Trump has scoreboard obsession. It hasn’t worked with coronavirus

“He’s a man that hears what he wants to hears … and he puts it through the lens of a marketer. He is a marketer,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “His image is, ‘I’m on top of this, I’m tough,’ and anything he hears that supports that theory of the case, he grabs and utilizes.”

Those around Trump disagree. They say his numbers-focused mindset is a crisis asset. Trump’s specific obsession with the number of coronavirus cases is the right approach, argued former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who made headlines when he insisted — wrongly — that Trump had drawn the largest ever inaugural crowd.

“Having a metric-based business mentality is what you need during periods of crisis,” said Spicer, who visited the White House at least twice this week. “Either people are getting better and it’s being contained or it’s not. It’s the only judge of success.”

Trump is obsessed with records, ratings and statistics, mentioning them constantly on seemingly every issue as he talks about what’s best — often inflating the numbers, often failing to acknowledge the human aspect, often overhyping his own role. There’s interest rates and unemployment rates, crowd sizes and polls, stock markets gains and immigrant apprehension numbers.

Before running for office in 2016, Trump had spent his five decades in the real estate, marketing and reality TV businesses. He sold himself to voters on that background, touting his ability to strike deals with countries and companies alike.

Once in office, he talked about policy moves like one-off deals, often becoming preoccupied with certain figures.

For example, he has constantly complained about trade deficits — when the value of what the country imports exceeds its exports — spouting off the amount with each country. $500 billion a year with China, $100 billion with Japan, $17 billion with Canada.

When Trump has struck new deals with China, Mexico and Canada and others, he’s always noted how much the agreement will reduce each trade deficit.

“When you’re in the real investment business, the performance is only based on numbers and that’s all that matters,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump. “He spent a lifetime on it. He’s not going to think differently now. That’s how you judge real estate. That’s all they have. It’s all about the money.”

But Trump has been accused of forgetting the people behind the numbers.

In August, Trump touted the crowd size of a rally — held at the same time as an event of then Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke —- while visiting medical staff who had treated victims of a mass shooting.

That criticism has resurfaced during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Michael O’Neill goes from Alabama to Hollywood and back home

Had it not been for a speech that Michael O’Neill gave to his fraternity, he probably wouldn’t have been an actor.

He wouldn’t have been Special Agent Ron Butterfield on “The West Wing.” Or Sen. Mitchell Chapin in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” Or the mass shooter Gary Clark, perhaps the most memorable guest character ever on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Not to mention the roles he’s played in movies such as “Seabiscuit,” “Transformers” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”

O’Neill as Sen. Mitchell Chapin in Season 2 of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime. (Sarah Shatz/Amazon Video)

But after O’Neill, who was about to graduate from Auburn University with a degree in finance, delivered an address to a national Lambda Chi Alpha gathering in Muncie, Indiana, he got a call from a fellow fraternity member – Will Geer, who was one of TV’s biggest stars at the time, playing Grandpa on “The Waltons.”

“I had just finished my last final and was well into a keg of beer,” O’Neill said with a chuckle. “He had heard the address. He said, ‘Son, I think you should try acting before the corporate structure snaps you up.’ I’ll never forget that. I got in my car two weeks later and drove to Hollywood.”

Working with Geer and his daughter, Ellen, at their Theatricum Botanicum, he’d soon learn that Geer didn’t single him out – “I must have heard him say the exact same thing 100 times to other people,” O’Neill said – but it didn’t matter. His trajectory was set, and it was going to be played out on stage and screen.

He toiled away for years, first in Los Angeles and then in New York, where he studied at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse, worked off- and off-off-Broadway and “did whatever I needed to keep body and soul together.”

O’Neill plays Chaplain Kendricks in the critically acclaimed feature film “Clemency,” which won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and opened in theaters in December. (Neon)

And then, 25 years after launching his unlikely career, the White House came calling. In 1999, O’Neill auditioned for “The West Wing,” a new series created by a young writing phenom named Aaron Sorkin, and it didn’t go well.

“You didn’t change Aaron Sorkin’s words, and I stumbled and messed up the audition,” O’Neill recalled. “Chris Misiano, the director, stepped in and said, ‘Oh, I gave you the wrong direction there,’ and he gave me another chance.”

That second chance would prove to be O’Neill’s big break. He made his debut as Special Agent Ron Butterfield in “Mr. Willis of Ohio,” the award-winning series’ sixth episode, and over the course of the next eight years, he’d appear in 15 more.

“I get recognized for it all the time,” O’Neill said. “New generations are discovering it now.”

In 2010, O’Neill took on another role that viewers still remember, and it took its toll on the actor. In a four-episode arc on “Grey’s Anatomy,” he played a man seeking revenge for his wife’s death by going on a shooting rampage throughout the series’ Seattle Grace Hospital. In a memorable season finale, Clark confronted Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd.

