TIME Religion

Islamic Community Center Standing Tall in the Face of Armed ‘Free Speech’ Protesters

Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, speaks at the mosque on May 4, 2015, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin—AP Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, speaks at the mosque on May 4, 2015, in Phoenix.

"We have the right to assemble, the right to worship, and he's not going to take that right away from us"

Leaders at an Islamic community center in Phoenix say they’re standing tall in the face of armed protesters who are planning a provocative “free speech rally” in front of the mosque Friday night.

Former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, who planned the rally, is urging attendees to “utilize their Second Amendment right”—the right to bear arms—as they protest during evening prayers at the mosque. He is also organizing a Muhammad Cartoon Contest as part of the protest, which is considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

“I know that he is hoping for confrontation,” Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said of Ritzheimer. “The whole point of bringing guns—these are not peace tools, these are meant to intimidate people.”

“The whole issue with cartoon drawing is to inflame emotions and hoping that someone will cross the line,” Shami added. “We’re not going to be falling into that trap, we understand what he’s trying to do.”

Ritzheimer said the rally is a “response” to the May 3 shooting outside a Texas “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest,” in which both gunmen were killed by police. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting, but it’s unclear whether they actually helped plan the attack.

“Islam has an ugly track record,” Ritzheimer, who also organized a May 17 rally in front of the same Islamic center, told TIME in an email. “Our founding fathers gave us the second amendment to protect ourselves from tyranny. I would hate for an attack to happen at this event and people be ill prepared and un able to protect themselves.” Multiple photos on Ritzheimer’s Facebook page depict him wearing a T-shirt that says “F-ck Islam.”

Despite the rally, evening prayers at the Islamic Community Center are scheduled to go ahead as planned.

“We’re not changing anything,” Shami said. “If they want to express their opinion and draw cartoons, that’s up to them. I don’t like them, but they have the right to do that.”

Ritzheimer said he hopes to hold additional events across the country.

“I want Freedom of Speech Rallies to pop up in every state,” he said. “I want the truth about Islam exposed because people are ignorant to the religion if they haven’t read the Quran. I want to know that my children won’t have to be threatened with murder for drawing a cartoon.” Ritzheimer is not affiliated with Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, who organized the Texas event where the shooting occurred.

Shami said the mosque would have extra security Friday night, but he and his congregation are unbowed by the protest. “We’re not going to be intimidated, we’re citizens of this country like he is, we have rights like he does,” Shami added. “We have the right to assemble, the right to worship, and he’s not going to take that right away from us.”

TIME Crime

Colorado Gunman’s Notebook of Ramblings Becomes Evidence

Holmes Shooting Notebook
AP A portion of Aurora shooter James Holmes' notebook, after it was presented as evidence in the Holmes murder trial on May 26, 2015, in Centennial, Colo.

Copies of a journal kept by the man on trial for the Aurora theater shooting have been distributed to the jury that will help determine his fate

A notebook containing James Holmes’s ramblings, sketches and thoughts on topics ranging from the meaning of life to murder was presented on Tuesday at his trial for the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

It’s a key piece of evidence for prosecutors trying to prove the 27-year-old plotted the killings and for defense lawyers who argue he was experiencing a psychotic episode on July 20, when he opened fire on moviegoers at a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes’s notebook reveals references to violence and death and is stepped in nihilism. He writes about a “self diagnosis of broken mind” and several pages are covered with the question “Why?” over and over again. “When mankind can’t find truth,” he mentions at one point, “untruth is converted to truth via violence.”

The former doctoral student in neuroscience is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes sent the notebook to his University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, eight days before the shooting, but the package was not discovered until several days after the massacre. Fenton had warned authorities that Holmes was a danger to the public.

Holmes describes in the journal a number of fantasies about different ways to kill, but quickly rules them out. He says a bomb is too regulated and suspicious, biological warfare requires extensive knowledge of chemicals and serial murder is “too personal, too much evidence, easily caught after few kills” before settling on a “mass murder spree.” He writes that he chose this method because it would provide “maximum casualties, easily performed with firearms, although primitive in nature. No fear of consequences, being caught 99% certain.”

At one point, he rules out certain venues, like airports, because he didn’t want his mass killing to be misinterpreted as a terrorist act. Airports have “too much of a terrorist history,” he writes. “Terrorism isn’t the message. The message is there is no message.” The journal also includes diagrams of different theaters within the movie complex, as well as pros and cons for each one.

“And finally, the last escape, mass murder at the movies,” he writes. “Obsession onset: > 10 years ago.”

Holmes describes his psychological struggles as “the real me is fighting the biological me,” and notes that work and romantic failures aren’t the reason for his action, although both are “expediting catalysts.” Instead, he claims, his “state of mind for the last 15 years” is to blame for his actions.

He notes a particular set of symptoms and behaviors that accompanied his self-diagnoses of a “broken mind,” including a “recurring return to mirror to look at appearance, particular attention focused on hair styling. 10+ times a day.” At the time of the shooting, Holmes’s hair was dyed a bright red-orange. He also describes at least one childhood accident that injured his genitals, which he alleges led to an “allergic reaction to sex.”

