TIME Law

A Convenience-Store Face-Off Illustrates the Dangers of Georgia’s New Gun Law

Georgia Gun Bill
On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, protestors held signs during a rally in Atlanta against a gun bill that the governor signed, expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia. David Goldman—AP

A misunderstanding leads to a drawn gun and an arrest on the first day of Georgia's "guns everywhere" act

On Tuesday, a misunderstanding between two armed men in a convenience store in Georgia led to one man drawing his gun and being arrested on the first day of the “guns everywhere” law.

Georgia’s newly enacted Safe Carry Protection Act allows residents to carry firearms into hitherto prohibited locations — such as government buildings, classrooms, bars and nightclubs — as an exercise of their Second Amendment right to bear arms. It also prohibits other citizens and police from asking to see the permits of people carrying guns.

According to the Valdosta Daily Times local newspaper, an armed customer demanded to see the firearms permit and ID of a second armed man making a purchase in a convenience store. The first man drew his gun when the other customer refused to show him his permit. After the second armed man completed his purchase, he called the police on the first man, who was then arrested.

The contentious new law has further separated opposing camps in the national gun debate. Georgia Republican Representative Paul Broun supported the passage of the law, telling Newsmax TV that it would help protect citizens. “We know that when law-abiding citizens who know how to utilize a firearm have one on their person, it helps prevent crime,” Broun said.

However, some officials worry that the law will spark confrontations that might not end as civilly in the future. “This is an example of my concern with the new gun law — that people will take the law into their own hands, which we will not tolerate,” Valdosta police chief Brian Childress told the Valdosta Daily Times.

Target meanwhile announced on Wednesday that it will prohibit all customers from carrying firearms in the store. “It boils down to a simple belief: bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,” John Mulligan, Target’s interim CEO, said in a statement.

[Valdosta Daily Times]

TIME Military

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl Is Venturing Off Base as Part of Reintegration

Bowe Bergdahl
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl AP

Held captive by the Taliban for five years, he's now being reintegrated with society

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the prisoner of war in Afghanistan who recently returned to the U.S. after five years of captivity, is regularly going off post to dine, shop and do other chores, according to Lieut. Colonel Carol McClelland.

“He’s been doing it for at least a week,” the Army spokeswoman tells TIME, adding that it was a normal component of his reintegration into society. On visits to San Antonio, he has been accompanied by members of his reintegration team, including a psychologist, according to the Associated Press.

Bergdahl, 28, was shifted last week to outpatient care at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He was freed by the Taliban on May 31 in a prisoner exchange for five senior Taliban officials held at Guantánamo Bay, and arrived in the U.S. on June 13. He was initially being treated in the U.S. at Brooke Army Medical Center.

As part of the reintegration process, the Army is increasing his exposure to people and social settings incrementally. It’s still unknown if his parents, who has asked for privacy since Bergdahl’s return, has visited their son.

The Army is still investigating circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s departure from his outpost in June 2009 before his capture.

With reporting by Mark Thompson

TIME weather

WATCH: Lightning Strike in NYC Caught on Video

You may not be able to capture lightning in a bottle, but you can certainly post it on YouTube

TIME Crime

Oakland Launches Pimp-Shaming Website

Images of four men convicted of soliciting prostitutes, intentionally blurred so they could not be recognized, are seen on a billboard on June 2, 2005, in Oakland, Calif.
Images of four men convicted of soliciting prostitutes, intentionally blurred so they could not be recognized, are seen on a billboard on June 2, 2005, in Oakland, Calif. Ben Margot—AP

Officials say the problem of human trafficking has never been worse

In an effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking, California’s Oakland police department is engaging in a brand of public humiliation: pimp shaming.

On a new website, the department lists the mug shots of alleged pimps and johns, along with their names, dates of birth and charges against them. The pictures come with the disclaimer that while those in the photos have been arrested and charged, they “are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

Lieutenant Kevin Wiley oversees the department’s human-trafficking operations and describes Oakland as “the hub of the West for child prostitution.” Oakland and Eastern counterpart Atlanta, he says, tend to be entry points into “the circuit,” a human-trafficking ring that cycles victims around the country.

