. And it’s getting easier to carry concealed weapons all the time. Missouri, for instance, recently passed a law that allows the carrying of such a weapon without either a permit or training of any sort.

Under the circumstances, no one should be surprised that kids die in remarkable numbers from guns for all kinds of reasons. Believe me, though, that makes it no less shocking when you read Younge’s unsettling and moving book. Long a journalist, columnist, and editor for the British Guardian stationed here in the U.S., today he offers us a look at the death toll from guns among our young and the way we Americans generally like to explain that toll to ourselves (or rather how we like to explain it away). Tom Engelhardt

An all-American slaughter
The youthful carnage of America’s gun culture
By Gary Younge

Every day, on average, seven kids and teens are shot dead in America. Election 2016 will undoubtedly prove consequential in many ways, but lowering that death count won’t be one of them. To grapple with fatalities on that scale — 2,500 dead children annually — a candidate would need a thoroughgoing plan for dealing with America’s gun culture that goes well beyond background checks. In addition, he or she would need to engage with the inequality, segregation, poverty, and lack of mental health resources that add up to the environment in which this level of violence becomes possible.  Think of it as the huge pile of dry tinder for which the easy availability of firearms is the combustible spark. In America in 2016, to advocate for anything like the kind of policies that might engage with such issues would instantly render a candidacy implausible, if not inconceivable — not least with the wealthy folks who now fund elections.

So the kids keep dying and, in the absence of any serious political or legislative attempt to tackle the causes of their deaths, the media and the political class move on to excuses. From claims of bad parenting to lack of personal responsibility, they regularly shift the blame from the societal to the individual level. Only one organized group at present takes the blame for such deaths.  The problem, it is suggested, isn’t American culture, but gang culture.

Researching my new book, Another Day in the Death of America, about all the children and teens shot dead on a single random Saturday in 2013, it became clear how often the presence of gangs in neighborhoods where so many of these kids die is used as a way to dismiss serious thinking about why this is happening. If a shooting can be described as “gang related,” then it can also be discounted as part of the “pathology” of urban life, particularly for people of color. In reality, the main cause, pathologically speaking, is a legislative system that refuses to control the distribution of firearms, making America the only country in the world in which such a book would have been possible.

[Read more…]

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Extremist militias recruiting in fear of Clinton winning election, activists say

The Guardian reports: In the past 12 months, Jessica Campbell has had her car’s fuel line cut and its wheel nuts loosened. Late last year, she had a GPS tracker surreptitiously attached to her vehicle. She is now accustomed to being tailed by unfamiliar vehicles on Interstate 5 near her home in Cottage Grove, just outside Eugene, Oregon. Strangers have regularly come uninvited onto her property; someone even stripped the barbed wire on her fence “just to send a message”. Online, she has repeatedly been threatened with rape and death.

And last week, when she showed up at the Canyon City community hall in Grant County, she told me that someone shot at her and her entourage. They misread their GPS, took a wrong turn and stopped to get their bearings when a crack rang out with what Campbell thought was a .22 bullet whizzing by their vehicle.

Such threats are part of the pushback her work has sparked in rural Oregon.

Campbell co-directs the Rural Organizing Project, a not-for-profit group that sets out to confront the rightwing insurgency that has been bubbling away in parts of rural Oregon and throughout the west. A political organizer since high school, she now coordinates groups attempting to respond to divisive tactics from rightwing activists on immigration, race and public land ownership.

This extremist surge received national media attention during the occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge by the Bundy group, but it has continued to rise alongside Trump, with his legitimization of white nationalist politics and his apparent inspiration of insurrectionists across the country. [Continue reading…]

The SPLC identified 998 active extreme antigovernment groups in 2015: The antigovernment movement has experienced a resurgence, growing quickly since 2008, when President Obama was elected to office. Factors fueling the antigovernment movement in recent years include changing demographics driven by immigration, the struggling economy and the election of the first African-American president. [Continue reading…]

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Gun nation

 

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The Sandy Hook hoax

Reeves Wiedeman reports: On December 14, 2012, Lenny Pozner dropped off his three children, Sophia, Arielle, and Noah, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Noah had recently turned 6, and on the drive over they listened to his favorite song, “Gangnam Style,” for what turned out to be the last time. Several hours later, while Sophia and Arielle hid nearby, Adam Lanza walked into Noah’s first-grade class with an AR-15 rifle. Noah was the youngest of the 20 children and seven adults killed in one of the deadliest shootings in American history. When the medical examiner found Noah lying face up in a Batman sweatshirt, his jaw had been blown off. Lenny and his wife, Veronique, raced to the school as soon as they heard the news, but had to wait for hours alongside other parents to learn their son’s fate.

