Independent investigation, mass shooting and Hurricane Maria aid

Independent+investigation%2C+mass+shooting+and+Hurricane+Maria+aid

graphic by Sarah Myers

Local

Know: Mayor Lyda Krewson and Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole called for an independent investigation of the St. Louis City Police Department’s response to protests.

Inform: In a statement released by Krewson’s office, Sept. 27, Mayor Krewson and Chief O’Toole said they have pledged “an objective, thorough, and fair investigation of all complaints and lawsuits.”

Citizens of the St. Louis County have claimed there was police misconduct during protests. These protests began after a Missouri Circuit Court judge returned a verdict, Sept. 15, that former white St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder of a black drug dealer suspect Anthony Lamar Smith.

About 1,000 protesters surrounded the home of Mayor Krewson, breaking at least two windows and throwing red paint at the brick house before riot officers dispersed the crowd with tear gas, Sept. 15, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Protesters threw ‘unknown’ chemicals and rocks at law enforcement and continued to break windows and pots, using the pieces as projectiles, Sept. 17. Police confiscated handguns and various weapons from rioters. Protesters also revealed a banner stating, “Stop Killing Us,” “Racism Lives Here” and “#ExpectUs” at Busch Stadium during a Cardinals-Brewers baseball game, Sept. 29. They were removed from the stadium shortly after the banner was unveiled.

Public confidence in the results of the examination is important, according to the statement. Krewson and O’Toole have included Internal Affairs, the Civilian Oversight Board and have called upon the U.S. Attorney for an independent third party investigation.

Care: The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states that Congress cannot make a law  regarding  the exercise or establishment of religion, restriction of freedom of speech or press, or the right of the people to peaceful assembly.  One thrown bottle can be the difference between a peaceful protest and a riot. While citizens have that right, violence and destruction is crossing the line from peaceful to vicious. It then is the police department’s duty to take control of the situation for the protection of the people. “We are committed to protecting and serving the citizens and visitors in the City of St. Louis. Our mission is rooted in our core values: Service, Leadership, Integrity and Fair Treatment To All,” Chief O’Toole said on the homepage of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Students and adults from the Eureka community visit downtown St. Louis frequently, sometimes on a daily basis. With protests occurring daily, it is difficult to know when these events will occur. The safety of citizens is compromised because of it, so read up on daily protest occurrences when planning where to go.

National

Know: At least 58 killed and 515 injured after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1.

Inform: During the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, 64, sat in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and open fired on tens of thousands of country music fans, Oct. 1. It is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Mass shootings occur much more frequently than one would expect. Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida had a death rate of 49 people and 53 injured, June 2016. Since then, the U.S. has only experienced minor shootings until Las Vegas.

President Donald Trump made remarks on the matter in a public announcement at the White House. He named the shooting an “act of pure evil” and went on to pray for the nation to find unity and peace. Trump will be visiting Las Vegas to meet with law enforcement, first responders and the families of the victims, Oct. 4.

Care: The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, is one of the many examples of a school shooting. It resulted in the deaths of 20 students and six faculty members, was the beginning to a series of precautions taken by school administrations to prevent further attacks.

The “Run, Hide or Fight” techniques list eleven tips to survive a mass shooting because they can occur anywhere at anytime. Reading up on and practicing intruder drills in school is what will prepare students and teachers for the unpredictable event. It is better to be safe than sorry.

International

Know: Following Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump temporarily lifted the Jones Act to allow shipment aid to Puerto Rico.

Inform: Electricity has been unavailable to Puerto Ricans for the past week and a half, which has caused issues with the island’s sewage and water systems. Hospitals are forced to close and residents are living in roof-less, makeshift houses. About 80 percent of crop value has been destroyed, a loss of $780 million.

Trump has stepped in, nearly a week after the disaster, to provide relief to the U.S. territory by providing the delivering of food, medicine, clothing and other supplies. What most Americans don’t know is that Puerto Ricans are born U.S. citizens, according to Section 302 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since Puerto Rico isn’t a state, they do not vote in presidential elections. The island does send one nonvoting representative to Congress, though.

“I am begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying,” Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said on live television, Sept. 29.

“So, Mr Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives,” she continued. “After all, that is one of the founding principles of the United States of North America. If not, the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is enough.”

Trump later commented on the matter.

“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job,” Trump tweeted, then deleted, Sep. 30.

“The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our “true colors”. We cannot be distracted by anything else.” Cruz tweeted a response.

With fuel running low and ice melting before it can be distributed, aids are struggling.

To add more fuel to the fire, at least 10,000 containers of supplies–including food, water and medicine–were sitting at the San Juan port due to shortage of truck drivers, according to CNN. A scarcity of diesel fuel and blocked roads throughout the island impose more obstacles for the deliverance of supplies.

Care: With Puerto Rico in distress, EHS Spanish teacher Julie Weitzel initiated a Hurricane Maria relief program to help fund the island’s redevelopment. Spanish teacher Dania Ramirez has family currently living on the island and was greatly impacted by Hurricane Maria. Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), National Honor Society, E!Crew and various sports teams at EHS have shown interest in getting involved and everyone is invited.

In the near future t-shirts will be sold to raise money, as well as a volleyball tournament, trivia night, present wrapping and breakfast with Santa. Dates are to be announced. Contact anyone on the listed organizations to get involved.

“We want to show our support and unite against this tragedy by organizing and fundraising for the cause,” Lea Khoukaz, Student Body President, said.