A 10-year-old girl in Texas with cerebral palsy faces deportation after being discharged from a hospital where she just had surgery.
Rosamaria Hernandez, who is undocumented but has lived in the US since she was 3 months old, and her cousin were confronted around 2 a.m. Tuesday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
Rosamaria and her cousin, who is a US citizen, were in an ambulance and being transferred between two hospitals so the little girl could undergo emergency gall bladder surgery at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi.
The ambulance was escorted by ICE agents to the hospital from an immigration checkpoint in Freer. Border Patrol agents waited outside the girl’s hospital room until she was released from the facility.
Upon her release, Rosamaria was taken to a shelter in San Antonio that holds migrant children who arrive alone in the US — despite doctor’s orders that she visit with her family’s primary care physician in Laredo post-surgery.
“Their orders are to process her,” said Leticia Gonzalez, who works with the girl’s immigration lawyer, Alex Galvez. “At this point, our argument to [immigration officials] is there is a doctor’s directive, why aren’t you following it?”
Rosamaria has lived in Laredo since being brought by her parents from Mexico to the US illegally as a baby.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said Rosamaria was no exception to the agency’s responsibility to follow immigration law.
“Per the immigration laws of the United States, once medically cleared she will be processed accordingly,” Rod Kise said in a statement. “The Mexican Consulate has been advised of the situation by Laredo Sector Border Patrol.”
Galvez said Homeland Security officials will conduct a home study to see if the girl can be released to family. He said her case will be expedited and that it’s strong because she’s not a flight risk due to her disability and doesn’t pose a threat to society.
Rosamaria’s mother, Felipa de la Cruz, said they crossed the border in hopes of getting medical treatment for her cerebral palsy. The family wasn’t able to afford therapy in Mexico but in Texas, Medicaid paid for the girl’s treatment, de la Cruz said.
“I’m a mother. All I wanted was for her to get the surgery that she needed,” de la Cruz told the New York Times. “It never crossed my mind that any of what is happening right now could happen. When you’re a mother, all you care about is your child.”
Guards outside her hospital room ?? Really?? She's ten and disabled. The poor little scrap of humanity. Whatever happened to compassion and generosity in America? Why are those guards not tracking down illegal human traffickers and illegal drug smugglers ? Shame on you America.
A US Republican senator says he will not seek re-election, delivering a fierce attack on Donald Trump. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said "reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour" at the top of the US government was dangerous to democracy.
Mr Trump has previously called Mr Flake "toxic". The president is already embroiled in a row with another Republican Senator, Bob Corker.
Before confirming his decision in a speech to the Senate, Mr Flake told the Arizona Republic newspaper "there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party".
Taking to the floor, he said he did not enjoy criticizing the president but felt it was "a matter of duty and conscience".
"We must never regard as 'normal' the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," he said.
He lamented the "flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons".
"I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr President, I will not be complicit," he added.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was "probably a good move" Mr Flake was standing down, suggesting he would not win re-election anyway. Jeff Flake was facing an uphill battle in his re-election campaign next year. It wasn't because the incumbent senator was matched up against a particularly tough Democrat, but rather because the Republican Party had shifted under his feet.
He found himself at odds with Donald Trump and the populist, nationalist movement that swept the president to power - and facing a right-wing challenger backed by Mr Trump's former adviser and campaign guru, Steve Bannon. So with poll numbers indicating he very well might be unceremoniously dumped from office, Mr Flake decided to go out on his own terms.
It's become almost a cliché at this point that a Republican Trump critic only finds his voice once his political career is at or near an end. Mr Flake's situation is different. His career is at an end not by his choice, but by forces outside his control. He's been an outspoken Trump critic for some time, and soon he will be out of a job.
Another prominent party critic of Mr Trump, John McCain, was quick to pay tribute to Mr Flake.
And US Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said he had "witnessed a speech from a very fine man".
Mr Flake has long been a vocal opponent of Mr Trump, refusing to endorse him during the presidential campaign. Although he largely voted in line with the party, his comparatively moderate views and critiques of the direction of the Republicans under Mr Trump have left him out of kilter with voters who made Mr Trump president.
