Things That Matter

People Got To Confront Marco Rubio About Gun Laws At A Town Hall In Florida

Floridians got a chance to speak with elected officials last night at a CNN hosted town hall about the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Jake Tapper moderated the town hall and audience members were able to ask questions directly to Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Bill Nelson, and National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch. Emotions ran high as survivors of the shooting and parents of teenagers killed in the attack put pressure on Sen. Rubio and Loesch about their desire for gun law reform. Here’s some of what went down.

Shooting survivor Cameron Kasky wanted to know if Sen. Marco Rubio would stop accepting NRA money.

Kasky asked: “So Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?”

“Number one, the positions I hold on these issues of the second amendment I’ve held since the day entered office in the city of West Miami as an elected official,” Sen. Rubio told Kasky. “Number two, no. The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. And I do support the Second Amendment. And I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe.And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer. And that’s why I support the things that I have stood for and fought for during my time here.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, confronted the senator about his stance on gun control.

“Senator Rubio, I just listened to your opening and thank you. I want to like you. Here’s the problem. And, I’m a brutally honest person, so I’m just going to say it up front,” Guttenberg told Sen. Rubio at the town hall. “When I like you, you know it and when I’m pissed at you, you know it. Your comments this week, and those of our president, have been pathetically weak. So, you and I are now eye to eye. Because I want to like you. Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week. And, look at me and tell me you accept it, and you will work with us to do something about guns.”

“I’m saying that the problems that we’re facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” Sen. Rubio told Guttenberg. “And I’m going to tell you what we’ve done already and what I hope we’ll do moving forward.”

Guttenberg pressed for him to acknowledge the use of guns to “hunt” the teenagers at the school and Sen. Rubio did. However, when asked about whether or not he would support legislation to limit access to such guns, Sen. Rubio aired on the side of not restricting access to all assault weapons.

“So let me be honest with you about that one. If I believe that that law would have prevented this from happening I would support it. But I want to explain to you why it would not,” Sen. Rubio told Guttenberg. He added: “I do believe what you’re saying is true. I believe that someone like this individual and anyone like him shouldn’t have any gun. Not this gun, any gun. But I want to explain to you for a moment the problem with the law that they call the Assault Weapon’s Ban. And if you’ll indulge me for a minute to explain to you the problem. First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and it’s definition, it basically bans 200 models of gun, about 220 specific models of gun.”

The crowd interrupted with applause as Guttenberg vocalized his desire to see those exact changes happen. Guttenberg asked Sen. Rubio if he was planning to support a law that would get the first 200 guns banned then work up to the full list of assault weapons. Sen. Rubio then pointed to similar gun laws in New York and California claiming they have done nothing to stop the sale and use of these weapons and spoke about how people have found their ways around the laws.

Emma Gonzalez, the young woman who has sparked the movement, was on the stage and asked NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch her own questions.

“The shooter at our school obtained weapons that he used on us legally,” Gonzalez started. “Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic like bump stocks?”

Loesch answered Gonzalez’ question by discussing the mental state of the shooter and her position that people with that mentality should not have access to guns. Yet, Gonzalez was not satisfied with the answer she was giving.

“I think I’m gonna interrupt you real quick and remind you that the question is actually,” Gonzales interjected. “Do you believe it should be harder to obtain these semi-automatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic, such as bump stocks?”

“I’m talking for them [the NRA]. These are the 5 million members that I’m here representing,” Loesch said. “That is what that group’s position has been on that. So, that answers your question, and they spoke about that before the president made a move and they spoke about that before Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement about that, too.”

Twitter continued the conversation on social media using #StudentsStandUp.

The students of the Parkland shooting have started a movement to call on politicians to create better gun laws that protect civilians called Never Again.

People are praising the efforts of the teenagers to exact change since the deadly shooting.

People were also giving Sen. Rubio credit for getting out there and facing the children and parents impacted by the shooting.

And many people who watched the town hall felt hopeful about the future.


READ: This Teenager Was Shot 5 Times During The Florida School Shooting While Protecting A Room Full Of People

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The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Things That Matter

The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Colombia has made incredible progress since the 1990’s when the country was a hotbed for international drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare. Today, modern bustling cities are home to shopping centers, museums, and hordes of international visitors.

However, despite the advancements, the country is still in a delicate peace deal with the main guerrilla oppossition – Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – and there are many other paramilitary groups that still operate across the country, including in the main port city of Buenavista.

The city of Buenavista is seeing an uptick in body parts washing up along its shores.

