The Daily Moth 4-11-17

April 12, 2017

Shooting at San Bernardino Elementary School, United Airlines Passenger Controversy, Deaf Gorilla at Jacksonville Zoo, CNN Heroes Slammed by Deaf Community for Featuring Founder of Oral After-School Program, Deaf Artist’ Work Featured in Huge Banners, and Increasing Tensions With North Korea and Russia. 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, April 11. Ready for news? 








There was a shooting yesterday morning at an elementary school in San Bernardino, California. It was a man shooting and killing his wife, who worked as a teacher at the school, before shooting and killing himself. Unfortunately, two kids were shot, and one of them died. 


What happened: the gunman, Cedric Anderson (from Riverside) went into the school with a .357 caliber revolver concealed — and after checking in the front office — went straight into a classroom where his wife was — Karen Smith, also from Riverside — and shot at her. It was a classroom with 15 special-needs students from the first to fourth grades and two aides. 


Two boy students were standing behind Karen and apparently got hit in the volley of gunfire.

One boy, who was 8 years old, was shot and died after being airlifted to a hospital. His name was Jonathan Martinez. Another student, 9 years old, was also airlifted to the hospital and is now in stable condition. 


The teacher/wife, Karen, was killed and the gunman turned the weapon on himself and committed suicide. They were married for only several months and apparently separated for the last month. 


Yesterday’s media coverage showed children streaming outside of the school and parents arriving in panic, looking for their kids. The school’s name is North Park Elementary School and it has around 600 students. It is 20 miles away from CSD Riverside.


Terrible. Other students who played on the same little league team as the 8-year old boy (Jonathan) honored him by making a light display with his name, a cross, and hearts. Very touching. 





I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the United Airlines passenger being dragged off his flight after he refused to leave his seat because the flight was overbooked. It’s all over the news, is a PR nightmare for United Airlines, and the controversy has caused United Airlines’ stock to drop. 


Here is some information: This man’s name is David Dao and he is 69 — he is a doctor who lives in Kentucky. He was seated on the plane on Sunday night, all ready to fly to Kentucky. That’s when United Airlines made an announcement that they needed to make four seats available for their staff (two pilots and and attendants) — and because the flight was overbooked — they made an offer of $400 and a free overnight hotel stay for someone to voluntarily give up their seat. Nobody responded. So the offer was increased to $800-$1,000. But nobody responded. 


United then used a computer system to randomly select four passengers — three of them accepted and left the plane, but David wouldn’t budge — saying he had to get back to KY to see patients the next morning. 


So United called three security men to come and forcibly remove him from his seat and dragged him down the aisle in front of all the other passengers. When he was at the front of the plane, David managed to run to the back of the plane and said, “just kill me” while having a bloodied face. Then security removed him from the plane and the plane took off after a 2-hour delay.


Naturally, many are mad at United — but their CEO said their staff acted appropriately because David refused to comply. This increased even more outrage against United. There’s a lot of outrage in China — because they feel like he was targeted and roughly treated because he was Asian. Dao is originally from Vietnam. It’s caused many in China to swear they won’t fly with United. It will hurt United’s business since they say they have the most direct flights to China. 


Legally — airlines can ask you to leave the plane due to overbooking. It is in the agreement when you buy a ticket. But usually it doesn’t happen with them dragging you out of the plane. 


There will probably be a lawsuit from David. We’ll see the long-term effects this incident has on United Airlines.


Update: United said the flight was not overbooked — but that it was full and they needed to get the four Untied staff in the plane. That probably makes it worse for United. 


Update #2: The CEO of United issued an apology saying, "I continue to be deeply disturbed by what happened on this flight, and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to 

all the customers abroad. No one should ever be mistreated this way."  




There is a Deaf gorilla at a zoo in Jacksonville, Florida. It is a 21-year old female and her name is Kumbuka. 


