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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 10)

Mark Hamill Taunts Trump With Math Question About Pinocchio’s Nose

Westlake Legal Group 5d57cd65220000cd07f6f797 Mark Hamill Taunts Trump With Math Question About Pinocchio’s Nose

Hamill pondered on Twitter how long Pinocchio’s nose would have grown in the fabled children’s story “had he told 12,000+” lies like Trump. He shared an image of Pinocchio’s extended nose after telling only five lies and answered his own question: ”#2400TimesLonger.”

Hamill had earlier called on his 3.2 million followers to sign a petition which asks for a section of the New York City street outside Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to be renamed after former President Barack Obama.

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AOC laughs off Trump claim she’s ‘fuming’ that Tlaib, Omar now get more attention

Westlake Legal Group AP19220651097148-2 AOC laughs off Trump claim she's 'fuming' that Tlaib, Omar now get more attention fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 11cbcbd0-8f6c-5d18-813a-945cc6183f23

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brushed off a tweet from President Trump on Friday claiming she envied the media attention fellow “Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have received over their recent controversy with Israel.

“Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party,” the president wrote. “Cortez (AOC) is fuming, not happy about this!”

TRUMP SUGGESTS ‘SETUP’ AFTER TLAIB REJECTS ISRAEL’S INVITE: ‘ISRAEL ACTED APPROPRIATELY!’

But the New York Democrat apparently wasn’t buying it. She simply added a laughing emoji to a retweet of Trump’s tweet.

Trump’s comment came amid a string of tweets Friday responding to Tlaib’s announcement that she would not travel to Israel to visit her grandmother despite having been granted permission to enter the country from Israeli officials.

“Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her ‘grandmother,'” Trump wrote. “As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!”

Israeli officials initially denied entry to Tlaib and Omar, pointing to the pair’s itinerary which stated they planned to visit “Palestine” and not “Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered the phrasing evidence that the two U.S. congresswomen intended to use their trip to promote a boycott of the Jewish state.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

When Tlaib initially requested the visit to her grandmother, she pledged not to “promote any boycotts against Israel.”  She subsequently tweeted that visiting her grandmother under those conditions would go against her beliefs.

That prompted criticism from Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who tweeted that Tlaib apparently hated Israel more than she loved her grandmother.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19220651097148-2 AOC laughs off Trump claim she's 'fuming' that Tlaib, Omar now get more attention fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 11cbcbd0-8f6c-5d18-813a-945cc6183f23   Westlake Legal Group AP19220651097148-2 AOC laughs off Trump claim she's 'fuming' that Tlaib, Omar now get more attention fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 11cbcbd0-8f6c-5d18-813a-945cc6183f23

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Delta flight’s 8-hour delay frays passengers’ nerves; police called to break up fight

Westlake Legal Group DeltaIstock22 Delta flight's 8-hour delay frays passengers' nerves; police called to break up fight fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4d930dfa-c76f-581c-9c23-c91f58e55a9f

Port Authority police officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City reportedly had to intervene after a fight broke out on a Delta flight that was delayed around eight hours Thursday.

One passenger, Juan Andres Ahmad, tweeted that the pilot had “no idea” where the ground crew was and while the passengers waited they weren’t given food or water, Fox 5 New York reported.

“This has gotten out of control – there are people fighting each other and it’s gotten both verbal and physical,” Ahmad tweeted. “Police are on the plane! Complete chaos! I understand weather delays and we all want to be safe but this is not about weather but about how Delta has handled it.”

DELTA PASSENGER WHO CLAIMS HE FLEW ON EMPTY ‘PRIVATE’ PLANE LEFT OUT ONE IMPORTANT DETAIL

Local journalist Glenna Milberg was on the plane at the time and tweeted video of “a small sample of the increasing chaos.”

Delta said no passengers were involuntarily removed from the flight, which finally left for Miami around 11 p.m., eight hours behind schedule, FOX 5 reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Delta flight 2385 with service from JFK to Miami was delayed due to weather in both Miami and New York,” A Delta spokesperson told CBS News. “Customers were offered both water and snack service while on the tarmac and were also offered the chance to take a bus back to the terminal given the plane was parked on a remote pad for quite some time.”

Westlake Legal Group DeltaIstock22 Delta flight's 8-hour delay frays passengers' nerves; police called to break up fight fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4d930dfa-c76f-581c-9c23-c91f58e55a9f   Westlake Legal Group DeltaIstock22 Delta flight's 8-hour delay frays passengers' nerves; police called to break up fight fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4d930dfa-c76f-581c-9c23-c91f58e55a9f

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Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights

WASHINGTON — Roya Rahmani is neither royalty nor from a powerful family, so she was initially surprised when she was appointed as the first woman to be Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States. Now she understands why: to signal Kabul’s commitment to women’s rights as the Trump administration pushes for a peace deal with the Taliban.

Ms. Rahmani, a longtime women’s rights activist, remembers all too well what Afghanistan was like during the 1990s, under the Taliban’s rule, when women were beaten for leaving their homes and barred from attending school or holding jobs. “People were drained of hope” and were “living zombies,” she said this week in an interview. Today, she noted, women make up 28 percent of the Afghan National Assembly — more than in Congress.

But as the Taliban and the United States move toward a preliminary peace agreement — which could be released in days — there are growing fears that Afghan women will lose the gains they have made over nearly two decades.

The agreement, hashed out over months of talks between the Trump administration and the Taliban, is expected to outline steps for the eventual withdrawal of 14,000 American troops and pave the way for future talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Officials said the preliminary deal is not expected to include specific assurances that women will continue to have equal opportunities in education, employment and government.

Women’s rights are supposed to be addressed in the future talks, which could result in a power-sharing arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Although some American and Afghan officials say the Taliban appear to be more receptive to women’s rights than in the past, others worry that women will be given lip service in that final accord, or left out entirely.

Video

Westlake Legal Group shamila_cover-videoSixteenByNine3000 Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights Women's Rights Women and Girls Wells, Alice G United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Taliban State Department Khalilzad, Zalmay Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

American diplomats are negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban. We talk to women about the future of freedom for women in Afghanistan.CreditCreditYousur Al-Hlou/The New York Times

“Afghan women have made it loud and clear that they want peace without oppression,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Trump administration, she said, “needs to fully recognize that Afghan women are our greatest asset to advancing the cause of freedom in this war-torn country.”

“Their rights and future must not get lost in these negotiations,” she added.

After American troops forced the Taliban from power after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, Afghan women literally came out of their homes. Now, more than 3.5 million are enrolled in primary and secondary schools and 100,000 women attend universities, according to the State Department. American auditors estimate that nearly 85,000 Afghan women work as teachers, lawyers, law enforcement officials and in health care. More than 400 women ran for political office in elections held last fall.

But many of the gains are among women in Kabul, the capital, and in other major cities. In recent years, the Taliban’s hold across the country — especially in rural areas — has expanded.

