TIME Guns

A 3-Year-Old Boy Shot and Killed a 1-Year-Old in an Ohio Home

Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.
Patrick Cooley/Northeast Ohio Media Group/AP Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.

The firearm had been left unattended

A three-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio shot and killed a one-year-old boy after picking up a handgun that had been left unattended inside a home on Sunday.

The infant was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to the head but was later pronounced dead, reports the Associated Press.

Investigators were trying to determine where the gun came from, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters.

Though full details behind the shooting have not been released, Williams said there was at least one adult home when the incident happened.

“It’s a sad day for Cleveland,” said Williams. “This fascination that we have with handguns, not just in this city but in this country, has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life.”

[Associated Press]

TIME Crime

Nearly 1,000 Suspected Gang Members Have Been Arrested in a Federal Crackdown

Of those arrested, 913 were charged with criminal offenses

Federal agents arrested 976 suspected gang members across scores of American cities during a major operation that spanned from late February through the month of March, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced Wednesday.

Headed by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, the six-week campaign, called Project Wildfire, targeted members of 239 different gangs in 282 cities, with the heaviest focus on Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and El Paso, Texas. San Juan, Puerto Rico, was also highly targeted.

“Criminal gangs inflict violence and fear upon our communities, and without the attention of law enforcement, these groups can spread like a cancer,” said ICE director Sarah Saldaña in a statement.

The majority of the people arrested were U.S. citizens, however, the ICE said 199 were foreign nationals.

Of the 976 alleged gang members arrested 913 were charged with criminal offenses, including 19 suspected of murder and an additional 15 suspected of rape or sexual assault.

In addition to the arrests, officials confiscated 82 firearms, 5.2 kg of methamphetamine, 1.5 kg of heroin, 5.6 kg of cocaine and 7.8 kg of marijuana. They seized $379,399 in cash and an estimated $547,534 worth of counterfeit goods.

The operation was part of global initiative called Operation Community Shield that targets transnational street gangs.

[ICE]

TIME States

New Kansas Law Will Allow Concealed Carry Without Gun Permit or Training

“It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right"

A bill signed Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback will allow residents in Kansas to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.

Kansans aged 21 or older will be permitted to carry concealed guns starting July 1 when the law takes effect, even if they’re not trained or don’t have a permit, the Kansas City Star reports. That will make the state one of six to allow “constitutional carry.”

Anyone who would like to carry a concealed gun in any of the three dozen states that accept Kansas permits must go through training, a requirement that Brownback emphasized. But even with regard to Kansans, who won’t be required to go through training, he acknowledged that his youngest son had “got a lot out of” a hunter safety course recently and urged others “to take advantage of that.”

“We’re saying that if you want to do that in this state, then you don’t have to get the permission slip from the government,” Brownback said. “It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right.”

The Kansas State Rifle Association was supportive of the bill. A statement on its website reads: “the right to keep and bear arms is a natural, unalienable right protected by the Second Amendment and citizens should not have to go through burdensome and expensive hoops to exercise that right.”

[Kansas City Star]

TIME Crime

This Woman Didn’t Get Any Bacon In Her Burger So She Shot Up the Drive-Thru

Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich
Chris Clark—AP Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich

Thankfully nobody was injured

A Grand Rapids, Mich. woman faces up to seven years in prison after she was convicted of multiple charges Wednesday for firing a bullet into a McDonald’s drive-through when staff forgot to put bacon in her cheeseburger.

Shaneka Monique Torres, 30, ordered a bacon cheeseburger at the McDonald’s on Feb. 10, 2014 but it arrived without bacon. She complained to a manager and was offered a free burger, according to Grand Rapids local news outlet WZZM 13.

At about 3.am, Torres and her friend returned to order another bacon cheeseburger. This burger also came without bacon and Torres verbally lashed out at a worker before pulling out her handgun and firing a round into the restaurant. No one was injured.

Torres was arrested at her home about 30 minutes later.

Her defense attorney, John Beason, argued that Torres discharged the weapon by accident and there was no correlation with the bacon-less burgers.

The jury deliberated for one hour and found Torres guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm into a building and felony use of a firearm.

She will be sentenced on April 21.

Read next: California Woman Arrested for Trying to Steal Two Babies, Leading to One Death

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Law

Texas Moves Closer to Allowing Guns on College Campuses

UT Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, opposes the measure

The Texas Senate approved a bill on Thursday that would allow people to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

Supporters say the measure, which has the backing of gun rights groups, will help licensed students over 21 better protect themselves. The Senate voted on the measure along party lines, and the Republican-controlled House is taking it up next week.

