Saturday News: The tip of the proliferation iceberg

FELON SHOWING OFF AR-15 SHOOTS INTO NEIGHBOR'S HOME IN ASHEVILLE: The neighbor, Christopher Allen Ducker, told police he “was showing off an AR-15 to his friends and accidentally fired the gun,” police said. “The round went through his wall, through a privacy fence, and then ultimately ended up in his neighbor’s wall,” officials said. Police seized a 5.56 Ruger AR-15 and a .308 Remington bolt-action rifle at Ducker’s home, officials said. Ducker was charged with discharge of a firearm in the city, possession of a firearm by a felon, and discharging a weapon into occupied property, police said. What's missing from this story is how he acquired this assault rifle, arguably the most important detail. He most likely had a friend buy it for him, or he bought it in a private sale, two major loopholes in our permitting system.

DALE FOLWELL IS ALLOWING CONSERVATIVES TO DICTATE PENSION INVESTMENT STRATEGIES: State Treasurer Dale Folwell said Friday that a conservative group has asked that North Carolina pension funds divest all holdings in the parent company of Ben & Jerry's because the iconic ice cream maker plans to halt sales in Israeli-occupied areas of Palestine. Ben & Jerry's, which is owned by U.K.-based consumer goods company Unilever, issued a statement in July that selling its ice cream in the occupied territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights was "inconsistent with our values." The company said it had informed its licensee in that area that its license wouldn't be renewed after it expires at the end of 2022. The National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit, recently wrote to Folwell, whose office manages the state's pension funds, asking for "the immediate divestiture of Unilever holdings." North Carolina's pension funds, which total $121.4 billion, benefit more than 900,000 retired teachers, firefighters, police officers, state and local government employees and other public workers. Understand, the Ben & Jerry's ice cream sold in the Occupied Territories is made and distributed by Israelis, with permission from B&J's. Meaning, the profits are mostly gained by Israel, via Value Added Tax (VAT) and other mechanisms that make a mockery of the intent of the Paris Protocol. And since all imports into Palestine (and exports from) are tightly controlled by Israel, along with utilities (water, power), Palestinian businesses are virtually incapable of competing with their oppressor by producing their own goods (including ice cream). A popular ice cream made in the West Bank is not available to citizens of Gaza (or Israelis, for that matter). So yes, Ben & Jerry's has every right to discontinue having their product be part of that abusive system.

UNC DONOR WHO INTERFERED WITH HANNAH-JONES' HIRING CONTINUES TO PLAGUE J-SCHOOL: At least one faculty member, journalism professor Deb Aikat, isn’t happy that what he called a “hush-hush” meeting is happening. He said he thinks Hussman’s visit to campus is “shrouded in secrecy and lack of transparency, accountability and honesty,” which concerns some faculty. Aikat said journalism school leadership tried to cherry-pick faculty to join the private meeting with Hussman, but faculty members declined. He believes the school’s faculty should meet with Hussman in an open session to resolve unanswered questions about the school’s journalism values and the Hannah-Jones situation. Otherwise, this visit will just enable Hussman to say he talked with UNC-CH leaders and faculty and moving on, without any actual accountability, Aikat said. In his email, King asked for time on the agenda of the next faculty meeting to update, inform and answer questions about the plan to move forward with Hussman. In the absence of Hussman himself being forced to answer some hard questions, the value of that proposed "update" is dubious.

TRIAL FOR THE MURDER OF AHMOUD ARBERY BEGINS MONDAY: The McMichaels are charged with chasing Arbery in a pickup truck and fatally shooting him after spotting him running in their neighborhood. More than two months passed before their arrests after video of the shooting was leaked online and sparked a national outcry. Jury selection in the murder trial of the McMichaels and William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor who joined the pursuit and took the video, is scheduled to begin Monday. For many, it’s not just the three white defendants on trial, but rather a justice system that allowed them to remain free for weeks after they pursued and killed a Black man. Local activists plan a weekend rally at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, a working-class port city 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Savannah, and a car caravan through the neighborhood where Arbery was slain. “It’s shaken the faith of the Black and brown community in their ability to trust the justice system,” said the Rev. John Perry, who was president of the Brunswick NAACP chapter when Arbery was killed. Arbery's death on Feb. 23, 2020, later became part of the broader reckoning on racial injustice in the criminal legal system after a string of fatal encounters between Black people and police — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, among others. Akeem Baker, a close friend of Arbery's, still takes runs on the 23rd day of each month for a distance of exactly 2.23 miles to keep his memory alive. “I have to believe that this is going to bring needed changes to Brunswick and to the nation, in terms of racial justice,” Baker said.

US DOJ WILL PUSH SUPREME COURT TO BLOCK TEXAS ABORTION LAW: The Justice Department said Friday that it will ask the Supreme Court for an emergency halt to the Texas law that has restricted abortion access in the nation’s second-largest state to an extent not seen in 50 years. The announcement followed a decision by a federal appeals court Thursday night that allowed the law to remain in effect. A lower-court judge last week said the law was unconstitutional. The department’s announcement means the high court will be asked for the second time to put the law on hold while legal challenges to it continue. In a divisive 5-to-4 decision last month, the court allowed the law to take effect, though even the majority said it raised constitutional concerns. The developments in Texas underscore what could be a moment of reckoning for abortion rights at the Supreme Court, as opponents of the procedure see a new opportunity for victory because of the court’s changed membership. Three justices chosen by President Donald Trump were in the majority that refused to block the law last month. The Supreme Court’s initial ruling on the ban stemmed from a different challenge that raised separate legal issues from the Justice Department complaint. In that earlier case, the majority’s one-paragraph opinion allowing the ban to stand noted the law’s “complex and novel” procedural questions, and said it was not clear that abortion providers challenging the law were suing the proper defendants. As in many cases pending before the Court, Roberts is the key. Film at eleven.



That's a Chatham GOP raffle

pictured above. The raffle was cancelled before it took place, but Republicans all over the state still fetishize these things. Or more accurately, they cater to those who do, which is even sleazier.

And the details of the story you cite...

point out exactly why this fetishizing of assault weapons is so incredibly dangerous, even when they aren't getting into the hands of those barred from owning a gun. He shot this thing off and it went through two house walls and a fence. Anyone who had been unlucky enough to be in the way would almost certainly be badly injured at best. Assault weapons like these fire very high velocity rounds that have serious penetrating (not to mention killing) power, yet idiots like this get them for "home defense". This makes them different from most hunting weapons that aren't really used that way, even by the gun-toting yahoos. What they can easily end up doing with an assault weapon is killing people they not only aren't shooting at but people they don't even know are in their line of fire. There is nothing of "responsible gun owner" in any of this. It's long past time that we banned military weapons (and their "civilian" equivalents) from private ownership. If we'd done that, this felon would have been able to be such a menace to his neighbors, no matter what holes exist in the background check system (not that we shouldn't plug those up too, because we should.)