AN EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE: Shooter dead, two injured after gunman opens fire at Maryland high school

GREAT MILLS, MD — Two students are confirmed injured after a shooter reportedly opened fire inside a Maryland high school Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at at Great Mills High School, located 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. just before 8:00 am EST.

According to eyewitnesses, the suspect, who has not yet been identified, walked into the 1,600-student school and fired a round at a 16-year-old female student. A 14-year-old male was also shot before a school resource officer neutralized the suspect by returning fire. The shooter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital. The female is listed in critical condition. The male is reported to be in stable condition. Neither victim has yet been identified.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference late Tuesday morning. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”

“This is your worst nightmare,” Cameron added.

Students who witnessed the event said they never thought something like this could happen in their tight-knit community.

“I heard one shot and when we ran, we saw a teacher and he was looking at us with a confused look,” Terrence Rhames, a senior at Great Mills, told NBC News. “We were trying to figure out if this is real.”

“It was just shocking. You hear about shootings — you never think would happen to you,” Rhames added.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that his office was “closely monitoring” the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation at Great Mills High School. @MDSP is in touch with local law enforcement and ready to provide support. Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders,” Hogan tweeted.

According to a report posted to The Bay Net, Jake Heibel, the principal of the school, told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting but found they were “not substantiated.”

Also last month, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department announced it had arrested a 39-year-old man and two teenage boys for “threats of mass violence” after the teens made threats about carrying out a school shooting at Leonardtown High School, a high school located about 10 miles from Great Mills. Police officials said a search warrant resulted in the discovery of semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition found in the suspects’ possession.

The incident comes just one month after a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead.

The Parkland shooting resulted in The White House’s proposal of funding firearms training for school personnel in an effort to protect America’s students.

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THE PLOT THICKENS: FBI now admits to 2 prior reports on alleged Parkland shooter

PARKLAND, FL — In a closed-door briefing Tuesday with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committee, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich admitted that investigators had received two prior warnings regarding alleged Parkland high school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz, who officials say killed 17 people and wounded dozens more during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, reportedly posted multiple threats to commit a school shooting online.

In a summary released Wednesday, Bowdich cited two separate tips the FBI received, notifying them of Cruz’s comments, one in September 2017 and another in January 2018. Both tips, Bowdich admitted, were mishandled, including one in which a FBI call taker “did not ask any standard investigative probing questions.”

The first tipster to notify the FBI, Ben Bennight, says he saw a comment posted to his YouTube channel “BenTheBondsman” from a poster identifying himself as “nikolas cruz” which read:”I’m going to be a professional school shooter”. Bennight, a , a bail bondsman at AFAB Bail Bonds in D’Iberville, Mississippi, took a screenshot of the comment and emailed it to the FBI on Sept. 24, 2017.

Special Agent Rob Lasky, special agent in charge of Miami Division, confirmed Bennight’s report, but says investigators at the time were unable to track Cruz’s identity.

“In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel,” Lasky said in a statement on February 15. “No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment. The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.”

On Jan. 5, 2018, a second tip, this time anonymous, called the FBI’s Public Access Line, located in Clarksburg, W.Va., to warn officials about Cruz. According to the FBI, the caller cited concerns about “Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

According to Bowdich, officials failed to follow up on the call using proper protocol.

“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” said Bowdich. “The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”

The FBI is reviewing its handling of the case and has been directed to report its findings to Congress for follow up.

Florida Town Of Parkland In Mourning, After Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Kills 17

 

 

 

 

 

STANDING WITH THE NRA: Georgia pulls tax breaks from Delta after airline cuts ties with pro- Second Amendment group

 

ATLANTA, GA — Georgia lawmakers on Thursday announced plans to repeal tax breaks given to Delta Airlines after the travel giant cut their ties with the NRA.

By a 135-24 vote, the State Senate approved a bill to revoke renewal of a jet fuel tax exemption worth $50 million to the airline.

“Businesses have every legal right to make their own decisions, but the Republican majority in our state legislature also has every right to govern guided by our principles,” Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle, who had publicly threatened to pull the airline tax break earlier this week  if the airline went forward with their plans to sever ties to the gun rights group, said in a statement.

Further, Cagle warned that he would block any legislation that could prove financially profitable for the airline in the future.

“I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the @NRA,” Cagle, leader of the Georgia State Senate, tweeted on Monday . “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.”

Last week Delta Airlines announced its intention to cut ties with the gun rights group in
the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 victims dead. The airline said that as part of its severing of ties with the NRA it would no longer offer “discounted rates” for NRA members through their group travel program.

