When it comes to health care, President Donald Trump has promised far more than he has delivered. But that doesn’t mean his administration has had no impact on health issues — including the operation of the Affordable Care Act, prescription drug prices and women’s access to reproductive health services............ Continue Reading
Where do we want to live in the years ahead? Older adults are asking this question anew in light of the ongoing toll of the coronavirus pandemic — disrupted lives, social isolation, mounting deaths. Many are changing their minds............ Continue reading
At least 115 people were injured this summer when police shot them in the head or neck with so-called “less-lethal” projectiles at protests over racial injustice and police brutality, according to a report published Monday.
It’s the most comprehensive tally of such injuries to date, with about twice as many victims as KHN and USA Today cited in a July examination of how police across the U.S. wielded the weapons to control crowds.
But Physicians for Human Rights, the organization that compiled the incidents, believes even its figures are an undercount because its analysis is based on publicly available data and excluded some reports without adequate evidence.
The organization identified Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Los Angeles as hot spots during the period studied, May 26 to July 27.
Abigail Rodas, who was shot in the jaw with a rubber bullet on May 30, was one of the victims in Los Angeles, according to a lawsuit filed against the city and the police chief on behalf of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community Action Network and 14 people, including six who were struck with projectiles.
According to the suit, Rodas was leaving a protest when she “was struck in the face by a projectile and momentarily lost consciousness.”
A steel plate was used to repair her jawbone, the lawsuit says. She couldn’t talk for about 10 days and could drink only liquids for a week, it says.
“Nearly three weeks after the injury, she has screws in her gums and rubber bands to immobilize her jaw while the bones rejoin,” the suit says.
The city denied the allegations in a court filing, saying any use of force “was reasonable and necessary for self-defense.”
Protests Shine Light on Use of ‘Less-Lethal’ Weapons
The sheer number of incidents in those two months was shocking, said Dr. Rohini Haar, lead investigator for the analysis and an emergency physician in Oakland, California.
“It seems systematic,” Haar said. “It seems like there needs to be a reckoning with the use of force in protests.”
The projectiles in question are often called “rubber bullets,” but in law enforcement they’re known as “kinetic impact projectiles.”
They include plastic projectiles tipped with hard sponge or foam, “bean bag” rounds that consist of fabric socks containing metal shot, and “Sting-Balls” — grenades that spray hard rubber pellets. The report also cites incidents in which tear gas canisters were fired at people.
Though the weapons are referred to as “less lethal,” Haar said, there should be a shift to language that acknowledges how dangerous they can be. “Weapons are just as lethal as somebody wants them to be,” she said.
A study published in 2017 in the medical journal BMJ Open, which Haar co-authored, found that 3% of people hit by projectiles worldwide died. Fifteen percent of the 1,984 people studied were permanently injured.
In a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of Austin doctors said 19 patients were treated for bean bag-related wounds at the downtown hospital closest to the protests over two days in late May.
For its analysis, Physicians for Human Rights searched social media, news accounts, lawsuits and other publicly available sources. They counted incidents on social media only if they were documented by photos or videos, and included news reports without visual evidence only from major newspapers or local affiliates of major outlets.
Physicians for Human Rights identified by name most of the people who were struck.
Among the group’s recommendations are banning weapons that release scattershot or multiple projectiles from a single canister because they can hit people indiscriminately, Haar said. Metal projectiles are particularly dangerous, she said.
She called for more training and adherence to departments’ rules on the use of such weapons.
“One of the findings of our study is police do not even appear to be following their own protocols for how to use these weapons or when,” Haar said.
There are no national standards for police use of less-lethal projectiles and no comprehensive data on their use, USA Today found.
Demonstrators in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Jose, Denver and Dallas told USA Today they were shot with less-lethal projectiles even though those departments don’t allow the weapons to be used against nonviolent people. Some witnesses said police aimed at faces or fired at close range.
Police have said they fired the weapons to protect themselves and property in chaotic, dangerous situations.
‘Protesters Feel Like They’re Being Attacked’
Haar, who has been studying these projectiles since 2014, said they have no place in crowd control. “Even before you get to the use of weapons, there needs to be a change in how we engage with protesters in terms of communication,” she said.
