Ohio voters reject GOP proposal to make it harder to protect abortion rights.
New details on how Virginia boy, 6, obtained gun to shoot teacher.
Niger: Prospects dim for peaceful resolution after coup.
Ohio voters reject GOP proposal to make it harder to protect abortion rights
By 57% to 43%, Ohio voters rejected “Issue 1,” a proposal by the state’s GOP leadership that would have increased the threshold required to amend the constitution from 50% plus one vote to 60%. The measure would also have required campaigners for ballot measures to obtain signatures in all of Ohio’s 88 counties rather than in just half of them.
Ohio Republicans proposed the measure in hopes of thwarting an upcoming ballot measure in November that would enshrine a right to abortion in the state’s constitution. The state currently has a 6-week abortion ban and was the center of a high-profile incident last year in which a 10-year-old rape victim had to flee to neighboring Indiana to terminate her pregnancy.
Opponents of Issue one described it as a “deceptive power grab” that would diminish the power of the state’s voters.
New details on how Virginia boy, 6, obtained gun to shoot teacher
On Jan. 6 this year, a 6-year-old boy in Newport News, VA, shot his first grade teacher during class. The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, 25, survived despite being shot through her hand into her upper chest. Zwerner required four surgeries during her recovery and has not returned to the classroom. She has filed a $40 million suit against the school district.
The boy will not face charges, but his mother, 26-year-old Deja Taylor, is facing several charges. These include felony child neglect, leaving a firearm in an unsafe condition so as to endanger a child, use of illegal substances (marijuana) while in possession of a firearm, and lying on her application to obtain a weapons permit. However, Taylor’s attorney has insisted that Taylor kept her gun in a lockbox on a high shelf and that how her son obtained the gun was a mystery.
New disclosures in the case contradict this story. A teacher who restrained the boy after the shooting says the boy boasted that he “shot that bitch dead” and that he had obtained his mother’s firearm the previous night.
Contradicting public statements by her attorney, a newly released filing from Taylor claimed she left the gun with a trigger lock installed in her purse on top of a dresser, with the key to the lock under her mattress. A police search of the home found no lockbox and no trigger lock.
Ms. Zwerner’s attorney, Diane Toscano, said, “[Taylor’s] attorney’s statements that the gun was safely secured defied common sense. Now we know it also defied the evidence”.
Taylor’s prosecution is just one of several high-profile cases around the country of parents being prosecuted for giving their children guns or allowing them access to guns before the child committed a violent act. In Michigan, the parents of a 14-year-old boy who killed four at his high school are facing manslaughter charges after gifting their son a gun, despite concerns about his mental health. In Illinois, the father of an adult man who fatally shot seven people at a 4th of July parade in 2022 has been charged for sponsoring his son’s application to obtain weapons despite the son’s history of violent threats.
Niger: Prospects dim for peaceful resolution after coup
The situation in West Africa remains tense two weeks after a military coup overthrew Niger’s elected president, Mohammed Barzoum. The the Economic Community of West African State (Ecowas) issued an ultimatum to the leaders of Niger’s junta last week, demanding that Barzoum be reinstated and warning that a military intervention by Niger’s neighbors was not off the table. The deadline for that ultimatum passed Sunday with no change.
Since then, dialog between the junta’s leaders and the outside world has been limited and unproductive. On Monday, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with junta officials for a “extremely frank and at times quite difficult” conversation. The meeting produced no discernable result, and Nuland was denied the chance to meet in person with Barzoum. Yesterday, representatives from the UN and Ecowas were to meet with junta officials, but the junta canceled that meeting at the last minute, citing the “atmosphere of threatened aggression against Niger”.
Ecowas representatives are meeting in neighboring Nigeria to discuss the situation, but the purpose of the meeting is unclear. Nigeria had previously pledged military support for Ecowas in the event of an invasion of Niger.
Meanwhile, reports have suggested the junta is seeking support from Wagner, a Russian mercenary organization, which is known to be present in neighboring Mali.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that while he doesn’t believe that Russia or Wagner took part in Niger’s coup, they are “taking advantage” of it.