The group controls at least 10 percent of Afghanistan’s population — 59 of the country’s 407 districts, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Another 119 districts are considered contested.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155291994_8ba5a8c6-84e8-46eb-ba35-344958fb405b-articleLarge Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights Women's Rights Women and Girls Wells, Alice G United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Taliban State Department Khalilzad, Zalmay Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

Girls at a school in Yakawlang, Afghanistan. The Taliban acknowledged in a statement that women have rights to education and jobs under Islam. CreditJim Huylebroek for The New York Times

As part of the next phase of peace talks, American and Afghan officials are insisting on a permanent cease-fire. But even that will not assure peace for Afghan women, Ms. Rahmani said.

“When we are talking about peace, and a peaceful environment for all of us, we are not only talking about the absence of guns and bullets and bombs,” she said. “We are talking about an environment where human security is present, where people will live free of all forms of violence — not only physical, but emotional, too.”

“It should be free of fear and abuse,” Ms. Rahmani said.

Ms. Rahmani, 41, grew up in Kabul but fled to Peshawar, in neighboring Pakistan, after civil war broke out in Afghanistan in 1992 and accelerated the Taliban’s rise. On a trip back to Kabul with her family in 1998, she said, she was shocked by what she saw as a ghost city, drained of energy, where people put blankets over every window to keep Taliban religious police from seeing anything, no matter how innocuous, that might merit a beating.

The debate over women’s rights in a final deal is a widely expected to split along each side’s interpretation of the role of women in Islam, Afghanistan’s national religion.

Under the Afghan Constitution, adopted in 2004, men and women have equal legal rights and duties. The Constitution specifically outlaws discrimination and requires a “balanced education for women.” It states that all of its provisions and laws adhere to Islamic rules and faith.

In a statement in February, the Taliban said they recognized that women have certain rights under Islam, including access to education and jobs, property inheritance and the ability to choose a husband.

Afghan women in 1996 at a market in Kabul. The Taliban imposed strict restrictions on women after taking control of the capital.CreditB.K. Bangash/Associated Press

The Taliban’s policy, according to the statement, which was released at a forum in Moscow, “is to protect the rights of women in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened.”

But the statement also described immoral and indecent influences by the West and religions that it said have encouraged women to violate Afghan customs “under the name of women’s rights.” It cited “dissemination of Western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials” as evidence of the corruption of Afghan women.

Afghan officials and activists who attended the negotiations between the Taliban and the United States said that informal talks with members of the extremist group revealed that the Taliban have changed since 2001 — and may be even more open to women’s rights.

“One thing that we noticed is that the Taliban were not like those Taliban that they were 20 or 18 years before,” Asila Wardak, a human rights activist who attended the negotiations, which were held in Doha, Qatar, said at a forum in July at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. She said there were “many chances” for Afghan women to talk to Taliban negotiators, and to share their concerns, at the discussions in Doha.

Research by the London-based Overseas Development Institute indicates that Taliban shadow governments work with local officials in some Afghan districts on health care, education, law enforcement and taxes. That is a contrast to 2001, when the Taliban were consumed with keeping power.

“They’ve changed profoundly because they’ve developed an interest in governing, and in providing services,” said Rebecca Zimmerman, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a think tank.

Women voting during last year’s election in Kandahar Province. CreditJawed Tanveer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Experts on Afghan issues remain skeptical of Taliban claims that they support women’s rights — a declaration that, at best, is largely untested. At worst, it is defied by continued attacks, threats and oppression against women by Taliban members in local districts across Afghanistan even as their leaders say they want peace.

Attacks this year against girls’ schools in Taliban territory near the western city of Farah, and the extremists’ forced closure of a radio station that employed women in Ghazni Province, in the country’s east, indicate otherwise. (Taliban officials have denied responsibility for the attacks outside Farah, although graffiti sprayed on the walls of the schools praised the extremist group.)

“You don’t have to look at 2001 to see what the Taliban has done in areas that it has held — you can look at 2017, 2018, 2019,” said Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations’ women and foreign policy program.

“It’s certainly much harder for women who are living in Taliban-influenced areas to go to work, to hold jobs, for girls to go to school and for women to be in any kind of public sphere,” she said.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the American envoy who will continue to shepherd a final agreement in upcoming peace talks, pledged last month that women would “have a seat, or several seats, at the negotiating table” alongside the Taliban.

Alice G. Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state who oversees Afghan diplomacy, also has said that a final accord must respect — and protect — women’s rights or risk losing international support and aid. The United States alone has promised $2 billion in aid since 2002 for programs for women and issues focused on gender equality.

Female delegates during the opening ceremony of Afghanistan’s grand assembly in April.CreditJawad Jalali/EPA, via Shutterstock

Preventing widespread terrorism from resurfacing, in part by helping stabilize Afghanistan, “cannot occur if half the country’s population is deprived of opportunity,” Ms. Wells said last month at the Georgetown Institute event.

In interviews with The New York Times, Ms. Rahmani did not rule out working in a government that shared power with the Taliban, saying only that she would defer to the leadership selected by her country’s citizens. First and foremost, she said, Afghans want peace.

But as a mother of a young daughter and as a former advocate of women’s rights — at nongovernmental organizations and as a consultant to the United Nations, to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to the government of Canada — she insisted that women must not be forced to give up progress they have made.

“If the Taliban says, ‘We can find a way to address each other’s concerns,’ that is fine,” Ms. Rahmani said. “But given the past experiences, it’s extremely alarming for the women of Afghanistan.”

Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein, inmate 76318-054, hated his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It was cramped, dank and infested with vermin, so Mr. Epstein, long accustomed to using his wealth to play by his own rules, devised a way out.

He paid numerous lawyers to visit the jail for as many as 12 hours a day, giving him the right to see them in a private meeting room. Mr. Epstein was there for so long that he often appeared bored, sitting in silence with his lawyers, according to people who saw the meetings. While they were there, he and his entourage regularly emptied the two vending machines of drinks and snacks.

“It was shift work, all designed by someone who had infinite resources to try and get as much comfort as possible,” said a lawyer who was often in the jail visiting clients.

Outside the meeting room, Mr. Epstein mounted a strategy to avoid being preyed upon by other inmates: He deposited money in their commissary accounts, according to a consultant who is often in the jail and speaks regularly with inmates there.

The jail was a sharp departure from his formerly gilded life, which had included a private island in the Caribbean, a $56 million Manhattan mansion and a network of rich and powerful friends.

But in his final days, Mr. Epstein’s efforts to lessen the misery of incarceration seemed to be faltering.

He was seldom bathing, his hair and beard were unkempt and he was sleeping on the floor of his cell instead of on his bunk bed, according to people at the jail.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00epsteintictoc2-articleLarge Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein Suicides and Suicide Attempts Prisons and Prisoners Metropolitan Correctional Center (Manhattan, NY) Manhattan (NYC) Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- )

Jeffrey Epstein.CreditNew York State Sex Offender Registry, via Associated Press

Still, he convinced the jail’s leadership that he was not a threat to himself, even though an inquiry was already underway into whether he had tried to commit suicide on July 23. The federal jail was so poorly managed and chronically short-staffed that workers who were not correctional officers were regularly pressed into guard duty.

