Friday, May 27, 2016

A salient point on the minimum wage


Had enough yet of an unjust justice system?







News in brief







More news from the world of the bat-shit crazies and the haters










Waldman's GunFail

Seventeen of the 56 guns discovered by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of February 6 - March 3, 2016.
Seventeen of the 56 guns discovered by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of February 26 - March 3, 2016.
Closing the books on February and inching just a wee bit closer to current news, I’ve got another typical week of GunFAIL to report to you. Twenty-five people accidentally shot themselves, eight kids were accidentally shot, six GunFAILS resulted in fatalities, six guns were accidentally fired into neighboring properties or vehicles, and five were accidentally fired while out and about in public, shopping, dining, etc. Well done, everyone!
Tops in craziness this time around? Well, let’s see. First, there’s our title story, about the Arizona man who came upon a den of rattlesnakes and decided to shoot them all, presumably so that no one would tread on them and thereby offend Freedom and Liberty. But apparently, one of the snakes “startled” him, and when he turned to fire at it, he accidentally shot himself in the left arm. No word on whether he managed to shoot the rest of the snakes, much less the practical joker that caused him to Second Amendment himself.
Another story with a more tragic outcome still has me puzzled: The Texas man who somehow shot and killed his roommate “during an apparent discussion ... over what is faster: a gun or a knife.” I don’t know whether the victim was arguing that a knife was somehow “faster” than a gun, or even what that might mean. But I can tell you this: The gun is what killed him. Well, of course, it was really the gun owner’s decision to pull the trigger that did it. Seems he “thought the safety was on.” I doubt that would have been a problem with a knife, though. And nobody was stabbed, by the way, though it’s hard to believe they would have been any more responsible with a knife—if they even had one—than they were with the gun. Tragic.
Let’s point out one more story, as another cautionary tale. I’ve mentioned a few times that if you have a gun in your purse, your purse is a holster. And you can’t just put your holster down anywhere. Well, another thing you can’t do is swat people with your purse, as though you were some kind of old lady character in a Benny Hill sketch. In real life—or at least in Dallas, Texas—when you do this, you risk having the gun fall out of your purse and discharge. Or for that matter, fire while still inside the purse. It was the former that was the problem when a Texas woman tried that stunt in a Dallas-area mall. Thanks for keeping us all safe, conscientious permit holder!
Well, there’s no sense in dragging this out any further. You can review the rest of the stories—tragic, comic and in-between—below the fold.
  1. LUBBOCK, TX, 2/28/16: One man was taken to the University Medical Center, Lubbock police say, with serious injuries following an accidental shooting Sunday morning. The shooting happened around 1 AM in the 100 block of North University Avenue, police say. The call to police came from UMC. The investigation is still ongoing. Police did not release a suspect description nor specify why the shooting was called accidental.
  2. SAN ANTONIO, TX, 2/28/16: A 45-year-old man was shot and killed during an apparent discussion with his roommate over what is faster: a gun or a knife. According to information released by the San Antonio Police Department, Eric Gildelamadrid, 29, was discussing the topic with roommate John Salazar on Sunday afternoon at their apartment in the 9500 block of Perrin Beitel near Sun Gate Drive. "(Victim's roommate) was given several warnings to be careful with the gun, to stop pointing the gun," said San Antonio Police Department spokesperson Douglas Greene. Gildelamadrid told police he accidentally pulled the trigger of a gun, adding he thought the safety was on. When officers arrived, they found Gildelamadrid standing outside the apartment with his hands up in the air. Salazar was found inside with a gunshot wound to the stomach. Salazar was rushed to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he later died from his injuries. Gildelamadrid is now charged with manslaughter. His bond has been set at $20,000.
  3. MIDLAND, TX, 2/28/16: Midland Police responded to a shooting in the 3200 block of Dentcrest around 3:00 AM Sunday Feb. 28. A 23-year-old man accidentally shot himself. MPD Officials said the man is doing fine.
  4. CONCRETE, WA, 2/28/16: A 43-year-old Concrete man died Sunday after accidentally shooting himself in the face with what he thought was an unloaded gun. The man and his girlfriend were at a residence in the 46000 block of Baker Loop Road taking photos of themselves with the gun when the incident occurred, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Patrol Chad Clark said. The girlfriend reported that the pair had done this several times during the day, with the man apparently removing the bullets and then reloading the gun multiple times. After the last time, however, a bullet apparently remained in the gun, Clark said. The death is being investigated as accidental, Clark said.
  5. DENVER, PA, 2/28/16: One of the bullets shooters fired at a tree stump in a pasture behind their East Cocalico Township home Sunday missed badly, or ricocheted, they said. It struck a 22-year-old woman in the neck in her home in the 500 block of Reinholds Road, north of Denver, police said. The woman, whose name was not released, remains in critical, but stable, condition in Reading Hospital’s intensive care unit. "Obviously it was an accident,” said 24-year-old Andrew Richards, who lives at 830 S. Ridge Road, less than half a mile across a pasture and a sizable wooded area from the woman’s home. “A round missed a target or something. We've been trying to piece it together directionally and all that." "I've been keeping her in my prayers," he said of the woman, calling the incident a shock. One of his roommates, 23-year-old Kyle Sholly, said he and Richards were shooting with five or six friends at the time. They talked with police shortly afterwards. Sholly declined to give any other details of the incident. But another man pulled his car up to the Ridge Road home Monday. He declined to give his name but said he was one of the target shooters. "We were shooting down at that stump down there," he said, indicating a fenced-in pasture below the house. It wasn’t known if any animals were in the area. The group hadn't seen any houses through the trees, he said, and he thinks the bullet must have ricocheted off a