While it may seem controversial to publicly display individuals’ photos alongside abhorred crimes before they’ve been convicted, Wiley emphasizes that at the arrest stage, the information is already a public record. The department, he says, waits until the Alameda County district attorney has investigated and charged the individuals before brandishing their likenesses on the Internet.

In 2005, the Oakland police department conducted the controversial “Operation Shame” campaign, using blurred-out images of johns on billboards, with the tagline “How Much Clearer Do We Have to Make It? Don’t ‘John’ in Oakland.” City officials said the images were a warning and that faces would not be blurred “next time.” Other cities have printed the names of those soliciting sex in newspapers or broadcast their mug shots on community TV.

“We want to get the word out ahead of time,” Wiley says, “We’re out there picking up people who exploit the communities.”

Wiley describes the problem of human trafficking as being at an “all-time level” in Oakland. Prostitution is becoming more violent, more closely associated with shootings, homicides and the illegal drug market. So far in 2014, the Oakland police have made 295 arrests related to prostitution and conducted 30 operations through outlets like massage parlors and the Internet. “We don’t have a lot of resources,” he says. “But the ones we have, we dedicate 110%.”

The FBI’s San Francisco field office, which works with the Oakland police on human-trafficking operations, says the website is a “proactive” measure, comparing it to their “Wanted” announcements. “They’re really drawing from the hip to raise public awareness,” says FBI spokesman Peter Lee.

TIME weather

East Coast Braces for Damage Amid Hurricane Warning

Weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean pictured on July 2, 2014.
Weather system Arthur travels up the East Coast of the U.S. on July 2, 2014 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Getty Images

The first named storm of the hurricane season is looming over the East Coast

Correction appended, July 2, 2014

A mandatory evacuation was ordered on Hatteras Island off the North Carolina coast as Tropical Storm Arthur approached and threatened to drench much of the Eastern Seaboard.

The evacuation order, which applies to out-of-town visitors arriving for the Fourth of July weekend and residents alike, will begin at 5 a.m. on Thursday. A state of emergency was declared in the rest of Dare County and 24 other counties along the coast.

Tropical Storm Arthur, which is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, was about 220 miles south of Charleston in the early evening on Wednesday and heading north parallel to the southeastern U.S. coast. The current forecast indicates that the storm, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, won’t make landfall in the U.S. and will weaken by early Saturday.

But with sustained winds of 60 m.p.h. and heavy rainfall, it has prompted hurricane warnings across the East Coast. The Boston Pops’ traditional July 4 concert and fireworks display was pushed from Friday to Thursday because of the severe weather threat. Coastal flooding is possible from Virginia to Cape Cod, according to AccuWeather.

The storm is expected to hit North Carolina’s Outer Banks hardest, where about 250,000 people were projected to converge for the long holiday weekend, according to the Associated Press. Twice in the past few years, storms have flooded North Carolina Route 12, the main road along the islands, making it impassable.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told residents, “Don’t put your stupid hat on,” urging potential swimmers and surfers to stay away from the water amid concerns of rip tides. “Our major goal is to ensure that no lives are lost during this upcoming storm,” he said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press.

Correction: The previous version of this article misstated that Hatteras Island is located off the South Carolina coast. It is located off the North Carolina coast.

Correction: The previous version of this article misstated that Route 12 is in South Carolina. It is in North Carolina.

TIME Immigration

A California City Revolts Against Undocumented Immigrants

What one California city's struggle means for the rest of the country

Being the mayor of Murrieta, Calif., is only a part-time job, and Alan Long, who’s held the post since January, earns his living as a battalion chief in a nearby fire department. There, he’s in charge of emergency management and preparedness, skills that have been particularly handy in recent days.

Now Long and Murrieta, a midsize city about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, have become a new flash point in the fierce and often contentious debate over how to handle a recent crush of children and families streaming across the Mexican border. In what’s been called a humanitarian crisis, from October 2013 to June 2014, more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors were caught illegally crossing the border, according to federal officials. More than half of the children came from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, seeking refuge from violence in their home countries and lured by rumors that it’s easy to obtain legal status in the U.S.

The tidal wave has prompted border-patrol offices in Texas, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of children and families, to transfer undocumented immigrants to processing facilities in other states. The move has raised concerns that a broken federal immigration system is burdening local communities far beyond the border.

