Friday, May 19, 2017

January Thaw: Back to School

"Mayor was at Tobin School when shooting erupted outside" by Meghan E. Irons Globe Staff  January 26, 2017

Mayor Martin J. Walsh was visiting a classroom inside the Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School on Tuesday when gunfire erupted outside the building, startling students, employees, and neighbors.

The shooting sparked fear among the Mission Hill school’s students, some as young as 5 years old, who heard the shots. And it raised safety concerns and questions about whether the school district should install cameras around the Tobin for added security.


“We really need cameras,’’ said Sophia Bishop-Rice, who was inside the school when she heard shots. “This happened early in the morning, when children were being educated. You’re not expecting to have people shooting around the school.”

Police responded around 9:45 a.m. to Smith Street and Turquoise Way and secured the scene, said Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, spokesman for the Boston Police Department. The location is near the school and a day-care center.

He said the police report did not mention whether the mayor’s security detail assisted in the initial response to the shooting, “probably because they would have been inside and unaware of the incident until the 911 call was made.”

One neighbor said he and his wife were awakened by what sounded like four or five blasts. The man thought first of his children, he said.

Witnesses told police a man walked up to a parked car and shot up the vehicle. No injuries were reported, no buildings were struck by gunfire, and no arrests were made, McCarthy said.

Bishop-Rice, a program administrator for Boston’s Bridge to Excellence, which operates inside the school, said she was waiting with several students in the lobby around 9:30 a.m. to take pictures with the mayor.

Walsh was expected at about that time to “share leadership and visit classrooms,’’ according to the school’s Twitter feed.

After Walsh arrived, Bishop-Rice snapped pictures, she said. After the mayor and students dispersed into classrooms, shots rang out, she said.

School officials, including the principal, sprang into action, putting the school in emergency “safe mode’’ for about 20 minutes. Doors were locked, and staff secured entrances to prevent unauthorized people from entering, a district spokesman said.

Superintendent Tommy Chang arrived around 10 a.m., just after the school had gone into “safe mode.”

Daniel O’Brien, a spokesman for Chang, described the scene as calm.

Starting to look what we used to call a fire drill. Now they are called crisis drills.

“The atmosphere inside the school was peaceful and activities continued as scheduled. Boston Police and school staff did a nice job handling the situation,’’ O’Brien said in an e-mail.

An automated call was made to parents informing them of the situation, O’Brien said.

“There was minimal disruption to the school day as a result of this incident,” a school district statement said, “and school activities continued as scheduled.”

Dujon Rice, chief executive of Boston’s Bridge to Excellence, said that when he learned of the shooting he rushed to the school.

“I was in shock,’’ said Rice, whose mother is Bishop-Rice. “I was scared.”

The students, from ages 5 to 13, expressed their worries to him, he added. “They said they were a little afraid,” he said.

Bishop-Rice, who said she has been advocating for school cameras, recalled a fatal shooting outside the former Marshall Elementary School in 2009, when a man walked into the gym and shot a 22-year-old. She worries about the safety of the Tobin’s students, she said.

“I don’t want something like that to happen at the Tobin,’’ she said.

Tobin School does not have security, but the School Department, in a statement, said it was considering adding cameras as part of its annual safety assessment.


It's like what happened at Times Square yesterday....

"Concord-Carlisle Regional Concord student arrested for threat" by Cristela Guerra Globe Staff  January 12, 2017

CONCORD — As classes let out Thursday at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School, classmates defended a 17-year-old student against police allegations that he threatened to use handguns and knives against a small number of classmates, faculty, and the school resource officer.

Some said he’d been bullied. Others said his alleged actions had been overblown. And still others maintained he was a student with integrity.

“This wasn’t the type of person he is,” said Johnny Hudson, a 17-year-old junior who was on the football team with the student, who was not identified because he’s a juvenile. “This doesn’t change the way we feel about him as a person.”

Police charged the student with committing a crime against the public peace by threatening to use deadly weapons in a school, and threatening to commit a crime, Concord Police Chief Joseph O’Connor said. The threats were allegedly discovered in the student’s notebook.

That's a slippery slope.

So what are we going to do with all the war-criminal presidents that led us into wars based on lies as well as the mouthpiece pre$$ that fronts for them?

The chief said in a statement that police went to the school Wednesday after the principal reported that a student, who had an outburst in a classroom, was “found to have written serious and specific threats against members of the school community in a notebook.”

Police, who continued Thursday to investigate, said no weapons were found.

Classmates said the student had friends, but on occasion was teased.

“If I saw him sad in the locker room, I’d try to cheer him up,” Hudson said.

Charles Israel, also a 17-year-old junior, said classmates wanted the student to know that people were speaking up on his behalf. He had a hard time at school, Israel said.

“No one paid attention to how he felt or gave him help,” Israel said. “They treated him badly.”

The youth was arraigned Thursday in Juvenile Court in Framingham, O’Connor said.

“The threats were very disturbing,” O’Connor said at a news conference. “They were specific individuals that were specifically named. It was quite clear what his aspirations were.”

He said those mentioned as possible targets have been informed.

“We believe this is a lone individual,” O’Connor said. “We’re not looking for any additional suspects.” Police said classes continued Wednesday and Thursday.

Adriana Crosby, 54, of Concord, whoseson is a junior at the school, called the incident unnerving.

“Thankfully, our school is good at being responsible and taking action quickly,” Crosby said. “The bottom line is we all have to keep our eyes open.”