rock or something. The Pennsylvania Game Commission regulates shooting of firearms during hunting seasons and sets up safety zones around occupied buildings. However, the state does not regulate discharging firearms outside of hunting seasons. Some municipalities have ordinances that limit the discharge of firearms. East Cocalico Township officials did not return calls Monday. Police said a group of people was target shooting in the 800 block of South Ridge Road when a round struck the woman inside her home in the 500 block of Reinholds Road just after 3 PM. The two roads run parallel to one another. The incident appears to be an accident, but remains under investigation, police said. No other details or names of those involved were released. No one answered the door at the woman’s home Monday. The tragedy did not surprise neighbors. They say risky outdoor shooting has plagued the area the past few years and despite their complaints, has grown worse in recent months. The neighbors insist they aren’t “anti-gun people,” but target shooting and hunting in the area of South Ridge and Reinholds roads in some cases has been done recklessly. “I knew sooner or later something was going to happen,” said Mike Firestone, who lives on Reinholds Road. “Sooner or later, your luck runs out. People get bolder, and careless.” Several neighbors said they have complained about target shooting at a few homes in the neighborhood. A small housing development on Buena Vista Lane off of Miller Road is not far from the shooting site. Some neighbors have horses, dogs and other animals. They worry mostly about safety, but also hate the loud noise of the frequent shooting. “I’m afraid to walk out of my house,” said Barbara Levering, who lives in the 500 block of Reinholds Road. “I can’t work in the garden. I’m afraid to put the horses out.” Very loud gunfire woke her at 2:30 AM Saturday. “I went to look if my barn exploded,” she said. Firestone said he and a family member were splitting firewood in his driveway three or four years ago when they heard gunfire. “Pellets from a shot gun were hitting trees 10 feet away from us,” he said. A Pennsylvania Game Commissioner gave two men written warnings in that case. UPDATE: Seven people have been charged with reckless endangerment regarding a target-shooting incident in which a nurse was struck by a stray bullet in her East Cocalico home. Vernon G. Kurtz, 28, Denver; Kyle Sholly, 23, Denver; Wesley Melhuish, 24, Lebanon; Andrew Richards, 24, Denver; Brianna Rottmund, 20, Newmanstown; Tawny Kissinger, 26, Denver; and Amy Dunn, 34, Denver, are each charged with nine counts of reckless endangerment. Sholly and Richards live at the South Ridge Road home.
  6. PORTSMOUTH, VA, 2/28/16: Police in Portsmouth are investigating two separate incidents in which two juvenile males were shot on Sunday morning. The first of these was reported at around 10:40 AM in the 700 block of Lancer Drive. According to police, a mother was driving her seven-year-old so to Maryview Hospital with a gunshot wound to the hand. Police subsequently went to the home where the incident occurred to continue their investigation. Detectives learned that both shootings were the results of accidental shootings. Authorities say the seven-year-old child was playing with an unsecured firearm in his home. Holley took the opportunity to stress the importance of gun safety and the need for adults to educate their children about the inherent danger associated with firearms.
  7. PORTSMOUTH, VA, 2/28/16: Police in Portsmouth are investigating two separate incidents in which two juvenile males were shot on Sunday morning. The second incident happened just after 11:15 AM in the 4200 block of Morgate Lane, in Churchland. In this instance, a 9-year-old child received a gunshot wound to the leg, and was transported to a hospital by medics to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Detectives learned that both shootings were the results of accidental shootings. The 9-year-old was accidentally shot by another juvenile male who found a gun outside. Holley took the opportunity to stress the importance of gun safety and the need for adults to educate their children about the inherent danger associated with firearms.
  8. ASHBURN, VA, 2/29/16: An Ashburn man was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital with serious injuries after he reportedly accidentally shot himself, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). On Feb. 29 at 9:43 PM, deputies responded to the scene in the 42600 block of Hollyhock Terrace, Ashburn. The resident reported his firearm unintentionally discharged. He was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital with serious injuries and is expected to recover. The case remains under investigation, according to the LCSO.
  9. BELLE VERNON, PA, 2/29/16: A Mon Valley man is facing charges he accidentally discharged his shotgun into a North Belle Vernon business while an employee was behind a counter in February. North Belle Vernon police on Monday filed charges against Cody Allen Birch, 24, of 552 National Pike, West Brownsville, stating in court records the investigating officer believes the incident was an accident. Birch said he had taken his two long rifles to the borough in his vehicle’s trunk to pawn them about 12:30 PM Feb. 29. He first took his Midland .308-caliber rifle with a scope to Gem’s Quick Cash, 806 Broad Ave., only to return it to his vehicle after the sale did not go through, police stated in the affidavit supporting the criminal charges. Birch said he then attempted to move his 12-gauge shotgun and it fired when the weapon became stuck on something. He said he was unaware the shotgun was loaded. Police said he turned around after the shotgun fired and saw the glass front door shattered across the street at Cal Cuthbert Pools and Fireplaces, 733 Broad Ave. Birch said he immediately went to Cal’s to make sure no one was hurt and that he stayed there until police arrived. Police reviewed the store’s surveillance video March 2 and it captured the incident. The footage confirmed Birch’s account of what happened, court records show. Birch is charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. He will received the charges in a summons from District Judge Charles Christner.
  10. MILWAUKEE, WI, 2/29/16: The Milwaukee Police are investigating what appears to be an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. A 24-year-old Milwaukee man was treated for a non-life threatening wound at a local hospital. According to the MPD, the shooting occurred around 7:05 PM on February 29 in the 6200 block of North Denmark Street. What led up to the accidental shooting is not clear at this time. The MPD is continuing to investigate the incident.