In one particularly chilling passage, Holmes alludes to the name of the movie he selected for the attack: “I was fear incarnate. Love gone, motivation directed to hate and obsessions, which didnt disapear for whatever reason with the drugs,” he writes. “No consequences, no fear, alone, isolated, no work for distractions, no reason to seek self -actualization. Embraced the hatred, a dark knight rises.”

TIME space

Watch a Superfast Jet of Gas Burst from a Massive Black Hole

It's traveling at 98% the speed of light, from a galaxy 260 million light years away

If you thought the destructive laserlike beams from Star Wars’ Death Star were just a figment of George Lucas’s imagination, think again– beams of energy powerful enough to cross galaxies are real, and the Hubble Space Station just got a video of one.

You’re watching an extragalactic jet of gas traveling at 98% the speed of light, launched from a massive black hole that could weigh a billion times the mass of the sun. The gaseous stream formed by the magnetic fields of the enormous black hole looks almost like a laser, but photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the jet is actually made of multiple globes of material strung together like pearls.

MORE: See The Trailer For TIME’s Unprecedented New Series: A Year In Space

When Eileen Meyer of the Space Telescope Science Institute put these images together into a time lapse, she discovered that each globe was rear-ending the one in front of it, creating a shock collision that further accelerates the particles into a beam of radiation, and causes them to brighten.

“Something like this has never been seen before in an extragalactic jet,” Meyer said in a statement. “This will allow us a very rare opportunity to see how the kinetic energy of the collision is dissipated into radiation.”

But this beam of radiation is coming from a host galaxy 260 million light-years away, which means we’re seeing it as it looked before the dinosaurs existed.

TIME space

Watch Ariane 5 Launch 2 Satellites Into Space

The communications satellites are expected to last about 15 years

Arianespace launched two communications satellites into orbit on Wednesday.

The DirecTV-15 satellite will provide broadcasts for the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico, while the SKY México-1 satellite will provide HD broadcasts for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, according to a statement by Arianespace, the commercial satellite launch company pushing them into orbit.

MORE: See The Trailer For TIME’s Unprecedented Series: A Year In Space

Liftoff in French Guiana will occur seven seconds after the ignition of the main stage cryogenic engine, and the rocket will climb vertically for six seconds before turning East, according to SpaceFlightInsider. Both satellites are expected to last in space for approximately 15 years.

TIME fashion

Lilly Pulitzer Employee Posted Fat-Shaming Cartoons on Office Wall

While the plus-size line of its Target collaboration is only available online

A photo feature about the offices of fashion house Lilly Pulitzer has uncovered an uncomfortable detail: nestled among bright dress prints and fabric samples were some mean-spirited doodles.

The drawings, which an online New York article showed displayed on a wall in the Lilly Pulitzer offices, show two overweight women. On one, a caption says “Just another day of fat, white and hideous… you should probably just kill yourself.” The other is accompanied with the phrase, “Put it down, carb-face!”

A Lilly Pulitzer spokesperson said the illustrations were displayed by a lone member of staff but Twitter users erupted with outrage at cartoons many saw as fat-shaming:

“These illustrations were the work of one individual and were posted in her personal work area,” says Jane Schoenborn, Lily Pulitzer’s Vice President of Creative Communications. “While we are an employer that does encourage people to decorate their own space, we are a female-dominated company and these images do not reflect our values. We apologize for any harm this may have caused.”

The kerfuffle comes a few weeks after some accused the designer’s new collaboration with Target of discriminating against plus-sized customers; while all sizes up to 14 are carried in stores, larger sizes are only available online.

 

 

TIME justice

Cleveland Agrees to Strict New Policing Rules After Federal Probe

Cleveland Police Shooting
John Minchillo—AP Riot police stand in formation as a protest forms against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, on May 23, 2015, in Cleveland.

New agreement with Justice Department would curtail use of excessive force, and encourage a more diverse police department

The Cleveland Police Department agreed Tuesday to strict, legally binding new regulations, after a Justice Department probe found it had regularly used unnecessarily excessive force.

The department agreed to close oversight from an independent monitor, pledged to overhaul its use of force regulations, and said it would develop a recruitment policy to attract a more diverse force. The city will also create a Community Police Commission, made up of representatives from across the community as well as police representatives.

The new agreement with the DoJ, which will be enforceable in court, is the response to the Justice Department investigation begun in 2013, which concluded in December that the Cleveland Police Department regularly engaged in a pattern of excessive force.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that every American benefits from a police force that protects and serves all members of the community,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement. “The agreement we have reached with the city of Cleveland is the result of the hard work and dedication of the entire Cleveland community, and looks to address serious concerns, rebuild trust, and maintain the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.”

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio said he thinks this agreement can serve as “an example of what true partnership and hard work can accomplish – a transformational blueprint for reform that can be a national model for any police department ready to escort a great city to the forefront of the 21st Century.”

The announcement comes in the wake of widespread unrest in Cleveland following the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a Cleveland police officer who was charged with manslaughter after he climbed on the roof of an unarmed black couple’s car and fired at least 15 shots at close range, killing them both.