“It was very difficult, and I needed some therapy after it,” O’Neill said. “It’s still painful.”

Michael O’Neill makes his home in Mountain Brook while continuing to work in Hollywood films and TV shows. (Jeff Rease)


Moving back to the South

By that time, O’Neill had married, and he and his wife, Mary, an attorney and sister of actor Michael O’Keefe, were raising their three young daughters in Marina Del Rey, California.

“My wife turned to me in our kitchen one day and said, ‘We’re moving to Birmingham,’” he recalls. “My career was at a pretty decent place, and my family was at a pretty decent place. We had chosen to homeschool our girls, and she said our girls were curious and wanted to go to school and there was nothing in California to suit them. Los Angeles is an image-driven city, and adolescent girls don’t need image-driven issues. We had dear friends in Birmingham that we visited a lot, so my girls knew it more than other cities.”

So eight years ago, the O’Neills packed up and moved to Mountain Brook. O’Neill, a Montgomery native who had grown up during the civil rights movement and didn’t have fond memories of his home state’s racial history, didn’t know what to expect, but he has been pleasantly surprised.

“It’s friendly and smart and I think progressive in some ways,” he said of Birmingham. “You have a lot of people in Birmingham who have repatriated there for the hospital industry, the banking industry, the restaurant industry. It’s a wonderful city.”

Actor Michael O’Neill, who grew up during the civil rights era, returned to Alabama with his family eight years ago and was pleased by the changes he found. (Jeff Rease)

And their daughters have thrived. Their oldest, Ella, graduated summa cum laude from Auburn in December, and her father gave the commencement address. His younger twin daughters, Annie and Molly, are in school at Rhodes College and California Polytechnic State University.

Moving to Alabama didn’t mean O’Neill put his career on hold. “Sometimes I need to be in Los Angeles or New York,” he said. “I go for extended periods of time.”

The past year has been particularly busy, with O’Neill appearing in three feature films – “Clemency,” “The Stand at Paxton County” and “Indivisible” – and, among other series, the second season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon.

Most recently, he has been in Savannah, Georgia, filming the first episodes of his new NBC series “Council of Dads,” which will premiere in March. Based on the book by Bruce Feiler, it’s about a young father, diagnosed with cancer, who puts together a group of six friends to help raise his daughters.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting on this one for 25 years,” O’Neill said. “It’s really, really powerful. I’ve done a lot of characters that have driven people apart, and this one may bring people together.”

O’Neill has appeared in more than 100 TV series and movies, playing senators, FBI agents, fathers, chaplains, disturbed killers – a wide array of roles. “There are certain things I won’t play,” he said. “I won’t play a racist, and I won’t play a guy who hurts a child.”

“Council of Dads” has already joined a list of O’Neill’s favorite projects.

“Clearly, Butterfield in ‘The West Wing’ is a favorite of mine, and ‘Seabiscuit’ was really important to me because I had three small children at the time,” he said. “I loved ‘Transformers’ for a different reason – I had never done one of those big, big films, and it was just a lot of fun. ‘The Unit’ meant a lot to me, because of the proud tradition in the South of serving in the military.”

That array of roles means that O’Neill gets recognized often.

“There are a lot of ‘West Wing’ or ‘Seabiscuit’ or ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans,” he said. “My wife sees it more than I do. What happens a lot is that people confuse me for someone they know because I’ve been in their living rooms. There’s a lot of that.”

And that’s just fine with O’Neill, who might never have gone into acting at all save for that kind word from Geer.

“I never thought this would happen, and the only part that I envisioned was that it would be better for me late than early,” said O’Neill, who turns 69 in May. “That seems to be what’s happening now. It was a busy year, a really busy year, and I’m thankful. I’m grateful they’re letting the old guy run.”

This story originally appeared in Alabama Living magazine.

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Gun sales spike sales for ‘self protection’ during Coronavirus outbreak

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to climb so do gun sales.

A recent report shows a 68 percent increase in sales from mid-February to now. It is an election year and gun sales usually go up. However this year, sales in January and February have outpaced 2016 by nearly 350,000.

WCNC Charlotte found a line of people waiting outside a local gun store.  The owner of Hyatt Gun Shop, Larry Hyatt, said he’s seen a spike in sales in the past, but nothing like this. He also said it’s a different crowd buying guns than what they typically see.

“We’re seeing a massive buying of guns for self-protection,” said Hyatt.

Hyatt said he is seeing unprecedented demand for buying guns in the past few days during the Coronavirus outbreak.  He said he’s seeing a growing number of women, senior citizens, and customers from urban areas purchasing guns.