  11. ARCADIA, SC, 2/29/16: A 5-year-old boy is expected to recover after deputies say he was accidentally shot Monday evening in the Arcadia community near Spartanburg. Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office deputies went to a mobile home at 340 Rowe St. shortly after 7:40 PM Monday, said Master Deputy Darren Dukes, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman. "It appears to be an accidental shooting," he said. Dukes said the child was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center before being flown to Greenville to be treated. Lt. Kevin Bobo said Tuesday that the boy is expected to recover from his injuries. Martina Zuniga, the boy's mother, said her son is in stable condition now at Greenville Memorial Hospital. "He's going to have to have an operation. I'm just waiting for the doctors to come and tell me what's happening," she said by phone from the hospital. Zuniga said she was not home at the time of the shooting and could not say specifically about how it happened. "He's doing fine," she said. The investigation is ongoing, Bobo said. Bobo declined to release an incident report on the case, stating that investigators do not want the information to be released at this time.
  12. GIRARD, OH, 2/29/16: Police are investigating an incident in which a man reportedly shot himself in the leg. The 26-year-old man told police he accidentally shot his gun shortly after he and a friend pulled into the driveway of a Summit Avenue home. The bullet appeared to have entered the man's calf just below the knee, according to a police report. The man, who was transported to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, admitted to drinking alcohol earlier, police reported. Officers seized a pistol after the incident and found two beer cans and a small knife in the car. Possible charges are pending.
  13. MEDFORD, OR, 2/29/16: Police said a 42-year-old was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford Monday after being shot in the torso. Lieutenant Mike Budreau with Medford Police Department said the man was trying to take his father's gun. He said the Medford resident is not allowed to have firearms because he is a felon. The father tried taking away the gun and that is when it accidentally went off. Their names have not been released. No one has been arrested. Police said the victim was alive on scene but was taken to the hospital with what appears to be a non-life threatening wound. His condition is listed as serious but stable.
  14. HILLSBORO, MO, 2/29/16: A 25-year-old Festus man accidentally shot himself in the thigh Monday evening (Feb. 29) at a friend’s home in Hillsboro, authorities report. The injury was not life threatening, but doctors did not remove the bullet, Hillsboro Police Chief Charles Bennett said. “They decided to leave the bullet in, saying it could do more damage to take it out than leave it in,” Bennett said. “He (the victim) was treated and released at (midnight) March 1.” Bennett said the incident occurred around 9 PM in the 4700 block of Oakwood Drive. “The victim was looking at his friend’s 9 mm Luger and emptied the chamber – thought it was empty,” Bennett said. “He pulled the trigger and shot himself in the left thigh.” Bennett said no charges are being considered. “It was determined to be an accident,” he said. Bennett said police impounded the weapon, but the victim’s friend owns it legally and police will return it to him when the investigation is concluded. After the shooting, the victim was transported by Valle Ambulance to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in south St. Louis County.
  15. APISON, TN, 2/29/16: The Sheriff's Office said 3-year-old Gavin Pittman of Apison died after he was playing with a gun and shot himself in the head. Authorities said, "The Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the death of Gavin Pittman was caused by a 'gunshot wound of the head', and the manner of death to be 'accidental'  Furthermore, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Gavin 'shot himself while playing with a gun.' " He was in a vehicle at the time. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation is ongoing and once the investigation is complete, the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division will deliver their findings to the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office for review, it was stated. The tragic incident happened Monday morning at 4724 Gates Lane. A dark blue SUV was afterward removed from the family property on a wrecker.
  16. PALATKA, FL, 2/29/16: A 17-year-old boy was in critical condition Monday night after he apparently accidentally shot himself in the head with a handgun, according to police. The Palatka Police Department said the shooting happened about 5 PM Monday on Benham Street in Palatka. According to police, other teens were there and they were interviewing witnesses to find out exactly what happened. The teen was taken to the Putnam Community Medical Center and then flown to Shands Hospital in Gainesville in critical condition. He remained on life support Tuesday. Police have not identified the victim, but family told News4Jax that he attends Palatka High School. The Palatka Police Department is investigating the incident.
  17. SANFORD, FL, 3/01/16: Sanford police said on Wednesday they have arrested a man in the accidental shooting death of a 6-year-old girl. The fatal shooting happened around 8:25 PM Tuesday on Highlawn Avenue near State Road 46A and South French Avenue. Erik Dominick Williams has been charged with child neglect with great bodily harm and unsafe storage of a firearm after 6-year-old A'letha Amanii Marie Burke was injured while handling an unsecured firearm that accidentally discharged, according to police. A'letha was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and was pronounced dead, Sanford police said. Police said during the investigation, they found that Williams knew the firearm was stored without any safety mechanisms under the living room sofa where it was easily accessible, and that Williams let A'letha play in the area where the gun was stored. Williams was taken to Seminole County jail. Crime scene investigators spent hours at the home, and an investigation is ongoing, with additional charges possibly following.
  18. STEENS, MS, 3/01/16: A woman is in the hospital after being accidentally shot by her son Tuesday night, according to authorities. The incident occurred at a residence along Harrison Road about 10 PM Tuesday, according to Capt. Ryan Rickert with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office. Emergency crews who responded to the scene said the shooting appeared to be accidental, according to Rickert. Rickert said initial reports indicate the son shot someone entering the residence. Unbeknownst to him, the person was his mother. The son began to drive his mother to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle and was met en route by an ambulance, said Rickert. Authorities declined to identify the people involved. The incident remains under investigation.
