Synagogue shooting victims win right to sue gunmaker

A California judge decided that victims of the 2019 synagogue shooting near San Diego that killed one worshiper and wounded three can sue the manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack and the gun shop that sold the weapon.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kenneth J. Medel said Wednesday that victims and families in the Poway synagogue shooting have adequately alleged that Smith & Wesson, the nation’s largest gun maker, knew its AR-15-style rifle could be easily modified into a machine-gun-like or assault weapon in violation of state law, according to a newspaper report.

The judge also said the shop, San Diego Guns, could be sued for selling the weapon to the shooting suspect, John Earnest, who was 19 and lacked a hunting license that would have exempted him from California’s minimum age of 21 for owning long guns.

Prosecutors say Earnest, a nursing student, opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle during the last day of Passover services in April 2019. The attack killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounded three others, including an 8-year-old girl and the rabbi, who lost a finger.

I’ll give you an idea how long overdue this is. I learned how to “rewatt” machines guns around 1955. And, no, it wasn’t from one of the gunsmiths in my family. It was the “gun-guy” in the street-racing gang I ran with.

Darnella Frazier Wins An Honorary Pulitzer


Minneapolis Police Department/AP
Police body cam shows bystanders incl. Darnella Frazier (3rd from R)

Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she recorded George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last year, was awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Board on Friday.

The video played a major role in igniting a global protest movement against police violence, and was used as evidence in the trial of Floyd’s killer.

Committee officials who give out the prestigious prize in journalism and the arts said Frazier’s recording highlighted “the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice.”…

There is no case without her,” journalist Ann Marie Lipinski tweeted during Chauvin’s trial. “The video record she made is one of the most important civil rights documents in a generation.”

An act of responsibility that all should admire and praise.

Mexico’s Deadly Elections


Mexico coppers patrolling neighborhoods at election time
Luis Antonio Rojas/Washington Post

Mexico is in the final days of one of its most violent electoral campaigns in modern times. Eighty-nine politicians have been killed since September, according to the security consulting firm Etellekt. Scores more have been wounded or threatened. The campaign has become a stark illustration of crime organizations’ quest to expand their control of Mexico’s territory, a rising threat to this young democracy…

Crime groups that once concentrated on exporting drugs to the United States have diversified into extortion, kidnapping and narcotics sales. A U.S.-backed effort to decapitate big cartels caused them to splinter into competing bands. Heroin producers sought additional routes, to respond to a growing American appetite for the drug and to evade federal authorities…

RTFA. The details make the days of Al Capone in Chicago seem like a summer festival.

1st Amendment OK’s recording coppers — Suggestions for staying alive!

Recordings of police officers, whether by witnesses to an incident with officers, individuals who are themselves interacting with officers, or by members of the press, are an invaluable tool in the fight for police accountability. Often, it’s the video alone that leads to disciplinary action, firing, or prosecution of an officer.

This blog post provides some practical tips to record the police legally and safely, and explains some of the legal nuances of recording the police.

What to Know When Recording the Police

* You have the right to record police officers exercising their official duties in public.
* Stay calm and courteous.
* Do not interfere with police officers. If you are a bystander, stand at a safe distance from the scene that you are recording.
* You may take photos or record video and/or audio.
* Police officers cannot order you to move because you are recording, but they may order you to move for public safety reasons even if you are recording.
* Police officers may not search your cell phone or other device without a warrant based on probable cause from a judge, even if you are under arrest. Thus, you may refuse a request from an officer to review or delete what you recorded. You also may refuse to unlock your phone or provide your passcode.
* Despite reasonably exercising your First Amendment rights, police may illegally retaliate against you in a number of ways including with arrest, destruction of your device, and bodily harm. We urge you to remain alert and mindful about this possibility.

Don’t expect cops to obey the law or even know or understand the law. That’s a sad thing to have to say; but, it’s the truth. Staying alive … living to fight another day … gets a lot more done than a photo of your body on the front page of a newspaper.

Making a video on gun violence in Philadelphia can get you killed

A man working on a video about gun violence was shot and killed in Philadelphia, police said … “This 55-year-old male was working for a production company. They were inside of a private residence. They were interviewing and filming some family members whose children were victims of gun violence in the last two to three years,” Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The man went out to his van to get more equipment and police said he was shot multiple times. Production equipment and two cellphones were found on the sidewalk … The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Though police didn’t initially identify the victim, his name was published a day or two later. Anthony Merriett Jr.

Exorcist pea soup

The radiological technician in ‘The Exorcist” who gives Regan a medical examination to find out what is wrong with her was played by Paul Bateson, who would later be convicted of murder and is a suspected serial killer. In fact that whole scene existed because William Friedkin saw him assist in a real life procedure and wanted it in the movie, and Bateson was cast because his boss Dr Lane- also in the scene- asked that he and the nurse be in it. The whole thing was shot on-location in his place of work and Bateson is the one with the most dialogue in the scene, calmly talking Regan through things in the exact same manner he did real life child patients.

Har!

Uncovering a murder — 430,000 years ago

The first known murder was just as brutal as any other. The attacker smashed the victim twice in the head, leaving matching holes above the victim’s left eyebrow. The dead body was then dropped down a 43-foot shaft into a cave—where it lay for nearly half a million years…

Paleontologists pieced together the 430,000-year-old skull and reported their forensic analysis Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. Injuries to the skull represent the oldest direct evidence of homicide, the scientists say…

The…skull comes from the Sima de los Huesos, or “Pit of Bones,” site in Spain, where paleontologists have found the remains of at least 28 individuals…Exactly what to call the Sima de los Huesos people has been debated, but Nohemi Sala, lead author of the study, and her colleagues identify them as members of the species Homo heidelbergensis, an early human ancestor that gave rise to the Neanderthals.

Read on. The forensics are good enough for Inspector Morse.

The impossible question our Fake President can’t answer?

When – and how – can schools reopen safely?


Riverglades elementary school in Broward county, Florida

Broward county, Florida, is America’s sixth largest school district…When in-person classes ended here on 13 March, there were 11 cases of Covid-19 in the county, according to Johns Hopkins University’s virus tracker. Now, there are more than 23,000 cases, with a curve bending vertically. Covid-19 cases have doubled in 20 days…

Amid this trend, Donald Trump has heaped pressure on educators. He criticized “tough and expensive” guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which the agency said it would revise after his comments…Trump’s administration has also threatened schools’ funding, at a time when local governments are expected to slash school budgets in response to cratered sales tax revenue. Educators across the country have begged for federal support, but have received none of the $250bn they proposed in a letter to Congress…

“We do not see a path to reopening all district schools with 100% full enrollment every day, as we were before we closed schools due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Broward county superintendent, Robert Runcie, said in a video message to his district…He also shot down comparisons to other countries, made by Trump, which had reopened their schools and economies.

“These countries have done widespread testing and contact tracing,” he said. “We have not done so, and consequently don’t have the infrastructure and systems in place that are necessary.

“The sad fact is that there is no national plan.”

The incompetent fool sitting in the White House by virtue of an outdated, corrupt and undemocratic election, has a following among the sort of Americans who believed his lies thoroughly enough to vote for him. They are willing to ignore science and reason – and the potential death of thousands of schoolchildren – to support an unfunded, unsafe process to “bring back schools for America” regardless of consequences.

This thoughtless, ignorant army of populist fools are willing to place their faith in the biggest phony in American political history…to achieve nothing more than expanding this pandemic.