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Students plan protests, Washington march, to demand gun control after mass shooting

Reuters

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By Zachary Fagenson and Katanga Johnson

Stunned by the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, students mobilized across the country on Sunday to organize rallies and a national walkout in support of stronger gun laws, challenging politicians they say have failed to protect them.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people on Wednesday using an assault-style rifle, joined others on social media to plan the events, including a Washington march.

“I felt like it was our time to take a stand,” said Lane Murdock, 15, of Connecticut. “We’re the ones in these schools, we’re the ones who are having shooters come into our classrooms and our spaces.”

Murdock, who lives 20 miles (32 km) from Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children and six adults were shot to death five years ago, drew more than 50,000 signatures on an online petition on Sunday calling on students to walk out of their high schools on April 20.

Instead of going to classes, she urged her fellow students to stage protests on the 19th anniversary of an earlier mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Students from the Florida high school are planning a “March for Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.

They also plan to rally for gun control, mental health issues and school safety on Wednesday in Tallahassee, the state capital. The students were expected to meet with a lawmaker who is seeking to ban the sale of assault-style weapons like the AR-15 allegedly used in the school shooting.

The demands for change by many still too young to vote has inflamed the country’s long-simmering debate between advocates for gun control and gun ownership.

Students from the Florida school have lashed out at political leaders, including Republican President Donald Trump, for inaction on the issue. Many criticized Trump for insensitivity after he said in a weekend Twitter post that the FBI may have been too distracted with a Russia probe to follow leads that could have prevented the massacre.

“You can’t blame the bureaucracy for this when it’s you, Mr. President, who’s overall responsible,” David Hogg, an 18-year-old Douglas senior, said in a phone interview.

‘LISTENING SESSION’

The White House said Trump planned to host “a listening session” with high school students and teachers on Wednesday, but did not specify which students or school would be involved.

Democratic leaders vowed to redouble efforts to fight the nation’s powerful gun lobby to reduce violence from firearms.

“We’re the adults. We’re the leaders in this country who are supposed to keep our children safe – and again and again, our country has let them down,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said on Twitter.

The suspect in the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces multiple murder charges in the deaths of 14 students and three staff members, and the wounding of more than a dozen others in a rampage that eclipsed Columbine as the country’s worst mass shooting at a high school.

Cruz was reported to have been investigated by police and state officials as far back as 2016 after slashing his arm in a social media video, and saying he wanted to buy a gun. Authorities determined, however, he was receiving sufficient support, newspapers said on Saturday.

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted on Friday that it failed to investigate a warning that Cruz possessed a gun and the desire to kill.

A couple who opened their home to Cruz after his mother’s recent death saw no signs he was planning a rampage, according to the Sun Sentinel in south Florida.

Kimberly and James Snead told the newspaper they knew Cruz had guns, and that they made him lock them in a safe. They thought they had the only key, they said.

Cruz faces charges that could bring the death penalty. Prosecutors have not yet said if they will seek capital punishment.

Four people still hospitalized with wounds from the shooting were in fair condition on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Broward Health system said.

School officials in Broward County said on Sunday they were aiming to have staff return to the high school campus by the end of the week. They did not say when classes would resume.

(Writing and additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Letitia Stein in Detroit and Jeff Mason in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)

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Dickhead Jogger Arrested for Throwing Homeless Man’s Belongings in Lake

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A video went viral of a jogger taking time out of his day to throw a homeless man’s belongings into a lake. The jogger has since been identified as 31-year-old Henry William Sintay by The Mercury News and was arrested. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail.

The dickhead move made by the dickhead jogger happened by Meritt Lake in Oakland, California, on Friday, June 8. A witness named JJ Harris filmed the incident as a woman tried to stop the dickhead jogger. This video is messed up on so many levels — and not only because his thicc dad bod doesn’t suggest he has time to stop mid-jog to try to end homelessness.

Watch this:

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Starbucks will close 8,000 stores May 29 for racial-bias training

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Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

The announcement follows the controversial arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the store manager called the police. They were arrested for trespassing. The customers said they were waiting for another man to arrive. That person arrived at the store just as they were being arrested.

Starbucks’ CEO publicly apologized repeatedly following the arrests, which he called “reprehensible.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, will be among the help to design the program, as will executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos, to roughly 175,000 Starbucks employees.

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8 Facts About the Late, Great Barbara Bush

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Former first lady Barbara Bush died in Houston on Tuesday. She was 92 years old. The wife of former president George H.W. Bush, and mother of former president George W. Bush, had been battling congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had recently decided not to seek any further treatment.

The matriarch of the Bush family was known for her bluntness and advocacy, but many young people know little about her. So, here are 8 straight up facts about the former first lady of the United States.

1. She was born Barbara Pierce in New York City on June 8, 1925.

2. She met met George H.W. Bush at a school dance in 1941, at the age of 16. After dating for a year and a half, the couple got engaged before he went off to World War II to serve as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. When he returned on leave, she dropped out of Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and they got married two weeks later on Jan. 6, 1945, in Rye, N.Y.

3. Barbara gave birth to six children: George W. (in 1946), Pauline “Robin” (in 1949), Jeb (in 1953), Neil (in 1955), Marvin (in 1956), and Dorothy (in 1959). She lost her daughter “Robin” at the age of three to leukemia. 

4. She served as second lady of the United States when George H.W. Bush was vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. 

5. She alarmed conservatives when she revealed she was pro-choice. 

6. Describing Geraldine Ferraro, her husband’s opponent for vice president in 1984, she said: “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich.'”

7. She was first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

8. She helped to develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to improve literacy in the U.S. through programs directed toward pre-school children and parental literacy while cementing her legacy. She spoke regularly on “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time,” a national radio program that stressed the significance of reading aloud to children. 

Political affiliation aside, the death of Barbara Bush is a reminder that class in Washington is dying, too.

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