  19. CHICAGO, IL, 3/01/16: A 19-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the leg Tuesday afternoon in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side, according to Chicago Police. He took himself to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park after the 2:45 PM shooting in the 300 block of North Pine, police said. The wound likely was self-inflicted, police said. He is listed in good condition.
  20. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, 3/01/16: An accidental shooting lands a teen in the hospital, according to cops. Action 10 News was told the shooting happened Tuesday night in the garage of a home on the 6300 block of Hanley Drive. Cops say an 18-year-old man was driven to the hospital by friend after he accidentally shot himself in the stomach. The friend reportedly told officers that the victim was showing him a handgun when it fired. The incident is still under investigation. The victim remains in the hospital. His condition is unknown. UPDATE: An 18-year-old man who police say accidentally shot himself has died. The shooting happened in the garage of a home in the 6300 block of Hanley Drive on March 1. Police said the man was driven to the hospital by a friend after he accidentally shot himself in the stomach. The friend reportedly told officers that the victim was showing him a handgun when it fired.
  21. PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ, 3/01/16: Police want the community's help finding a man wanted for illegally handling a firearm Tuesday evening, March 1. A witness told police Philip Tipa had discharged a firearm in a residence near the 4400 block of Romero Circle East around 5:45 PM, Prescott Valley Police Department Sgt. Jake Jackson said. Jackson said an investigation showed the bullet traveled through a dresser and wall before striking a vehicle parked in front of the home. No one was injured, but Tipa fled the area before police arrived. A records check showed Tipa is not legally allowed to possess firearms, though a witness saw him handling a gun immediately after the shot was fired, Jackson said.
  22. PADUCAH, KY, 3/01/16: A Marshall County man was arrested Wednesday as he attempted to leave town, and was charged with discharging a firearm in the restroom of a local restaurant. Paducah police were contacted March 2 by an employee of Waffle House restaurant on Lone Oak Road, and told that a man had fired a gun into the wall of a restroom the previous night. The employee said there were four customers in the restaurant at the time, but none of them were injured. Det. Nathan Jaimet began an investigation and determined Travis R. Shrum 24, of Calvert City, was a suspect. Jaimet learned that Shrum was planning to leave Paducah on a Greyhound bus bound for Seattle, WA, Wednesday morning. Officers met Shrum at the bus station and took him into custody. During an interview at the police department, Shrum admitted that he had taken a friend’s .40-caliber handgun into the restaurant restroom to look at it and that it discharged. He said he had been drinking at the time, and said alcohol played a role in the accidental discharge. During a search prior to booking Shrum into jail, Jaimet found Zanaflex and Clonapin tablets and a marijuana pipe in Shrum’s possession. Shrum was lodged in McCracken County Regional Jail. He has been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree criminal mischief, illegal possession of a legend drug and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
  23. MACON, GA, 3/01/16: A 23-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the leg at a gas station in south Bibb County on Tuesday night after handling a .22-caliber firearm belonging to his gun-toting friend who was arrested on the scene, according to an incident report from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office. Travis Martin was with two of his friends, twin 21-year-old brothers, at a Chevron gas station on Houston Road about 8:30 PM when deputies found him in the passenger seat of a black Chrysler bleeding below his left knee, the report said. Korey Icard, one of the twins who has a legal carrying permit, told deputies he laid his gun on the driver's seat before going in the gas station, the report said. Icard's brother told deputies he was sitting on the hood of the car, facing away from Martin when the shot was fired. Martin, who was taken to a hospital for treatment, told deputies he accidentally discharged a round into his leg while holding the gun, according to the sheriff's office. A search of the car revealed a .40-caliber rifle, multiple loaded magazines, ammo boxes as well as six bags of suspected marijuana and a scale. Korey Icard said the green tactical bag belonged to him. He was arrested and taken to the Bibb County jail on charges including reckless conduct with a weapon and possession of marijuana, according to the report.
  24. WILMINGTON ISLAND, GA, 3/02/16: Police are investigating a shooting that occurred when a man living on Pointe South Drive heard someone trying to break into his house through the back door. After trying to secure his back door, the homeowner had his own personal gun that was accidentally fired off during the struggle of locking the door. The homeowner was grazed by the bullet but had no serious injuries and did not need to be taken to the hospital. The suspect fled on foot toward Walthour Road is described as a white male in his mid-20s, about 6 feet tall, with a 5 o’clock shadow, wearing a blue shirt and dark pants. K-9 and aerial units are on the scene and circling the area. Savannah-Chatham County Schools sent an alert to parents letting them know that buses leaving from Marshpoint, Coastal Middle, May Howard and Islands High School have been delayed due to non-school related police activity in the area. They are currently on lockdown for student’s safety and buses aren’t permitted to leave at this time. Parents should expect children riding buses to be delayed this afternoon. The schools have been given the all clear according to Sheila Blanco with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. Students should be returning home soon. UPDATE: Police have released the name of the victim in today’s attempted burglary. The say Matthew Hermida, 24, stopped the suspect from entering his back door but accidentally fired his weapon during the struggle and grazed himself with the bullet. Hermida was treated at the scene for a non-life-threatening injury. The suspect is still at large.
