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NEED TO KNOW:
A 26-year-old man opened fire on a community college in rural Oregon Thursday morning, killing 10 people and wounding seven. Another day, another mass shooting in the United States.
A student who witnessed the attack told a local newspaper that the gunman had asked people to stand up and state their religion before he started firing. She watched as the man shot her teacher in the head.
It’s hard to find words anymore to describe these shootings. There have been so many of them, so many words and so many shootings. US President Barack Obama, who has given so many speeches, and attended so many memorials, in the aftermath of so many mass shootings, found some words on Thursday, deeply exasperated ones.
Yet there's been little to no action, no change. Why, when these shootings happen, do we not scramble our military or overhaul our airport security? What if this man’s name was Tsarnaev?
Here’s a word that might help us describe what happened yesterday: terrorism. It is a word that inspires America’s leaders like no other. When heavily armed American men attack public spaces in broad daylight, we don’t call it terrorism. But what if we did?
The truth is, these days Americans — mostly white Americans — are the biggest terror threat in America. Is America ready to do something about it?
WANT TO KNOW:
The world is on fire, literally. Earlier this month firefighters finally got control of wildfires in California. But not before they caused hundreds of millions in damage and left 3,000 people homeless.
Fires like the one in California are a problem all over the world. But probably nowhere more urgently than in Indonesia, where fires are ripping through rainforest in western Sumatra, destroying vast landscapes that are essential to the survival of Earth as a whole.
The Sumatran fires have also caused a thick, polluted and dangerously unhealthy haze to settle over much of the island, nearby Singapore, and parts of Malaysia. Indonesia has sent thousands of rescue teams to fight the blaze, but is mostly anxiously awaiting the expected annual rains later this month.
This isn’t some new crazy disaster. This happens every year on Sumatra. This year just happens to be one of the worst on record. It’s hard to say who is to blame. Everyone, really, from smaller-scale farmers using slash-and-burn techniques to clear land, to massive corporations guilty of illegal logging and clear-cutting huge swaths of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations.
In the end, most blame the Indonesian government and it’s lack of regulation and enforcement — and, ultimately, its own corruption.
STRANGE BUT TRUE:
Peru is having a problem not with mass shootings at schools, but with grenade attacks. Peruvian gangs are extorting private business for money and are frequently using grenades as their threat of choice.
The grenade attacks have targeted constructions sites, restaurants and — most disturbingly — the country’s growing number of private schools. The government, however, is reacting: in a desperate measure it is offering a 90-day amnesty for people to anonymously hand in grenades and other illegal ordnance, including guns with the registration numbers filed off.