For his part, Donald Trump has long wanted to oust Mr Flake, even offering to spend millions of his own money to see him unseated in primaries.
In a series of television interviews earlier in the day, Sen. Bob Corker accused the president of lying, adding that he had debased the US and weakened its global standing.
Mr Trump fired back on Twitter, calling the Tennessee senator a "lightweight" who "couldn't get re-elected". Mr Corker is also not seeking another term in elections next year. The feud overshadowed efforts by Mr Trump to build support for his proposed tax cuts.
The ongoing public feud between Corker and Trump exploded Tuesday ahead of the President's high-stakes visit to Capitol Hill for tax negotiations, with the Tennessee Republican telling CNN's Manu Raju he wouldn't support Trump for president if given the opportunity again.
The President had earlier accused Corker, who has said he will not run for re-election in 2018, of blocking his party's efforts on tax cuts.
The off-message exchange between the two men escalates a rift that has highlighted divisions between Trump and several Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill at a critical time for his tax agenda.
NBC News KEN DILANIAN AND COURTNEY KUBE WASHINGTON — A senior congressional aide who has been briefed on the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger says the ambush by militants stemmed in part from a "massive intelligence failure." The Pentagon has said that 40 to 50 militants ambushed a 12-man U.S. force in Niger on Oct. 4, killing four and wounding two. The U.S. patrol was seen as routine and had been carried out nearly 30 times in the six months before the attack, the Pentagon has reported. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said the House and Senate armed services committees have questions about the scope of the U.S. mission in Niger, and whether the Pentagon is properly supporting the troops on the ground there. There was no U.S. overhead surveillance of the mission, he said, and no American quick-reaction force available to rescue the troops if things went wrong. If it weren't for the arrival of French fighter jets, he said, things could have been much worse for the Americans. Congress also has many unanswered questions about what happened, he said, including about the specifics of the mission that day and the accounts lawmakers have been given about the timeline of the attack and rescue. The aide said questions are being asked about whether the U.S. soldiers were intentionally delayed in the village they were visiting. He said they began pursuing some men on motorcycles, who lured them into a complex ambush. The enemy force had "technical" vehicles — light, improvised military vehicles — and rocket-propelled grenades, the official said. After the rescue when it became clear that one soldier was missing, "movements and actions to try and find him and bring him back were considered. They just were not postured properly [to get him]." The body of Sgt. La David Johnson was not recovered until nearly 48 hours after the Oct. 4 attack. The Pentagon said that conclusions about an intelligence failure were premature. On Friday afternoon, Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Niger raid. Earlier this week, McCain said the committee had not been provided with the information about the Niger mission that it "deserves." Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said Congress will require more information from a Trump administration that is expanding counter terrorism operations across the globe. Trump is loosening the rules of engagement when it comes to lethal action against terrorists, and expanding the counterterrorism fight to different parts of the world, including across Africa, Graham said. "The war is morphing," he said. "You're going to see more actions in Africa, not less." In that context, Graham said, "I will insist that Congress is informed more often and in more detail," about military operations. He added, "As the war expands, as the military had more authority, Congress is going to require more information." Pentagon officials say operations in the region have already "tightened up" and there's been an operational "pause" while the U.S. military's Africa Command (AFRICOM) assesses the situation. U.S. officials believe the attack was carried out by a local terror group that claims association with ISIS. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AFRICOM since 2016, told Congress in March that only 20 to 30 percent of AFRICOM's needs for "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance" flights were being met. The Marine Corps general said there weren't enough helicopters to find wounded or dead soldiers, and that African partners weren't able to help with recovery missions. "For personnel recovery," he said, "Africa Command relies heavily on contract search and rescue assets." tRUMP is to busy tweeting about the NFL ... he lives in his own fairy land world ... if you ask him about whay's going on in the real world , he will get that silly look on his face ... looks like he is sucking on a sour pickle . tRUMP reminds me kids playing follow the leader and on the tail end . HeHe
