Society's ChildS


One week's worth of gun madness in the United States

Another wild week, including a lot of stories that come close to, but might not exactly be GunFAILs. Like the story from Chickamauga, GA, where a man who thought he was shooting at a home intruder killed a wandering, 72-year-old Alzheimer's patient. Or the story from Nashville, TN, where "outlaw country" singer Wayne Mills was shot and killed in a bar fight. (By the way, is "outlaw country" like "gangsta rap?" Are we supposed to be outraged by it? Or is it just good ol' All-American fun?)

By the numbers, the week was heavy on the hunting accidents (10 confirmed, plus one more strongly suspected), and on child victims. Nineteen kids were accidentally shot last week, ages 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 11, 13, 14, 14, 16, 16, 16, 16, 17, 17, 17 and 17. I think the numbers are up and skewing older, because several of them are hunting-related. On the subject of hunting accidents, do please note that six hunters were accidentally shot during opening weekend of the season in the state of Wisconsin, alone.

Just two loaded gun-cleaning accidents this week, three home invasion shootings, and three waistband/pocket ninjas who accidentally shot themselves. Cop numbers are, mercifully, down to just one this week.

On the guns in school front this week, maybe numbers are slowing down? Guns were found in schools in Springfield, MO, Charlotte, NC, Norfolk, VA and Reading, PA.

And now, below the fold, this week's compilation.


Ranking of top countries in reading, science, and math shows U.S. below average in all categories

The OECD is out with new global rankings of how students in various countries do in reading, science, and math. Results of the full survey can be found and delved into here.

You can see below how Asian countries are obliterating everyone else in these categories.

The United States, meanwhile, ranks below the OECD average in every category. And as the WSJ notes, the US has slipped in all of the major categories in recent years:
The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which are being released on Tuesday, show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which gathers and analyzes the data in the U.S.

Comment: Recent studies have shown that the U.S. spends significantly more money on war than on education, so it's hardly surprising that Americans are falling behind most other developed nations. In addition, inequality in the U.S. is at an all-time high with millions of children living in poverty - hardly conducive to learning, but it's apparent that the PTB want it that way!
Are Americans dumb? No, it's the inequality, stupid
Half of America In Poverty? The Facts Say It's True
US adults are dumber than the average human

Bad Guys

Abortionist who kept 36 bags of aborted babies in storage unit found dead

Dr. Joseph Booker
© NBC NewsDr. Joseph Booker

Authorities say an abortionist with a history of tax evasion, botched abortions, and unusual disposal of aborted babies has died.

Police found the body of Dr. Joseph Booker Jr., 69, at his home Thursday night after relatives complained they could not reach him. Investigators said Booker suffered a stroke and drowned in his shower in his Madison, Mississippi, home.

Tanya Britten of Pro-Life Mississippi said, "From a Christian perspective, I pray that he repented on the lives that he has taken, and that God is merciful,"

In 1999, Booker served time in prison for tax evasion. Later in the year, police learned that a local resident discovered 36 bags of aborted babies in a storage unit he purchased from Booker in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The new owner said Booker stowed the babies there shortly before going to prison.

Arrow Down

Scariest ad of all time? Japanese tire commercial will make you jump

If you've got a case of the dreaded midweek slump, this commercial might help startle you awake.

(Get the kids out the room first. This one comes with a health warning. We're not joking.)

Japanese tire company Autoway Tires took an unconventional approach - horror-movie tactics - to showing the importance of having great tires in dangerous and unpredictable road conditions.

How scary? The opening message reads: "Not for the faint of heart."


Nelson Mandela, global icon of peaceful resistance against tyranny, is dead

Nelson Mandela
© AFP/Alexander JoeThis picture taken on July 18, 2003 shows Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa President, saluting the South African military health service band that came to play a specially composed march and happy birthday on his 85th birthday in Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and an enduring icon of the struggle against racial oppression, died on Thursday, the government announced, leaving the nation without its moral center at a time of growing dissatisfaction with the country's leaders.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son," President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address on Thursday night, adding that Mr. Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. "His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love."

Mr Zuma called Mr. Mandela's death "the moment of our greatest sorrow," and said that South Africa's thoughts were now with the former president's family. "They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free," he said.

Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government, only to forge a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990. He led the African National Congress, long a banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country's history.

Stock Up

U.S. economy allegedly 'grew' by 3.6% last quarter

The economy might have 'grown', but who is going to get this bigger piece of the pie?
The economy expanded much faster than first thought in the third quarter, as the government on Thursday revised its estimate of growth in the period to a 3.6 percent annual rate from 2.8 percent.