On Aug. 9, lawyers crowded into the plastic chairs in the meeting room with Mr. Epstein as the world was riveted by news that a court had released a cache of previously sealed documents, providing disturbing details about the sex trafficking accusations against him.

A few hours later, on the overnight shift, 10 of the 18 workers were on overtime, guarding a jail with roughly 750 inmates, according to records released by the Bureau of Prisons.

One post was actually vacant, the records show.

On 9 South, the special unit where Mr. Epstein was housed, there were two guards, one of whom was a former correctional officer who had volunteered for duty.

The two guards were supposed to check on Mr. Epstein every 30 minutes, but failed to do so for about three hours. At some point, the guards fell asleep, according to two Bureau of Prisons officials.

By the next morning, Mr. Epstein, 66, was dead. At 6:30 a.m., at least one of the guards discovered him in his cell, unresponsive and tinged blue, after he had hanged himself with a jail bedsheet, a prison official and a law enforcement official said.

A worker hit an alarm to alert the jail that there was an emergency, according to one prison official.

Radios called out, “Body alarm on South, body alarm on South.”

Staff cut the bedsheet holding Mr. Epstein and tried to administer CPR, according to two prison officials. But an hour later he was pronounced dead.

It is impossible to know why a person takes his own life. But an examination of Mr. Epstein’s last days by The New York Times, gathered from dozens of interviews with law enforcement officials, Bureau of Prisons employees, lawyers and others, suggests that Mr. Epstein’s death came after he started to realize the limits of his ability to deploy his wealth and privilege in the legal system.

The people who described their interactions with Mr. Epstein and the conditions in the jail almost all spoke only on condition of anonymity, in large part because Epstein’s death is now the subject of at least two major federal inquiries into the failure to closely monitor such a high-profile prisoner.

Mr. Epstein’s lawyers have not responded to questions about his time at the jail or whether they believe that he was not properly monitored. After his suicide, they issued a short statement.

“No one should die in jail,” they said.

Jeffrey Epstein feared life behind bars, according to people who knew him.

A few years ago, on the second floor of his Upper East Side mansion, he had a mural painted that shows a photorealistic prison scene, with barbed wire, correction officers and a guard station. Mr. Epstein himself is portrayed in the middle, and he told a visitor earlier this year that he wanted the mural to remind him of what could await him if he was not careful.

Mr. Epstein had successfully used his wealth to skirt punitive conditions in his 2008 brush with authorities in Florida, when his team of elite lawyers negotiated a much-criticized deal with federal prosecutors to allow him to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. In return, Mr. Epstein was shielded from federal sex-trafficking charges.

He served 13 months at the Palm Beach County stockade and was allowed to leave custody and work out of an office six days a week.

But this time was different.

After Mr. Epstein was arrested on July 6 on a new federal indictment, he ended up in a cell in the special housing unit in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a rust-colored fortress in Lower Manhattan where many of the inmates are awaiting trial on federal charges.

The jail has often held high-profile prisoners. Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo, was housed there after two escapes from high-security Mexican prisons. Other inmates have included Bernard L. Madoff, who masterminded a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

It is notorious for miserable conditions, particularly in the higher-security units. Mr. Guzmán and the mob boss John Gotti, who were housed in the most secure wing, often complained (garnering little sympathy in response).

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159123030_fe6071db-27a3-4c50-b81f-447f6070efa6-articleLarge Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein Suicides and Suicide Attempts Prisons and Prisoners Metropolitan Correctional Center (Manhattan, NY) Manhattan (NYC) Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- )

Mr. Epstein, who was used to life in his lavish Upper East Side mansion, struggled to tolerate jail conditions.CreditKirsten Luce for The New York Times

The staffing problems at the jail are emblematic of a larger shortage of correctional officers in federal jails and prisons across the country.

These facilities have been dealing with rising levels of violence and other safety problems as the Trump administration has curtailed hiring in its quest to shrink the government, according to an investigation by The New York Times last year.

Some prisons have been so pressed for guards that they have forced teachers, nurses, cooks and other support staff to step in. That can lead to security risks because the substitute workers are often less familiar with the inmate population than the regular guards and can miss cues indicating that trouble is brewing, The Times investigation found.

The wing where Mr. Epstein was housed, 9 South, is the less restrictive of the jail’s two most secure units, holding dozens of inmates, usually in groups of two in small cells.

There, he was allowed one hour of recreation per day and could shower every two to three days, according to prison officials. Aside from meetings with lawyers, his contact with the outside world was severely limited.

Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water — as well as urine and fecal matter — that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said.

One lawyer said mice often eat his clients’ papers.

Mr. Epstein tried desperately to ingratiate himself with fellow inmates, the consultant who had spoken with inmates said. He had heard from two inmates that Mr. Epstein transferred money into at least three other inmates’ commissary accounts — an exercise often used in the jail to buy protection.

It was clear early on that Mr. Epstein was desperate to leave 9 South.

After his arrest, he asked a judge to release him on a substantial bond, pledging to put up his Manhattan mansion and his jet as collateral. He would hire round-the-clock security guards, he said, who would “virtually guarantee” that he would not flee.

The judge denied the request on July 18, and Mr. Epstein stayed in 9 South.

Five days later, Mr. Epstein was found unconscious in his cell, with marks on his neck.

His cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, a former suburban New York police officer accused of a quadruple homicide, summoned guards, and Mr. Epstein was revived, according to Mr. Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket.

Prison officials investigated the incident as a suicide attempt, and Mr. Epstein was removed from 9 South and placed in the jail’s suicide prevention program.

Some workers and inmates were skeptical, according to prison officials and people who spoke with inmates in the wing. They questioned whether Mr. Epstein was faking his injury to gain sympathy from Judge Richard M. Berman, who was presiding over his case.

That skepticism grew when Mr. Epstein accused Mr. Tartaglione of assaulting him, an allegation Mr. Tartaglione denied and some guards doubted.

A prison official said that within the facility, Mr. Epstein’s story was seen as an attempt to avoid being put on suicide watch.

The jail’s warden, Lamine N’Diaye, told Judge Berman in a letter that the jail conducted an internal investigation into the July 23 incident, but did not say what the outcome of that investigation was. (Mr. N’Diaye was transferred out of the jail on Tuesday pending the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death.)

The few comforts Mr. Epstein once had in 9 South disappeared on suicide watch.

Inmates there are housed alone in solitary rooms, naked except for a thick, heavy smock. Lights can be dimmed, but never turned off, and there are no bedsheets or materials that could be used for self-harm.

According to Bureau of Prisons policies, Mr. Epstein would have met on a daily basis with psychologists.

