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Mon, 25 Sep 2023
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The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered questions and missing information

"[My staff] and I hope the people of Newtown don't have it crash on their head later." - Connecticut Medical Examiner D. Wayne Carver II, MD, December 15, 2012
Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre. The public's general acceptance of the event's validity and faith in its resolution suggests a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled. The condition is reinforced through the corporate media's unwillingness to push hard questions vis-à-vis Connecticut and federal authorities who together bottlenecked information while invoking prior restraint through threats of prosecutorial action against journalists and the broader citizenry seeking to interpret the event on social media.

Along these lines on December 19 the Connecticut State Police assigned individual personnel to each of the 26 families who lost a loved one at Sandy Hook Elementary. "The families have requested no press interviews," State Police assert on their behalf, "and we are asking that this request be honored.[1] The de facto gag order will be in effect until the investigation concludes - now forecast to be "several months away" even though lone gunman Adam Lanza has been confirmed as the sole culprit.[2]

With the exception of an unusual and apparently contrived appearance by Emilie Parker's alleged father, victims' family members have been almost wholly absent from public scrutiny.[3] What can be gleaned from this and similar coverage raises many more questions and glaring inconsistencies than answers. While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place - at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described.

Red Flag

DOJ official wants trustee in Massachusetts pharmacy case

An independent trustee must be appointed to oversee the bankruptcy of a Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak because of the firm's "gross mismanagement," among other reasons, a Justice Department official argued Tuesday.

U.S. Trustee William Harrington also argued in his motion that an accountant the New England Compounding Center hired to lead it through the Chapter 11 process had a hopeless conflict of interest because the NECC's board can fire him at any time.

Harrington accused the NECC of hiring Keith Lowey and appointing him to its board just before it filed for bankruptcy "in an apparent attempt to forestall the appointment of a trustee."

"Creditors and victims of the (NECC's) conduct should have an independent, conflict free party developing a reorganization or liquidation strategy," Harrington wrote in the motion filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts.


Aurora shooter's defense to argue he is unfit for trial

Defense lawyers for the man accused of opening fire in a US theater in July, killing 12 and wounding dozens more, readied Wednesday to call witnesses in a bid to stop the case from going to trial.

The preliminary hearing, which began on Monday, has been emotionally harrowing as relatives and police choked back tears or wept openly at testimony describing the slaughter at a packed midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises".

Prosecutors have closed their case for the alleged gunman, James Holmes, to face trial. Next up, defense lawyers are expected to highlight Holmes' mental instability as a possible reason he should not.

Offering a preview of that strategy at the hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Tamara Brady asked federal firearms supervisor Steven Beggs if there was a process in Colorado "to screen out purchases by a severely mentally ill person."

"No," replied Beggs, who detailed for the prosecution how Holmes had purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the months before last July's shooting in Colorado, both online and in person.


Reflective boozing: Scotland launches 'Drinking Mirror' mobile app to curb women's drinking

© Image from play.google.com
Drinking has become a massive problem among Scottish women, the country's government says. In fact it is so serious that local officials decided to launch a Drinking Mirror - a special mobile app designed to stop women from over-consuming alcohol.

The new Android app is aimed to help Scottish women drink less and prevent illnesses caused by alcohol abuse, by showing them just how their appearance will chance in 10 years if they drink 10 glasses of wine per week.

The Scottish Health Secretary's office introduced the free app on Tuesday. The initiative is part of the government's campaign named "Drop a Glass Size" aimed at persuading women to reduce the number of glasses of wine they drink weekly.


Rush hour New York commuter ferry carrying more than 300 people crashes into Manhattan dock injuring 59

A commuter ferry carrying 343 people crashed while pulling into the docks at Lower Manhattan this morning, injuring at least 59 people. The Seastreak Ferry made a 'hard docking' at Pier 11 just before 9am, throwing dozens of people on board forward or to the floor.

One man is believed to have fallen down some steps from the upper level, smashing a window. Police and firefighters were on the scene and dozens of people were taken away in stretchers to nearby hospitals with more being treated at the scene

Additional images


Zorb ball ski slope disaster kills Russian man and badly injures friend

© Photograph: AP
Denis Burakov and Vladimir Shcherbakov set off down the ski slope.
Onlookers watch in horror as giant inflatable ball veers off course and hurtles down ravine at southern mountain resort.

A Russian man has been killed and his friend is seriously injured after their ride down a ski slope in a giant inflatable zorb ball turned to disaster.

