Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Last Call For Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

Remington Arms agreed Tuesday to settle liability claims from the families of five adults and four children killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to a new court filing, marking the first time a gun manufacturer has been held accountable for a mass shooting in the U.S.

Remington agreed to pay the families $73 million.

The settlement comes over seven years after the families sued the maker of the Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle that was used in the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed in the shooting, said in a statement, "My beautiful butterfly, Dylan, is gone because Remington prioritized its profit over my son's safety. Marketing weapons of war directly to young people known to have a strong fascination with firearms is reckless and, as too many families know, deadly conduct. Using marketing to convey that a person is more powerful or more masculine by using a particular type or brand of firearm is deeply irresponsible."

"My hope is that by facing and finally being penalized for the impact of their work, gun companies, along with the insurance and banking industries that enable them, will be forced to make their business practices safer than they have ever been," Hockley said.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, and in the course of 264 seconds, fatally shot 20 first-graders and six staff members.

The rifle Lanza used was Remington’s version of the AR-15 assault rifle, which is substantially similar to the standard issue M16 military service rifle used by the U.S. Army and other nations’ armed forces, but fires only in semiautomatic mode.

The families argued Remington negligently entrusted to civilian consumers an assault-style rifle that is suitable for use only by military and law enforcement personnel and violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act through the sale or wrongful marketing of the rifle.
Remington, which filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2020, had argued all of the plaintiffs’ legal theories were barred under Connecticut law and by a federal statute -- the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act -- which, with limited exceptions, immunizes firearms manufacturers, distributors and dealers from civil liability for crimes committed by third parties using their weapons.

Francine Wheeler, mother of 6-year-old victim Benjamin Wheeler, said at Tuesday's news conference, "Today is about how and why he died. Today is about what is right and what is wrong. Today is about the last five minutes of his life. Which were tragic, traumatic and the worst thing that can happen to a child."

"Our legal system has given us some justice today but … David [Ben's father] and I will never have true justice," she said. "True justice would be our 15-year-old healthy and standing next to us right now. But Ben will never be 15. He will be 6 forever."

David Wheeler added, "We want to make sure that another father and another mother don't have to stand here someday
Executives from other firearms manufacturers are almost certainly going to be having lots of meetings and issuing lots of memos in the weeks ahead.  

It's a small victory, but the first of hopefully many wins, as there seems to be a never-ending stream of American firearm tragedies to take legal action against.

School Of Hard-Right Knocks, Con't

A new Reuters investigation finds that local school board officials are being flooded with death threats and targeted by right-wing fanatics who want to take over America's schools, burn books, whitewash American history, and more.

The letter came to the home of Brenda Sheridan, a Loudoun County, Virginia school board member, addressed to one of her adult children. It threatened to kill them both unless she left the board.

“It is too bad that your mother is an ugly communist whore,” said the hand-scrawled note, which the family read just after Christmas. “If she doesn’t quit or resign before the end of the year, we will kill her, but first, we will kill you!”

School board members across the United States have endured a rash of terroristic threats and hostile messages ignited by roiling controversies over policies on curtailing the coronavirus, bathroom access for transgender students and the teaching of America’s racial history.

Reuters documented the intimidation through contacts and interviews with 33 board members across 15 states and a review of threatening and harassing messages obtained from the officials or through public records requests. The news organization found more than 220 such messages in this sampling of districts. School officials or parents in 15 different counties received or witnessed threats they considered serious enough to report to police.

While school controversies are traditionally local, these threats often come from people out of state with no connection to the districts involved. They are part of a rising national wave of threats to public officials – including election officials and members of Congress – citing an array of grievances, often underpinned by apocalyptic conspiracy theories alleging “treason” or “tyranny.”

About half the hostile messages documented by Reuters were sent to Sheridan, former chair of the Loudoun County, Virginia, school board, amid controversies over coronavirus protections, anti-racism efforts and bathroom policy. Twenty-two messages sent to Sheridan or the entire board included death threats or said members should be or would be killed.

In June, she received a threat saying: “Brenda, I am going to gut you like the fat f‑‑‑ing pig you are when I find you.”

The message, like the letter to her home, also threatened her children. Reuters agreed not to publish any personal details about Sheridan’s family members, at her request, because of her continuing safety concerns.

