DeSantis booed at vigil for victims of racist shooting in Jacksonville.
Trump chief-of-staff argues to move Georgia election prosecution to federal court.
Taliban imposes further restrictions on women and girls, driving up suicides.
DeSantis booed at vigil for victims of racist shooting in Jacksonville
On Saturday, a white gunman killed three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, FL. The gunman, who was from neighboring Clay County, traveled to a predominantly Black Jacksonville neighborhood with the aim of killing Black people. Before leaving the home he shared with his parents, he left a suicide note as well as a racist manifesto, which Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters described as “the diary of a madman”.
The gunman first drove to Edward Waters University, a historically Black university. When campus security chased him off, he drove to a Dollar General down the block. There, he killed Angela Michelle Carr, 52; store employee A.J. Laguerre, 19; and customer Jerrald Gallion, 29, before turning the gun on himself.
No “Road to Damascus” moment for DeSantis
Yesterday, shocked community members gathered for a vigil for the victims. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is also running for the Republican Presidential nomination, appeared and was greeted with loud booing from the crowd.
Critics see DeSantis’ so-called “anti-woke” politics as a thinly-veiled attack against Black people and other minority groups seeking recognition and equality. In the past two years, books about Civil Rights leaders have been pulled from school libraries. Recently, new Florida education guidelines were changed to push the idea that Black people benefitted from slavery.
During his speech, DeSantis described the gunman as a “scumbag” but not as a racist. He did acknowledge that the victims were targeted because of their race, but not because they were Black. He pledged more financial support to boost security at Edward Waters University. However, he betrayed no recognition that his agenda of erasing Black struggle may have fostered an atmosphere that permitted racial vitriol and violence.
If anyone came to the vigil hoping to see DeSantis have a change of heart (like former segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace), they would have been sorely disappointed.
Trump chief-of-staff argues to move Georgia election prosecution to federal court
Mark Meadows, former White House Chief-of-Staff to Donald Trump, appeared in a federal court today to argue that the charges against him in the Georgia election subversion case should be moved to federal court. Meadows is arguing that he should be tried in federal court instead of a state court in Georgia because he was acting “under color” of his duties as a member of the executive branch. Trump, Meadows, and 16 others have been charged for their roles in attempting to overturn Donald Trump’s election loss in Georgia’s 2020 Presidential election.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued against Meadows’ motion. She contends that Meadows crossed a line when he arranged and participated in a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that call, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” the 11,000-odd votes Trump would need to reverse his loss in the state. Trump also implied that Raffensperger and members of his staff might face prosecution if they refused to do Trump’s bidding.
If Meadows succeeds and the case is moved into federal court, he gains at least some advantage in jury selection. A federal jury pool would draw members from outside of largely Democrat Fulton County. Trump himself may try to make a similar move, depending how Meadows fares.
Taliban imposes further restrictions on women and girls, driving up suicides
Two years after seizing power in Afghanistan, the Taliban is stripping away more and more rights and freedoms from women and girls. Last December, just days before many girls were to take university admissions exams, the Taliban decreed that women would no longer be allowed to attend university. Recently, they’ve shuttered all beauty salons and banned women from public parks as well as traditional bath houses. Now, they are also banning women from leaving the country to receive university education abroad.
As women find themselves shut out of public life, forced marriages for women and even young girls are also on the rise. Women no longer see a future for themselves and many face the prospect of being trapped in abusive marriages. Nine in ten married women in Afghanistan suffer some form of domestic abuse, but face pressure from their own families to stay with their husbands. As a result, the rate of suicide and suicide attempts among women has skyrocketed.
The Taliban keeps no official statistics on suicide attempts among women. Instead, rights organizations and mental health professionals have taken it upon themselves to compile their own data from across the country. The numbers suggest that Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where suicides and suicide attempts among women outnumber those among men. Females now make up more than three-quarters of recorded suicide deaths and attempts. This is likely an undercount as many families refuse to admit that one of their loved ones has committed or attempted suicide.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is a few keystrokes away. Call or text the national suicide and crisis lifeline at 988, or visit 988lifeline.org to chat online.