United States high school shooting survivors blast Trump


This 19 February 2019 video is called US High School Shooting Survivors Blast Trump.

TEEN SURVIVORS OF THE FLORIDA MASSACRE ARE MARCHING ON WASHINGTON for gun reform. “This is about us begging for our lives”, said Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. [HuffPost]

Sarcastic comment on the Florida bloodbath: The Florida school shooting proves we need to arm every child over the age of six months for their own protection. Americans’ insistence about their right to guns is tied in with their Christian belief system. As we all know, when Jesus was asked what he would do if someone slapped him on his right cheek, he responded: ‘Load my A15 semi-automatic rifle and fire at random strangers in a shopping centre in Nazareth’: here.

NRA defends grant to Parkland shooting suspect’s rifle team, lashes out at critics: here.

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Florida school massacre survivor against Trump, NRA


This 17 February 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived Wednesday’s mass shooting, gave a blistering speech at an anti-gun rally on Saturday about the politicians complicit in the murder of her classmates.

It was yet another reminder that the teenagers and children who grew up in the shadow of school shootings (and the 150,000 who survived one) are more practical—and less tolerant of empty rhetoric—than the adults who are supposed to protect them.

Gonzalez had no use for crocodile tears from President Trump, who was in Florida on Friday to offer his condolences (and, reportedly, to drop by a Studio 54 theme party at Mar-a-Lago):

“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy, and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association. But hey, you want to know something? It doesn’t matter, because I already know: $30 million. … To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!”

Florida teen Emma Gonzalez called out Trump’s cozy relationship with the NRA. Not long after, Trump threw another Twitter tantrum, blaming Democrats for gun violence: here.

The first funerals were held Thursday and Friday for several of the 17 students and staff killed in the horrific massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida: here.

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz made anti-Semitic and other racist comments in a private Instagram group chat. He wrote in the group chat that he joined around August 2017 specifically that he hated “jews, ni—ers, immigrants,” and showed that he had an obsession with violence and guns, CNN first reported on Saturday. Read more here.

NRA and US Congress, cartoon

‘Florida school massacre, white supremacist terrorism’


Nikolas Cruz after his arrest, AFP photo

So, it seems that the perpetrator of the school massacre in Florida, USA did not practice shooting only in his backyard and at a United States Army reserve officers training facility.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Suspect of massacre at school in the USA trained with racist militia

Today, 18:44
Updated at 21:50

The 19-year-old American who was arrested for killing seventeen people at a school in Parkland has ties with a white nationalist group in Florida. The leader of that militia, Republic of Florida, has stated so.

The group wants Florida to become an independent country with only ethnic white inhabitants. The 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is said to have participated in paramilitary training in Tallahassee city.

See also here. And here.

Trump posts inflammatory tweet appearing to blame Parkland mass shooting on shooter’s classmates: here.

Mass murder in Florida, USA by trainee military officer


This 14 February 2018 video from the USA is called 17 killed in Florida school shooting.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

Seventeen killed in mass shooting at Florida high school

15 February 2018

Seventeen people were killed and at least 14 more wounded Wednesday afternoon in the latest horrific school shooting in the United States. The tragedy unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, located some 30 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale, in Browder County.

According to reports, a former student started shooting from outside and then entered the school building, firing an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle with multiple magazines at students and teachers, evidently targeting people randomly. Students barricaded themselves inside classrooms and then ran from the building while frantic parents raced to the scene.

The shooting rampage began at about 2:30 in the afternoon, shortly before the end of the school day. Students said someone pulled a fire alarm just before shots started to ring out. The gunman was reportedly on the loose in the school for more than an hour.

Just after 4 PM, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department announced that the suspected shooter had been apprehended. They said he surrendered without incident several miles from the school. He was identified as 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz, who had been expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons.

Cruz was reportedly a member of the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).

According to Dutch NOS TV, a witness told that murder suspect Cruz did shooting drills in his backyard.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters later in the afternoon that the dead and wounded included adults as well as students, but he said he did not yet know how many of each.

A video posted on social media showed students cowering under desks during the melee. Hannah Siren, 14, was in math class on the third floor of the freshman building when the shooting broke out. She told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, “The people next door to us must have not locked their door. They all got shot.”

Lisette Rozenblet, whose daughter attends the school, was quoted by NBC News as saying, “Her biggest fear is a school shooting. She is always begging me to be home-schooled because she was scared of this.”

Math teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald he had taught the suspect last year and said he was troubled. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

The mass shooting in Parkland was the 18th school shooting just since the beginning of 2018, i.e., in the space of less than seven weeks. There have been school shootings in 13 states so far this year, including at least two each in Texas, California and Michigan. While many of these events did not result in fatalities or injuries, a good number did.