In total, Brelo and his fellow officers fired more than 100 shots in eight seconds at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after pursuing them in a high-speed chase for 22 miles. After the verdict was announced Saturday, protestors took to the streets of Cleveland, demanding justice and reform.

TIME Transportation

New Amtrak Cameras Will Monitor Train Engineers Following Derailment

Amtrak Resumes Service On Busy Northeast Corridor After Deadly Train Crash
Alex Wong—Getty Images An Amtrak train arrives at Union Station on May 18, 2015 in Washington.

Safety officials have been recommending cameras for years

Amtrak said Tuesday it would install inward-facing cameras on locomotive cabs after a train derailment earlier this month killed 8 people and wounded about 200 others.

The cameras, which the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending for years, would record the actions of train engineers and could help explain accidents like the one on May 12. Trains currently have black boxes and outward-facing cameras, but neither record the actions of the people driving the train. The NTSB has been recommending sound recorders in locomotive cabs since the 1990s, the Associated Press reports, and five years ago added that there should be video recorders as well. Amtrak will start by equipping 70 trains that service the Northeast Corridor, with 38 cameras installed by the end of the year.

Northeast Regional train 188 was speeding at 106 mph around a curve where the speed limit was 50 mph when it derailed. Brandon Bostian, the train’s engineer, has said through his lawyer that he has no recollection of the crash, possibly because of a concussion he sustained when he hit his head.

“Inward-facing video cameras will help improve safety and serve as a valuable investigative tool, ” Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. “We have tested these cameras and will begin installation as an additional measure to enhance safety.”

 

TIME global health

Man Dies of Rare Lassa Fever in New Jersey

He had recently returned from traveling in Liberia

A man died of a rare African virus in New Jersey Monday after recently returning from Liberia, officials confirmed.

The man died of Lassa fever, a virus that causes hemorrhagic symptoms but is very different from Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Lassa fever is only fatal for 1% of those who are infected, while Ebola can be fatal for 70% of those infected without treatment. Lassa fever is also much harder to spread from person to person (it’s usually picked up from rodent droppings). About 100,000 to 300,000 Lassa fever cases are reported in West Africa every year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths.

The man with Lassa fever had arrived at JFK airport from Liberia on May 17, and went to a hospital the following day complaining of fever, sore throat and tiredness, officials said. At that time, he did not say he had been traveling in West Africa, and he was sent home the same day. On May 21 his symptoms worsened and he returned to the hospital, at which point he was transferred to a facility equipped to deal with viral hemorrhagic fevers. The patient was in “appropriate isolation” when he died Monday evening. The CDC is working to compile a list of people who may have encountered the patient while he was sick, and they are monitoring close contacts for 21 days to see if they develop the virus.

TIME Crime

At Least 28 People Were Shot in Baltimore Over Memorial Day Weekend

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during a news conference in front of the burned CVS in the Sandtown neighborhood on May 7, 2015 in Baltimore.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during a news conference in front of the burned CVS in the Sandtown neighborhood on May 7, 2015 in Baltimore.

May has been the city's deadliest month since 1999

At least 28 people were shot in Baltimore this weekend and nine of them were killed, making May the city’s deadliest month this century.

Police say the nine fatal shootings over the weekend brought the total number of killings in Baltimore to 35 since May 1. That means more people have been killed in Baltimore this May than in any month since 1999, the Baltimore Sun reports. Those who were injured in shootings this weekend include a 9-year old boy shot in the leg and a teenager shot in the arm.

Full details are still emerging, with Baltimore CBS News saying 28 people were shot, while the Sun counts 29. “The shootings and killings are all over the city. I don’t think any part of the city is immune to this,” City Councilman William “Pete” Welch told the Sun. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s spokesman said she was “disheartened and frustrated by this continuing violence, particularly when you think about the progress that the city has made.”

Community relations with police have been strained in Baltimore since the April 12 death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was severed in police custody. Protests erupted after Gray’s death, resulting in strained altercations between Baltimore residents and police officers. Earlier this month, six Baltimore police officers were indicted in Gray’s death.

[Baltimore Sun]

TIME Crime

Former Jets Star Jermaine Cunningham Pleads Guilty to ‘Revenge Porn’

A June 16, 2014, file photo of New York Jets linebacker Jermaine Cunningham in Florham Park, N.J.
AP A June 16, 2014, file photo of New York Jets linebacker Jermaine Cunningham in Florham Park, N.J.

Posted suggestive photos of an ex on Instagram

Former New York Jets player Jermaine Cunningham pleaded guilty Wednesday to spreading sexual photos of his ex-girlfriend on social media.

Cunningham, 26, admitted to posting suggestive photos of his former flame without her consent and “tagged” her on Instagram, according to NJ.com. Under the New Jersey law, which was one of the first “revenge porn” statues in the nation, it is illegal to distribute sexual images without the subject’s consent.

The Bronx-born linebacker was arrested last year after police responded to a domestic violence complaint. He also pled guilty to third-degree invasion of privacy and gun charges as part of a plea deal that allows Cunningham to serve probation instead of going to court.

The length of probation will be determined in late June.

[NJ]

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