Six days later, on July 29, he was taken off suicide watch and returned to 9 South.

In the wake of his death, the decision by the jail’s leadership to end the suicide watch has sparked criticism from elected officials and some mental health professionals.

“Any case where someone had a proven or suspected serious suicide attempt, that would be unusual to within two to three weeks take them off suicide watch,” said Dr. Ziv Cohen, a forensic psychiatrist who frequently evaluates inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

But six current and former prison officials said it was not uncommon for an inmate to be taken off suicide watch after only a few days.

Mr. Epstein’s own lawyers believed that he was fine and lobbied to have him taken off suicide watch, according to someone familiar with the negotiations.

Three days after Mr. Epstein was formally removed from the 24-hour suicide watch, he received a visit from David Schoen, a lawyer whom he had consulted periodically over more than a decade.

Mr. Schoen said Mr. Epstein had sought the meeting through another lawyer and indicated to Mr. Schoen that he wanted him to join his legal team.

They conferred in the meeting room for roughly five hours, talking about legal issues and the case.

At one point, a therapist at the jail stopped by and asked Mr. Schoen to leave the room because she had to meet privately with Mr. Epstein.

The therapist told Mr. Schoen that her visit was part of the suicide protocol.

Mr. Epstein “said he was fine with it,” Mr. Schoen said. “She stayed max five minutes.”

When the session was finished, Mr. Schoen said he joked with Mr. Epstein and the therapist about how short it had been.

Mr. Schoen said that by the time the meeting ended, Mr. Epstein seemed excited about their working together on the case.

“One thing I can say for sure is when I left him he was very, very upbeat,” said Mr. Schoen, who never had the chance to join the team.

But in the days that followed, Mr. Epstein started appearing more haggard, according to lawyers and prison staff.

“He’s deprived of communication with third parties, looked disheveled, sleeping on the floor sometimes,” a lawyer said.

And Mr. Epstein’s penchant for meetings stretched an already thin staff to its limits. As an inmate in 9 South, Mr. Epstein required additional guards to take him to and from meeting rooms. He took frequent bathroom breaks, requiring guards to escort him.

Mr. Epstein spent his last day in 9 South the same way he spent nearly every other: sitting for hours with his lawyers. They had arrived early, according to a lawyer who visited the secure client meeting rooms that day, and Mr. Epstein was seen there until at least late afternoon.

Overnight, the two guards in 9 South should have checked on Mr. Epstein every 30 minutes, but they stopped around 3:30 a.m. Two prison officials said they fell asleep.

Both staff members were working overtime. One had volunteered, having already worked several tours of overtime that week. The other had been forced to work a 16-hour double shift. A prison official and a law enforcement official said the two guards falsified records to make it look like they had checked in on Mr. Epstein.

Mr. Epstein was housed in one of a handful of cells in 9 South where inmates could peer out of their small windows and down onto the staff members stationed at the guard desk, according to a prison official. He might have been able to see whether the guards were asleep, the official said.

Mr. Epstein’s body was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital.CreditJefferson Siegel for The New York Times

The official autopsy results, announced by the medical examiner on Friday, showed that the cause of death was suicide by hanging. But that finding seemed to do little to quell the mystery of how Mr. Epstein was allowed to remain unsupervised on the night he killed himself.

The medical examiner’s findings did not placate Mr. Epstein’s lawyers.

“The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death,” they said in a statement. “We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner.”

Days after Mr. Epstein’s death, there was little inside the jail to indicate the havoc his life — and death — had wrought. In 9 South, his cell remained unoccupied, but a flurry of other lawyers rotated in and out of the meeting rooms he had only recently stopped using.

By late in the week, there was one small difference: The vending machines were full again.

Susan C. Beachy, Katie Benner, William K. Rashbaum, Ashley Southall and Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.

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Nancy Parker, local Fox anchor, remembered by NFL’s Drew Brees, others in Louisiana

Westlake Legal Group 67247426_10220020098759109_6267230279916584960_n Nancy Parker, local Fox anchor, remembered by NFL's Drew Brees, others in Louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/media fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 6cbdce37-4bca-5c42-aca5-77151a4bff9e

Tributes poured in for a local FOX reporter in New Orleans who was killed in a small plane crash Friday while doing a story about a stunt pilot.

Nancy Parker, 53, was a wife and mother of three who had worked as an anchor and reporter at FOX 8 in New Orleans for 23 years.

She was remembered by NFL quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, as well as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and others around the state who admired the journalist and her work.

The pilot, identified by the station as Franklin J.P. Augustus, also died in the crash.

FOX NEW ORLEANS REPORTER AND ANCHOR NANCY PARKER, 53, AMONG 2 KILLED IN PLANE CRASH, STATION SAYS

Fox 8 officials confirmed the news of the passing of their “longtime colleague and friend.”

Brees, himself a fixture in the city since 2006, wrote in a Twitter post that Parker was a “beloved reporter & news anchor.”

Saints owner Gayle Benson wrote on Facebook that Parker “fostered great trust with both those who she covered and with her viewers.” Benson included in her post a photo of herself with Parker.

Gov. Edwards tweeted that Parker told “stories that mattered to the people of our state.

“Please join your prayers to mine and Donna’s for Nancy’s husband and three children as they come to terms with this shocking loss,” the governor added.

“Suits” actor Wendell Pierce, a native of New Orleans, said he was “deeply saddened by the untimely death of the consummate journalist.”

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statement said the plane was a 1983 Pitts S-2B aircraft that crashed in an empty field about a half-mile south of the airport, which accommodates smaller aircraft, under unknown circumstances. That model aircraft is a biplane.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash.

Fox News’ Melissa Leon contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group 67247426_10220020098759109_6267230279916584960_n Nancy Parker, local Fox anchor, remembered by NFL's Drew Brees, others in Louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/media fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 6cbdce37-4bca-5c42-aca5-77151a4bff9e   Westlake Legal Group 67247426_10220020098759109_6267230279916584960_n Nancy Parker, local Fox anchor, remembered by NFL's Drew Brees, others in Louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/media fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 6cbdce37-4bca-5c42-aca5-77151a4bff9e

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Best smart watch, 5G fears, data breach action plans, and more: Tech Q&A

Westlake Legal Group 565770-data-breach-hack Best smart watch, 5G fears, data breach action plans, and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 04ed3499-8744-5442-8af5-f01e32f6c071

5G Health Concerns

Q: I hear that 5G causes brain cancer. Is this true? My Doctor told me that it could.

A: I’m not sure what your Doctor is reading, but from what I have seen, 5G does not appear to cause cancer. The FCC doesn’t seem to be concerned about its impact on the brain, and no one expects tumors to result from using 5G. This should be good news, considering the inevitable transition to 5G networks; within a few years, we’ll be upgrading our phones and other devices to receive a decent signal. At the same time, there are phone-related health concerns you should be aware of, which make take you by surprise. Tap or click here to see the full FCC report on 5G.