  25. FORT VALLEY, GA, 3/02/16: Authorities are investigating the accidental discharge of a firearm Wednesday afternoon at a Fort Valley apartment in which two minors were home alone and handling a weapon, police said. No one was hurt when the gun discharged at the Valley Pines Apartments, but a bullet went through the walls of an apartment bedroom they were in, through a neighboring apartment and then into the next apartment, Fort Valley police Lt. Willie Marshall said. No one was inside the other apartments on Brooks Boulevard when the incident occurred sometime between noon and 1 PM, Marshall said. According to a police incident report, one of the minors told police the two were handling the gun when it jammed and then discharged. The minor said they discarded the firearm somewhere off of Julius Simmons Avenue in Fort Valley but could not remember where. Police could not find the gun. One of the residents of the apartment complex heard the gunshot but did not think anything about it until later when she went into her son's bedroom, the report said. She saw bullet holes in her son's closest and notified the apartment manager, who contacted police. Noting that the case involves minors and is under investigation, authorities declined to release additional information.
  26. PUKALANI, HI, 3/02/16: Maui police are investigating a shooting in Pukalani in upcountry Maui. According to police, a family member found the victim, a 66-year-old man, seated in a chair with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. He had been home alone at the time. First responders were called and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Preliminary investigation indicates he was cleaning a weapon when he accidentally shot himself. Officers located the weapon nearby.
  27. WINCHESTER, IL, 3/02/16: A 17-year-old boy was being treated Wednesday at a Springfield hospital after being shot in Winchester, authorities said. The boy, who was not identified by authorities, was flown to a Springfield hospital after being taken to Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville shortly after midnight Wednesday. His condition was unavailable. Winchester Police Patrolman Bob Smith said police were called to an East Lewis Street residence and found the injured boy and two others at the house. He said it appears the shooting was accidental, but the investigation is continuing.
  28. FORT PIERCE, FL, 3/03/16: The chief deputy of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is recovering after accidentally shooting himself while at a gun training exercise. At approximately 5:30 PM Thursday, while conducting routine agency training in firearms proficiency, Chief Deputy Garry Wilson accidentally discharged his service weapon, injuring himself in the thigh,“ said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. According to the sheriff, Wilson suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute, and was later released.
  29. ST. ALBANS, WV, 3/03/16: A woman is still in the hospital after being shot inside her apartment by an upstairs neighbor. Both investigators and neighbors, including the ones living inside the same apartment as the gun, say the gun was fired by accident. But, for the roommates who witnessed the gun going off, they say it was one of the most stunning nights of their lives, even though it started as a lazy Sunday night. "I was in the bedroom, actually, and I was watching TV," Dalton Jensen said. "Next thing I know, there's a loud boom." Fellow roommate Jessica Tarman had a similar experience. "I was in the kitchen with a butter knife," Tarman said. "I heard a huge bang." While both say the sound was startling, Jensen says the source of the sound was not a surprise at all. "Immediately I knew what it was," Jensen said. "A gunshot is a familiar sound." Jensen and Tarman say their roommate was preparing to clean his gun, when it suddenly went off inside their upstairs apartment along High Street outside of St. Albans. "I walked out and just kind of overlooked everybody and see if everybody was OK," Jensen said. "Everybody looked fine." Everyone upstairs was fine. But that was not the case in the apartment below. Jensen and Tarman say their roommate made his way downstairs to check on his neighbor. When she did not answer his knock at the door, they say, their roommate assumed she was not home. "No one realized we had shot through the floor yet," Tarman said. "I guess the woman had gotten shot downstairs." Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say the bullet fired upstairs traveled through the floor of the apartment, and hit the woman while she was lying in bed. Other witnesses say, shortly after the man with the gun went to check on his neighbor, she emerged from her apartment, covered in blood from an apparent gunshot wound to the arm. One neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, says he comforted the injured woman while a maintenance worker called for an ambulance. Jensen and Tarman say roommates in their apartment only learned about the woman's injury after paramedics and law enforcement arrived. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say the woman's injuries are serious, but not life-threatening. Jensen and Tarman say that was a stroke of luck in an unlucky situation. "He's relieved she's OK because it could have been a whole lot worse," Tarman said. Jensen says the experience taught him a lesson in gun safety, learned the hard way. "I would never clean [my gun] in my house again after this," Jensen said. Sheriff's deputies say, while the incident is still under investigation, they do not believe the gun was set off intentionally. Deputies say, while they are in communication with the Kanawha County Prosecutor's office, they do not anticipate filing any criminal charges.
  30. SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI, 3/03/16: A 20-year-old Springfield Township man is recovering in the hospital after his friend accidentally fired a shotgun at him, Sheriff’s deputies report. At around 11:07 AM on Thursday, March 3, officers were sent to the 17000 block of Sleepy Hollow Boulevard on a report of an accidental shooting in the area. Arriving deputies found that a 19-year-old Springfield man accidentally shot a 12-gauge shotgun inside a home in the neighborhood. Authorities say that when the 19-year-old was trying to rack a round out of the shotgun, he had his finder on the trigger and fired a round in his friend’s direction. The round hit the 19-year-old’s friend, a 20-year-old, in his right arm. The men tried driving to a nearby hospital, but called the Independence Township Fire Department while they were in the area of Dixie Highway and M-15. Firefighters arrived, treated the victim and took him to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital. The 20-year-old’s injuries were not life-threatening. Both men later said the gun discharge was accidental.