Frederica Wilson By JON LEVINE October 20th 2017 While many praised White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly for his stern and emotional defense of President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a fallen soldier, one passionate dissenting voice was MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. On his program Thursday evening, O’Donnell launched into an 18 minute diatribe against Kelly that got personal, with the host suggesting Kelly’s Boston Irish upbringing tinged his thoughts about Wilson with racism. “I grew up a few years after John Kelly in an identical neighborhood in the other side of Boston and I went to high school in John Kelly’s neighborhood. I know the neighborhood John Kelly comes from, I know the culture,” said O’Donnell. “It was a neighborhood in which calling someone who looked like Frederica Wilson an empty barrel was the kindest thing that would have been said about her. Desegregation came very painfully to the Boston schools, long after John Kelly finished high school, and the pain of desegregating Boston schools was visited entirely on the students who looked like Frederica Wilson.” There was more: O’Donnell also accused the marine general of “dehumanizing” Wilson by calling her an “empty barrel.” “He called her an empty barrel. He dehumanized her. In fact, from start to finish, John Kelly’s comments in the briefing room today were essentially a lecture about his moral superiority over her and Donald Trump’s moral superiority over her,” he said. “If there is anything that John Kelly respects about her, he did not mention it today. Today she was nothing but an empty barrel to him.” While Kelly has been known to drop the “empty barrel” line before on his critics, it seems the Congresswoman saw O’Donnell’s monologue, telling reporters Friday that she felt the term was “racist.”
A U.S. F-35 stealth fighter is seen at 2017 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's deputy UN ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment."
Kim In Ryong told the UN General Assembly's disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to "such an extreme and direct nuclear threat" from the United States since the 1970s — and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence.
He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using "nuclear assets" and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a "secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership."
This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its "state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets."
"The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe," he warned.
Kim's speech follows escalating threats between North Korea and the United States, and increasingly tough UN sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country is curtailing economic, scientific and other ties with North Korea in line with UN sanctions, and the European Union announced new sanctions on Pyongyang for developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis "will continue until the first bomb drops." His commitment to diplomacy came despite President Donald Trump's tweets several weeks ago that his chief envoy was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he derisively referred to as "Little Rocket Man."
North Korea's deputy UN ambassador called his country's nuclear and missile arsenal "a precious strategic asset that cannot be reversed or bartered for anything."
"Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances," Kim said.
He told the disarmament committee that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea — North Korea's official name — had hoped for a nuclear-free world.
Instead, Kim said, all nuclear states are accelerating the modernization of their weapons and "reviving a nuclear arms race reminiscent of (the) Cold War era." He noted that the nuclear weapon states, including the United States, boycotted negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was approved in July by 122 countries at the United Nations.
"The DPRK consistently supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the efforts for denuclearization of the entire world," he said. But as long as the United States rejects the treaty and "constantly threatens and blackmails the DPRK with nuclear weapons ... the DPRK is not in position to accede to the treaty."
Terrestrial planet WR 67c told reporters that it “just prays” it never develops a mild global climate hospitable to humans.
CONSTELLATION VELA—Claiming that the mere thought is an “absolute nightmare,” WR 67c, a terrestrial planet from the distant Gamma Velorum star system, expressed its profound terror Wednesday at the possibility of one day gaining the capacity to sustain human life.
The 5.2-billion-year-old celestial body, which is located roughly 1,100 light years from Earth, said that for both its own sake and that of its entire solar system, it can only hope to never possess the necessary planetary characteristics and chemical elements needed to support either a deep-space human outpost or, more gravely, an entire human colony.
“Luckily, with my high levels of atmospheric sulfur dioxide, methane, and radon, there’s no way any human could survive on my surface for more than a few seconds,” said WR 67c, adding that it is “incredibly lucky” to have developed extremely violent and widespread volcanism in addition to its poisonous atmosphere. “But I don’t know, what if I produce a magnetic field that blocks out stellar wind and cosmic radiation? What if I develop an axial tilt that fosters a mild global climate? It’s terrifying to admit, but my surface temperature already sometimes drops to 120 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and their species can technically survive in that.”
