WV Woman Could have Stopped TX Shooting? Popular Gym a Religion?, WaPo Thinks Nazis Invented This Gun?!, (The Five for 05/27/22)
Hey, welcome to The Five.
It’s Friday, so let’s do Culture & Commentary.
At this point, you’ve likely heard about the sickening new developments in Uvalde, TX in which the police failed to enter the school and kill the mass murderer for more than an hour.
The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday law enforcement officers should have entered the classroom sooner in Uvalde, Texas, during a massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead earlier this week.
The commander at the scene of the shooting at Robb Elementary School decided the incident had transitioned into a "barricaded suspect" situation, not an "active shooter" — a decision that Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said was wrong while speaking during a news conference.
"From the benefit of hindsight, where I'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period. There's no excuse for that," McCraw said.
The gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. Tuesday, but officers did not enter the classroom where the shooter was holed up and kill him until 12:50, McCraw said. During that time, multiple 911 calls from inside the classroom said there were students alive and asking for police to enter the classroom to come help them, McCraw said.
Police officers had entered the school and were in a hallway within minutes of the gunman entering the school, and two officers received grazing wounds from the suspect in an initial encounter with him, McCraw said. But officers remained in the hallway for around an hour, McCraw said. Most of the shooting from the gunman, which included hundreds of rounds fired, occurred within minutes of him entering the school, McCraw said.
What were the police doing during that time?
Well, arresting a mom who was attempting to save the lives of her children, according to the New York Post:
A mom of two students at Robb Elementary School says she was handcuffed by officers as the shooter was still inside before she jumped a fence and ran into the school to safely retrieve her children on Tuesday.
Angeli Rose Gomez, a mother of a second-grader and a third-grader, told the Wall Street Journal she drove 40 miles to the Uvalde school and was one of numerous parents begging and yelling at the officers to enter sooner to take out 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos.
After a few minutes, she said, a US Marshall placed her in handcuffs, stating that she was under arrest for intervening in an active investigation, according to the Journal.
According to a report from Fox News, officers also tased parents attempting to enter the school to save their children.
Meanwhile in West Virginia, a would-be mass shooting at a graduation party was stopped, according to ABC News:
A woman in West Virginia fatally shot a man who began firing an AR-15-style rifle into a crowd of people that had gathered for a party, authorities said.
Dennis Butler, 37, was killed Wednesday night after he pulled out the rifle and began shooting at dozens of people attending the birthday-graduation party outside an apartment complex in the city of Charleston, police said in a statement.
The woman, who was attending the party, drew a pistol and fired, killing Butler, the statement said. No one at the party was injured.
“Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night,” Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett told news outlets Thursday.
The following statement is not a broad-sweeping policy proposal, but simply an observation of this week…
…a random armed citizen ended a mass shooting with no casualties, while an entire police force stood by and let over a dozen children and two adults get slaughtered.
The coverage around this most recent shooting is particularly egregious.
A Washington Post Senior Editor tweeted the following:
I’m amazed that such a prominent member of the media not only tweeted such a blatant inaccuracy, but is leaving the Tweet up.
The Amalite-15 (AR stands for the company that designed it, not “Automatic Rifle” or “Assult Rifle”) is based on the AR-10, which was used in the Portuguese and Sudanese militaries in the 1950’s.
Unless Fisher is citing a bad source I don’t know about…he just made the Nazi thing up. Which should be a one-and-done sin in the world of journalism.
It’s garbage like this that made cancel my subscription to WaPo, once America’s finest paper and now an extension of owner Jeff Bezos’ ego.
Elsewhere, a false report ran about how the murderer in Texas obtained his guns.
After Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two adults dead, we wondered how difficult it was to order a DDM4V7, one of the two rifles the gunman bought a few days after turning 18 years old, according to reports.
The answer: Five clicks.
The AR-15-style weapon, made by Georgia-based Daniel Defense, sells online for $1,870, plus tax. Shipping to a local gun shop is free.
After clicking “place order” we received an email confirming the purchase, promising to send a tracking number once the gun was on its way to the pickup point.
At no time were we asked for proof of age or of a clean criminal record, both of which are legally required to buy a firearm. That will happen when we pick up the gun at a local licensed dealer.
Aside from that, it was a routine purchase, not unlike ordering a Lego set from Amazon or a pair of shoes from Zappos. Except, of course, for the lethality of the product.
Just to clarify here, the article contradicts itself within the first four paragraphs.
It is easy to buy a gun online, but that gun has to go to an FFL (Federal Firearms License Holder) who then runs a background check with the FBI, which can take hours.
In reality, here’s what the process looked like when I purchased a pistol online in Illinois:
A. Purchase gun.
B. Notify FFL.
C. Notify company sending gun.
D. Gun arrives.
E. Go to FFL.
F. Fill out paperwork.
G. Wait on FBI background check…sometimes 2-3 hours milling about the store (maybe good for the store for impulse purchases).
H. Go home.
I. Wait three days.
J. Return to store. Show ID. Reconfirm details. Take posession of gun.
It’s worth noting Quartz didn’t add a byline to this article, likely because the editor knew just how disingenuous the piece was, and could actually end the writer’s career.
This is not how major issues should go.
My friend Craig of the Second Drafts Substack (go subscribe) sent me two opposing articles on Red Flag laws (this one for them, this one against them), and asked me what I thought.
At this point, I have no idea. I don’t tend to hold beliefs on topics I haven’t taken time to solidly deep dive into.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear that members of the corporate press have the ability to discuss any nuance in complex topics, and instead exist to further reinforce negative stereotypes of their own bias and lack of quality in reporting.
Is Soul Cycle, one of America’s trendiest gyms…a religion?!