For example, police can get the phone number of a protest leader, opening the lines of communication. Police have other options besides firing projectiles, Haar said, such as “arresting the person that is actually violent, not just dispersing the entire crowd, or changing what you decide is an illegal assembly.”
Haar said the use of these projectiles tends to escalate tensions, “where the protesters feel like they’re being attacked.” Those who aren’t struck, she said, “are often incited. It’s not until that full crowd is dispersed that the anger goes away. The volatility has a cumulative impact that can last weeks or months.”
At least seven major U.S. cities and a few states have enacted or proposed limits on the use of less-lethal projectiles.
However, similar efforts have stalled in the face of opposition from police agencies or other critics. And as the summer stretched on, local and federal law enforcement agencies continued to use less-lethal weapons when confronting protesters.
Haar said city councils have reached out to her recently, showing they are “really trying to reckon with what they want in their communities.”
“I see more hope now than I have in all of my years of research,” she said. “I think the attention now is remarkable, and we actually have a really good chance of getting some actual, meaningful change.”
USA Today’s Kevin McCoy contributed to this report.
Francis Scott Key, an American Lawyer and amateur poet from Maryland, was being held aboard a British ship trying to work out a prisoner release when he observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814.
He was inspired upon seeing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn and wrote the poem titled. "Defence of Fort M'Henry" it was published within a week with the suggested tune of the popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven" written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society a popular gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. It slowly gained in popularity as an unofficial anthem, finally achieving official status more than a century later under President Herbert Hoover as the national anthem. The national motto "In God We Trust" from a line in the Poem. Although the poem has four Stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song "To Anacreon in Heaven written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreonic Society, a men's social club in London which with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. This setting, renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being very difficult to sing.
Francis Scott Key went on to become District Attorney for the District of Columbia after being nominated by President Andrew Jackson.
The photo of "The Star-Spangled Banner" handwritten manuscript by Francis Scott Key, 1814 is from the Special Collections Department/Maryland Historical Society.
"Most of the plastic we recycle will not be turned into new plastic things. It is buried..... And what's more, the makers of plastic — the nation's largest oil and gas companies — have known this all along, even as they spent millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite. Analysts now expect new plastic production to triple by 2050" Click to read the NPR article by Laura Sullivan
Hoodwinked again. Meanwhile plastic is filling our oceans, shores and landfills - and who knows the long term effects to our bodies.
The Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, was the first COVID hot spot in the U.S. Forty-six people associated with the nursing home died, exposing how ill-prepared we were for the pandemic — and how we take care of our elderly. Published by The California Sunday Magazine........ Click to read
n documents dating to 2006, government officials predicted that a pandemic would threaten critical businesses and warned them to prepare. Meatpacking companies largely ignored them, and now nearly every one of the predictions has come true...... Continue Reading
By June 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 state legislatures. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 ratifying states to vote and secure adoption. Representative Harry B Harry Burn, a 24 -year-old Republican, voted yes. Burn said he supported women's suffrage as a "moral right", but had voted against it before because he believed his constituents opposed it. In the final minutes before the vote, he received a note from his mother, urging him to vote yes.
From the first known case imported into New Zealand on February 26 to the last case of community transmission detected on May 1, elimination took 65 days. New Zealand relied on three types of measures to get rid of the virus.......Continue reading
Most of the major online publications and Newspapers have Paywalls.This means that a lot of the most vital information will end up not being read because it costs money to access while a lot of questionable articles or outright lies are readily accessible and free. Click to read Nathan J. Robinson's insightful article on Current Affairs
Today's most important story comes from Dr. Deborah Birx, the doctor advising the White House on the coronavirus. She warns that we are entering a “new phase” of the pandemic, when the virus is everywhere and is spreading at such a pace that we could see more than 300,000 deaths by the end of the year. On Saturday, the national daily death toll from Covid-19 reached 1,198, exceeding 1000 for the sixth day in a row.........Continue reading
Anesthesiologist Claire Rezba started tracking lost health workers almost instinctively. Researchers and industry professionals say the lack of good official data on these deaths is “scandalous” and is putting lives in danger........Read More
Shared by Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American with this message:
"There are many things I would like to write about, but they will have to wait. There were too many nights lately that ended up as mornings, and I cannot hold my eyes open.
I will leave you with a photo that Buddy took this week while my day was ending and his starting. I love what I do, but there is no doubt that he has the nicer office.