Things That Matter

The Parents Of The Student Who Died In The Colorado Shooting Are Not Surprised He Would Sacrifice Himself For His Classmates

Kendrick Castillo sacrificed his life for his classmates.

Castillo’s parents were on CNN this week and spoke about how they raised their son to be the kind of person to help people. They are devastated that they will never see their son again but are not surprised that he would sacrifice his life to save his classmates.

Five months into the year and our country have endured 18,255 incidences of gun violence, 115 mass shootings, and 4,804 deaths — and each one of them matters. The latest shooting to make national headlines happened yesterday at STEM School Highlands Ranch just outside of Denver. Eight people were injured in the shooting and one died. His name is Kendrick Castillo and people are saying that he died a hero.

Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old student, was shot and killed yesterday at his school. Eight others were injured.

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The school shooting occurred at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Denver, Colorado — just a few miles from Columbine High School. According to media reports, there were two shooters and they are suspected to be students as well.

“Two individuals walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said, according to NBC News.

Castillo died trying to stop the shooter and save the lives of his classmates.

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His father, John Castillo, confirmed to NBC News that his son died in the shooting. Castillo and another student charged at one the shooters which blocked the shooter from aiming at other students.

“He was the best kid in the world,” John said to The Denver Post this morning. “It doesn’t surprise me. He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment.”

John added, “I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

“The next thing I know is [the shooter] is pulling a gun and he’s telling nobody to move, and that’s when Kendrick lunged at him,” classmate Nui Giasolli said on the “Today” show. “And he shot Kendrick, giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.”

People on social media are remembering how incredibly caring Castillo was and also bringing attention to ending gun violence.

Castillo was supposed to graduate later this week. He was an intern at Bacara USA, a manufacturing company. According to Rachel Short, the CEO of the company, Castillo was so impressive in his internship that he was offered a part-time job.

“To find he went down as a hero, I’m not surprised,” Short told USA Today. “That’s exactly who Kendrick was.”

There has been an outpouring of support and grief over the news of Castillo’s tragic death.

Credit: @AMarch4OurLives / Twitter

“I don’t want to give the shooters the satisfaction of being afraid of someplace that was my second home for four years,” Giasolli told NBC News. “I want to show them that even though they did this terrible, terrible thing, that we can all come together and we can all make it a happy place again because that’s what really matters.”

Castillo was part of the robotics team during the four years of high school.

People across the country are grieving the senseless violence asking why this has to be the norm.

Credit: @kwell / Twitter

There is a public health crisis in the U.S. tied to the proliferation of guns. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the only option is “a comprehensive public health response and solution.”

“With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D, said in a statement about the gun crisis. “Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms.”

Mainly, people are sick and tired of children having to sacrifice their own lives to save their peers.

Credit: @kristaanne0 / Twitter

The two suspects (a male and female) have been apprehended by authorities. The male is 18-year-old Devon Erickson and the female is an unnamed juvenile.

READ: From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

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Two years ago in 2018, American activist Emma Gonzales marked the headline of every news organization. As a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, Gonzalez garnered national attention on February 17, 2018, after giving an 11-minute speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the days, weeks, months, and years since delivering her speech, Gonzalez has made waves with her activism.

Now, the activist who is now in college is the star of a documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder called Us Kids.

Us Kids, which received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this past January is available to be screened on the Alamo Drafthouse virtual screening platform.

Us Kids is available to be screen on Alamo on Demand on October 30.

The film follows the stories of the students behind Never Again MSD. The student-led organization is a group advocating for regulations that work to prevent gun violence and includes Latino activists like Emma González and Samantha Fuentes. Both teens are survivors of the shooting that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florid where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.

In a review about the film, Variety writes that it “primarily celebrates that resilient, focused energy from teenagers who proved perhaps surprisingly articulate as well as passionate in thrusting themselves into a politicized spotlight. It’s more interested in their personalities and personal experiences than in the specific political issues wrestled with. Like ‘Newtown,’ this sometimes results in a repetitious directorial expression of empathy, particularly in the realm of inspirational montages set to pop music. Still, the subjects are duly admirable for their poise and intelligence as Snyder’s camera follows them over 18 months, in which they go from being “normal-ass kids doing normal-ass things” to a high-profile movement’s leading spokespeople.”

The trailer for the documentary was released on Oct. 22 and introduces the survivors of the shooting.

Fuentes, who was an 18-year-old senior at the time of the shooting, speaks about her experience recalling that “I was thinking about how we were going to get out if he was going to come back, was I going to die.”