“People are worried that looting and gangs and food fights and things like that could take place and maybe our institutions can’t handle it,” said Hyatt.

Hyatt said the biggest gun sales in the past came immediately after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School when new gun regulations were proposed. 

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“People were buying because they thought they wouldn’t be able to get one later, but it was a different crowd it wasn’t fear in the air, it wasn’t this sense of urgency we have now,” said Hyatt.

Hyatt said the urgency is leading some people to avoid buying handguns because there’s a two week delay for a background check.
“A lot of people are buying rifles and shotguns because you can go through the NIX background check and it’s quicker, but even those have delays,” Hyatt said.

In the meantime, Hyatt said he’s trying to protect his employees from the virus.

“Our senior citizens staff we’ve sent home because they’re more vulnerable,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt says he’s also limiting the number of people inside the store at a time as they try to keep up with skyrocketing demand.   He says he doesn’t know how long the gun shop will keep its doors open because of the rapidly changing situation.


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Scoot: Has the coronavirus crisis made you buy a gun?

Reports are showing that gun and ammunition sales are skyrocketing both nationally and locally. The current coronavirus crisis is inspiring many Americans to suddenly feel the need to be armed.

Fears that have motivated many to go out and buy a gun or stock up on ammo range from concern over looters to the government ordering martial law.

Martial law is the military taking over civilian matters in response to an emergency. When these rare moments present themselves, there is always a run on guns and ammo. Some may have thought about buying a gun, but it was the new fear of civil unrest or martial law that pushes them to take action.

There have been fake news stories circulating on social media that have led people to call my radio talk show to ask my opinion of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s ban on buying guns in New Orleans. I know of no such ban and have been happy to point out that a degree of hysteria is setting in. One text to my show said that the information came from the NRA. I don’t know that to be true, but adding the NRA to the story adds credibility for many Americans.

The sudden need to buy a gun and ammo is common in the aftermath of tragedies or disasters. When there is a mass shooting – word circulates that in response to the shooting the government is going to ban guns and the sale of ammunition. With all the mass shootings we have witnessed – that has never been the result.

A woman on the news said she was buying a gun during the coronavirus crisis because she was concerned about looters. There are strict rules about the use of guns and depending on the circumstances – shooting a looter could end up with you being charged with a crime.

For those who are buying guns to protect themselves in the event martial law is imposed – the idea of standing up to the government with the gun you buy is completely unrealistic. With the weapons the military or law enforcement possesses – will you be able to hold off the government?

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment – buy a gun if you feel like you need protection – but I don’t see that the coronavirus crisis poses a greater threat that exists daily in our society.

What I find scary is that an event motivates many to buy a gun without a true understanding of how and when to use a gun. We don’t need a fresh group of gun-owners who are ill-prepared to use a gun.  If you feel like you need a gun – then go buy a gun. But do yourself and society a favor and be aware of the mechanical and legal aspects of owning a gun.

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Forty years after his martyrdom, St. Romero influences U.S. church – Catholic Philly

By Rhina Guidos • Catholic News Service • Posted March 19, 2020

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In life, El Salvador’s St. Oscar Romero had an open line of communication with the church in the United States, whose leaders and laity often supported the archbishop of San Salvador when he objected to military aid or training of the country’s government troops, paid for by U.S. taxpayer money.

Even after his martyrdom March 24, 1980, his example and legacy of solidarity with the poor remained a mission for the U.S. church, whose members long lobbied in the halls of Congress against money that harmed the Salvadoran people.

St. Romero continues to this day to influence members of the U.S. church — from the laity to U.S. bishops — seeking to model his example of carrying out the church’s defense of the vulnerable and protection of the human rights of the poor.

For one church in Washington, that has taken the shape of following, quite literally, in the footsteps of the Salvadoran saint, canonized in 2018, by helping out an impoverished community often visited by St. Romero near the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. As archbishop, he entered the neighborhood of La Chacra in 1979, an appearance captured on video: Children run up to the prelate, dressed in a white cassock. He also visited women with a group of nuns in houses next to railroad tracks; the houses were constructed of cardboard, rope and plastic.

It’s exactly the place where, for more than 20 years, Holy Trinity Church of Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood has had a “sister parish” relationship with a church in the place where St. Romero cemented his image as a friend of the poor. At Maria de los Pobres church in La Chacra, parishioners from Washington make regular visits throughout the year to “accompany” their fellow Catholics, even though the two parishes couldn’t be situated in more different environments.

The Jesuit-run Holy Trinity Church is surrounded by homes of some members of U.S. Congress, diplomats and other Washington notables. John F. Kennedy occasionally attended Mass there when he was U.S. president.

