Why mass shooting killers choose the AR-15

The actual video is further into the story – this is a screen grab

The mass shooting this past April at an Indianapolis FedEx facility has something in common with the deadliest massacres – the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Variations of the AR-15 were used to kill at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket, a Pittsburgh synagogue, Texas church, a Las Vegas concert, a high school in Florida, and Sandy Hook Elementary School. The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. There are over 19 million and they are rarely used in crime. Handguns kill far more people. But as we first reported in 2018, the AR-15 is the choice of our worst mass murderers. AR-15 ammunition travels three times the speed of sound. And tonight, we’re going to slow that down – so you can see why the AR-15’s high-velocity ammo is the fear of every American emergency room.

Mass shootings were once so shocking they were impossible to forget. Now they’ve become so frequent it’s hard to remember them all. In October 2018, at a Pittsburgh synagogue, eleven were killed, six wounded.

FBI Special Agent Robert Jones: This is the most horrific scene I’ve seen in 22 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Members of the Tree of Life Synagogue conducting a peaceful service in their place of worship were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith.

Just 11 months before, it was a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Assistant fire chief Rusty Duncan was among the first to arrive.

Rusty Duncan: 90 percent of the people in there were unrecognizable. You know the blood everywhere, I mean it just covered them from head to toe. They were shot in so many different places that you just couldn’t make out who they were…

Rusty Duncan: I’ve never had the experience, not with any kind of weapon like this. For me to see the damage that it did was unbelievable, it was shattering concrete, I– you know, you can only imagine what it does to a human body.

And it goes on and on – transcribing the dialogue from the documentary. The horror in folks description is enough for me.

These four lost cities were jewels of ancient Africa

Thonis-Heracleion, Alexandria, Meroë, and Jenne-Jeno were once centers of sophistication and wealth, but their fortunes waned over time. Although their ancient splendors disappeared from sight, archaeology is now revealing their glorious pasts.

The massive monuments of Giza and the glorious temples of Thebes bear witness to the greatness of the African cities that built them. But other ancient places in Africa rivaled their greatness, yet traces of these magnificent urban centers have been harder to find. These once-thriving cities, located in present-day Egypt, Sudan, and Mali, slipped into obscurity, their splendor remaining lost to history until modern times, when archaeologists made some surprising finds.

Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt: a booming port

Ancient Egypt’s lost city of Thonis-Heracleion is one of the greatest submerged finds ever discovered by archaeologists. For thousands of years it lay hidden under water, with its existence recorded only in a few rare inscriptions and ancient texts. This port at the mouth of the Nile rose after Egypt’s power faded in the seventh century B.C. Known as Thonis to the Egyptians and Heracleion to the Greeks, it thrived as a vital center of trade and culture, and then disappeared.

This is the first of the four cities in the article. The photos and videos from the article are not accessible in this transcript. If you’re a subscriber to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, you’ll find all that over here. Otherwise, this is still an interesting read.

We’re long past time to act!

In the wake of yet another preventable American gun violence tragedy—one that involved the slaughter of 21 people, including 19 children in a Texas elementary school—doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, health experts, and scientists are once again demanding a long-overdue, evidence-based public health response to the uniquely American public health crisis of gun violence.

This is “very much our lane,” Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, a pediatric surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told NBC.

She spoke vividly about the immediate impacts that AR-15-style weapons have on a human body—particularly the smallest ones. In the Uvalde, Texas school shooting this week, the gunman used an AR-15-style rifle (the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 rifle), which he bought online. AR-15-style rifles are often used in mass shootings. They use a common military-caliber ammunition. The bullets don’t always pass cleanly through flesh, but can instead become “unstable” and tumble, causing devastating damage that can leave victims unrecognizable and with an exceptionally low chance of survival.

“It’s not just the hole you see on the outside. It’s a huge blast effect,” Naik-Mathuria told NBC. “You see completely shredded organs. Vessels are completely disrupted. There’s no way to salvage them…”

“We have our hands inside these people, these children, trying to save them,” Naik-Mathuria added. “How can anyone tell us that it’s not our problem?”

Time to speak out is long overdue. Don’t just count we who have been speaking out for years, look at those whose lives have now been touched – in person or even witnessing the terror we’ve seen in the press, on TV, online.