“As compelling as Hogg and González are (and as touching as their friendship is — they’re each other’s biggest boosters), it might’ve been nice if ‘Us Kids’ had itself strayed farther from the mainstream media narrative in emphasizing less-familiar faces. Considerable screen time is dedicated to Samantha Fuentes, who was hit by bullets but lived while close friend Nick Dworet died next to her,” Variety explains. “She provides a relatable perspective in being occasionally less-than-composed in the public glare (we see her upchuck at the podium a couple times). Still, there are peers frequently glimpsed in the background who never seem to get a word in, while Snyder keeps the established, semi-reluctant ‘stars’ front and center.”

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Federal Judge Esther Salas Reveals Heartbreaking Letter She Wrote Her Son Days Before He Was Murdered By ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer — ‘I pray people open their hearts and minds’

Things That Matter

Federal Judge Esther Salas Reveals Heartbreaking Letter She Wrote Her Son Days Before He Was Murdered By ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer — ‘I pray people open their hearts and minds’

Eyewitness News ABC7NY / YouTube

Updated Oct. 6.

This past July, Federal Judge Esther Salas’s 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, was brutally killed by a disgruntled lawyer disguised as a FedEx driver. The murder occurred on the weekend of Daniel’s birthday weekend and gained nationwide attention.

On Tuesday, the district judge shared an emotional letter written to her late son.

While appearing on “Good Morning America,” Salas detailed the tragic death of her son, Daniel Anderl, and revealed that just days before his murder she wrote a letter which she had planned to one day give to him.

“I wanted him, when I was no longer on this earth, to read how I felt at critical moments in his life,” Salas explained. Sharing the contents of the letter which were written in a diary entry dated on July 13, Daniel’s 20th birthday and six days before his death, Salas read:

“Dear Daniel, Happy 20th birthday!!! I apologize for not writing in your journal since February, but truth be told, I haven’t had the heart to write an entry,” Salas shared before revealing that the coronavirus pandemic had kept her busy and from writing.

“The virus’s impact on this world has been devastating, and with each passing day I keep thinking things are going to get better but they don’t,” she wrote. “There is so much hatred in this world, we are more divided than ever before, and I have lost hope for humanity. As I write this entry, I am mindful that as your mother I should stress the positives and tease out the teachable moments. I should write an inspirational message that you can look to in the future for insight and guidance. I should be able to conjure up words of wisdom after deep reflection but I can’t. Instead, I will focus on the things that I pray will happen post this awful pandemic.”

“I pray that as human beings we will stop focusing on the things that divide us, and start cultivating those things that should unite us like God, protecting our planet, and loving one another,” Salas continued. “We should join forces in eradicating this virus, learning from our mistakes and sharing valuable resources to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

“I pray that people will open their hearts and minds to others with differing opinions,” she went onto explain. “In order for us to better understand each other, we have to be willing to listen and respect others who see things differently. I pray that society truly embraces core principles like compassion, patience, tolerance, and kindness.”

“Finally, I pray to God that we stop fighting,” Salas concluded. “Everyday we spend fighting is another day lost for humanity. We need to start loving each other for who we are and remember that we are blessed to be alive.”

In August, Judge Esther Salas made a call for better protection and the privacy of federal judges.

In a video posted to Youtube, Judge Salas explained the events that unfolded the day her son was mudered. The emotion grows as she talks about her son finally turning 20 and his excitement to be with his parents. She recalls her son saying that he just wanted to stay and talk to her where the doorbell rings.

Judge Salas remembers her son running up the stairs to answer the door, curious about who it could be. When the door opened, Judge Salas heard gunshots and someone screaming “no.” When she got to her family, she learned that someone dressed as a FedEx delivery person came to the door and opened fire. The son jumped in front of his dad to protect him and died from a bullet wound to the chest.

As a result of the killing, Judge Salas is asking for politicians to do something to protect federal judges. As it stands, the address and other personal information on federal judges are readily available online. Judge Salas wants a way for that information to be hidden from the public.

“At the moment there is nothing we can do to stop it, and that is unacceptable,” Judge Salas said in the video. “My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench.”

She added: “My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure. And I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain. We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down.”

Judge Salas’ video is a hard video to watch as her raw emotion breaks through.

It is devastating to have to bury a child. It is something no parent should have to do. For Judge Salas, she is burying a child that was taken from her in a senseless act of violence perpetrated by a self-proclaimed anti-feminist attorney.

People on social media are standing with the judge in asking for better data protection to save lives.

Data issues have long plagued the Internet and activists want to change that. For many, the issue is protecting data from falling into the wrong hands or for companies, like Facebook, to profit off of our data. For Judge Salas, it is a matter of life or death to protect her colleagues on the bench and their families.

READ: The Government Accountability Office States That ICE And The FBI Are Using DMV Data To Track Undocumented Immigrants

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