But the move to legalize licensed weapons on campuses has prompted opposition from law enforcement and university leaders, including University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

“I continue to remain apprehensive about the effects of this legislation on UT System institutions and our students, staff, patients and visitors,” McRaven said in a statement to TIME. “I continue to hear from students, parents, staff and faculty about their uneasiness related to this legislation. In light of this, it is my responsibility to continue to express our concerns as the Senate bill goes to the House and the House bill goes through the process.”

While most states either ban concealed arms on campus or leave the decision to colleges and universities individually, seven states have provisions that allow for concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several Republican-held legislatures, including in Florida and Montana, are also considering easing their restrictions on weapons on campuses.

While the Texas legislature has failed to pass similar bills three times since 2009, this bill has strong backing in the House and Governor Greg Abbott has expressed his support.

Still, student groups and higher education leaders are voicing their opposition.

“There is great concern that the presence of handguns, even if limited to licensed individuals age 21 or older, will lead to an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds,” McRaven wrote in an open letter to state leaders in January.

— Charlotte Alter contributed reporting.

TIME Guns

This Chart Shows the Hidden Problem in America’s Gun Debate

Major surveys are turning up conflicting results on gun ownership

A new report from the General Social Survey (GSS) says the percentage of Americans who own guns fell to 32% in 2014, down from 49% back in 1973. But other data runs contrary to the idea that fewer Americans own firearms — according to Gallup’s historical data, gun ownership hasn’t changed much from what it was in the 1970s: 43% in 1972 compared to 42% in 2014.

Here’s a look at how the two sources of historical gun data compare:

Since the federal government doesn’t collect data on U.S. gun ownership, comprehensive gun trends research has fallen into the hands of independent agencies like GSS and Gallup, whose results are often curiously at odds.

While GSS has become arguably the authoritative institution for gun data, it’s often criticized by pro-gun advocates for being partially funded by the Joyce Foundation known for its anti-gun efforts. Pro-gun advocates such as political commentator John Lott have also pointed to data showing a rise in the number of concealed handgun permits issued by various states, supporting Gallup’s findings that gun ownership may be increasing or remaining steady. But GSS’s findings have found support from Pew Research, whose research on gun trends “largely confirm” the decline in gun ownership reported by GSS.

The exact reason for the disparity across major gun ownership studies is still unknown. Some researchers suspect gun survey results are influenced by people’s lack of openness with pollsters. Another challenge is choosing a representative sample to survey, as there are “sharp differences” between gun ownership rates across demographic categories, according to Pew.

As Gallup’s editor-in-chief, Frank Newport, describes it, “it’s an intriguing social-science puzzle as to why we are seeing the differences. I’ve learned in my career that the best answer to these kinds of questions is to get more data.”

 

TIME Law

Tamir Rice’s Family Says Cleveland’s Response to Lawsuit Is ‘Very Disrespectful’

The city's response blamed the boy's death partly on his failure to avoid injury

The family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in November, said Tuesday they felt disrespected by the city’s response to a lawsuit over his death.

The city’s response, filed on Friday, had blamed the boy’s death partly on his own actions, stating it had been caused “by the failure … to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

“The city’s answer was very disrespectful to my son, Tamir,” Samaria Rice, the boy’s mother, said at a news conference alongside attorneys, according to Cleveland.com. “I have yet not received an apology from the police department or the city of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son. And it hurts.”

The family’s attorney, Walter Madison, said the response as written places an adult-like responsibility on children. Cleveland officials have remained mostly silent about the lawsuit, aside from Mayor Frank Jackson, who on Monday apologized for the way the response’s phrasing made it seem like the boy was at fault over his own death.

Rice was killed Nov. 22 after officers responded to reports of someone in a park with a gun, shooting him less than two seconds after their arrival. The boy was later found to have been holding a pellet gun.

[Cleveland.com]

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: LAPD Shoots and Kills Homeless Man

The disturbing incident was caught on camera by a bystander

A homeless man was shot and killed by the Los Angeles Police Department on Skid Row Sunday. Watch Know Right Now to find out more.

MONEY Holidays

5 Ways to Get Back at Your Ex and Celebrate Being Single on Valentine’s Day

name label with cockroach on it
Sarina Finkelstein (photo illustration)—Getty Images (cockroach); Eric Hood (label)

There are many ways to celebrate one's love on Valentine's Day. But how about some ideas for folks who want to spew hate at their exes, or at the contrived holiday in general?