“Delta’s decision reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings,” a statement posted to Delta’s website read. “Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”

“Delta supports all of its customers but will not support organizations on any side of any highly charged political issue that divides our nation,” the company added, tweeting Delta would be “requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website”.

 

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BATTLE FOR THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Trump faces backlash over ‘due process’ fiasco

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Thursday faced fierce backlash from his own constituents over comments he made Wednesday on gun control.

Speaking at a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to discuss school safety, President Trump said he was in favor of gun confiscation without due process if it meant making America’s children safer.

“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump told those in attendance. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The president’s comments quickly went viral on social media, outraging those who took the statement as a direct attack on the Second Amendment.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.,said Trump’s suggestion “took his breath away”.

“I have to admit that the idea of taking a person’s property before the due process — that did take my breath away a little bit,” Toomey told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (https://tinyurl.com/y957huqp).

“Doesn’t work that way in America,” Toomey added.

The NRA also came out swinging against the president’s comments.

“While [Wednesday’s] meeting made for great TV, the gun control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told The Hill (https://tinyurl.com/yam4b98n). “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.”

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska also spoke out against Trump’s call to override the constitutional right to due process, stating he felt the president was being manipulated by leftist agendas.

“We’re not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them,” Sasse told CNN (https://tinyurl.com/yazw5xxm).

Even Breitbart News, a media publication which has long supported the Trump agenda, came out guns blazing against Trump on Thursday. “Trump the Gun Grabber: Cedes Dems’ Wish List— Bump Stocks, Buying Age, ‘Assault Weapons,’ Background Checks,” it’s headline read (https://tinyurl.com/ybd9pjcu).

Taking to Twitter, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that if the president’s proposal on due process were to be implemented, it would amount to no due process at all.

“Due process comes first or it isn’t due process. This is true no matter which party is writing the bills or in control of the White House,” Paul wrote (https://tinyurl.com/y9ouw46e).

Just two weeks ago, the president complained that his former top aide, Rob Porter, was unfairly forced to resign his White House position after both of his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence, claims he said at the time amounted to “a mere allegation.”

“Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” Trump tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/yd6l4fp3).

The president’s critics were quick to call out the president over the presumed “hypocrisy”.

“For Trump, due process is a problem when people think Rob Porter is guilty of beating his ex-wives, but not a problem when government seizes guns from citizens,” Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative and Second Amendment advocate, tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/y9ljes7l).

Critics on the left, who have long pushed for stricter gun control laws, said if former president Barack Obama had called for a violation of due process, Republicans would have called for his immediate removal from office.

“It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that some Republican members of Congress would have called for Barack Obama’s impeachment if he had ever called for taking people’s guns away without due process,” The Washington Post’s James Hohmann said on the matter (https://tinyurl.com/y8ozyrbu).

Wednesday’s meeting came in the wake of a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed and more than a dozen more were wounded.
The shooting led to calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and background checks.

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SECOND AMENDMENT SHOWDOWN: Congress returns as debate over gun control rages on

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress returned to work Monday after a ten-day break with advocates on both sides of the gun control debate demanding to be heard.

The Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and President Donald Trump’s subsequent calls on Congress to take action are expected to top the list of issues congressional members will face following their return.

In the wake of the deadly shooting in which 17 people were reportedly killed, the president called for a stricter background-check system for Congress to raise the minimum age for some gun purchases to 21. On Tuesday, the president also directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to draft regulations that would ban “bump stocks,” devices which allow semiautomatic weapons to fire at a faster pace.

“I think we’re going to have a great bill put forward very soon having to do with background checks, having to do with getting rid of certain things and keeping other things, and perhaps we’ll do something on age,” Trump said in a Fox News Channel interview Saturday night. “We are drawing up strong legislation right now having to do with background checks, mental illness. I think you will have tremendous support. It’s time. It’s time.”

The president also called for select, specially trained educators to carry weapons on school grounds.

“Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them,” he tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/y7so7rbf). “Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.”

But anti-gun advocates claim those steps are simply not enough and are demanding that lawmakers ban AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles like those used in the shooting.

“The real test of President Trump and the Republican Congress is not words and empathy, but action,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y said on the matter. “Will President Trump and the Republicans finally buck the NRA and get something done?” Schumer asked. “I hope this time will be different.”

Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Sunday he planned to renew an effort with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to expand background checks for commercial gun sales, but he said he was “skeptical” about proposals to raise the minimum age for civilians to buy guns.

“I’m very skeptical about that because the vast majority of 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds are law-abiding citizens who aren’t a threat to anyone,” Toomey told host NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) agreed with Toomey’s stance on implementing higher age restrictions and praised the president’s call to arm educators.