List of Data Breaches

Q: I am losing track of all the data breaches. Is there one list that I can see them? I want to make sure my personal data wasn’t part of any breach.

A: A major breach doesn’t grab headlines as it used to, which is bad news for regular consumers who want to respond as quickly as possible. For example, Toyota owners may not have any idea that 3.1 million accounts were accessed, and that the company has no idea what sales data was stolen. In other words, if you’ve owned a Toyota in recent years, it’s possible that a lot of your driving and financial records are being sold on the Dark Web as we speak. Big companies like Facebook and Capital One should be able to avoid hackers but haven’t. Even FEMA, a government agency, has become a victim. Each case requires a different kind of damage control. Tap or click here for a list of this year’s security breaches.

Facebook Alternative

Q: I would like to find a safer Facebook type of site. Do any social networks exist that do not have any advertising and tracking?

A: Facebook has been the reigning champion of social media sites since its inception, but that says more about the weaknesses of social media than the virtues of Facebook. With unpredictable mires like SnapChat and 4chan, Facebook has managed to look comparatively legitimate. But with all the data breaches and shifty behavior in recent years, there’s never been a better time to find an alternative, especially with the election approaching and all the stress that will cause. If you’re interested in gadgets, I have to recommend my very own social media site, which has just been launched: Komando Community is a safe and positive place to chat with like-minded people about consumer tech. We’re having a blast, and I think you will, too.

Tap or click here to join the Komando Community.

Expand Netflix

Q: I can’t seem to find anything to watch on Netflix. Am I doing something wrong? Are there settings I can change, so I see things that interest me?

A: The streaming phenomenon that Netflix helped create is now crowded with copycats, including the soon-to-be-rival Disney Plus. Netflix is struggling to stay competitive, despite a host of original series and multiple Academy Awards for its theatrical films. Part of the problem: subscribers can’t always find the content they’re interested in. I wouldn’t suggest you give up on Netflix just yet; if you’re familiar with the service and are already enrolled, there are a few simple hacks that will help you greatly enhance your experience and discover series and films you never knew existed. Tap or click here for four secret Netflix hacks that will help you find stuff worth watching.

Smartwatch Selection

Q: What’s the best smartwatch? Everyone raves about the Apple Watch. What about Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin’s watch?

A: One of the most exciting smartwatch developments of the past couple of years is the Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch. It looks beautiful, it’s water-resistant, you can charge it without a cord, and you can speak directly into the watch face, like in the Dick Tracy comics. Pretty nifty, eh? The drawback is that it’s not yet available (probably September), and it’s far pricier than its competitors. The bottom line: each watch has different benefits and drawbacks, and each surviving company has earned its place in the market, often for distinct reasons. You should probably see my lineup of different watches, but make sure to read down to the bottom, because the Ticwatch Pro is a nifty dark horse. Tap or click here to compare smartwatches.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group 24744fb6-565770-data-breach-hack Best smart watch, 5G fears, data breach action plans, and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 04ed3499-8744-5442-8af5-f01e32f6c071   Westlake Legal Group 24744fb6-565770-data-breach-hack Best smart watch, 5G fears, data breach action plans, and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 04ed3499-8744-5442-8af5-f01e32f6c071

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

Protestors turned up in both Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas as President Donald Trump visited following two mass shootings that left 31 dead. USA TODAY

Since the May 31 shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that claimed his wife’s life along with 11 others, Jason Nixon said he has been in “a living hell.’’

Nixon, the father of three daughters ages 1, 6 and 13, takes them to bed amid nightly tears, then regularly wakes up with nightmares around 3 a.m. Last month he had his gallbladder removed after morning bouts of vomiting he was told were due to stress.

“My kids go to bed every night crying for their mom. Every night. It’s a Groundhog Day, over and over,’’ Nixon said. “It’s the most heart-wrenching thing.’’

The anguish is made all the more acute by the lack of official word on why DeWayne Craddock, a civil engineer who worked for the Virginia Beach public utilities department, launched the barrage that killed Kate Nixon, 10 fellow city employees and a contractor who was filing for a permit.

Craddock died after a gun battle with police. Authorities have not ascertained his motive, although Jason Nixon and others consider him a disgruntled employee seeking revenge for perceived slights at work.

As the U.S. grapples with a rash of mass murders underscored by the back-to-back shootings earlier this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — which accounted for 31 deaths — the victims’ families are often left to wonder what prompted such brutal acts of violence.

Many times — even years after a shooting and a lengthy police investigation — there are no clear answers.

The alleged gunman who opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, Patrick Crusius, posted a hateful manifesto decrying what he called a “Hispanic invasion of Texas’’ and ranting against immigrants, so his motives, while contemptible, appear pretty clear.

So far that stands in contrast with Connor Betts, the shooting suspect in Dayton who was killed by police. There have been reports of misogynistic tendencies in his past and police said he had “a history of obsession with violent ideations,’’ but no specific reason for his assault has been pinpointed.

Similarly, attacks like last November’s slaughter at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 died; the shooting spree at Santa Fe (Texas) High School in May 2018 that cost 10 lives; and, most notoriously, the Las Vegas rampage of October 2017 in which 58 were killed, have rendered investigators unable to specify a motive.

Everyone ‘wants to know’ why

For the devastated relatives who have to pick up the pieces of a life lost or suddenly torn apart, such uncertainty can be distressing, leading to anxiety and depression.

“Every family of a victim, every injured victim I’ve ever dealt with wants to know,’’ said Kathryn Turman, assistant director of the FBI’s Victim Services Division. “Sometimes the motivation is obvious. Other times it’s not. I think every human mind struggles to try to make sense of what’s often a senseless tragedy.’’

Prompt action: New Zealanders have turned in more than 10,000 guns after mass shooting in Christchurch

Jonathan Metzl, a Vanderbilt sociology professor who studies gun violence, said it’s important from a societal standpoint to ask why these horrific events take place, an exercise that can also be part of the grieving process for victims’ loved ones.

But he also points out the answers can be “very complex and slippery,’’ far from the tidy, simple explanations that may fit into some people’s preconceived notions.

“In most cases we never know the answer,’’ Metzl said, “and in a way the narratives we hold on to are the ones that make sense to us, but they might not be the reasons why somebody would do something like this.’’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

A man who fatally gunned down nine people outside a Dayton, Ohio, bar had long wrestled with mental illness that manifested itself in a fascination with tragedy, uncontrollable urges to unleash violence and suicidal thoughts. AP

Metzl argues that because mass shootings are so hard to anticipate, the focus should be on preventing everyday gun violence, which is much more predictable. That, in turn, may lower the frequency of mass murders.

“If the goal is to prevent future shootings,’’ he said, “the most important question is not always why did somebody do this, but what kind of policies can we put in place to prevent somebody who’s intent on doing something like this from doing a future act.’’