NBC News has compiled a list of shooting incidents since the beginning of the year that resulted in injuries and/or deaths at elementary, middle and high schools. As of February 5, these shootings had killed four people and wounded more than 20 others.

They include:

Oxon Hill High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland on February 5—one student injured

• Salvador Castro Middle School in Los Angeles, California on February 1—two students shot

• Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky on January 23—two students killed and 18 injured

• NET Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 22—one student injured

Italy High School in Italy, Texas on January 22—one student injured

• Coronado Elementary School in Sierra Vista, Arizona on January 10—one student killed.

Since the 1990s, school shootings have become a common and horrific feature of American life. Names such as Jonesboro, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Newtown have become synonymous with violent and bloody eruptions at schools and campuses that in some cases claim dozens of lives.

These are just a subset of a much longer list of mass killings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization, 2017 was “the deadliest year of mass shootings in modern US history.” The group counted 345 mass shootings, defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot (not including the shooter). Overall, the website calculates that more than 15,000 people in the US died from gun violence last year, with another 31,000 injured.

The period that has seen an escalating eruption of mass shootings in America roughly corresponds to more than a quarter century of virtually uninterrupted war waged by US imperialism, beginning with the first Gulf War of 1991. Throughout this entire period, the ruling class and both of its major parties have promoted militarism and glorified military violence, while they carried out “shock and awe” attacks on defenseless populations that killed millions and destroyed entire societies.

In parallel with the growth of militarism there has been a continuous increase in social inequality and a drastic deterioration in the social conditions of the working class, and particularly the young generation. Today, young people, who have known nothing but war overseas, face worsening prospects for secure and decent employment and a massive burden of student debt. Hence the growth of scourges such as the opioid epidemic and an ever-rising suicide rate among young people.

Politics and culture have been blighted by the deliberate cultivation of nationalism and anti-immigrant racism and efforts to encourage the most backward conceptions.

No section of the political establishment and neither of the two big-business parties can offer any policies to address the social crisis. The response of the politicians to each mass shooting is to demand a further buildup of the police apparatus of the state and a further crackdown on Internet speech and criminalization of political dissent. The Republicans promote “gun rights” and the Democrats cart out their hobbyhorse of “gun control”, without any examination of the social and political conditions that produce violence.

Donald Trump, as usual, expressed with particular banality and insincerity the inability of the ruling class to address the question of why such events recur with numbing regularity in America. Shortly after the shooting in Parkland had ended, he tweeted: “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”

This is a man who just a few weeks ago in his State of the Union address presented a delusional picture of a grateful and happy nation moving from success to success.

The reality is a growing political radicalization and overall movement to the left within the working class and particularly among the youth, who have registered in poll after poll a growing interest in socialism and hatred for capitalism. This anticipates the renewal of class struggle on an unprecedented scale. This is the path, directed politically against capitalism and for socialism, to resolving the social impasse that generates malignant events such as Wednesday’s eruption in Florida.

‘WE JUST KEPT HEARING GUNSHOTS AND SCREAMING’ At least 17 students and adults are dead and 15 injured after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on his former high school in Parkland, Florida. Armed with smoke bombs, Cruz reportedly wore a gas mask and pulled the fire alarms in order to lure students and teachers out of the classrooms before unleashing a torrent of bullets with an AR-15. He then blended into the panicked crowd to escape before eventually being apprehended two hours later. [HuffPost]

THIS IS THE 18TH SCHOOL SHOOTING IN 2018 There has been a school shooting on average every 60 hours so far this year, leading former congresswoman Gabby Giffords to ask, “Is it safe to send our kids to school?” [HuffPost]

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEAPONS OF WAR USED IN MASS SHOOTINGS LIKE THIS ONE Shooters know these assault-style rifles maximize casualties. According to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), these atrocities are Congress’ fault. And Trump’s proposed budget would cut millions from the gun background check system. [HuffPost]

LAS VEGAS AUTOPSIES REVEAL THE BRUTAL HORROR OF MASS SHOOTINGS “Media coverage often serves to sanitize the graphic, uncomfortable reality of these tragedies. Maybe we don’t deserve the privilege of that comfort.” [HuffPost]

Saving sick sea turtles


This video from the USA says about itself:

Sea Turtles Get Life-Saving Surgery at Florida Hospital | National Geographic

6 February 2018

The Turtle Hospital, a care and rehab center in the Florida Keys, has performed a recently developed treatment on two green sea turtles—an encouraging step in their fight against a pandemic disease.