From The Washington Post:
“Introducing relational fitness,” Peoplehood proclaims on its minimalist website, “an entirely new concept with one goal: to help you feel better.” This wellness venture, the company promises, will be “a place to grow personally, together.”
It offers (slightly) more detail on its Instagram: “Peoplehood is the spiritual practice of connected conversation. Our Gathers are 55 minute group conversation experiences led by trained Guides in our digital sanctuary.” A New York Times reporter testing out a Peoplehood course (the venture is still in beta) described the “gather” as a session in which “strangers discuss their deepest hopes and fears” and engage in breathing exercises and light stretches.
The key is in the language: guided spirituality in a sanctuary. Peoplehood introduces itself as a new kind of exercise. But if you look more closely, it’s clear that what’s being sold is church.
The fact that there’s a potential market for this speaks to what our society is lacking. But the venture itself — at least in the details it has revealed so far — models the biggest problems with how we’ve tried to fill the gap.
Conventional churchgoing is down and continues to fall. At the end of 2021, the Pew Research Center reported that roughly 3 in 10 American adults were religiously unaffiliated, a share 6 percentage points higher than it was five years before and 10 percentage points higher than it was 10 years earlier. The drops in affiliation were most apparent in Protestant Christian denominations, with millennials leading the decline.
One of the more curious things about the U.S. in the last decade is seeing the decline of what I would call “reasonable atheists,” (of which make up a good percentage of this readership) and the rise of alt-religions…like Soul Cycle.
One of the criticisms of traditional religion is that the church “just wants your money.”
So Millennials swapped that out for…a corporation that literally charges at the door.
I should probably stop beating the Zach Bryan drum after this week…but it’s worth noting the country/Americana/singer-songwriter newcomer just broke a major record with almost no support from the “music industry machine.”
From Music Row:
Zach Bryan has broken the 2022 record for the most streamed country album in a single day on Spotify and Apple Music with his debut album American Heartbreak.
The Navy veteran-turned-country-breakout artist has now surpassed 1 billion global streams, and recently topped the Billboard Country Songwriter Chart. Additionally, his initial breakout track, “Heading South,” was just certified Gold from the RIAA.
Each of the songs released from American Heartbreak–“Something In The Orange,” “Highway Boys,” “Late July,” “Open The Gate,” and “From Austin”– have become fan-favorites during Bryan’s live shows.
“From Austin” quickly claimed the No. 1 country song spot on Apple Music and debuted at No. 4 on Spotify’s Global Country chart. The deeply autobiographical track has garnered over 37 million global streams to date.
Diving into a 34 song album is no casual task, but your listening time will be rewarded.
I was in/around the music industry for more than a decade…and I’ve never seen anything like Bryan’s ascension to A-lister status while being largely ignored by the corporate press.
As always, let’s head into the weekend with a pop culture roundup…
Top Gun Maverick hits theaters for the long holiday weekend. One YouTuber called it an “action packed first and third act, with a Lifetime movie for dudes in between.”
Yeah, I’m in…
Stranger Things returns to Netflix this weekend…and is enjoying high marks from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Also streaming this weekend, the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latest entry into the Star Wars cannon, on Disney+.
Writer/Director George Miller is mainly known as the guy behind the Mad Max movies (he’s a former doctor who used his ER experience with car crash victims to create hyper-realistic flicks), so it’s very unexpected to see the nearly-80-year-old come out of nowhere with a live action movie about a genie in a bottle starring two very skilled actors, Tilda Swinton (Avengers: Endgame, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Idris Elba (Luther, Pacific Rim).
The trailer looks…surprisingly good.
Well, if this flops, Miller has a Mad Max Fury Road prequel, entitled Furiosa releasing in 2024, starring Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit, Emma) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor, 12 Strong) to fall back on.
My favorite movie of last year, The Last Duel, absolutely tanked despite being an action-packed historical epic that…just couldn’t find an audience in the Marvel era.
So, Mediaeval probably won’t fare much better. The true story of Jan Žižka, one of the greatest warriors in history. Set against the backdrop of the kings of Czech and Hungary battling for control of the Holy Roman Empire, the flick looks to be…a pretty bloody affair.
In theaters September 9th, which means the filmmakers are angling for awards season.
While 1995’s The Ghost and the Darkness remains the greatest lions-eating-people action/horror flick of all time, I’d love to see Beast take the silver medal in that sub-sub-sub-genre of film. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Thor: Ragnarök) plays the lead as guy on vacation trying not to let his daughters get eaten by lions.
Or something. I’m not in this one for the plot, OK?
In theaters this August.
And finally, the first trailer dropped for Andor, a spinoff of the most underrated Star Wars movie, Rogue One.
On Disney+ August 31st.
NEW MUSIC: Not much out this weekend, so I’m going to highlight my favorite song to listen to on Memorial Day, “The Green Fields of France,” which deals with the horrors of WWI as the song’s narrator examines a faded grave stone.
Did you leave here a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
Although you died back in nineteen-sixteen
In that faithful heart, are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enclosed then forever behind a glass pane
In an old photograph torn, battered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?
There are a million versions…I like this one.
One of the great honors of my career was serving as the media liaison for the funeral of Private Aaron Toppen, one of the last combat deaths in Afghanistan.
I hope you take a few minutes to check out this excellent photo essay from The Atlantic on bringing Private Toppen’s body home for burial in suburban Chicago.
To borrow from Dickens, it was one of the best and worst things I ever did.
I’ll never forget the soldiers who honored Toppen by standing at attention to guard his casket all night, the kindness of then-Governor Pat Quinn, or the thousands who lined the streets as a caravan brought his body from the airport home.
This weekend is for the dead. And many who died in combat were very young.
For those who never came home, and for the mothers how never stoppped weeping…I hope you treat Monday as more than just an excuse to grill.
Until the next one,