Last year the FBI published an examination of a study it had conducted covering active-shooter incidents — defined by the FBI as one or more people trying to kill others in a populated area — from 2000-2013. The review looked into pre-attack behaviors and motives in an effort to prevent or minimize the number of such tragedies in the future.

In 21% of the cases, investigators were unable to ascertain the reasons behind the bursts of violence, which were planned for at least a week 77% of the time.

That last figure may come as a surprise to those who believe mass shootings are often the result of a mentally unbalanced person “snapping.’’

Renewed hope: After Newtown, Pulse, Vegas stirred little change, gun-control advocates hope latest shootings push tougher laws

John Wyman, Behavioral Analysis Unit chief for the FBI, said shootings are actually “planned, predatory acts’’ usually prompted by a combination of factors that include stressors such as interpersonal conflicts, financial strain, mental health issues (though not necessarily illness), legal problems and substance abuse.

“It might have been so complex that the offenders themselves might have a hard time articulating why they did what they did,’’ Wyman said.

Post-shooting buzzwords

In many instances, such as the Las Vegas, Thousand Oaks, Virginia Beach and Dayton massacres, the perpetrator is not caught alive, depriving investigators of the prime source of information for the motive.

That was also the case in the carnage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 12, 2016. Omar Mateen, a security guard born in New York to Afghan immigrants, went into the gay bar and killed 49 people and injured 53 in the worst single-shooter incident the U.S. had seen to that point. Police finally gunned him down after a three-hour standoff.

The attack was initially believed to be motivated by homophobia, especially after some patrons said they had seen Mateen before and believed he was a closeted gay man. Later revelations, including statements Mateen made to crisis negotiators, pointed to his opposition to U.S. policy in the Middle East and possible allegiance to ISIS as the main reason.

The lack of clarity bothers Christine Leinonen, mother of Pulse victim Drew Leinonen, who says bluntly, “It wasn’t a gay shooting. It was a jihad.’’

Leinonen has become a gun-control activist and an advocate for the LGBTQ community in the wake of her son’s death. She resents Mateen’s actions being depicted as homophobic, believing the label has been exploited for money-raising purposes.

“It angers me because, until we name something accurately, we cannot even begin to try to solve it,’’ Leinonen said. “Whenever there’s a mass shooting, everybody just gives the buzzwords, ‘Oh, it’s mental health,’ and then no one does anything. But it’s not mental health. It’s easy access to guns.’’

To Leinonen’s point, after the recent bloodbaths in El Paso and Dayton, President Donald Trump proclaimed, “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.’’

Dangerous merchandise: Some employees call on Walmart to stop selling guns in wake of mass shootings

A report released last year by the Small Arms Survey, a research project at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, estimated there were more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the U.S. in 2017, or 46% of the world’s total. That averages out to more than a gun per person in a country with a population of 326 million, a little over 4% of the global total.

Figures released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an all-time high 39,773 people died by gunfire in America in 2017 – a rate of 12.2 per 100,000 that’s the highest in two decades. By comparison, Canada had a rate of 2.1 per 100,000; European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany were below 1.

Suicides were the main driver of the increase in the U.S., accounting for about 60% of the gun deaths, while homicides made up of 37% of the total. The vast majority of those deaths did not take place through mass shootings, which tend to garner the most media attention and often elicit calls for stronger mental-health programs.

The ‘mental health’ label

Heather Littleton, professor of psychology at East Carolina University, is among the many experts who say mass shootings and mental illness are separate issues. Littleton said people with mental health problems have not shown more propensity than anybody else to go on a deadly rampage, and in fact are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators because they’re more vulnerable.

“Most people with mental illness aren’t violent,’’ Littleton said. “The label itself isn’t helpful, because that’s such a broad category, and I think it’s often harmful in that it contributes to stigmatizing.’’

Littleton was involved in a study of 300 women who were students at Virginia Tech during its 2007 shooting, which resulted in 32 deaths. None of the study’s participants was directly impacted, but a year later nearly 25% were still showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The more overwhelming and unfathomable the violence, the harder it is for people to manage,’’ Littleton said, noting that the shooting had a negative effect on how participants felt about themselves and the world.

Seeking a sense of closure

Experts say that for some people affected by gun violence, learning the motive provides a sense of closure, though not for all, especially since many find it hard to relate to what the attacker may feel.

USA on edge: Mass-shooting false alarms has a ‘hidden cost’ for police, community

Jay Lee, a family physician in Long Beach, California, who has counseled relatives of people killed in shootings and stabbings, said anxiety and depression are common traits among people who have lost loved ones to violence.

Birthdays, holidays and the anniversary of the fateful date are especially difficult to handle, he said, although everyone copes differently and some find comfort in their faith or value system.

“(Learning) the motive can be one piece of the healing,’’ said Lee, one the physicians who have called out gun violence as a public health issue. “I think more than anything people want to continue to remember the loved ones they’ve lost and would like to see something done about violence in general.’’

Part of Nixon’s mission is making sure the memory of his wife – an engineer and compliance manager who was his rock during their 20 years of marriage – remains vivid.

Nixon said Kate shared with him complaints about the quality of Craddock’s work and his brusque manner. So Nixon was appalled when city officials characterized Craddock’s job performance as “satisfactory,’’ and he believes the massacre could have been prevented if the human resources department had intervened.

After initially resisting public calls by Nixon and others for an independent investigation, the city relented and that probe is now being conducted.

Asked what would bring him closure, Nixon said: “The truth would bring closure to me. So I can go to bed at night knowing I did everything I could do to get the truth out. So I know my wife didn’t die in vain, and her friends and co-workers didn’t die in vain.’’

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/16/mass-shooting-motives-what-if-we-never-learn-why/2000720001/

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

Protestors turned up in both Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas as President Donald Trump visited following two mass shootings that left 31 dead. USA TODAY

Since the May 31 shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that claimed his wife’s life along with 11 others, Jason Nixon said he has been in “a living hell.’’

Nixon, the father of three daughters ages 1, 6 and 13, takes them to bed amid nightly tears, then regularly wakes up with nightmares around 3 a.m. Last month he had his gallbladder removed after morning bouts of vomiting he was told were due to stress.

“My kids go to bed every night crying for their mom. Every night. It’s a Groundhog Day, over and over,’’ Nixon said. “It’s the most heart-wrenching thing.’’

The anguish is made all the more acute by the lack of official word on why DeWayne Craddock, a civil engineer who worked for the Virginia Beach public utilities department, launched the barrage that killed Kate Nixon, 10 fellow city employees and a contractor who was filing for a permit.

Craddock died after a gun battle with police. Authorities have not ascertained his motive, although Jason Nixon and others consider him a disgruntled employee seeking revenge for perceived slights at work.

As the U.S. grapples with a rash of mass murders underscored by the back-to-back shootings earlier this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — which accounted for 31 deaths — the victims’ families are often left to wonder what prompted such brutal acts of violence.