The student was arrested after he gave a staff member a notebook containing messages that threatened the school community, the school system’s superintendent, Diana Rigby, said in an interview. Rigby said the student was taken out of the school, hospitalized, and taken into custody by police.

Must have been a rough night for him.

“The student has been arrested and he will not return” to the high school, Rigby said in a letter to parents. “All involved parties have been notified and informed of the school’s response.”

“School safety for our students and staff is paramount and it is always our top priority,” Rigby added.


That was all over the lawsuit, wasn't it?

Just wait until you get to college:

"More than 200 colleges and universities are under investigation by the federal government for their handling of sexual violence complaints, the Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department announced Thursday. In 2014, the Obama administration shocked many by announcing that 55 campuses were under investigation, a sign that the department was making campus sexual assault — an issue advocates felt had long been ignored or covered up by many schools — an urgent national priority. While many welcomed the change, as the list grew quickly — quadrupling in just a couple of years — some critics thought the administration was acting too aggressively...."

18 of them are in Massachusetts but their hands are currently over their eyes.

"The final trip overseas for the most traveled secretary of state in US history, with his latest flight pushing him just past 1.4 million miles...."

He's going back to Yale to do some thinking about the environment-- and he is still island hopping?!!

I always like history class:

"After verdict, Israeli military at odds with politicians" by Josef Federman Associated Press  January 05, 2017

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military, which has battled foes on all of the country’s borders, is now facing a challenge from within: nationalist politicians who are openly disagreeing with army commanders and bickering with the security establishment.

This growing rift was underscored by angry reactions from inside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to Wednesday’s manslaughter conviction of an Israeli soldier who fatally shot an already wounded Palestinian attacker. Netanyahu and other senior Cabinet ministers quickly called for Sergeant Elor Azaria to be pardoned, in effect undercutting the authority of the military court that convicted him.

What they are saying there is Israel is above war crimes.

The swift reactions, coming before Azaria has even been sentenced or filed an appeal, were the latest in a series of squabbles between Israel’s hard-line leadership and military commanders. It is uncharted waters for the military, which has traditionally seen itself as being above politics and is widely regarded as the country’s most trusted institution.

But it also reflects a wider and increasingly visible schism. In a country that seems to grow more divided by the day, the security establishment is at loggerheads with the Netanyahu government and its nationalist base — aligning instead in subtle but noticeable ways with more liberal opposition forces.

‘‘I think we are witnessing a very dangerous phenomenon where the division in Israeli society is trickling into the army,’’ retired major general Gadi Shamni, who held some of the military’s most senior posts, told Israel Radio. ‘‘This is a very severe trend that is being exacerbated by irresponsible, unrelenting politicians.’’

On one level, this is about relations with the Palestinians and what to do with the West Bank and its more than 2 million occupied Palestinians.

As for Israel and the Palestinians, it's pretty clear what they want to do. Push them off the land, pen 'em up in outdoor prisons, and kill them if necessary. Kind of a status quo thing that keeps on rolling through all the smoke, sound, and fury.

Netanyahu’s coalition seems content to maintain this indefinitely, despite warnings it is leading to a binational state and constant friction with the Palestinians, Western allies, and the Arab world. If anything, the incoming administration of Donald Trump seems to be emboldening Israel’s hard-liners, who believe he will be much more tolerant of their policies and continued settlement of occupied lands.

Actually, he pissed them off but it doesn't really mean a thing.

But the debate is also about the nature of the country. Military commanders still tend to reflect Israel’s founding class — mostly secular, pragmatic Zionists who believed that they could ultimately build a model society in which equal rights and the rule of law prevailed.

In recent years, this part of Israel has been on the defensive. To a degree, Netanyahu’s Likud Party and its allies represent another side of the country: one that is more religious, deeply conservative, supportive of the West Bank settler movement, and committed to democracy and liberal values in a far more tenuous way.

How would you like your oppressor, Zionist-heavy or Zionist-lite?

The coalition has tried to block the court-ordered evacuation of an illegal West Bank settlement outpost built on private Palestinian land. It has pushed legislation to retroactively legalize dozens of similar outposts. It has imposed regulations on dovish advocacy groups. And Culture Minister Miri Regev, a Netanyahu ally, has threatened to cut funds to theaters that refuse to perform in West Bank settlements.

Azaria was tried after a human rights worker filmed him fatally shooting a badly wounded Palestinian assailant in the West Bank in March. The assailant had already been shot after stabbing an Israeli soldier and was lying on the ground.

Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, the head of the military, was among the first to condemn Azaria, saying his actions ran counter to its ethics and values.

But instead of getting support from political leaders, the army’s decision to prosecute was called into question. Hard-line politicians, led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, accused the army of abandoning a soldier on the battlefield. After first defending the army, Netanyahu changed tack, even calling Azaria’s parents to offer support.



Israeli soldier charged in killing of wounded Palestinian

Trial starts for Israeli soldier in killing of Palestinian

Israeli soldier who killed wounded assailant gets 18 months in prison

Also see:

"During his personal testimony, Azaria told the court in July that he felt the supine assailant still posed a threat. The incident would have faded away quietly were it not for the video, recorded by a Palestinian volunteer from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and distributed to the media...."

Supine means lying on the ground face up -- as opposed to the U.S. Congre$$ that is prone when AIPAC comes to visit.

Lesson over for today.