“Those are false senses of security,” he told “Meet the Press” on raising the age requirement to purchase certain firearms to 21 (https://tinyurl.com/ya2vgfsh). “And in 10 years we’re still going to have school shootings unless you propose real legislation like President Trump has proposed, that would allow teachers to be armed.”

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‘I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU ALL’: DACA ‘Dreamer’ arrested after threatening to shoot up high school

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A 21-year-old illegal alien who was permitted to stay in the U.S. under Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has been charged with making terroristic threats after threating to carry out a mass shooting at a New York school.

Police records show Abigail Hernandez was arrested and charged with making the threats via a post to Facebook which was reported to authorities.

As reported by Rochester First (https://tinyurl.com/ych83bhj) officials from the Rochester City School District called police on February 16 about a threat posted to East High School Facebook page, which read: “I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to shoot all of ya b—-es.”

It took investigators several days to arrest track Hernandez down because she made the threats from a fictitious social media account, RPD Deputy Chief La’Ron Singletary said during a press briefing on the matter.

Hernandez was booked into the Monroe County Jail in lieu of bail, which had been set at $15,000. She has since been moved to a federal detention facility in Batavia pending trial.

Police say when they arrested her at her home on February 20, a shotgun was located inside the residence. It is not yet known in whose name the gun was purchased.

ICE officials have confirmed that Hernandez was an illegal immigrant who was in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, stipulates that certain people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children receive deferred action on deportation for at least two years. The program does not provide the individuals lawful status as U.S. citizens.

Rochester Police praised school officials for taking the threat seriously and reporting it in a timely manner.

“The quick thinking of school staff and the tenacious work of the investigators of the police department following through on this Facebook post lead to the arrest of Abigail Hernandez and the recovery of a shotgun,” a statement from the department reads.

The department went on to confirm that Hernandez will be charged as an adult.

East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms released a statement Friday evening on the threat, stating he’s just grateful that no tragedies befell his school.

“Sadly, in wake of the recent Parkland, Florida tragedy, schools across the country have been grappling with social media threats intended to instill fear and anxiety,” the statement reads. “While we cannot comment on this particular police investigation around a threat made to East, I want to stress how fortunate we are to be part of a community in which the police department works closely with schools to ensure the safety of the entire school community. We remain very grateful to the Rochester Police Department for their partnership and for keeping us well informed throughout the entire process. Their presence on campus last week and their guidance on how to best keep staff and students safe during this efficient, successful police investigation reiterates their ongoing support. As always, the safety of students and staff is our top priority.”

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GUN GRABS BEGIN: States seizing guns from firearm owners they deem ‘dangerous’

SAN DIEGO, CA — Since January, states with so-called “red flag” laws have begun confiscating firearms from individuals they consider “dangerous”.

Within the last two months, police officials in California have seized guns from individuals they deemed an immediate threat, among them, a 38-year-old man who they say had threatened his wife after an incidence of domestic violence, a 23-year-old ex-Marine who, authorities claim, had developed paranoia and a 39-year-old man who was reported by neighbors for firing his weapon in his own backyard.

The move toward seizing guns has reached a fever pitch in the wake of such high profile mass shootings as the Las Vegas massacre and Parkland, Florida high school shooting and, experts say, it’s only the beginning.

Red flag laws, which are on the books in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington State, allow law enforcement officials to remove guns from people deemed by a judge to be dangerous. Similar measures are being considered in more than a dozen additional states including Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

“The reason I like gun violence restraining orders as an option is that we can use them even if the person hasn’t been convicted of a crime,” Mara W. Elliott, the San Diego city attorney, told The New York Times (https://tinyurl.com/y85sc9eb). But many Republicans oppose the new laws, Many Republicans oppose red flag laws and argue that a judge’s order to seize a person’s weapon may violate Second Amendment rights when no crime has been committed.

In a statement on its website shortly after Oregon passed the new law, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action called it a violation of due process.

“Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 719A. Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A will create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could be obtained by a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member in an ex parte hearing to deprive someone of their Second Amendment rights without due process of the law,” the statement reads (https://tinyurl.com/yckwha9j).

“By allowing a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member to seek the ERPO, SB 719A will allow people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken, and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind. This ex parte order, which strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights, will be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner. The accused will not be afforded the chance to appear in court to defend themselves against the allegations when the ERPO is issued. These orders may be issued without any allegations of criminal behavior,” the statement continues.

Ramesh Ponnuru, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group, says that more laws that restrict the rights of those not convicted of a crime, is not the answer.