That was significantly better than the 3.1 percent pace economists had been expecting, and it marked the best quarter for growth since the first quarter of 2012, when output jumped by 3.7 percent. It also marked the first time since then that growth had exceeded 3 percent.

Much of the improvement came from additional stocking up on inventory by businesses as well as a slightly improved trade picture.

Inventory changes are notoriously volatile, so while the healthier signals would be welcomed by economists, inventory gains can essentially pull growth forward into the third quarter, causing fourth-quarter gains to slacken.

Indeed, Wall Street was already estimating that the fourth quarter of 2013 would be much weaker than the third quarter, with growth estimated to run at just below 2 percent, according to Bloomberg News.

Arrow Down

In God we trust, maybe, but not each other

Bart Murawski
© 2011 AP/Shannon DeCelleBart Murawksi, 27 poses at a coffee shop Tuesday, Nov. 26 2013, in Troy, NY. You can take our word for it: Americans don't trust each other anymore. An AP-Gfk poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than a third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling. "I'm leery of everybody," said Murawski. "Caution is always a factor."
You can take our word for it. Americans don't trust each other anymore.

We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy - trust in the other fellow - has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.

An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.

"I'm leery of everybody," said Bart Murawski, 27, of Albany, N.Y. "Caution is always a factor."

Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.

Eye 2

Sexual Psychopath? Colorado teen who dismembered 5th-grader gets life in prison

© AP Photo, Denver PostAustin Sigg sits in district court in Golden, Colorado, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, during his sentencing. Sigg, 18, pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping and killing Jessica Ridgeway in Westminster in October 2012.
A psychologist described him as sadistic, and prosecutors said he methodically killed and dismembered the 10-year-old girl he grabbed on her way to school.

But lawyers for Austin Sigg said Tuesday the 18-year-old was still a child himself, he might have suffered trauma before and during birth, and he had anxiety, a learning disability and an emotionally distant mother.

Judge Stephen Munsinger rejected that image and the defense argument that Sigg should be eligible for parole in 40 years. He instead ordered the teen to serve a life sentence for killing Jessica Ridgeway plus 86 years for other offenses, including sexually assaulting her and trying to attack a jogger a few months before. The sentence ensured Sigg will never be released.

Jessica's disappearance last fall put the Denver suburbs on edge as police, aided by an army of volunteers, searched for her and then her killer. While people now know how Jessica was killed, Munsinger said they might never know why.

Heart - Black

'And Wammmmmm': Florida teens randomly target, beat up senior citizens

Elderly man being assaulted
© WBBH-TVAn elderly man was kicked from behind while he was weeding his garden Tuesday.
A Fort Myers, Fla., teen was arrested this week for attacking senior citizens. Traveshia Blanks is charged with two counts of battery in the seemingly random and senseless attacks, according to WBBH-TV. One 72-year-old victim told the news station he was weeding his garden Tuesday when he was kicked from behind. The victim fell to the ground and said he saw a woman walking away laughing, joining a group of people.

"I was in shock. Who would expect anything from out of the blue to happen like that. There's no reason had I done something or said something," the victim told WBBH. "I didn't hear anything. There was nobody in the area at all. It was very quiet [when] all of a sudden I felt a blow to my hip and I was on the ground. I turned around to see what happened and there was a girl standing there laughing," he said.


Indian teams hunt for tiger after 3 Bandipur deaths

There are about 1,700 tigers in the wild in India
Forest officials in the southern Indian state of Karnataka are searching for a tiger which they say has killed three villagers in the past week.

Teams have gone deep into Bandipur tiger reserve with orders to shoot the "man-eater" with tranquilisers.

A fourth fatality in recent days is being blamed on another tiger.

Meanwhile, angry locals demanding compensation for the families of those killed have set fire to two jeeps belonging to forest officials.

The villagers also want a permanent solution to the man-animal conflict in the region.

The first fatal attack took place on 27 November, when a man called Basavaraju was killed. Two days later, a second victim, Cheluva, fell prey to the same tiger, officials believe. They say the animal was last spotted on 30 November.

Its latest presumed victim, 60-year-old farmer Shivamallappa Basappa, was found by his son on Tuesday night close to the forest in Mysore district. Only parts of his leg and skull remained.

"The body of the third farmer who was killed has been found. We have seen the pug marks of the tiger. It is moving around somewhere close by," HC Kantharaju, conservator of forests in Bandipur tiger reserve, told BBC