Many times — even years after a shooting and a lengthy police investigation — there are no clear answers.

The alleged gunman who opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, Patrick Crusius, posted a hateful manifesto decrying what he called a “Hispanic invasion of Texas’’ and ranting against immigrants, so his motives, while contemptible, appear pretty clear.

So far that stands in contrast with Connor Betts, the shooting suspect in Dayton who was killed by police. There have been reports of misogynistic tendencies in his past and police said he had “a history of obsession with violent ideations,’’ but no specific reason for his assault has been pinpointed.

Similarly, attacks like last November’s slaughter at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 died; the shooting spree at Santa Fe (Texas) High School in May 2018 that cost 10 lives; and, most notoriously, the Las Vegas rampage of October 2017 in which 58 were killed, have rendered investigators unable to specify a motive.

Everyone ‘wants to know’ why

For the devastated relatives who have to pick up the pieces of a life lost or suddenly torn apart, such uncertainty can be distressing, leading to anxiety and depression.

“Every family of a victim, every injured victim I’ve ever dealt with wants to know,’’ said Kathryn Turman, assistant director of the FBI’s Victim Services Division. “Sometimes the motivation is obvious. Other times it’s not. I think every human mind struggles to try to make sense of what’s often a senseless tragedy.’’

Prompt action: New Zealanders have turned in more than 10,000 guns after mass shooting in Christchurch

Jonathan Metzl, a Vanderbilt sociology professor who studies gun violence, said it’s important from a societal standpoint to ask why these horrific events take place, an exercise that can also be part of the grieving process for victims’ loved ones.

But he also points out the answers can be “very complex and slippery,’’ far from the tidy, simple explanations that may fit into some people’s preconceived notions.

“In most cases we never know the answer,’’ Metzl said, “and in a way the narratives we hold on to are the ones that make sense to us, but they might not be the reasons why somebody would do something like this.’’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?

A man who fatally gunned down nine people outside a Dayton, Ohio, bar had long wrestled with mental illness that manifested itself in a fascination with tragedy, uncontrollable urges to unleash violence and suicidal thoughts. AP

Metzl argues that because mass shootings are so hard to anticipate, the focus should be on preventing everyday gun violence, which is much more predictable. That, in turn, may lower the frequency of mass murders.

“If the goal is to prevent future shootings,’’ he said, “the most important question is not always why did somebody do this, but what kind of policies can we put in place to prevent somebody who’s intent on doing something like this from doing a future act.’’

Last year the FBI published an examination of a study it had conducted covering active-shooter incidents — defined by the FBI as one or more people trying to kill others in a populated area — from 2000-2013. The review looked into pre-attack behaviors and motives in an effort to prevent or minimize the number of such tragedies in the future.

In 21% of the cases, investigators were unable to ascertain the reasons behind the bursts of violence, which were planned for at least a week 77% of the time.

That last figure may come as a surprise to those who believe mass shootings are often the result of a mentally unbalanced person “snapping.’’

Renewed hope: After Newtown, Pulse, Vegas stirred little change, gun-control advocates hope latest shootings push tougher laws

John Wyman, Behavioral Analysis Unit chief for the FBI, said shootings are actually “planned, predatory acts’’ usually prompted by a combination of factors that include stressors such as interpersonal conflicts, financial strain, mental health issues (though not necessarily illness), legal problems and substance abuse.

“It might have been so complex that the offenders themselves might have a hard time articulating why they did what they did,’’ Wyman said.

Post-shooting buzzwords

In many instances, such as the Las Vegas, Thousand Oaks, Virginia Beach and Dayton massacres, the perpetrator is not caught alive, depriving investigators of the prime source of information for the motive.

That was also the case in the carnage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 12, 2016. Omar Mateen, a security guard born in New York to Afghan immigrants, went into the gay bar and killed 49 people and injured 53 in the worst single-shooter incident the U.S. had seen to that point. Police finally gunned him down after a three-hour standoff.

The attack was initially believed to be motivated by homophobia, especially after some patrons said they had seen Mateen before and believed he was a closeted gay man. Later revelations, including statements Mateen made to crisis negotiators, pointed to his opposition to U.S. policy in the Middle East and possible allegiance to ISIS as the main reason.

The lack of clarity bothers Christine Leinonen, mother of Pulse victim Drew Leinonen, who says bluntly, “It wasn’t a gay shooting. It was a jihad.’’

Leinonen has become a gun-control activist and an advocate for the LGBTQ community in the wake of her son’s death. She resents Mateen’s actions being depicted as homophobic, believing the label has been exploited for money-raising purposes.

“It angers me because, until we name something accurately, we cannot even begin to try to solve it,’’ Leinonen said. “Whenever there’s a mass shooting, everybody just gives the buzzwords, ‘Oh, it’s mental health,’ and then no one does anything. But it’s not mental health. It’s easy access to guns.’’

To Leinonen’s point, after the recent bloodbaths in El Paso and Dayton, President Donald Trump proclaimed, “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.’’

Dangerous merchandise: Some employees call on Walmart to stop selling guns in wake of mass shootings

A report released last year by the Small Arms Survey, a research project at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, estimated there were more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the U.S. in 2017, or 46% of the world’s total. That averages out to more than a gun per person in a country with a population of 326 million, a little over 4% of the global total.

Figures released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an all-time high 39,773 people died by gunfire in America in 2017 – a rate of 12.2 per 100,000 that’s the highest in two decades. By comparison, Canada had a rate of 2.1 per 100,000; European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany were below 1.

Suicides were the main driver of the increase in the U.S., accounting for about 60% of the gun deaths, while homicides made up of 37% of the total. The vast majority of those deaths did not take place through mass shootings, which tend to garner the most media attention and often elicit calls for stronger mental-health programs.

The ‘mental health’ label

Heather Littleton, professor of psychology at East Carolina University, is among the many experts who say mass shootings and mental illness are separate issues. Littleton said people with mental health problems have not shown more propensity than anybody else to go on a deadly rampage, and in fact are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators because they’re more vulnerable.

“Most people with mental illness aren’t violent,’’ Littleton said. “The label itself isn’t helpful, because that’s such a broad category, and I think it’s often harmful in that it contributes to stigmatizing.’’

Littleton was involved in a study of 300 women who were students at Virginia Tech during its 2007 shooting, which resulted in 32 deaths. None of the study’s participants was directly impacted, but a year later nearly 25% were still showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The more overwhelming and unfathomable the violence, the harder it is for people to manage,’’ Littleton said, noting that the shooting had a negative effect on how participants felt about themselves and the world.

Seeking a sense of closure

Experts say that for some people affected by gun violence, learning the motive provides a sense of closure, though not for all, especially since many find it hard to relate to what the attacker may feel.

USA on edge: Mass-shooting false alarms has a ‘hidden cost’ for police, community

Jay Lee, a family physician in Long Beach, California, who has counseled relatives of people killed in shootings and stabbings, said anxiety and depression are common traits among people who have lost loved ones to violence.