  31. VIOLA, KY, 3/03/16: Kentucky State Police say a 3-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the face on Thursday. A neighbor down the street says it happened inside a home on Route 408 near Viola. "I heard screaming," says Joe Bisher. "I thought I heard him scream my name." Bisher lives less than a mile from the teen who was babysitting the 3-year-old. "He was coming up the front porch, and he had a hold of little Logan," says Bisher. "He was screaming and hollering." He says both boys were covered in blood. "All I could see was blood on Logan's face," says Bisher. "I didn't know if he was cut or what." Bisher says he called 911. "I was worried about keeping the blood from going in his lungs, so I tried to keep him up right," says Bisher. "He was conscious the whole time. He was talking, I'd ask him to spit and he would spit blood out." Bisher says he continued to put pressure on the wound near the bridge of his nose before the ambulance showed up. Kentucky State Police say the shooting was most likely an accident. "At this time, it's an accidental investigation," says trooper Michael Robichaud. "The investigation will continue and, if anything further comes for it, then we will pursue that." Bisher says no matter how safe you are with your firearm, accidents can still happen. "It was just a terrible accident," says Bisher. Bisher says the toddler is at a hospital in Louisville. He says doctors there are trying to determine the proper procedure for removing the bullet.
  32. LEXINGTON, KY, 3/04/16: A Lexington man sustained potentially life-threatening injuries Friday night when his roommate accidentally shot him. The man’s roommate was cleaning his gun at their Trent Boulevard apartment about 7:45 PM when the firearm went off, police Lt. Al Johnson said. The man who was shot was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Johnson said. Police did not know his condition. The man who shot the gun went to police headquarters voluntarily to speak to detectives. He was very upset, Johnson said. Foul play is not suspected, Johnson said. As with any potentially life-threatening firearm injury, accidental or otherwise, officers secured the scene of the shooting as if a crime had been committed, Johnson said. Detectives also spoke with people living in neighboring apartments.
  33. CHICAGO, IL, 3/04/16: A man took himself to a hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the knee in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the North Side early Friday. The 65-year-old tripped while he was in the 4500 block of North Winchester about 4:40 AM when he tripped and a gun he was carrying “accidentally discharged,” police said. He took himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his left knee, police said. His condition was not immediately known.
  34. DALLAS, TX, 3/04/16: A gun was accidentally discharged Friday afternoon after a woman attempted to remove her brother from a Dallas mall after he was causing a disturbance. Police officers responded to the Southwest Center Mall on Camp Wisdom after they received the disturbance call at about 1 PM. The man's sister was called, however she apparently had a hard time removing her brother from the premise, and at one point used her purse to hit him, which is when a gun fell out and discharged. No one was injured. The mall's owner says the woman is a longtime tenant and licensed to carry the weapon. In an earlier report, WFAA reported a person was arrested after a shot was fired at the mall. However, while police reported earlier the man was taken into custody, an arrest wasn't made and the firing of the gun was accidental.
  35. SAFFORD, AZ, 3/04/16: A man was admitted to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center on March 4 after he accidentally shot himself while attempting to kill a den of rattlesnakes. According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, Don Wolff was reported to authorities by emergency room staff at about 2:46 PM as having a gunshot wound to his left arm. When asked about the injury, Wolff said he was on the top rim southeast of Safford Ranch Mobile Home Park at 3201 E. U.S. Highway 70 when he discovered a rattlesnake den. Wolff allegedly said he then grabbed a tree branch with his left hand and proceeded to shoot a couple snakes with his .22 caliber semi-automatic Ruger pistol. While he was shooting the snakes, one of them startled him and as he turned to shoot it he accidentally shot himself in his left forearm. Wolff was treated at the hospital and released.
  36. OVERLAND PARK, KS, 3/04/16: A man suffered critical injuries after he accidentally shot himself in the leg on Friday afternoon, Overland Park Police said. The man shot himself at about 2 PM at a business in the 8200 block of West 119th Street. No one else was injured in the incident. Police said the man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. No other information was available.
  37. KNOXVILLE, TN, 3/04/16: On Friday night, officers responded to the parking lot of West Town Mall after a man had accidentally shot himself in the leg. Offers found him laying in the parking area in front of the Cheesecake Factory. The victim's friends had already applied pressure in an attempt to control the bleeding. Officers administered first aid to the victim and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The victim was taken to UT Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. MORE: Police have identified the man who shot himself in the leg outside the Cheesecake Factory at West Town Mall Friday as a 23-year-old Knoxville resident. Jacob Brumbaugh, of Knoxville, shot himself in the left leg with a Glock handgun, said Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk. Brumbaugh does have a gun carry permit, DeBusk said.
  38. BEAVER TOWNSHIP, SD, 3/04/16: A California man suffered serious injuries after accidentally shooting himself while hunting Friday afternoon. Larry Maxwell and his son, Cody, of Mitchell, were goose hunting southwest of Miner County in Beaver Township around 3:30 PM, on a hunting preserve known as Nest Lake, when Maxwell stood his gun on its end, rested his two hands on top of the barrel and leaned on the gun, which then fired and shot through both of his hands, Miner County Sheriff Lanny Klinkhammer said. Klinkhammer said the hand closest to the barrel had a hole straight through. "You take a shotgun and it fires that close, and you're going to do a lot of damage," Klinkhammer said, adding that the gun "obviously" did not have its safety on. Maxwell, in his 50s, was transported by helicopter to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, and Klinkhammer said he was in surgery to repair his hands soon after being admitted to the hospital. Beaver Township is located 16 miles west of Canova and 22 miles southwest of Howard. Other responding agencies were Artesian/Letcher Search and Rescue, Mitchell Ambulance, the Sanborn County Sheriff's Office and Hanson County Sheriff's Office. No other information is immediately available.