This concern came to a head Tuesday, when protesters in Murrieta confronted several buses transporting 140 immigrants to a border-patrol center there. The passengers — presumably all undocumented and said to be children and parents — had been apprehended in Texas and flown to San Diego when they boarded buses bound for Murrieta. But facing a roadside crowd stationed blocks from the processing center and carrying signs that said, “Stop Illegal Immigration,” “Return to Sender” and “No New Illegals,” the border-patrol agents on board turned back and went to a center in San Diego instead.

“I wasn’t surprised the protest happened,” Long told TIME in an interview. Rumors of the immigrants’ arrival had been swirling in the city for weeks. On Monday, Long held a news conference in which he confirmed that 140 immigrants would land in San Diego at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and travel by bus to Murrieta that afternoon. Long said he never intended to incite a protest and that local residents most concerned about the immigrant transfer already knew about it, even without his announcement. He said he was just trying bat down false information being passed around the community — including that the immigrants on the way were criminals or carrying diseases — and present the hard facts.

“I’m getting credit for organizing this protest, but I’ve never organized or told people to protest,” Long said.

Rather, he said he hoped to encourage Murrieta residents to contact elected officials in Washington and urge them to repair the immigration system and beef up border enforcement. Calls from Murrieta to members of Congress may have taken place at Long’s urging, but the protest itself has garnered far more attention and been held up by anti-illegal-immigration activists as proof that locals can stand their ground against the intrusion of undocumented immigrants and by immigrant-rights activists as an example of xenophobia and compassionless behavior at its worst.

Long, who was born in the U.S. but is ethnically half-Mexican, said Murrieta residents are concerned that a large influx of undocumented immigrants will strain local resources. Judging by comments made by some residents at Long’s Monday news conference, they’re also concerned that undocumented immigrants will be released into their community en masse. “They’re going to be dumped in minivans throughout the county,” one woman present said.

Immigrants like those on the bus to Murrieta typically face three possible scenarios, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If they are a threat to public safety or national security, they could be detained. Those who are not eligible to attain legal status could be deported, although that process often takes time. If they are not a threat, pass background checks and health screenings and have a claim that they could obtain legal status, they could be released into a community in California or elsewhere and monitored while their application is reviewed. Monitoring, according to ICE, can include electronic bracelets, in-person required check-ins, voice-recognition telephonic software or in-home visits by immigration officials. Immigrants who believe they may be able to attain legal status risk that if they do not comply with monitoring requirements.

It’s not clear whether the border patrol will try to transport another group of immigrants to Murrieta. But already, Long said, more rumors in the community are swirling.

“We are a very compassionate community,” Long said. “We understand these immigrants are coming from a less desirable location. It’s not about them. We’re opposing the federal system that’s broken.”

TIME National Security

Woman Arrested in Denver for Alleged Support of Jihadist Group

Her arrest comes weeks after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched an offensive in Iraq

Updated 7:13 a.m. E.T. on July 3

A woman in Denver was arrested for allegedly providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the designated-terrorist organization that has been seizing regions in northern Iraq over the last month.

A criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court of Colorado says Shannon Maureen Conley conspired to commit an offense against the U.S., Reuters reports, and that she knew ISIS was engaged in militant activity.

The complaint said Conley met with a co-conspirator—a man, labeled in the documents as Y.M., who said he was an active member of the group—online last year and that she planned to meet him in Syria through Turkey. Conley had apparently attended training sessions for military tactics and using firearms in Texas earlier this year, the complaint added, with an aim to support fighters once she was on the ground.

[Reuters]

TIME Pentagon

The $100 Billion Helicopter Dogfight

The AVX entry in the Pentagon's $100 billion chopper competition. AVX

The original story of David and Goliath took place on the ground, and involved five smooth stones. But there’s a new airborne version of that ancient Biblical tale involving a pair of Davids battling three Goliaths—and a chance to land up to $100 billion in Pentagon business.

It’s all because the Army is looking to revamp its helicopter fleet over the coming decades, replacing thousands of its trusted UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache choppers with something that can fly heavier, faster and further: the trifecta of flight. The industry heavyweights—Bell Helicopter and a Boeing-Sikorsky team—are in the running.