Maria Madre de los Pobres is in a neighborhood known for gang violence in addition to poverty, where Holy Trinity parishioner Margie Legowski said she has found the Gospel, “to believe in people who happen to be poor, to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and to be a community of faith. They have shown me what it means to live one’s faith,” she said in a March 11 email interview with Catholic News Service. “They have shown me that God is much alive here and now. And they have taught me to love St. Oscar Romero.”

Her only knowledge about the Salvadoran saint, prior to visiting El Salvador, was based on the 1989 movie “Romero,” she said.

“Something about this man captured my soul, and I began to read and watch everything I could find about him. Who was this man who was a saint for my parish way before the Catholic Church made it so? Whose image was captured on parish and community walls, in home and office picture frames, in public statues, university books, Mass songs, striking posters, homemade banners, candlelight processions, special Masses, children’s services, Stations of the Cross? Why was he so special to my friends and to me?”

He began to represent hope, love and leadership, “an incarnation of ‘I am always with you,’” she said.

Parishioners in the Salvadoran parish have shared with her, and others from Holy Trinity, stories of listening to St. Romero’s homilies on Sunday mornings, attending his funeral only to be scattered by government gunfire and bombs in 1980.

“Romero is their saint, our saint,” she said. “Has been and will always be.”

In times of confusing political rhetoric, St. Romero “reminds me that there is no greater love than slowly walking with and learning from others, especially those living on the edge. He taught me that social and legal systems can be sinful and that, if we call ourselves Catholic or Christians or human rights advocates, we have a responsibility to change them.”

For U.S. Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, St. Romero is an example who “has challenged and inspired.”

“I think the story of Oscar Romero is one that showed me how you can move from a deep spirituality and deep relationship with God into social action, that they’re not two separate options but one integral way of living out the Christian life based on the Gospels,” said Bishop Seitz in a March 12 telephone interview with CNS.

Bishop Seitz quoted St. Romero, along with other martyrs in his pastoral letter “Night Will Be No More,” released in October after a Mass shooting in El Paso in August, where Latinos were targeted. He said he wished that, like the martyrs, “I may speak without fear when it is called for and help to give voice to those who have not been heard.”

The letter looked at the history and the recent present of racism at the U.S.-Mexico border. Bishop Seitz has been a strong voice for Latinos as well as immigrants and border communities during tense moment at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In June, he walked and prayed with a group of migrants as he led a small group across the Lerdo International Bridge in El Paso as they sought asylum in the U.S. And along with other bishops, he has called for helping push factors that drive immigration instead of demonizing or punishing migrants.

Bishop Seitz said he was moved by the experience of celebrating Mass in the chapel where the Salvadoran saint was martyred in 1980, as he officiated the memorial Mass of a friend’s mother in San Salvador.

“It was a tremendous privilege to celebrate Mass there, but it also was a tremendous challenge. You can’t just celebrate Mass where Oscar Romero was martyred and walk away unmoved. You realized that his blood was mingled with the blood of Christ,” he said.

St. Romero exemplified accompaniment, central to the life of a priest, he said.

“That’s what any priest does,” he said. “That’s why we’re priests. A bishop is a priest. I’ve always understood that that is my purpose: to be there at those moments when there are no words, but your presence in the name of Christ is still the one thing that can help.”

And St. Romero was not only an example of accompaniment but an example of how to follow Christ, he said.

“Romero was a person so deeply immersed in faith that he didn’t fear earthly powers,” Bishop Seitz said. “He imitated Jesus in a very deep way.”

He recalled how Jesus stood up to King Herod and, in account in the Gospel according to Luke, when Jesus referred to him with contempt as “that fox.”

Though like Jesus, he experienced pain and deep anxiety, St. Romero imitated the Messiah and “never ran from it, he never was cowed.” Instead, like Jesus, he stood up to power.

“Romero was the same way. He knew he was saying the truth. He was calling for justice without regard to the consequences and he had such trust in God that not even death would end his life,” he said.

As Christian, it was clear for St. Romero what he had to do, even if it meant martyrdom but in the name of defending the vulnerable.

“Nothing was going to set him off his course, and I hope that I can be a bishop like that,” Bishop Seitz said. “God help me that I see that people who are being abused and harmed and even children who are helpless, and I’m unwilling to say anything.”

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WOUB Prepares Former Student to be a Vice President at The Weather Channel

WOUB Prepares Former Student to be a Vice President at The Weather Channel

Posted on:
Thursday, March 19, 2020

< < Back to

Angie Massie says the hands-on experience she got at WOUB was vital to her success 

ATHENS, OH – It’s the first day of spring and in Angie Massie’s world that is a really big deal. The former WOUB student and 1999 Honors Tutorial College graduate of Ohio University is the vice president of live storytelling and interim head of marketing at The Weather Channel.

