Virginia: 6-year-old who shot teacher won’t be charged – National & International News – THU 9Mar2023
Virginia: 6-year-old who shot teacher won’t be charged.
Biden releases ambitious budget proposal, challenges GOP to show their hand in debt ceiling fight.
Virginia: 6-year-old who shot teacher won’t be charged
A little over two months ago, a 6-year-old boy in Newport News, VA, brought a 9mm pistol to school and shot his 1st grade teacher in the chest. The teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner, spent two weeks in hospital and is still recovering. Now, the local prosecutor says that the boy won’t be charged with any crime, despite the fact that police described the shooting as intentional.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said the “prospect that a six-year-old can stand trial is problematic,” since the boy is too young to understand the legal system and assist in his own defense. However, Gwynn said his office may yet seek charges for adults connected with the case. Gwynn didn’t offer any specifics, but some have wondered whether the boy’s parents could be charged for not having their weapon properly secured. The family claims the weapon was properly secured and that they don’t know how the boy could have accessed it.
More disturbing details emerge
When the case first made headlines, it quickly became apparent that the shooting was the result of a series of failures by school administrators. On the day of the shooting, no less than three teachers attempted to raise the alarm about the boy’s behavior. Two of them even advised administrators they believed the boy had a gun and was threatening to use it. Administrators’ response was to “ride it out” since the school day was almost over. By Feb. 1, the school’s assistant principal had resigned and the superintendent of schools had been relieved of his position.
Since that time, more information has come to light about the boy’s disturbing behavior and missed opportunities for intervention. Several of these came from a letter from Ms. Zwerner’s attorney Diane Toscano, informing the school district of Zwerner’s intent to sue. According this letter, the boy had “choked his teacher until she couldn’t breathe” in one incident a year prior to the shooting. The boy had also taken off his belt at recess and attempted to whip other children with it, the letter said. The day before the shooting, the boy had received a 1-day suspension after he “slammed Ms. Zwerner’s phone, breaking it”.
About an hour before the shooting, Zwerner had texted a loved one, expressing her frustration with the situation. The recipient said Zwerner “was trying to get help with this child, for this child. And then when she needed help, no one was coming”.
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Biden tries to force GOP to show their hand in budget fight
President Biden released annual budget proposal today which contained an ambitious set of objectives. The budget aims to reduce the federal deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years while expanding services to Americans.
Biden’s proposal reduces the deficit and increases revenue for benefits programs by raising taxes on the wealthy. Among the tax proposals are:
- A 25% minimum tax on billionaires.
- Increased taxes on corporations.
- Repeal some of Trump’s tax cuts that benefit individuals making more than $400,000 a year.
The budget also seeks to improve the financial sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid:
- Improve Medicare’s finances: 1) by negotiating prices and raising taxes on those making $400k+; 2) negotiating lower prescription prices for Medicare recipients.
- Lower Medicaid costs: 1) by requiring private insurers providing Medicaid coverage to reimburse the program when they overcharge; 2) by empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate additional drug rebates on behalf of states.
The new taxes and savings will fund expanded benefits for individual Americans and strengthen the economy, while reducing the deficit:
- $35 insulin for all Americans.
- Restore the enhanced child tax credit that lifted millions of children out of poverty during its brief 7-month run in 2021.
- Universal pre-school and affordable childcare.
- Paid family and medical leave.
- Increase grants for low-income college students.
- Funding to reduce maternal mortality.
- More funding for free school lunches.
- Addressing climate change.
Biden stakes out his position in debt ceiling fight
With this budget proposal, Biden is showing Republicans his hand in the ongoing fight over raising the debt ceiling. Congress has to periodically raise the amount of money it can borrow to cover money it has already spent. Numerous economists, most recently the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, have warned of the dire consequences of failing to raise the debt limit.
Despite this, Republicans in Congress have not committed to raising the debt limit. Instead, they are holding the good faith and credit of the country hostage to demand massive spending cuts. However, the GOP hasn’t gone on record to say what they want to cut, only what they won’t cut.
GOP leadership has said they won’t consider spending cuts to the massive Pentagon budget or to programs like Medicare and Social Security. But that really doesn’t leave much to cut, except Medicaid. According to a recent poll, any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security would be wildly unpopular, even with the Republican base.
Republicans also aren’t likely to entertain any tax increases for the wealthy, despite the fact that Trump’s massive tax cuts alone will add nearly $4 trillion to the deficit over the 10 years following their passage.
Rather than staking out his party’s budget position publicly, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has sought to negotiate privately with Biden. By releasing this budget today, Biden is challenging the GOP to share their budget proposal.
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Read about what’s in Biden’s budget proposal in greater detail here.
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