“Stuff like that really freaks me out,” the extrasolar planet continued. “The real doomsday scenario would be someday acquiring a breathable atmosphere rich with oxygen and ultraviolet-absorbing ozone. At that point, I might as well just hurl myself at the nearest black hole and be done with it.”
In an effort to allay its deep-seated fears of human habitation, WR 67c said it often reminds itself that its surface is constantly ravaged by devastating asteroid impacts and is perpetually showered by corrosive rains of pure sulfuric acid. However, because it occupies what Earth scientists have dubbed the habitable zone of its nearby star, the planet confessed that it often succumbs to sudden panic attacks in which it becomes intensely paranoid that it is developing liquid water on its crust.
The silicate-based planet also expressed a similarly crippling worry that any of its six moons could one day develop atmospheric pressure and gravity levels suitable for the human body, underscoring that it does not want humans “within 100 parsecs” of its orbit.
“Boy, I can only imagine what that awful species would do to me if they found out I have an abundance of rich mineral deposits deep within me,” said WR 67c, noting that the prospect of human scientists discovering its existence has already led to debilitating bouts of stress and anxiety. “Those horrible organisms have already developed the technology for short-distance space travel, and it’s probably only a matter of time before they figure out how to voyage through interstellar space.”
“It’s almost like I can already feel them crawling all over my surface, infesting every inch of my crust,” the planet added, shuddering. “Ugh, it’s best not to even think about it.”
Despite its opposition to human life, WR 67c admitted no such reservations toward harboring other carbon-based lifeforms, noting that most are harmless and actually tend to form a peaceful and pleasant symbiosis with their surroundings.
“Honestly, I really wouldn’t mind having certain living organisms,” WR 67c said. “Prokaryotes or maybe some unicellular Mycetozoa would be totally fine—in fact, those kinds of species would be more than welcome. And most plants or animals really wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I could actually see myself happily accommodating a variety of biomes for all sorts of organisms.”
“Just not humans,” the planet quickly added. “Seriously, anything but those parasites.”
Given that its size is roughly three times that of Earth, WR 67c acknowledged with considerable apprehension that it could theoretically house tens of billions of humans—far more than the Earth’s capacity—a prospect it said was “too terrifying to contemplate.” The distant terrestrial world then confirmed that should human beings ever safely step foot on its surface, it would do everything in its power to generate devastating volcanic activity and seismic instability in an effort to repel them.
However, if it proved unable to shake the species, the planet said it hoped for the nearby Wolf-Rayet star to immediately go supernova, instantly obliterating all orbiting planets in a cataclysmic burst of thermonuclear energy.
“It’s absolutely horrifying to think of human beings living off my geochemistry and atmosphere, but to be honest, if I can just get through the next 50 or so Earth years, I should be in the clear,” WR 67c said. “They’ll definitely all be dead by then.”
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock coolly calculated the geometry of mass murder, according to new details of the note he left behind on the nightstand of his hotel suite.
The slip of paper contains the handwritten calculations of his elevation and distance from the 20,000 concert-goers below — and shows he spent time mathematically maximizing his firing accuracy so he could kill as many people as possible.
“I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was gonna be for the crowd,” Officer Dave Newton of the Las Vegas Police Department said on Sunday.
“So he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there.”
A CBS news program featured interviews with Newton and two other police officers — the three cops who used an explosive blast to break down Paddock’s door on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino and Hotel last Sunday night.
“Very eerie,” Newton tells correspondent Bill Whitaker of Paddock’s hotel room.
Smoke from the blast had set off a blinking fire alarm in the room. “Yeah, the dust from the explosive breach,” said Newton, a cop with the K-9 unit.
“And then you have the flashing lights,” Newton said.
“And that looked straight, like, out of a movie, you know?”
It was Newton who describes the note on a nightstand near one of the two windows Paddock broke before aiming for the crowd 400 yards away, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadly mass shooting.
In Vegas on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen told a crowd at City Hall that America will always remember the “courage” of the victims. “We do not grieve like those who have no hope,” Pence said. “Because heroes give us hope.”