“This is a country with hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, and that fact imposes real constraints on what policy can achieve and on what kind of policy makes sense,” said Ponnuru. No one, Ponnuru added, should expect any one law to fix everything. “Realism is the right attitude,” he said.

Brad Banks, an Indianapolis criminal law attorney at Banks & Brower, says in his state, the law appears to be working.

“It’s fair and balanced and addresses the immediate need of protecting people with significant mental impairment but also has safeguards for the court to review” whether an individual should have the firearms returned, Banks told the Indy Star (https://tinyurl.com/y73qbuuc).

During a roundtable meeting at the White House this week, President Donald Trump met with state leaders and gun victims to discuss the effectiveness of such laws and to determine what steps need to be taken to prevent further mass shootings.

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‘IT WILL ONLY MAKE SCHOOLS SAFER’: Cruz backs teachers’ rights to arm themselves in classroom

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday said teachers who choose to do so should be free to arm themselves in the classroom.

“I think it makes perfect sense that if teachers want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, that it will only make schools safer,” Cruz said while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I don’t think you should make teachers do that, but if a teacher is comfortable and wants to be prepared to defend himself or herself, that’s a good thing,” he added.

The former Republican candidate for president’s comments come a week after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida resulted in the deaths of 17 and the injury of dozens more.

President Donald Trump on Thursday also called for similar measures, adding that protecting our schools through the use of armed teachers and former military members may be a solution to the ongoing violence.

“…Giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience- only the best,” the president tweeted. “…Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”

Cruz said the most effective way to combat gun violence is for law enforcement officials to target violent criminals and not law-abiding gun owners.

“The left’s answer is always, always always strip the Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens,” he said. “You want to see crime take off? Disarm the law-abiding citizens.”

Since the February 14 shooting, Democrats have called for stricter gun control laws and a ban on AR-15s.

NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre, however, said cracks in law enforcement was to blame for last week’s shooting, not Second Amendment protected gun owners.

“What they want are more restrictions on the law-abiding,” LaPierre said while speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. “Think about that — their solution is to make you, all of you, less free.”

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CNN UNDER FIRE: Florida school shooting survivor says network gave him scripted question during town hall on gun reform

TALLAHASSEE, FL — A Florida high school student who survived last week’s deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School says cable news network CNN denied him the chance to ask his own questions during a town hall discussion on gun control, and instead pushed a scripted question for him to use on air.

Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to address the option of using veterans as armed security guards in schools, but that his question was ultimately shot down.

Instead, Haab says, the network gave him a “scripted question” to use, an option he wanted no part of.

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV (https://tinyurl.com/y76tbm84). “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions.”

Frustrated by the network’s attempt to use him to push their own agenda, Haab says he chose not to participate in the town hall discussion, which was aired to millions around the country.

“I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished,” Haab said. “It’s not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”

CNN issued a statement on Thursday to repudiate Haab’s claims once the teen’s comments went viral.

“There is absolutely no truth to this,” CNN said in a statement posted Twitter (https://tinyurl.com/y7enf6ca). “CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever.”

“After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” CNN’s statement continued. “Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety.”

Last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead and dozens more wounded. The incident again sparked calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and more thorough background checks.

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DAVID CLARKE: Gun control rally by Florida students has George Soros’ fingerprints ‘all over it’

TALLAHASSEE, FL — A gun control rally held Wednesday by students of Parkland High School has billionaire leftist George Soros’s fingerprints “all over it” says former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke.

Soros, a Hungarian-American investor, is known for funding a variety of leftist causes including the push for legalized recreational marijuana and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a tweet posted to his official Twitter account, the former Wisconsin sheriff wrote that the rally demanding gun reform held by students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was an attempt by Soros to manipulate teens still reeling from a mass shooting at their school.

“The well ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it,” Clarke tweeted Wednesday (https://tinyurl.com/yaklzv8b). “It is similar to how he hijacked and exploited black people’s emotion regarding police use of force incidents into the COP HATING Black Lives Matter movement.”

Clarke’s tweet follows allegations made by an aide to a Florida state lawmaker who was fired after alleging that several of the teens interviewed on media recently weren’t actual victims but crisis actors.

“Both kids in the picture are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen,” Benjamin Kelly, an aide to state Rep. Shawn Harrison (R) wrote in an email to a reporter.

Harrison’s comments were met with swift condemnation and he was quickly fired (https://tinyurl.com/y9dtubl6).

Seventeen people were reported to have been killed at Parkland High School last week when police say a gunman opened fire with an AR-15. The shooting led to calls for stronger gun control measures and increased background checks.

Clarke, who resigned his role as Sheriff in 2017, now serves as senior adviser and spokesman for the pro-Trump America First Action PAC.

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