Birthdays, holidays and the anniversary of the fateful date are especially difficult to handle, he said, although everyone copes differently and some find comfort in their faith or value system.

“(Learning) the motive can be one piece of the healing,’’ said Lee, one the physicians who have called out gun violence as a public health issue. “I think more than anything people want to continue to remember the loved ones they’ve lost and would like to see something done about violence in general.’’

Part of Nixon’s mission is making sure the memory of his wife – an engineer and compliance manager who was his rock during their 20 years of marriage – remains vivid.

Nixon said Kate shared with him complaints about the quality of Craddock’s work and his brusque manner. So Nixon was appalled when city officials characterized Craddock’s job performance as “satisfactory,’’ and he believes the massacre could have been prevented if the human resources department had intervened.

After initially resisting public calls by Nixon and others for an independent investigation, the city relented and that probe is now being conducted.

Asked what would bring him closure, Nixon said: “The truth would bring closure to me. So I can go to bed at night knowing I did everything I could do to get the truth out. So I know my wife didn’t die in vain, and her friends and co-workers didn’t die in vain.’’

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/16/mass-shooting-motives-what-if-we-never-learn-why/2000720001/

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hickenlooper Exits as O’Rourke Presses On: This Week in the 2020 Race

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159298620_01f7ab26-088f-409f-b17d-f8d5eb9c4b51-articleLarge Hickenlooper Exits as O’Rourke Presses On: This Week in the 2020 Race Presidential Election of 2020 O'Rourke, Beto Iowa Hickenlooper, John W gun control Abrams, Stacey Y

CreditIvan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

After 22 people were shot to death at an El Paso Walmart this month, former Representative Beto O’Rourke quickly returned to his hometown to grieve with and support his friends and neighbors.

Soon, a fiercer presidential candidate emerged. Mr. O’Rourke called President Trump a white supremacist and angrily urged journalists to “connect the dots” between the El Paso killings and Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant language.

And while some Democrats expressed support for his White House bid, others took note of his campaign’s struggles and pressed Mr. O’Rourke to focus on Texas and run against Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 election.

But in an interview with The Times’s Katie Glueck, Mr. O’Rourke said he was even more determined to pursue the Democratic nomination and oppose Mr. Trump.

On Thursday, his campaign announced a reset.

Mr. O’Rourke told my colleague Alex Burns that he would abandon the relatively traditional approach he had taken and instead plan his political activities around taking on Mr. Trump in direct and personal terms.

“I just have to be as clear and as strong as possible in calling this out and taking the fight to Donald Trump,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

CreditAudra Melton for The New York Times

Ms. Abrams said she would focus her next year on identifying and stemming voter suppression efforts throughout the country. But she has remained close to the presidential race, meeting privately with several candidates.

“I’ve been thinking about this for the last few weeks,” she said, “and I’ve just come to the decision that my best value add, the strongest contribution I can give to this primary, would be to make sure our nominee is coming into an environment where there’s strong voter protections in place.”

Westlake Legal Group 2020-presidential-candidates-promo-1548014688187-articleLarge-v32 Hickenlooper Exits as O’Rourke Presses On: This Week in the 2020 Race Presidential Election of 2020 O'Rourke, Beto Iowa Hickenlooper, John W gun control Abrams, Stacey Y

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

Who’s in, who’s out and who’s still thinking.

Our reporters seemed to be in every corner of Iowa last weekend — at the state fair, at a gun violence forum and elsewhere — keeping tabs on the 20 Democrats who had come to do some retail politicking in the key early voting state.

Here’s a roundup of some of what they reported:

  • At a forum in Des Moines, the candidates voiced support for a common set of gun control proposals, like requiring universal background checks and banning military-style semiautomatic rifles.

  • At the state fair, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont “examined the butter cow” and “gobbled a corn dog” but, as my colleague Sydney Ember put it, “spoke to almost no one” as he walked around. (Like others, he did draw a large crowd for his political speech.) Mr. Sanders’s approach underscored how he has grounded his campaign in championing ideas rather than establishing human connections.

  • In our politics newsletter, Lisa Lerer provided some takeaways from her four days at the fair. Among them: The race has firmly separated into tiers, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is having a moment.

  • So who “won” the Iowa State Fair? We rated the candidates by corn dogs. If that seems confusing, just trust me: This is the best thing you’ll read today.

A Democratic candidate heartily endorsed new taxes on the wealthiest Americans this week. And no, it was not Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders.

The former housing secretary Julián Castro rolled out his expansive “People First Economic Plan for Working Families” on Thursday, a suite of new proposals aimed at providing relief to working families. A pair of new wealth taxes would help fund the commitments and are central to the plan.

The first, an “inherited wealth tax,” would replace the estate and gift taxes with a federal tax on inherited incomes of more than $2 million. Mr. Castro’s team said such a tax would raise more than $250 billion over 10 years.

The second tax, a “wealth inequality tax,” would apply to the top tenth of the top 1 percent of earners. Under the tax, capital income would be treated the same as labor income.

Mr. Castro also promised to repeal the tax cuts passed under the Trump administration, to more than double the child tax credit to $3,000 and to increase the earned-income tax credit.

Among the other Democrats calling for new taxes on the richest Americans, Ms. Warren has proposed a wealth tax that would target the 75,000 wealthiest families in the United States and levy an additional surtax on billionaires. Mr. Sanders has introduced legislation that would increase the number of wealthy Americans subject to the estate tax.

  • Ms. Warren released her plan on curbing gun violence. She said she would use the president’s executive powers to require background checks and close loopholes. She also promised to send Congress legislation that would create a federal gun licensing system, ban assault weapons and increase taxes on gun manufacturers, among other measures.

  • Ms. Warren also put forth a policy agenda aimed at supporting Native American communities, ahead of a scheduled appearance on Monday at a presidential forum on Native American issues. As we noted in our article on the proposals, her campaign has been dogged by the controversy over her claims of Native American ancestry.

  • Senator Kamala Harris of California said that if elected, she would take executive action to require major online gun sales platforms to perform background checks. She also pledged to create a “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Order,” which would allow law enforcement officials to petition a federal court to temporarily seize the gun of a suspected terrorist.

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. released a plan for rural America in which he promised to fund “innovation clusters,” apprenticeship programs and a public-private partnership that would help train manufacturing entrepreneurs. The plan also calls for an “internet for all” initiative, higher salaries for teachers at rural schools and a “rural opportunity center” that would streamline the grant process in rural communities.

  • The entrepreneur Andrew Yang unveiled a plan aimed at “restoring democracy.” He said he would eliminate super PACs and provide every American voter with $100 in “Democracy Dollars” that could be used to support any candidate. He also argued for ranked-choice voting, an end to partisan gerrymandering, term limits and other measures.

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Kamala Harris, in a Pivot, Makes Her Play for Iowa

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