The veep’s remarks came as FBI agents carefully hauled away the piles of backpacks, purses, baby strollers and lawn chairs left behind by concert-goers as Paddock’s bullets flew.
The belongings will be catalogued and returned to families, officials said.
Also Saturday, the family of shooting victim John Phippen, 56, asked a judge to appoint an administrator to Paddock’s estate — a first step toward a lawsuit.
Paddock set up a camera inside his hotel room during his deadly shooting rampage — and other surveillance in the hallway to alert him as cops closed in on him, officials said.
The shooter had placed a camera by the peephole in his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It has also been reported he had a camera in his room to record himself.
Paddock also wired up two cameras in the hallway outside his room. Police officials said the cameras had been meant to help Paddock watch out for cops, though it is not clear how he might have been monitoring them. The video he took of himself while shooting at the concert spectators has not been discussed by police.
Business Insider MICHELLE MARK October 6th 2017 President Donald Trump in an interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defended the first lady over backlash she received for wearing stiletto heels before boarding flights to hurricane-ravaged areas. Trump made the comments in response to a question from Huckabee on Melania Trump's high approval ratings, saying that she is a "private person" who "loved her other life." "She doesn't need to be adored by people, but she does like to help people. And she sees how important it is. And she's taken tremendous abuse," Trump told Huckabee. Melania Trump was criticized in August for wearing high heels before heading to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, although she changed into sneakers before landing. She made a similar move this week when visiting Puerto Rico, boarding her flight while wearing stilettos before switching to Timberland work boots. The president told Huckabee that the first lady had dressed up "out of respect for the White House," adding that she "wants to look good leaving the front entrance." He continued: "So she dresses up, and she puts on formal shoes, high heels, and she leaves the White House going to Texas, or going to wherever we want to go — Florida, actually twice. So walking through that front door, she did. Now, she has sneakers in the meantime with her so she can change into other clothing when we're walking through where a hurricane is just leaving, and she took tremendous abuse." Trump added that people he has met have not appeared to mind the first lady's heels. "But the good news is that the people understand it – I was making a speech, and women were holding up — 'we love your stilettos.' They really do love her. And she's a good person," Trump said. Trump's interview with Huckabee, who is the father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will air on Saturday for the first episode of his show "Huckabee" on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Witchy sez : Folks , don't get upset because tRUMP defends Malanie's shoes , he has his reason .... her shoe size and his IQ is the same number ..........excuse me , I just couldn't help it HeHe
As my sight grows dimmer, I often think of Dylan Thomas's poem and I 'rage against the dying of the light'. I posted it here because it's just a damn good poem. It proves that no matter how great, or small your achievements; no matter how good or wise you may be, or what revelations come to you, the dark ( or death) is the great equalizer. It comes to us all and we do not 'go gentle into that good night'. The poem celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.
Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953 :
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
A Canadian province is tabling legislation that would make it illegal to protest or form a gathering to demonstrate outside abortion clinics.
Ontario's attorney general announced on Thursday that the government will introduce the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act. If passed, the legislation would create "safe access zones" around abortion clinics as well as the homes of staff. Anti-abortion activists would not be allowed to protest within at least 50m (164ft) of a clinic or staff residence. These protests intimidate and try to mock and shame women who go for the clinics services.
British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have already enacted safe access zone laws. It is expected the rest of Canada will follow suit.
"Our government is standing up for every woman's right to choose, and protecting the safety of abortion service providers," said Ontario's Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in a news release.
"The proposed safe access zones would mean that patients, visitors and staff are able to enter and depart from clinics and facilities that provide abortion services in a manner that protects their safety, security, health and privacy."
The "safe access zones" could be extended from 50m to 150m by application; the law would also allow hospitals and pharmacies that provide abortion services to apply for a safe zone. In addition to the zone around clinic staff's residence, the law would protect clinic staff from "harassment" everywhere they go in Ontario.
Those convicted of violating the law would face a C$5,000 ($4,000, £3,000) fine and/or six months in prison for a first offence, or a fine of between C$1,000 and C$10,000 and up to one year in jail for second and subsequent offences.