“The amazing thing about working at The Weather Channel is every day when you come into work there is one goal: to protect and save lives,” said Massie. “And that just doesn’t happen anywhere else. When a big weather event happens in America, people come to The Weather Channel.”

Even when the big event is not weather related, people still tune into The Weather Channel for the science of what is happening. The latest example is the recent Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

“We help separate fact from fiction,” said Massie. “What are temperatures, the sun and ultraviolet rays doing to kill the virus? Or another example is that we had a windy day recently in the northeast. With the reduction in passenger loads on airplanes because of the Coronavirus, there was less weight on the planes. We explained how the planes were more receptive to turbulence. At The Weather Channel, we do science 24/7 and 365 days a year.”

One of the biggest parts of Massie’s job is to plan and coordinate live coverage of changing weather situations. She is very involved in the decision making of how to staff and cover live weather events and even where to send Meteorologist Jim Cantore for live coverage.

“I work very closely with our vice president of news gathering who is responsible for field crews, and we collaborate to determine where we need to put our resources. We also decide if it is safe to send a reporter or anchor to a particular region,” said Massie. “There is a lot of planning that goes into storm coverage.”

Massie credits her ability to do this job well to the experience she got working at WOUB.

“I remember in April of 1999 and the Columbine High School mass shooting happened,” said Massie. “We talked about our local coverage, and I remember standing in the newsroom at WOUB and looking around. We all realized we weren’t that much older than the students at that high school, and we all knew these were the types of stories we were going to have to react to and cover in this industry.”

As a student, Massie also worked as an intern at NBC’s Today Show and enjoyed working in the national network news environment. But while she was finishing her degree, Massie got a job in local television news as a producer at WSAZ in Charleston-Huntington, West Virginia. She worked there for four years before getting a job at CNN in Atlanta to get back into national news.

“I was able to walk into WSAZ and know what I was doing because of my experience at WOUB,” said Massie. “That was invaluable. I chose Ohio University because when I came for a campus visit, I was able to tour WOUB and see that I could get hands-on, real-world experience there. That is when I knew Ohio University was for me.”

Massie worked her way up to executive producer at CNN but lost her job as part of a mass layoff.

“I happened to know people at The Weather Channel and was able to land an opening they had over here,” said Massie. “Not long after I started, The Weather Channel launched a new morning show with Sam Champion, and I was promoted to senior executive producer for that program. After an ownership change, I was later promoted to vice president.”

Massie says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the solid foundation and professional learning experience she got while at WOUB.

“I felt like I was more prepared walking into a real commercial newsroom because I had already experienced that cold sweat of having to meet a deadline for a live broadcast,” said Massie. “Having the experience of knowing my story wasn’t going to be finished in time taught me so much. It was trial by live fire, and that gave me the experience I needed.”


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Texas Senator Called Out Over Racist Coronavirus Comments

One would assume that in a time of crisis, or the spreading of a virus that was officially declared a pandemic, politicians and the President of the United States would display an ounce of decorum, but that does not align with the times the country is currently in. Texas Senator John Cornyn, like President Donald Trump, said that China is to blame for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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In a video posted to social media from The Hill, Sen. Cornyn said, “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.”

Sen. John Cornyn: “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.”

— The Hill (@thehill) March 18, 2020

His comment was immediately dismantled on social media.

Bakari Sellers, former representative for South Carolina, asked to revert back to “when being racist in public wasn’t cool.”

“@JohnCornyn is a member of the @SenateGOP and the @GOP had a meeting a week or so ago in which they came up with this strategy of using this racist dog whistle to try distract from the seriousness of the coronavirus because they’re responsible for many preventable deaths,” one user said.

Another tweeted, “The worst thing about this is that it is racist. Second worst thing is that it is inaccurate. Third worst thing is that John Cornyn, Senator from Texas, appears to not know what ‘Swine’ means.”

However, apparently racist folks like Sen. Cornyn thinks statements like these are appropriate because the president has been referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” When questioned about his use of the xenophobic term, which public health experts have said associating pandemics with an ethnic group can lead to discrimination, according to the New York Times, Trump denied that the phrase is racist.

REPORTER: “Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?”

TRUMP: “China tried to say at one point, maybe they’ve stopped now, that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen as long as I’m president.”

— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) March 18, 2020

“It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” he said defending his use of the term.

Trump was met with backlash as well.

“Don’t blame or attack Chinese/Asian people because of a virus your president failed at containing. This isn’t the Chinese Virus, it’s the Coronavirus. And Donald Trump is responsible for this current crisis in the United States,” one Twitter user wrote.

Don’t blame or attack Chinese/Asian people because of a virus your president failed at containing.

This isn’t the Chinese Virus, it’s the Coronavirus. And Donald Trump is responsible for this current crisis in the United States.