A harrowing video captures the victim, 27-year-old Denis Burakov, and his friend Vladimir Shcherbakov, 33, setting off in the ball at a resort in the Caucasus mountains. The ride starts promisingly. But the zorb quickly veers off course, with one man unsuccessfully trying to stop it. It then hurtles leftwards down a ravine. Onlookers watch in horror, one asking: "What's down there?" A voice replies: "Nothing. Catastrophe."

The zorb continued rolling for about half a mile before finally halting near a frozen lake. The emergencies ministry said both men were ejected from the tumbling zorb, and landed on the snow about 10 metres apart.

Rescuers could reach the two tourists only by skiing down a sheer, rocky gully. They dragged the men back up the hill. Burakov died on the way to hospital, from spinal injuries; Shcherbakov suffered concussion, and remains in hospital.


Noveske Rifleworks owner dies in single-car crash

John Noveske, the owner of Noveske Rifleworks in Grants Pass, was killed Friday in a single-car crash, according to the Oregon State Police. Sgt. Tyler Lee said that Noveske's 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser crossed the oncoming lane on a curve on Highway 260 and went onto the dirt shoulder, then struck two large boulders. The vehicle rolled, ejecting Noveske.

State police said that he was not wearing a seat belt, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post in the Noveske Rifleworks Facebook page says in part: "We would like to thank you for your support as we deal with our loss ... John was more than just the founder of Noveske Rifleworks, he was a loving husband and father, and caring friend."


U.S. cult YouTube gun channel boss found shot dead on rural Georgia road


Mystery: Gun enthusiast Keith Ratliffe was found shot dead along a rural road
An operator of a highly popular YouTube channel dedicated to high-powered guns and explosives was found mysteriously shot to death, authorities said. Keith Ratliff, who was a business partner at FPSRussia, YouTube's ninth most popular channel with more than three million active subscribers and a combined half billion views, was discovered on a rural road in Carnesville, Georgia.

Ratliff had a single gunshot wound the head and police are treating his death as a homicide.

When authorities made the grisly discovery on Thursday, they noticed there were several guns near Ratliff, according to a local radio station report.

'For him not to pull out that gun and try to defend himself, he had to feel comfortable around somebody. Either that or he was ambushed,' said Ratliff's heartbroken widow, Amanda.

'You know, it just doesn't really add up,' she told a television station.

'We all want to know and we all want justice to be done,' Amanda says. 'He had way to much to look forward to in his life.'


Killer in waiting: How should society deal with Kayla Bourque?

Kayla Bourque
© The Canadian Press
Kayla Bourque is shown in a handout photo. The Justice Ministry in B.C. has issued an unusual public warning about Bourque, a female, high-risk, violent offender who's been released from jail.
There's a ticking time-bomb quality to the story of Kayla Bourque, the 23-year-old former university student whose release from jail this week prompted a rare public warning from authorities.

Bourque was freed Monday after almost nine months in custody and pleading guilty last November to weapons possession and torturing and killing animals.

Her crimes, ugly as they were, normally wouldn't have sparked more than some brief public outrage before the world moved on. Except for the fact the pretty young woman from Prince George, B.C., has been characterized as a serial killer in waiting who'll likely need supervision for life.

"Bourque has an escalating criminal history," says the public notice issued by the B.C. Ministry of Justice. "She has offended violently against both people and animals and is considered high risk to reoffend."

When she was sentenced last November, the judge set down 46 conditions for her three-year probation, including a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., severe restrictions on movements and friendships, a ban on use of the Internet and on attending post-secondary schools.

Light Saber

Judge orders NYPD to halt unlawful 'stop and frisks'

Silent march on Father’s Day to end the NYPD's Stop and Frisk policy in New York City
© Alangreig
Silent march on Father’s Day to end the NYPD's Stop and Frisk policy in New York City
A judge in New York has ruled the New York Police Department must cease to perform "trespass stops" outside certain buildings in the Bronx without reasonable suspicion of trespass. The judge has determined the practice of "stop and frisks" is inherently unlawful or unconstitutional and should not be employed without "reasonable suspicion of trespass."

Judge Shira Scheindlin outlined in her ruling, "In order for an officer to have 'reasonable suspicion' that an individual is engaged in criminal trespass, the officer must be able to articulate facts providing 'a minimal level of objective justification for making the stop.'" This means, as she cited, they must have "something more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch."

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by African-American and Latino residents of New York who argue the NYPD has a "widespread practice of making unlawful stops on suspicion of trespass outside buildings in the Bronx that are enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program ("TAP"), which was formerly known in the Bronx as Operation Clean Halls." It is a program that permits "police officers to patrol inside and around thousands of private residential apartment buildings throughout New York City."