Mr Naqvi told media he was moved to act when a woman was spat on outside an Ottawa clinic where protesters frequently gather, carrying graphic signs and chanting slogans.
Pro-choice advocates have been pushing for the law for some time, but anti-abortion activists say it takes away their right to free speech.
"I find it ignorant for the attorney general of Ontario to suggest that abortion is a right," anti-abortion supporter Anna Nienhuis told the Ottawa Citizen.
If she would examine her own frequently touted statement, she might see that she is denying women the right to makes their own choices. And that's pretty ignorant.
Post scriptum: Canada has also legalized the abortion pill.
It seems Mass killings are a 'made in America tragedy' in these times. It is almost reasonable to wonder whether you’re risking your life by being anywhere but at home.
A gunman with a clutch of high-powered rifles on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel proved Sunday night that you can assume no safety in numbers, not even among 22,000 fans of country music, a genre that romanticizes American gun culture. Some 59 people died and 527 more were injured in a long-distance rain of hellish gunfire in the nation’s worst mass shooting in modern times.
Not to say other countries are safe . Twenty-two died in May when the mostly young female fans of Ariana Grande, of Boca Raton, were met with a suicide bomber’s blast upon leaving a Manchester arena at the concert’s end.
Nor are schools sure havens as Virginia Tech discovered in 2007 when a student killed 32 people and wounded 17. Not a high school, as Columbine, Colo., showed in 1999, when two disaffected students killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher. Not even a grade school, as we sadly learned from Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newton, Conn., where a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, and six adult staff members in 2012.
Nor are movie theaters, as we know from Aurora, Colo., where a gunman dressed in tactical clothing killed 12 and injured 70 at a 2012 midnight premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Nor are nightclubs, as we saw last year at Pulse, the gay club in Orlando where a 29-year-old Florida man methodically killed 49 people and wounded 58 more.
Nor are sports events safe. The two bombs exploding at the 2013’s Boston Marathon proved that . Three people died and 16 lost limbs among hundreds of wounded.
It’s frightening. It’s enough to make a person never leave the house. That’s possible, certainly. You can curl up with Netflix rather than go out to the movies. Shop on Amazon and avoid the mall. Take courses online, not in the lecture hall.
But this would be the wrong response. To retreat would give evil a victory. Stephen Paddock and other mass killers are products of American society. We produced them, therefore, we should find them, root them out and prevent them from acting out their horrific fantasies. And we should make it impossible for them to get their hands on automatic weapons.
Before this era of mass shootings, American life was filled with plenty of other perils. Hundreds of people died in theater fires (492 at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston in 1942; 602 at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago in 1903). Boiler explosions, Steamship fires, cities burning down, all pretty common disasters. Mass disasters like these are largely things of the past. Why? Because people took steps to prevent them with better building standards, stricter fire codes, safer technologies.
Today, it’s different. No one is taking positive action. No one taking steps to change the status quo. The gun lobby’s hold on Congress — and the Trump White House — is so firm that the mere suggestion of sensible gun safety measures seems dead on arrival. The public seems to be giving up; last year, a mere 36 percent supported banning assault weapons, according to Gallup.
To the contrary, Congress is currently considering widening the use of silencers – exactly the wrong thing if you want to know from where a mass shooter is firing. And, predictably, we’re hearing from those who say the best answer is to encourage more people to carry firearms and shoot back — (although any fans’ handguns would have been useless against the long-distance barrage in Las Vegas.) People are told to pray, as if mass shootings were a natural disaster and not preventable.
Americans should not have to live in fear of pursuing the everyday pleasures and necessities of life. We cannot allow people with serious mental imbalances be allowed to build arsenals of weapons and ammunition which are designed for the military; designed to eliminate scores of enemies in a single round. Why not elect people to office who will take assault weapons — weapons of war that have no utility for hunting and no legitimate rationale for self-defense — out of circulation and out of our nightmares.
Our kids should feel safe on the streets and in school, not like potential victims.
