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.

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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

March For Our Lives Just Announced A Bold New Proposal For Gun Control Legislation And It Has Our Future All Over It

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March For Our Lives Just Announced A Bold New Proposal For Gun Control Legislation And It Has Our Future All Over It

We don’t need to see another mass shooting dominate the news cycle to know that America needs gun reform now. But despite a series of mass shootings in the United States in recent years — and two in the past couple of weeks — elected officials and the administration still aren’t in any rush to reform our gun laws and policies in America. 

Instead, students who have survived mass shootings in their lifetime are the ones taking charge and fighting for gun control in our country. 

On Wednesday, August 21, the students who survived a mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have unveiled an ambitious gun-control proposal called “A Peace Plan for a Safer America.”

Yesterday after announcing their gun-control proposal, March For Our Lives — a platform and organization focused on voter registration and outreach across the U.S. — tweeted that “gun violence is intersectional. It feeds off of poverty, injustice, and despair. So that means that our plans — to be truly comprehensive — need to be intersectional too.” 

Their gun-control proposal was exclusively obtained by The Washington Post and the publication reports that the plan goes beyond the current discussion surrounding background checks for those who want to buy or own a gun and “red flag” laws, which applies to people who could be a danger to themselves and others if in ownership of a gun. 

According to the Washington Post, Parkland’s gun-proposal plan aims to create a “national licensing and gun registry, long a nonstarter with gun rights advocates; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement a mandatory gun buyback program; and install a ‘national director of gun violence protection’ who would report directly to the president and coordinate the federal response to what advocates call a national public health emergency.” 

The Parkland students and survivors also unveiled this gun control plan ahead of the 2020 presidential race accordingly. 

They’re looking to shape the presidential race and influence the candidates (including Donald Trump) to consider their proposed gun laws and enforcement.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate running for president in 2020 from El Paso, Texas has been open about gun-control and reform in American even more so after the El Paso and Dayton Ohio mass shootings that occurred earlier this month. Further, he made gun control a focus of his campaign now that he’s back on the campaign trail. 

He has also already spoken out in support of the Peace Plan. In a tweet, he encouraged people to follow the lead of the Parkland students marching for their lives and for the lives of everybody else in order to “end this epidemic.” He concluded his tweet of support by calling on everyone in the presidential race — and the country — to do the same and support their plan. 

Further, the “Peace Plan for a Safer America” will work to dramatically increase restrictions around owning guns — for example, the plan proposes that we raise the age from 21 to 18 for those who want to buy and own guns. It also wants to implement a “multi-step” gun licensing system to be overseen by a federal agency. This gun licensing system would include in-person interviews and a 10-day wait before an individual of age 21 or older are allowed to make a gun purchase. According to The Washington Post, the license would be renewed annually. 

The plan is being referred to as the “Green New Deal”  of guns, taking a “holistic approach” to gun violence in America. The plan is also proposing community-based solutions to gun violence including mental health services. 

Here’s a breakdown of what “A Peace Plan for a Safer America” entails:

1. Change the standards of gun ownership:

By changing the standards of gun ownership, the Peace Plan aims to advocate and pass legislation to raise the national standard for gun ownership. This is where the national licensing and registry will come into play. It also includes their proposed national gun buy-back program to reduce the millions of firearms that are in circulation by at least 30%. 

2. Halve the rate of gun deaths in 10 years: 

The Peace Plan has set an ambitious goal to reduce gun injuries and deaths by 50% in 10 years. This would amount to saving the lives of up to 200,000 Americans.  

3. Accountability for the gun lobby and industry:

In its third step, the Peace Plan will hold the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of “illegal behavior” and dangerous policies that have not worked to protect the American people. 

4. Name a director of gun violence prevention:

The Peace Plan proposes the appointment of a National Director of Gun Violence who will report directly to the President. The National Director of Gun Violence would oversee a down payment of $250 million in annual funding for research by the CDC and other federal agencies on gun violence prevention. 

5. Generate community-based solutions:

The plan would also fully fund targeted community-based solutions addressing the intersectional dimensions of gun violence. These interventions would include urban violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, and other mental health services. 

6. Empower the next generation.

Lastly, the Peace Plan aims to mobilize young registered voters. The plan would automatically register eligible voters and mail voter registration to all Americans when they turn 18. 

In a statement to CBS News, co-founder of March For Our Lives and Parkland shooting survivor, David Hogg told the publication that “for too long we have looked to elected officials to solve America’s gun violence crisis and time and time again, they have fallen to the pressure of NRA donations and the status quo.” 

Enough is enough, he continued, elected officials have failed to do their job and protect the lives of Americans across the country and it has led to deadly consequences. 

“It is clear that the time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone,” Hogg added. “It is now time for real change and real action.” 

A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

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A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

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Politics have become increasingly divisive since the election of President Trump. People are angered by what they see and hear on TV and the anger, some say fueled by the president, is leading to violence targeting minority groups. The latest low point in American politics comes from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval and shocking photos from a recent fundraiser depicting a simulated assassination.

Photos from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval is the middle of a firestorm following a recent fundraiser.

Credit: @MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

The fundraiser, hosted over the weekend, included a moment when someone staged a simulated assassination of President Trump using a fake assault weapon. The fake president was wearing a mariachi outfit and was acting as if he had been shot in the chest.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Sen. Sandoval said, according to WCIA. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

The photos, just weeks after shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, are sparking outrage from both sides of the political spectrum.

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“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”

“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” said Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, according to the New York Post. “Dangerous imagery like this will be condemned and seen as inappropriate by people of sound mind; however, a mentally unstable individual who wants to harm President Trump might find them as an inspiration. It’s inexcusable for an elected official to allow the promotion of violence in any way. If the individual pictured is a staffer or volunteer, they should be terminated immediately.”

People took to Twitter to share their own disapproval of the senator’s actions.

Credit: @thebwethington / Twitter

The images are stirring controversy because of their distasteful nature. It has caused a storm on Twitter with Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway weighing in tweeting that “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”

People are getting tired of the hateful and dangerous rhetoric from the president and don’t want to see other elected officials following his lead.

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Trump’s rhetoric has been tied to an increase in hate crimes against minorities. Most recently, the same rhetoric used by the White House was included in the manifesto by the El Paso shooter. The shooter went to El Paso with the mission to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Some are calling out the senator but also the hypocrisy with the right-wing and their treatment of President Obama.

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The years after President Obama was first elected were filled with Conservative and Republican voters and politicians spewing racist and hateful words. The most racist moment was the birther movement questioning Obama’s citizenship, which was led by Trump.

Some think people on the right have forgotten how the right hanged and burned effigies of President Obama.

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No one is condoning the actions of Sen. Sandoval. However, this behavior is like a page out of the Tea Party and the Republican Party playbook. Obama’s election showed the ugly underbelly of the American political system and it seems to be continuing under President Trump.

A couple of Twitter users are asking for their politicians to do better and be better.

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There’s a common saying that says, “Never wrestle with a pig in mud. You’ll both get dirty but the pig will love it.”

READ: After The El Paso Shooting, Julián Castro Releases Ad Tying Trump’s Rhetoric To The Deadly Massacre Targeting Latinos

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