  39. OAK HARBOR, WA, 3/04/16: Oak Harbor police chief Edgar Green received a written reprimand for losing his personal handgun earlier this month, according to a press release from Mayor Bob Severns’ office. According to the release, Green reported the loss to the mayor, city administrator and officers on duty on March 4. He reportedly said he last remembered having the Glock .40 at around 7:30 PM at a Saar’s Marketplace on Highway 20, and said that he noticed it was missing when he got home an hour later. He said he might have left it on a towel container in the bathroom, and that he’d immediately called the store’s manager, who couldn’t find it. The release said it’s the police department’s policy that officers must make every effort to secure their weapons and not lose control of them.
  40. ROCK HILL, SC, 3/04/16: The fatal shot in a March 4 shootout in Rock Hill was fired in self-defense by the friend of the dead man after the car both men were in was riddled by gunfire, prosecutors say. Jarrius Harding, 18, was killed in the midday shootout near the intersection of Black Street and Keels Avenue east of downtown Rock Hill. The shoot-out culminated a wild, 24-hour spree of gunfire in four incidents in the city. Quintonio Porter, 23, who was in the car with Harding, also was shot and later was charged with attempted murder in the shootout with men in another car. But after an investigation, police and prosecutors determined that Porter was firing in self-defense when he shot Harding, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor. They dropped the attempted murder charge against Porter. There was “dispute with bad blood” between two factions, Thompson said in court late Wednesday. Harding, Porter and another man were in the car when gunmen in another vehicle began firing at them, Thompson said. Porter, pulled a gun but got entangled in his seat belt, and in attempting to fire back at the other car, accidentally shot Harding in the head as Harding ducked in the back seat, Thompson said. “It was actually his bullet that killed his friend, but he was shooting at someone else,” Thompson said in court of Porter’s gunshots. Porter’s lawyer, Robert Bruce, said in court that Porter is thankful police and prosecutors agree Porter was acting in self-defense but did not concede that Porter fired the fatal shot, saying he is waiting for more ballistics tests to come back. Porter, who has previous convictions for guns and drug violations, still faces cocaine possession and weapons charges. After the shooting, police found cocaine and the weapon. Prosecutors are still concerned with Porter’s “dangerous nature,” as he was barred by law because of previous convictions from possessing a gun. Porter, who had been in jail since two days after the March 4 shooting, was released on bond late Wednesday after prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge. Keenan Jamal Miller, 20, of Rock Hill, who was on probation at the time for other crimes, was charged in late March with three counts of attempted murder and weapons charges from the shootout and is being held at the York County jail.
  41. COLUMBUS, GA, 3/05/16: A stray bullet was fired through the walls of three apartments at Cougar Village early today but no one was injured, Columbus police said. An investigation revealed the errant bullet was fired from an apartment in Building No. 5. at 4712 Milgen Road where a man said he was attempting to clean his 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol about 2:15 AM. The weapon apparently hadn’t been fully cleared before it fired. The shot went through the man’s bedroom wall, continued to the next door apartment before stopping in the third apartment. Police retrieved a bullet from the third apartment. Before police arrived, residents in the other two apartments reported possible gunshots in the area. One couple said they heard a loud pop. Another couple said a loud pop was heard but they were unsure about the source of the noise. None of the victims wanted to pursue a reckless conduct charge in connection with the shot fired, police said.
  42. SELMA, AL, 3/05/16: On March 5, 2016, [Selma PD spokesman Lt. Sam] Miller says a man shot himself in the foot at Cheer’s Package Store on Broad Street. It’s not clear if he was exchanging gunfire with someone else. The Selma Times Journal reports that the store clerk told police she heard five or six shots fired.
  43. OMAHA, NE, 3/05/16: Omaha Police issued a citation for a man they say accidentally shot himself and his girlfriend. Police say they responded to a report of a shooting around 9:40 PM on Saturday, March 5, at the City View Apartments. The man, later identified as Wyatt Keene, was injured initially said he and his girlfriend had been shot somewhere else, but later admitted to accidentally firing a gun, investigators said. The bullet hit him in his left hand and traveled on to hit his girlfriend in the right arm, according to police. Keene was cited for an unregistered gun and discharging a firearm.
  44. WEST VALLEY CITY, UT, 3/05/16: West Valley City police say three separate shootings within four hours left two men and one dog hospitalized. [Lt. Julie] Jorgensen says a 32-year-old man was also hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself in the leg with a handgun. She says alcohol may have been involved.
  45. WEST VALLEY CITY, UT, 3/05/16: Police say another West Valley City man shot his neighbor’s dog in the leg around 3 AM Sunday. Jorgensen says the man claimed to be startled by the dog while looking for skunks.
  46. WHITEFIELD, NH, 3/05/16: A Merrimack man was injured slightly when he was accidentally shot by a companion while hunting rabbits in Whitefield Saturday. New Hampshire Fish and Game reported that a group of hunters had arrived at the Whitefield Police Department around 3:30 PM to report the incident. Daniel Hebert, 51, of Merrimack told police he had been struck by a pellet fired by another member of his hunting party, Dan Sterling of Bedford, 52, while they were hunting off Hazen Road. Fish and Game officials said the man's injury was “minor to non-existent.” No charges were filed.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