Joe Biden, former VP and his wife Jill also attended the game
Prince Harry and Barack Obama have rekindled their friendship in a surprise appearance on the basketball court. The Prince and former US president are firm friends, appearing in public together several times over the years. On Friday, they shocked fans at the Invictus Games as they emerged into the wheelchair basketball arena together.
In a testament to their friendship, the Prince was allegedly overheard speaking about his girlfriend Ms Markle to Mr Obama, who finally attended Invictus events after being disappointed to miss out in Orlando last year.
“Obama just asked about her filming [Suits] and how it was going, and then Harry asked about Michelle and how she was doing. Then Harry said, send my love to Michelle.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama greets competitors from Team France.
Mr Obama caused something of a stir at the wheelchair basketball court when he started chanting "USA, USA" as they made their way to watch the US vs France game.
A spokesman for Mr Obama said the former president wished to lend his support to American competitors “to once again express his gratitude for their service and his admiration for their courage and resilience.”
It was a hero's return for Mr Obama to the Invictus Games, after he helped raise its profile in an extraordinary video series last year.
Then, he and his wife Michelle issued a video message challenging Prince Harry's British competitors to "bring it" at the Florida Games.
In May this year, the Prince and Mr Obama met at the Prince's home, Kensington Palace, while the former president was visiting the UK, discussing - among other things - mental health and the Manchester bombing which had happened days before.
They also spent time together in 2016, when Mr and Mrs Obama joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry for dinner during an official visit.
This year, he dropped into the Toronto Games in a casual appearance at the wheelchair basketball.
The Prince will attend several more sporting events before delivering an address at the closing ceremony on Saturday night. Among those who met the Prince and Mr Obama were three small children who approached the pair shyly for a photograph. Otis Harding-Withers, six, was lifted onto Prince Harry's lap after saying hello, while Jakob Israel, eight, and his seven-year-old sister Grace posed in front of Mr Obama. Jakob and Grace are the children of Jason Israel, who has served three tours in Afghanistan with the Canadian forces and competed in the track events after suffering an injury. Their emotional mother Amanda Israel, said she had used the moment to thank Prince Harry for setting up the Games. Heather Harding, mother of Otis, said her son has simply walked over towards the Prince just as he and Mr Obama settled into their front row bleacher seats. "Harry asked me if it was ok and put him on his lap," she said. "He was as lovely as I thought he would be."
Mr Obama and Prince Harry enjoy the Invictus Games together
Luncheon sponsored byThink-Tank Canada 2020.
TORONTO — Former U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that closing borders won't create future jobs because what's changing industries like manufacturing are automation and artificial intelligence.
Obama told a Toronto luncheon on Friday that the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy happened over the course of 150 years, but that the technological revolution is happening in 20 years. He said it's hard for governments to catch up to the pace of disruption.
Obama said over the next 25 years, advanced economies will have to confront the fact that there is not going to be enough high-paying full-time work as we traditionally conceive it.
"You'll still see auto companies doing pretty well and you'll see us manufacturing the goods that we use in the United States or Canada, but you'll walk through those factories and they'll be empty because they'll be run by robots and AI".
"The biggest challenge that we face in terms of maintaining good manufacturing jobs in our countries come from automation, and that is going to accelerate."
Friday's event, which cost $1,000 per plate, was organized by Ottawa-based think-tank Canada 2020.
Obama did not mention President Donald Trump by name but said if the strategy is to close off borders, then governments are missing the point. Trump nixed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and has called the North American Free Trade Agreement the worst trade deal in history and has threatened to withdraw from it.
Obama said that policies can make it easier or harder for people to adapt to change.
He said unions are important but must recognize the original union model was built in the industrial era and needs to be refreshed in the information age. Things like a higher minimum wage can help cushion the impact of the disruption.
He said all advanced economies will have to adapt and find ways in which everybody has a productive, fulfilling life that can support a family. He said young people will need the skills to compete in an economy driven by massive technological change.
"The policies we have now can build a runway so that over the next 20 years people are not so angry, so fearful and so stressed that we end up resorting to policies that are not going to be good for anybody".
Canada has the greatest respect for Mr Obama and for his deep thinking, logic and wisdom on world matters.