In mid-January, an arm washed up on the city’s shore. It was quickly assumed, by local media reports, that the arm belonged to one of three local fisherman who had most likely been rounded up, killed, and dismembered. The arm had a tattoo on it, connecting it to one of the missing men, Armando Valencia.

And it wasn’t the first time this has happened. According to residents, body parts washing up on beaches is a tragically familiar occurrence. “There were some reports of body parts washing up at La Bocana [a nearby tourist spot]. A head, a leg, an arm,” said María Miyela Riascos, a social leader from Buenaventura, in a statement to VICE News. “Also, they found a man and a woman dismembered in the rural area of Bajo Calima.”

Violence has been rampant in Buenaventura for decades. The city has some of the highest rates of forced displacement and homicide in the country. But seldom has it been confronted by the levels of brutality experienced in the past year.

Criminal groups have long terrorized the city but things seem to be out of control.

So many different criminal groups have terrorized the slums of Colombia’s main Pacific port that residents rarely bother to learn the name of the latest clan in control. They simply call the warring gangs los malos or the bad guys.

Three people have been killed or disappeared daily, and conflict between organized crime has displaced as many as 6,000 people. Videos on Twitter show people fleeing their homes and young men and women patrolling with assault weapons. #SOSbuenaventura has been trending.

Community leaders see darker interests behind the violence, saying the areas where most crimes occur are the same where plans have been laid for a waterfront project, an airport and seaport terminals. “I see the violence as a means of pressure to get us off this area so they can build their projects,” Armando Valencia told The Guardian.

Criminals use “chop houses” to dismember their victims.

Colombian navy special forces on patrol among stilted waterfront shacks in Buenaventura
Credit: Fernando Vergara / Getty Images

The criminals recruit children, extort businesses, force people from their homes and dismember live victims, scattering their remains in the bay or surrounding jungle. Dozens of wooden huts balanced precariously on stilts over the bay have been abandoned by terrorized citizens and taken over by the gangs for use as casas de pique, or chop houses, where they torture and murder their victims.

The chop houses are the most gruesome consequence of a deeply flawed attempt to dismantle rightwing militias, which originally emerged to combat leftwing guerrillas in collusion with state security forces and drug traffickers.

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Thirteen Years After Her Daughter’s Murder, Casey Anthony Is Producing A Documentary To ‘Clear Her Name’

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Thirteen Years After Her Daughter’s Murder, Casey Anthony Is Producing A Documentary To ‘Clear Her Name’

Updated Feb. 8, 2021.

In 2008, the death of Caylee Anthony gripped headlines across the United States after her mother Casey Anthony was charged with first-degree murder. The case attracted a significant amount of news attention and quickly became a media circus. Forty million people watched testimony in the case which became the main topic of talk shows across the country.

Now, thirteen years after her daughter’s death, Casey Anthony is back to making headlines. After enduring so much legal trouble, Anthony is thrusting herself back into the legal field again, this time for business.

Casey Anthony is raising eyebrows once again after filing paperwork to open a private investigation company in South Florida.

Anthony filed documents listing herself as a registered agent of Case Research & Consulting Services, LLC last December. Her business, according to People, was registered to a home in West Palm Beach owned by Patrick McKenna. During the time of her trial, McKenna worked as Anthony’s lead investigator.

According to state records, Anthony does not have a Florida private investigator’s license. As a convicted felon she will not be able to obtain a license.

Casey Anthony is also now pushing to become a movie producer.

 According to TMZ Anthony and co-producers, Tamra Simmons and Ebony Porter-Ike are setting out to produce a movie about her daughter’s murder in an effort to clear her name.

TMZ says that the producers behind the documentary say Anthony is “finally ready to clear her name, bring justice to her daughter, and begin the process of establishing her daughter’s legacy in a different light.”

“She knows what it’s like to be accused of something that she didn’t do,” a source told People. “She wants to help other wrongfully accused people, especially women, and help them get justice.” The source noted that Anthony has yet to obtain clients. “It’s in the very early stages,” explained the source. “She has big plans for her future, and hopes that it will change how people see her.”

In 2008, Anthony was charged with first-degree murder for the disappearance of her daughter Caylee.

Anthony’s case became notorious after it came out that she had not reported her daughter missing until 31 days after she disappeared. A massive search went underway for the toddler who was almost three. The search ended when her body was found in a wooded lot near Anthony’s family home.

On July 5, 2011, a jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child. They did, however, find her guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

After she was acquitted, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger described Casey as “the court made a pretty strong statement that she was one of the most hated women in America.”

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