— Big Boss (@escapedmatrix) March 18, 2020

Another said, “Except Chinese Virus isn’t the name for coronavirus. And the head of the CDC himself says it’s wrong to use that racist moniker. Stop distracting and disgracing our country with your hateful, divisive rhetoric.”

The term #RacistInChief began trending on Twitter shortly after.

Trump and company’s racist rhetoric have clearly hit a new low.


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So I’m assuming going forward @JohnCornyn would have no issue with referring to every #MassShooting as a “White Mass Shooting” since virtually every mass shooting is perpetrated by a white guy … must be something about their “culture” …

— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) March 18, 2020


Hope the Beer was worth it Senator.
You could have passed on Friday if you hadn’t left for Hawaii….



— Doug (@groundyourstand) March 18, 2020


This is so disgusting, dangerous, ignorant and reckless.
Imagine being a Chinese American now.

— Peter Zizzo (@pzizzo) March 18, 2020

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Police Searching For Silver Honda Possibly Linked To Baltimore Mass Shooting Tuesday Night; Suspect Had Rifle – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police are looking for a silver Honda possibly linked to a mass shooting in Baltimore Tuesday night. Seven people were shot in the Madison Park neighborhood of the city just before 6:30 p.m.

Commissioner Michael Harrison said the city has seen an uptick in violent crimes since Friday, including the mass shooting in the 300 block of McMechen Street Tuesday night.

Five people were transported to area hospitals via medics and two took private cars to the hospitals for treatment. All seven are in serious but stable condition.

The victims are a 37-year-old woman, a 17-year-old boy, three 20-year-old men, and 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old man.

Harrison said they are looking for a Silver Honda that was seen in the area. Police said the suspect, who was armed with a rifle, was dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask when he fired into a crowd gathered at the corner of Eutaw and McMchen Streets around 6:27 p.m.

An officer, who was on patrol in that microzone, did confront the man as the man was fleeing the scene.

“Our officer was not armed with the level of deadly firepower this individual had,” Harrison said. “The officer did discharge his weapon but it’s unclear if he struck any suspects.”

The officer suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Detectives learned the man exited a light-colored, possible silver, older-model Honda armed with a rifle-style firearm. The suspect allegedly opened fire then retreated to the car.

The vehicle was last seen speeding away northbound in the 1600 block of McCulloh Street.

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young urged residents to put down their guns and heed orders to stay home after multiple people were shot Tuesday night amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Young said hospital beds are needed to treat positive COVID-19 patients and not for senseless violence.

“I want to reiterate how completely unacceptable the level of violence is that we have seen recently,” Young said. “We will not stand for mass shootings and an increase in crime.”

“It could be your mother, you, your grandmother, one of your relatives, so take that into consideration and put down the guns,” the mayor said.

Baltimore reported its fifth positive coronavirus case Wednesday.

For those of you who want to continue to shoot and kill people of this city, we’re not going to tolerate it,” Young implored. “We’re going to come after you and we’re going to get you.”

He urged people to put down their guns because “We cannot clog up our hospitals and their beds with people that are being shot senselessly because we’re going to need those beds for people infected with the coronavirus. And it could be your mother, your grandmother or one of your relatives. So take that into consideration.”

As crime continues, the police department is increasing staffing in the areas where crime has increased.

“This incident remains open and under investigation,” Harrison said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call detectives at (410) 396-2411, (410) 396-2300, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup.

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Mass shootings survivors come together near Nashville to process, heal


Crystal Woodman Miller huddled under the table in the Columbine High School library, a friend’s arm wrapped around her, sheltering her body with his own.

“Crystal,” he said, “I promise I will take a bullet for you.”

That’s when two boys from her school entered the room and began a killing rampage.

Miller could hear them mocking those they shot as they moved closer and closer to where she hid. She began to pray. Soon, one of the gunman’s boots was just inches from her body. She could smell him. Feel his presence. She waited for her turn to die.

“Will it be quick?” she wondered. “Or will I suffer slowly?”

Then the shooting stopped. Out of ammo, the perpetrators left to get more. They vowed to return to murder those who remained. When they were out of sight, Miller fled.

“It looked like a war had taken place in that room,” she said. “I stepped over the bodies of classmates to save myself.”

Nearly 21 years have passed since that April day when 12 students, one teacher and the two student gunmen died. The events at Columbine intensified the national conversation around mass shootings. Since then, hundreds of acts of violence have shattered the country. Las Vegas. Nashville. Milwaukee. With each attack, the nation’s attention diverts to new victims, the latest assault eclipsing the one before it.

But survivors from past tragedies remain marked by trauma and are left with few tangible tools to manage the pain. They are isolated by an experience hardly anyone else can understand.