Board members in Pennsylvania’s Pennsbury school district received racist and anti-Semitic emails from around the country from people angry over the district’s diversity efforts. One said: “This why hitler threw you c‑‑ts in a gas chamber.”

In Dublin, Ohio, an anonymous letter sent to the board president vowed that officials would “pay dearly” for supporting education programs on race and mask mandates to stop the coronavirus. “You have become our enemies and you will be removed one way or the other,” it said.

School officials reported the messages to law enforcement in those three cases, as in many others documented by Reuters. No one has been arrested for sending these threatening messages, though a few people have been arrested for unruly or threatening behavior at board meetings.

Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed last year to devote federal resources to combating threats to school officials after the National School Boards Association in September sent the White House a request for federal enforcement to stop the “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.” But the association’s plea for help only added to the controversy as Republican politicians argued the administration of President Joe Biden, a Democrat, sought to censor free speech and label dissenting parents as terrorists. Nineteen state school boards withdrew their membership or withheld dues from the national association in protest of its Sept. 29 letter.

The school boards association apologized to its state members for the letter on Oct. 22, saying there was “no justification” for some of its language, without specifying what it regretted. The organization did not respond to requests for comment.

The hostility faced by school officials mirrors the campaign of fear documented by Reuters against U.S. election workers in response to former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voting fraud. A federal election-threats task force was announced in June, after a Reuters investigation that month revealed the widespread threats. In January, the task force reported the arrests of two people who had threatened election officials
Right-wing millionaires are doing everything they can to fund campaigns of terror against basic governance and the people who get involved. The goal is to get ordinary people to flee from local school boards, election boards, county and city governments, and state legislatures and leave them wide open for frothing lunatics.
The goal is to put Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Lauren Boberts in every school board, in every election office, in every county commission, in every city council, in every state legislature in America through violence and fear.
It's working.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

A sober reminder that political violence is becoming more and more common, as Louisville Democratic mayoral primary candidate Craig Greenberg was targeted by a racial justice activist yesterday morning in a clear assassination attempt that failed.

A Louisville activist has been identified as a suspect in Monday's attempted shooting of mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg.

Quintez Brown, 21, was charged with attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment after Greenberg was shot at in his campaign headquarters Monday morning in Butchertown, LMPD spokeswoman Elizabeth Ruoff said late Monday.

Brown, a civil rights activist, is a former intern and editorial columnist for The Courier Journal.

A police report says a man later identified as Brown entered the building and fired a 9mm Glock handgun at Greenberg before fleeing the building.

Greenberg was not injured, but one of the bullets struck his clothing, Chief Erika Shields said earlier Monday. Police evacuated Greenberg, a Democrat, and his staff from the building and eventually took a person into custody, she said.

Officers found a man matching the suspect description less than a half-mile from the campaign headquarters about 10 minutes later, carrying a loaded 9mm magazine in his pants pocket, according to the arrest report.

He also had a drawstring bag with a handgun, handgun case and additional magazines, the report said.

Surveillance video from the building showed the suspect wearing clothes matching Brown's and carrying a matching bag, the report said.

Craig Greenberg shooting:Mayoral candidate describes shooting at campaign office, 'shaken but safe'

Brown had been a University of Louisville student and an opinion editor for the Cardinal, the student newspaper. He was involved in the racial justice protests of 2020.

He disappeared last summer but was found safe July 1 after being missing about two weeks.  
In a statement after he was found, his family said: "We are asking for privacy and would appreciate everyone's patience and support while we tend to the most immediate need, which is Quintez's physical, mental and spiritual needs.”

Brown was an MLK Scholar at U of L and is the founder of From Fields to Arena, a group committed to providing political education and violence prevention training to youths engaged in hip-hop and athletics.

After he went missing, family and friends formed several search parties, distributed flyers and met at locations around the city to look for him.

He recently announced he would run for Metro Council in District 5.
The full story has yet to come out, but I can't think of anything worse right now for already strained race relations in Louisville after Breonna Taylor than Brown's alleged attack being successful.
It's also a hard reminder than not all political violence comes from the right. I don't know what hell Brown is going through that would prompt him to try to kill Greenberg specifically, but the consequences will be far-reaching here in Kentucky.

Black Lives Still Matter.
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