White women benefit most from affirmative action — and are among its fiercest opponents

Victoria M. Massie · Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 9:13 am

The University of Texas Austin was Abigail Fisher's dream school. Fisher, from Sugar Land, Texas, a wealthy Houston suburb, earned a 3.59 GPA in high school and scored an 1180 on the SATs.

Not bad, but not enough for the highly selective UT Austin in fall 2008; Fisher's dreams were dashed when she was denied admission.

In response, Fisher sued. Her argument? That applicants of color, whose racial backgrounds were included as a component of the university's holistic review process, were less qualified students and had displaced her.

Students graduating in the top 10 percent of any Texas high school are granted an automatic spot at UT Austin. Other students are evaluated through a holistic review process including a race-blind review of essays and creating a personal achievement score based on leadership potential, honors and awards, work experience, and special circumstances that include socioeconomic considerations such as race.

A few are accepted through provisional slots that include attending a summer program prior to the fall. One black student, four Latino students, and 42 white students with lower scores than Fisher were accepted under these terms. Also rejected were 168 African-American and Latino students with better scores than Fisher.

According to court documents, even if Fisher had received a perfect personal achievement score that included race (which, in itself, oversimplifies the admissions process), she still would not have necessarily qualified under UT's admission rubric.

In fact, when she applied for the class of 2012, the admission rate for non-automatic admits was more competitive than that of Harvard University.

Nonetheless, Fisher has spent the past seven years in court, and is now awaiting a ruling from the US Supreme Court on whether the use of race in UT's admissions policy violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

But the battle to erase race from the application review process for admission comes with an interesting paradox: White women like Fisher have been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action policies.

A 1995 report by the Department of Labor found that 6 million women overall had advances at their job that would not have been possible without affirmative action. For example, the percentage of women physicians tripled from 1970 to 2002 from 7.6 percent to 25.2 percent, and in 2009 women were receiving a majority of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, according to the American Association of University Women. Though these stats include women of all races, white women have made strides that their female counterparts of color have yet to match as a whole.

Indeed, contrary to popular belief, affirmative action isn't just black. It's white, too. But affirmative action's white female faces are rarely at the center of the conversation.

Read more

NASA is no danger of being overcharged for Russian rocket engines

Rss@dailykos.com (darksyde) · Monday, May 23, 2016, 10:15 pm

Between a missing commuter jet, shots fired near the White House, and the inexhaustible stink of campaign shenanigans left and right, it would be easy to miss a critical debate affecting everything from NASA to national security. But that is exactly what is unfolding in Washington. At issue is access to orbit using Russian-built RD 180 rocket engines in the Atlas V launch vehicle, which is favored for recon satellites. Last week an article in the Wall Street Journal appeared, arguing that not allowing that to continue could result in cost overruns:

Controversy over using Russian rocket engines to launch Pentagon satellites has spilled over to potentially threaten the financial viability of certain U.S. civil space programs, according to some aerospace-industry officials. .. “We’re concerned about that,” he told members of the panel. “Reduction in flight rate could increase the cost of” individual Atlas V launches, he said, and “eventually be an impact” on commercial crew transportation. Mr. Elbon didn’t elaborate on the likely size of increases.

Concern about cost overruns as a justification for continuing to rely on Russia rings hollow. NASA contracts are fixed-price contracts, meaning United Launch Alliance won’t be able to unilaterally increase their prices and pass the costs along to taxpayers. Moreover, it’s exactly that kind of erroneous thinking that got us into this needless dilemma in the first place. 

NASA is in no danger of being overcharged. But if we really want to resolve this for good, launch companies based in the U.S. are virtually guaranteed to be cheaper and safer, and the jobs would stay here. Plus, if we pick up the pace of funding just a little, we won’t have to worry about Putin having any control over the U.S. space program or national security, and that could begin as early as next year.