Time to act is long overdue.

Medicinal Cannabis Reduced Opiate Need for Cancer Patients

Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv

A recent study of medical cannabis use found that for most oncology patients, pain measures improved significantly, other cancer-related symptoms also decreased, the consumption of painkillers was reduced, and the side effects were minimal.

Published in Frontiers in Pain Research, these findings suggest that medicinal cannabis can be an alternative to the pain relief medicines that are usually prescribed to cancer patients.

Pain, along with depression, anxiety, and insomnia, are some of the most fundamental causes of oncology patient’s disability and suffering while undergoing treatment therapies, and may even lead to worsened prognosis.

“Traditionally, cancer-related pain is mainly treated by opioid analgesics, but most oncologists perceive opioid treatment as hazardous, so alternative therapies are required,” explained author David Meiri, assistant professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

“Our study is the first to assess the possible benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain in oncology patients; gathering information from the start of treatment, and with repeated follow-ups for an extended period of time, to get a thorough analysis of its effectiveness…”

Medical cannabis treatment was initiated by 324 patients. Most outcome measures improved significantly during treatment for most patients. Specifically, at 6 months, total cancer symptoms burden declined from baseline by a median of 18%. Reported adverse effects were common but mostly non-serious and remained stable during treatment.

Overall, many of the outcome measures improved, with less pain and cancer symptoms. Importantly, the use of opioid and other pain analgesics reduced. In fact, almost half of the patients studied stopped all analgesic medications following six months of medicinal cannabis treatment.

Which is sufficient reason to proceed to parallel testing here in the GOUSA. Thenceforth, to determining more or less standard prescriptive dosing for cancer patients. And, Yes – this is one more reason for federal legalization of medical use of cannabis.

How the White House plans to keep power during “the Apocalypse”

U.S. Dept of Energy

Just because a disaster disrupts the federal government doesn’t mean the White House won’t try to stay in charge. Since the 1950s, the White House has drafted and maintained Pres­id­en­tial Emer­gency Action Docu­ments (PEADS) — a list of secret plans meant to be implemented in the wake of an apocalyptic disaster. Thanks to a new document dump and some clever information requests, we’re finally learning a little bit about how Washington would seek to stay in power should the worst occur.

As first reported by the New York Times, the PEADs documents come courtesy of the Brennan Center for Justice, which obtained the bulk of the documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. The documents cover a period from the Eisenhower presidency all the way to Trump…

A 2016 House Committee Appropriations Hearing gives us an explanation of what PEADs are and what, exactly, they do.

“PEADs are pre-coordinated legal documents designed to implement a Presidential decision or transmit a Presidential request when an emergency disrupts normal governmental or legislative processes,” it said. “A PEAD may take the form of a Proclamation, Executive Order, or a Message to Congress…”

Every President tweaks the PEADs in their own way and every era reflects the different concerns of the different presidents. Until 9/11, the documents were obsessed with ensuring a continuity of government in the aftermath of a surprise nuclear attack on the United States…

The Reagan era plans are similarly obsessed with nuclear war and its aftermath. It isn’t until the 9/11 era and George W. Bush that things change radically…

And so the plot to the White House soap opera wends its merry way through the head-of-state killer klown show. And we all know you can’t have a soap opera without a proper script.

Six Texas doctors received more than $1 million in kickback scheme

Six Texas doctors received more than $1 million in kickbacks for their referrals to two laboratories for diagnostic testing, the Department of Justice alleged in a civil complaint.

True Health Diagnostics of Frisco and Boston Heart Diagnostics of Framingham, Mass. allegedly conspired with small Texas hospitals to pay physicians to make referrals to the two labs for tests, according to the complaint. The complaint named one hospital, Rockdale Hospital, which was located in Rockdale, a city in central Texas with a population of about 5,000 people.

The scheme involved recruiters hired by the hospitals to enlist doctors to make referrals to the hospitals…Rockdale Hospital, now closed, and other hospitals allegedly paid a portion of their laboratory profits to recruiters, who in turn kicked back those funds to the referring physicians…

Nice work if you can get it…says the old song. Don’t think the lyrics include jail time.