It didn’t take much longer for Pozner to find out that many people didn’t believe his son had died or even that he had lived at all. Days after the rampage, a man walked around Newtown filming a video in which he declared that the massacre had been staged by “some sort of New World Order global elitists” intent on taking away our guns and our liberty. A week later, James Tracy, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, wrote a blog post expressing doubts about the massacre. By January, a 30-minute YouTube video, titled “The Sandy Hook Shooting — Fully Exposed,” which asked questions like “Wouldn’t frantic kids be a difficult target to hit?,” had been viewed more than 10 million times.

As the families grieved, conspiracy theorists began to press their case in ways that Newtown couldn’t avoid. State officials received anonymous phone calls at their homes, late at night, demanding answers: Why were there no trauma helicopters? What happened to the initial reports of a second shooter? A Virginia man stole playground signs memorializing two of the victims, then called their parents to say that the burglary shouldn’t affect them, since their children had never existed. At one point, Lenny Pozner was checking into a hotel out of town when the clerk looked up from the address on his driver’s license and said, “Oh, Sandy Hook — the government did that.” Pozner had tried his best to ignore the conspiracies, but eventually they disrupted his grieving process so much that he could no longer turn a blind eye. “Conspiracy theorists erase the human aspect of history,” Pozner said this summer. “My child — who lived, who was a real person — is basically going to be erased.” [Continue reading…]

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Sovereign citizen fears realized in Baton Rouge shooting

CBS News reports: Kansas City native Gavin Eugene Long, who died on his 29th birthday on Sunday after ambushing and killing three Baton Rouge police officers, said in online postings that he didn’t want to be affiliated with any group.

Long was, however, a member of a group involved in the sovereign citizen movement.

Since 2011, the FBI has considered sovereign citizens “a growing domestic threat to law enforcement.” In a bulletin, the agency wrote that they consider “sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement.”

Simply put, sovereign citizens believe themselves to be above the law of the land. Their reasons vary, but they don’t believe they have to do things like pay taxes or respect law enforcement officials, because in their minds all governments are operating illegally.

The movement’s most high-profile member to date has been Terry Nichols, the accomplice in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

According to the Kansas City Star, Baton Rouge shooter Long “declared himself a sovereign in records filed with the Jackson County recorder of deeds last year.”

Specifically, Long said he was a member of the Washitaw Nation of Mu’urs. J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, told the Star that the group believe themselves to be native of the North American continent and therefore about the laws of any country, state, or city. [Continue reading…]

 

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Slain Baton Rouge officer days before shooting: ‘I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me’

The Associated Press reports: Just days before he was shot and killed, a Baton Rouge police officer posted an emotional Facebook message saying he was “physically and emotionally” tired and expressing how difficult it was to be both a police officer and a black man, a friend said Sunday.

“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me,” Montrell Jackson wrote.

Friends and family of Jackson, 32, were mourning the 10-year veteran of the police force that relatives described as a “gentle giant” and a “protector” after he and another two law enforcement officers were shot and killed Sunday morning by a gunman.

Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. of the Baton Rouge Police Department identified the other slain Baton Rouge police officer as 41-year-old Matthew Gerald, who had been with the department less than a year. The third officer killed was 45-year-old sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola, a 24-year veteran, spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said. [Continue reading…]

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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II: ‘America, now is the time to weep’

 

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Tough gun laws in Australia eliminate mass shootings

Science News reports: Australia has seen zero mass shootings in the 20 years since it enacted strict gun control laws and a mandatory gun buyback program, researchers report June 22 in JAMA.

Key to this success is probably the reduction in people’s exposure to semiautomatic weapons, Johns Hopkins University health policy researcher Daniel Webster writes in an accompanying editorial.

“Here’s a society that recognized a public safety threat, found it unacceptable, and took measures to address the problem,” Webster says.

In April 1996, a man with two semiautomatic rifles shot and killed 35 people in Tasmania and wounded at least 18 others. Two months after the shooting, known as the Port Arthur massacre, Australia began implementing a comprehensive set of gun regulations, called the National Firearms Agreement.

The NFA is famous for banning semiautomatic long guns (including the ones used by the Port Arthur shooter), but, as Webster points out, it also made buying other guns a lot harder too. People have to document a “genuine need,” pass a safety test, wait a minimum of 28 days, have no restraining orders for violence and demonstrate good moral character, among other restrictions, Webster writes.

“In Australia, they look at someone’s full record and ask, ‘Is this a good idea to let this person have a firearm?’” Webster says. In the United States, “we do pretty much the opposite. The burden is on the government to show that you are too dangerous to have a firearm.” [Continue reading…]

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