How loggerhead turtle Eleanor survived storm


This video says about itself:

In-water behaviour of the loggerhead sea turtle

18 January 2016

Intensive in-water surveys in Laganas bay, Zakynthos, Greece, revealed the existence of two aggregation hotspots for loggerhead sea turtles. The first one, a cleaning station, was occupied primarily by female turtles during their interesting period. The second, a small reef in the shallows, served as a foraging area. The solitary and the social behaviour of the turtles between these two spots was very different. At the cleaning station, female turtles did not involve in any fights, generally tolerating the presence of one another while being cleaned by fish and performing self-cleaning activities. In the foraging spot, on the other hand, which was used mainly by resident males, aggressive fights took place quite often as soon as one turtle was at the vicinity of the other.

Under the scientific guidance of sea turtle behaviour expert Dr. Gail Schofield, we highlight these differences and provide new insights into the in-water behaviour of the loggerhead sea turtle.

From the University of Southern Denmark:

The sea turtle that refused to be beaten by the storm

October 26, 2017

When Eleanor the sea turtle was caught in a tropical storm off the coast of Florida, she coped surprisingly well. In fact, she hardly needed to use any extra energy during the four days the storm raged — and neither was she injured.

As the seas get warmer, Earth suffers the ravages of ever more powerful storms and hurricanes, with massive consequences for both humans and animals. One of the concerns is marine animals, especially endangered species, such as certain whales, manatees, sharks, sea turtles, etc.

A joint Danish/American/Australian team of researchers has discovered that severe weather is not necessarily harmful to individual adult sea turtles. The team was in the process of monitoring sea turtles fitted with GPS transmitters and motion sensors off Sarasota in the USA, when one of the sea turtles was unexpectedly caught in a tropical storm. This provided the team with a unique opportunity to see how a sea turtle would cope with a storm.

“We were delighted to find that she rode out the storm in style without any problem,” says Maria Wilson, a biologist at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

The study was conducted in 2012 involving colleagues from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota in Florida, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Marine Science Program in Australia and Aarhus University in Denmark. A scientific article has now been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

“We know little about how sea turtles manage during hurricanes and tropical storms. Storms could blow sea turtles off course, or surviving a storm could be so exhausting that it drains energy reserves and thus the ability to survive and produce eggs, thereby having a negative impact on the next generation of sea turtles,” explains Wilson.

The tagged sea turtle caught in the storm is named Eleanor. She was at sea in the Mexican Gulf in the egg-laying season when she was hit be the storm. Consequently, she had already nested on one of Florida’s beaches and had returned to the sea to replenish her energy reserves before coming back to lay more.

Eleanor was caught in tropical storm Debby, which passed through the Mexican Gulf between 23rd and 27th June 2012. Debby caused extensive flooding in Florida, reaching wind speeds of up to 100 kph.

Eleanor was tagged for 16 days, four of which were during the storm. Data from the GPS and animal motion tags showed that she drastically changed behaviour when the storm struck. Before the storm, she rested on the seabed, moving only to go to the surface for air.

When the storm struck, she moved further north than expected. According to the researchers, she was forced by prevailing currents. She also changed her diving patterns, becoming much more active instead of saving energy for the next egg-laying event.

“Even though Eleanor swam for most of the four days the storm raged, she was good at saving energy, ending up actually using no more than she would normally use to produce 12 eggs. Given that sea turtles lay somewhere between 300 and 900 eggs during a nesting season, that’s not much. But another fantastic element of Eleanor’s story is that, despite the storm pushing her more than 100 km north of ‘her’ beach, she swam south when it passed and made her nest just 75 metres from her last one — although with a few days’ delay,” adds Wilson.

The researchers calculated Eleanor’s energy consumption based on motion sensors (3D accelerometers and gyroscopes), which detected when she was swimming. How much energy a swimming sea turtle uses had been determined from earlier experiments in the laboratory, making it possible to estimate how much energy they use sea.

Even though it would seem that sea turtles are sufficiently robust to avoid being at the mercy of storms, such a powerful storm can still be a major threat to them.

Sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach, and their nests are extremely vulnerable to passing storms. The storm that Eleanor easily survived destroyed almost 90% of nests on the beach where she and several hundred other female turtles had laid their eggs.”

That’s why Maria Wilson urges more focus on protecting nests and helping newly hatched turtles and less on adults, when the discussion turns to protecting sea turtles.

Goannas have overtaken foxes as the number one predator of the endangered loggerhead turtle at its second largest Queensland nesting beach. A new study has found that since feral red foxes were controlled in the 1980s, there has been an increase in the number of goanna raids on loggerhead turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach, south of Agnes Waters: here.

Tiny trackers reveal the secret lives of young [loggerhead] sea turtles, by Sarah Zielinski. 9:00am, December 22, 2017.

A groundbreaking study of sea turtle nests and hatchlings using paternity tests to uncover ‘who are your daddies?’ is the first to document multiple paternity in loggerhead sea turtle nests in southwest Florida. What started out as a study on female sea turtle promiscuity is proving to be very good news for this female-biased species facing rising risks of extinction due to climate change: here.