Rest assured that there are plenty of ways for embittered haters to participate in Valentine’s Day too. Here are five possibilities:

Name a Cockroach After Your Ex
The San Francisco Zoo has a couple of unusual Valentine’s Adopt-an-Animal specials for those eager to get over a relationship gone bad. For a donation of as little as $25, the zoo is encouraging spurned lovers to adopt either a Giant Hairy Scorpion or a Hissing Cockroach and name it after one’s ex. “Nothing says ‘I’ve moved on’ like adopting a giant cuddly cockroach in the name of your favorite ex,” the zoo’s sales pitch states. “With a little luck, this generous donation will release your bad love life karma so that you never have to encounter a cockroach again.”

After adopting and naming one of these creatures, zoo patrons are given the opportunity to enter the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of anyone they’d like to notify about the event. Hmmm… now who might you want to tell?

Machine Gun Memories of Your Ex
The new “Just Divorced” Experience from a Sin City-area shooting range called Machine Guns Vegas welcomes customers to fire a choice of automatic weapons at items from their old relationship, “including (but not limited to) wedding dresses, tuxes, and marriage certificates.” The package, which is available starting February 14 for a limited time, costs $499 for up to four guests, and comes with 40 rounds of ammunition and transportation to and from the range.

The owner of Machine Guns Vegas—who, believe it or not is named Genghis Cohen “because his father admired Genghis Khan,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal—said that while most personal articles are fair game for blowing away, there are restrictions: “They’re not allowed to shoot a picture. They can do it privately, but if a nut job shoots a husband or wife in the light of day, we don’t want to be involved in a lawsuit.”

Donate Stuff from Your Ex to Charity
Instead of blowing mementos of your old relationship to bits, you could do some good with them by participating in Donate Your Heartbreak, a program from WebThriftStore.com. The New York City-based site is asking people to consider donating gifts and other valuables. It will sell the items online and turn over 80% of each sale to one of five dozen charities.

Jewelry is a particularly popular category for “Heartbreak” donations, and one participant explained to the Daily News why it was so easy to hand over a watch that was given to him by his ex. “The gift was ‘you’re always running behind so I thought I’d buy you a watch,'” he said. “I think at that point I knew most of the sugar is gone from this relationship.”

Send Some Hate Mail
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for proclamations of love. It’s also a fine time for unleashing other kinds of feelings—like how much you loathe your ex or Valentine’s Day in general. Luckily, there are virtual and physical cards out there allowing celebrants to issue forth all these messages and more.

The Just Wink greeting card company boasts Valentine’s cards with messages such as “Besties Before Testes” and “Most Guys Are A******,” the latter slogan encapsulated in an oversized pink heart. Someecards, meanwhile, offers a dizzying number of funny and quirky messages to be shared in mock celebration of the holiday, including “This is the most special of the estimated one billion cards that will be sent this Valentine’s Day” and one intended especially for exes: “It’s not you, it’s someone else better than you.”

Party at an Anti-Valentine’s Event
No matter if you hate your ex or simply detest how forced and fake the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day can seem, you’ll be welcomed at the many anti-Valentine’s dinners, happy hours, and parties happening around the country. Anti-Valentine’s themed events have been popping up for years, particularly in cities with large populations of young people. This year, there are plenty of options for Valentine’s haters in Dallas, Portland, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and beyond.

Some anti-Valentine’s events are basically just drink specials (with festive and colorful names like the X-Boyfriend), while others are mixers for those eager to get back into the game, and still others award prizes for people willing to share their worst “dumped” stories. Perhaps most unusual of all, a radio station in Wisconsin is hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Gaming Party. What better way to celebrate singlehood and make your ex jealous than by playing Mario Cart for hours on end? Or something. Plus, it’s a benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation.

 

TIME Guns

Ferguson Police Are Testing ‘Less-Lethal’ Attachments For Guns

Latest response to the Michael Brown shooting

Police in the St. Louis suburb that was roiled by protests over the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last year are testing a device docked on a regular handgun that could reduce the use of lethal force by law enforcement.

“The Alternative,” a bright orange cap that mounts onto a handgun, melds an attached projectile the size and shape of a ping-pong ball around a fired bullet, the Washington Post reports. The resulting projectile has enough force to knock a person down but not kill him, says Alternative Ballistics, the device’s makers.

Five police officers in Ferguson, Mo., are training this week to use the device, and the department plans to introduce it to the entire, 55-person force.

“It gives another option,” said Al Eickhoff, the city’s assistant police chief. “I really liked it. … You are always looking to save a life, not take a life.”

The device has not been tested on a human, according to Alternative Ballistics chief executive Christian Ellis.

Debates over police use-of-force have gripped the country after grand juries chose not to indict officers in Ferguson and New York in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively.

[Washington Post]

 

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