American student Crystal Woodman, right, embraces her Kosovo Albanian friend Donika Sokoli, 18, who survived the the Serb massacre in Kosovo in April 1999. Woodman, a survivor of the 1999 shootings in Columbine High School in Colorado was in Kosovo with other teens and volunteers in the village of Meja on Dec.16, 1999. (Photo: Visar Kryeziu, Associated Press)

This month, a new initiative to support those affected by mass shootings begins. In a first-of-its-kind workshop, The Onsite Foundation brings survivors from across the country together for a week-long retreat on a private campus just outside Nashville to provide a safe place to process, connect and heal.

The program, called Triumph Over Tragedy, was created to honor the life of Austin Eubanks, a survivor of the 1999 Columbine shooting and a champion for trauma-based causes and programs. Eubanks died of an overdose in 2019. His girlfriend, Laura Hutfless, now helps lead the effort as a member of the foundation board. 

She is guided by the foundation’s Survivor Advisory Council, which includes victims from Columbine, Parkland, Thurston, Charleston, Las Vegas, Aurora and the Nashville Waffle House tragedies. Miller is among them.

Triumph Over Tragedy, Miller said, evokes emotional understanding in the face of the incomprehensible. “It’s knowing I’m not broken, I’m not ruined because of what I have been through, but I am still journeying through this,” she said. “I don’t have to be rushed through this process just because our culture says I should be over it.”

‘They had all lost hope’

Recovery took a long, dark turn for Austin Eubanks, who was just 17 during the Columbine rampage.

Eubanks was shot in his hand and knee and watched his best friend die in the 1999 attack in Colorado.

Last year, Eubanks died of a heroin overdose.

It devastated many who had been inspired by his words. He had become a motivational speaker on addiction and trauma, and his death underscored an emotional chasm still felt by others who shared his experiences.

“After his passing, so many survivors reached out,” Hutfless said. “And I noticed a trend — they had all lost hope.”

In this photo from April 25, 1999, Columbine High School shooting victim Austin Eubanks hugs his girlfriend during a community wide memorial service in Littleton, Colo., for the victims of the rampage the previous week. Eubanks was shot in his hand and knee and watched his best friend die. (Photo: Bebeto Matthews, AP)

In the wake of tragedy, healing doesn’t happen in months, or even years. And though mass shootings have become more common in the United States, victims still feel isolated and alone.

Eubanks shared his story very publicly, and Hutfless knew it very intimately, but even she never understood the long-term affects of that trauma, “because many people put on a brave face,” she said.

“They don’t fully understand the physical and emotional and physiological symptoms. They may be experiencing them, but they are not relating them back to that event. And I just wasn’t aware that there would still be emotional wounds from 20 years ago that would still be bleeding.

“When I learned that, I think my goal was: We have to stop the bleeding. They say, ‘Hurt people hurt other people’ and I hope this is a way to stop that cycle.”

Coming together in community to move forward

After Eubanks’ death, Hutfless joined the Onsite Foundation board and helped create the Triumph Over Tragedy workshop.

This week, 40 survivors from 15 different states representing seven different mass shootings are in attendance. Not all of them are from tragedies that the public is familiar with. Some are from small towns that don’t have access to many mental health resources or that didn’t receive funding when the violence occurred.

During the six-day workshop, survivors live together on a private 250-acre campus outside of Nashville. They meet with therapists in small groups morning and afternoon to understand the impact of the life-threatening experiences they’ve had. They take part in equine therapy, and walk along the trails and streams.

Triumph Over Tragedy is funded by full scholarships and each workshop is curated to meet the needs of the survivors, as there is no “one size fits all” solution in trauma. No phones or computers are allowed, giving survivors the space to focus on their healing.

“When we experience tragedies we have a choice,” Hutfless said. “We can build a wall around ourselves, and we can isolate, and we can protect ourselves from any more pain or hurt. Or we can choose to open ourselves and walk in the journey of grief and healing — and that’s not an easy one.

“We can reach out, ask for help, be in community and move forward, turning that pain into purpose.

“I very intentionally chose that path. So I learned about myself, that I can do hard things and that there is beauty from ashes, and I’ve already been able to see so much of that from this program.”

Laura Hutfless (right) is part of a new initiative called “Triumph Over Tragedy,” a one-of-its-kind workshop to help support and offer healing to victims of mass shootings. Triumph Over Tragedy was inspired and funded in part by the Austin Eubanks Memorial Fund to honor the life of Hutfless’ boyfriend Austin Eubanks (left), who was a survivor of the 1999 Columbine shooting and a champion for trauma-based causes and programs. Eubanks died from an overdose in 2019. (Photo: Virginia Davis)

‘That night doesn’t define me’

For Taylor Eickenhorst, healing remains a daily process.

Before the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, her happiest place was at a country music festival.