But so are two pipsqueaks: AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft.

While Karem is offering a tilt-rotor design like the Bell-Boeing V-22 now being flown by the Marines, AVX’s entry is what’s called a compound coaxial helicopter. It has a pair of rotors spinning in opposite directions atop its carbon-fiber fuselage to lift it, and two ducted-fans at its rear end to push it.

The Army wants its next-gen chopper to be able to fly 265 mph (426 kph), 50% faster than a Black Hawk, and to travel 2,100 miles (3,400 km) from California to Hawaii on its own. And to be able to make that flight autonomously—with no pilot at the controls.

Both of the rotorcraft whippersnappers are run by aircraft heavyweights: AVX’s come from Bell, while Abe Karem is the engineer responsible for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones, being built by another company.

These small bidders consist only of a relative handful of engineers and have no experience producing manned aircraft. But they seem to think of themselves more as designers and integrators who would buy the components they need from others, and perhaps team with a major partner for final assembly.

The U.S. military has upgraded its existing helicopter fleet for decades, but there is only so much improvement that can be bolted onto Reagan-era airframes. “We’ve never had the opportunity to start over fresh across [the Department of Defense] to bring a new fleet to bear that takes innovation into account,” the Army’s Dan Bailey said at a Tuesday briefing on the program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Army wants to buy up to 4,000 of the choppers beginning in the mid-2030s. It plans to narrow the four contenders down to perhaps two in about a month. If the Army scratches AVX and/or Karem from the program, they could team up with—or be bought by—one of the winners.

“It is thrilling to see how new ideas broad by a startup aircraft company, few people ever heard before, will stack-up against the arrogance of the U.S. defense establishment,” DefenceTalk.com said of AVX. “Competition cleans out inefficiency and incompetence, and the U.S. defense establishment is in need of it.”

There’s betting inside defense circles that the upstarts have scant chance against the combined clout and experience of Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky.

Of course, that’s how Chrysler, Ford and General Motors felt about newcomer Tesla, before Consumer Reports rated its battery-powered Model S the best car of the year in February.

TIME Healthcare

20 Million Americans Get Insurance Under Obamacare, Report Says

A new report estimates millions of Americans have enrolled in health insurance as of this Spring

About 20 million Americans have gained health insurance or enrolled in new insurance under the health care reform law, according to a new report.

The report from the Commonwealth Fund, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, credits President Barack Obama’s health reform law with an estimated 20 million enrollments as of May 1. The report looks at both people who gained coverage through insurance marketplaces, and people who gained coverage due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act (such as those qualifying for Medicaid and those now covered through the Children’s Health Insurance Program).

The authors estimate that 7.8 million people under 26—who are now allowed to be covered as dependents on their parents’ plans—have enrolled. They also report that 8 million people were enrolled in coverage via new health insurance marketplaces and five million purchased coverage directly from insurers.

The authors write that for ACA’s continued expansion to be sustainable, it will rely largely on the ability of the U.S. to control health care costs.

“Developing and spreading innovative approaches to health care delivery that provide greater quality at lower cost is the next great challenge facing the nation,” the report concludes.
The Commonwealth Fund
TIME National Security

TSA Beefing Up Security at Airports Abroad Ahead of July 4 Weekend

TSA Security
A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration at Miami International Airport on October 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

TSA will amp up security ahead of travel-heavy July 4 weekend

The United States Transportation Security Administration will “implement enhanced security measures” at certain airports overseas with direct flights to the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday.

The announcement comes just ahead of the travel-heavy Fourth of July weekend. It was also made amid American concerns reported by ABC earlier this week that al-Qaeda offshoots in Yemen and Syria were developing bombs that could be used to attack commercial airliners. President Barack Obama also acknowledged Sunday that militants fighting in Syria, and more recently in Iraq, pose a threat to the U.S. because many carry Western passports.

In his statement Wednesday, Secretary Johnson did not name the airports where security will be enhanced, nor did he identify a specific terror threat. But he said the directive was in response to an “ongoing process” of assessing terrorism risks.

Johnson added that the TSA will “work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible.”

“As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public,” Johnson said.

–Zeke J. Miller contributed reporting

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