She was there that night on Oct. 1, 2017, doing what she loved most, working for a big music brand and attending her 10th festival of the summer.

She sought cover when a shooter took aim from a hotel a quarter mile away and began firing down on the crowd of 22,000 during singer Jason Aldean’s set. Fifty-nine people died that night, the largest mass shooting in modern American history.

Now, Eickenhorst lives and works in Nashville.

Taylor Eickenhorst, a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting and a Nashville resident, talks about a new initiative she is a part of called ‘Triumph Over Tragedy’ Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.  (Photo: George Walker IV / The Tennessean)

“I’ve worked every day to try to make sure that night doesn’t define me,” she said. “Even though it’s super scary, and it can be difficult, and some days are harder than others, I try to keep moving forward.

“But it will always be a part of me. It’s been the hardest thing of my entire life to have to go through and have to deal with. It’s extremely difficult.”

That’s why she wants to share her story. And why she believes in the purpose of the Triumph Over Tragedy workshop.

She still works in the music industry and hasn’t stopped going to country music concerts, but her experiences have made them harder to attend. She sometimes get anxious before a show.

She knows it can happen to anyone.

You are not alone

For Miller, the day at Columbine began no more remarkably than any other.

She sat in the school library studying for a test during lunch when the nightmare began.

Students ran through the hallways, terror and panic in their eyes.

She tried to make sense of what was happening. It must be a joke, she thought. Or a prank.

But when a teacher ran through the library door screaming frantically for the students to take cover, Miller knew it was neither.

Then she heard the popping noises.

“When you are forced to walk through something like this, everything changes,” Miller said. “And for me it forced me to grow up very quickly.”

Crystal Woodman-Miller, who was a student at Columbine High School during the massacre nearly 20 years earlier, speaks during a faith-based memorial service for the victims at a community church, Thursday, April 18, 2019, in Littleton, Colo. (Photo: Rick Wilking, AP)

There’s been a great deal of healing in her life since that day. She has traveled the country and the world sharing her story. As a speaker she can bring a message of hope, she said, but that only reaches so far. She has always hoped for a more tangible way for others to find help.

With Triumph Over Tragedy, she now has a resource to point people toward.

There’s a ripple affect to trauma, she said, and if people can better understand how it affects their brains and their bodies, they can heal in a healthier way.

“One of the most special pieces about Triumph over Tragedy is that when people come, they are not alone, they are part of a community,” Miller said.

“In that community, we share our experiences, not just for our healing, but we find courage in one another’s stories. … It’s not the absence of feeling the fear or sadness or grief, it’s feeling those deeply, but also finding way to walk through that and get to other side.”

Reach Jessica Bliss at 615-259-8253 and or on Twitter @jlbliss and please support local journalism.

Support the Onsite Foundation

The Onsite Foundation provides trauma-informed counseling and emotional health education to under-served communities and people who can’t afford or don’t have access to those resources.

Since 2019, it has focused on three groups most in need of support: Survivors of mass shootings, bereaved parents who have lost children to gun violence, suicide or other tragedy, and veterans and first responders.

The Foundation’s “Hope Rising” fundraising gala will take place on May 19 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Actress and activist Sophia Bush and Shane McAnally, songwriter/producer and star of NBC’s Songland, will host.

For tickets and more information:

Crisis support and counseling for tornado victims

The Onsite Foundation has organized an effort of independent and licensed therapists  to support Middle Tennessee residents who have experienced loss due to the tornadoes.

Free crisis support and grief counseling services are available to all those affected.

Call or text 615-323-3191 to be connected with a licensed therapist.

For more information visit:

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Utrecht commemorates tram mass shooting with minute of silence

A minute of silence will be held in Utrecht on Wednesday morning to commemorate the victims killed or injured in a mass shooting in the city exactly a year ago today. Due to restrictions around the coronavirus banning events with more than 100 people, the public commemoration and unveiling of the memorial site were canceled.

At 10:43 a.m., the time of the attack, the Dom Tower will strike four times – once for each person killed in the shooting. This will be followed by a minute of silence, observed separately wherever you find yourself. The flags on municipal buildings are also hanging at half-mast on Wednesday.

On 18 March 2019, a man opened fire on a tram on 24 Oktoberplein. Four people were killed. Suspected gunman Gokmen T. was arrested later that same day, after an hours-long manhunt. He confessed to the shooting multiple times.

The man is charged with multiple counts of murder or manslaughter with terrorist intent, attempts thereto, and threats with terrorist intent. The Public Prosecutor demanded life in prison against the man. He will be sentenced on Friday.

The sentencing will happen as planned, despite most court cases being postponed due to the cronavirus, a spokesperson for the Central Netherlands Court confirmed to NOS earlier this wee

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