Apparently she could hear previously but recently lost her hearing. When she was brought to the Jacksonville Zoo in 2014, at 18 years old, zookeepers noticed that she didn’t hear — she didn’t respond to their voices and was withdrawn from socializing with other gorillas.  


So the zoo asked a children’s hospital — Nemours — to give the gorilla a hearing test, the same that is used on deaf children. She was placed under anesthesia and after a test, it was confirmed that she is profoundly deaf. The zoo staff now uses hand signals to give her cues. 


So — there’s a Deaf gorilla. If you’re in Jacksonville, you can go and visit Kumbuka. Hope she will learn some signs. 







CNN is getting strong criticism on Facebook by people from the Deaf community. Why? 


CNN has a program — CNN Heroes — where they recognize and honor exceptional individuals who do important work that impacts communities — is recognizing a person who has founded a program that teaches deaf children how to speak in an organization named “No Limits for deaf children and families.” 


The founder’s name is Michelle Christie. She runs an after-school program that teaches deaf children how to speak and after 10 weeks, has a “graduation ceremony” where kids give speeches in spoken English in front of family and friends. Michelle also runs a theater program where deaf kids learn how to speak English in plays. They have centers in California and Las Vegas.


In the video and article, it shows program staff coaching kids how to speak. There were many close-up shots of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and kids speaking. At the graduation ceremony, kids give out speeches in front of parents and friends, with some of them wiping away their tears.


In the interview with Michelle, she said the program focuses on children from low-income families who “didn’t have early intervention” — (did not have hearing/speech therapy) — and were told that their kids would never speak. Michelle says when the parents see their kids speaking, they think, “oh my gosh, my child is going to be *normal (Clarification — she said “okay” instead of “normal”


There is no ASL or mention of it throughout the video or article. It got strong criticism on Facebook by various commenters who felt the video focused too much on hearing, made it superior to sign language, and didn’t properly honor Deaf role models who do similar work with Deaf children. I will show you some comments — but I’ve removed their names.


#1: of course can will think of a hearing person advocating theater for deaf is a hero and have historical amnesia over the many Deaf heroes who have worked with Deaf kids. Gesh like Deaf educators never thought obthat. duh!!!!!!!! Deaf educators teaching Deaf are the real heroes. What can is advocating is a failed oral pedagogy almost in disguise. Just the opinion of a Deaf man with Ph.D. 


#2: Where’s the American Sign Language? Why are we taking 5 steps backwards in 2017? These children need ASL in their lives and their families need to learn sign. I’m living proof of someone who was raised in an oral upbringing. Just because I learned to speak didn’t change the way others view those w disabilities. 


#3: I have cochlear implant myself and I still use ASL, speak at the same time. But this is heartbreaker to see them not using ASL. I raise by hearing parents and my family. I’m only one deaf person. I’m so glad that my mother doesn’t put me in there like that. I’m thankful for that. She showed me that I need a both world. Not just one world. I am feeling like you are pulled them away from deaf culture. What kind hero is this? 


I reached out to Julie Rems-Smario, who is an advocate for ASL and English and is a former CNN Heroes (recognized in 2007 for her work with DeafHope) — she shared remarks about the selection and feature of Michelle. She said:




“I want to invite this new CNN Hero to work with Deaf people and learn why it's important to include Deaf children with ASL and English. 


Deaf role models do inspire Deaf children. It is my hope that CNN will make an effort to spotlight more Deaf leaders who are doing incredible work with Deaf children, without needing to resort to ‘inspiration porn.’


Always check if it is of, for, and by Deaf people.  If it's lacks ‘of’ and ‘by'  and promotes only ‘for’, then it does not represent the Deaf community.”




Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Julie. Feel free to comment your thoughts. You can view the CNN video and article at the link here. 


CNN Video:

CNN Article:




 In Fishers, Indiana — a Deaf artist’ work was chosen to be placed on a huge building in the downtown area. 


[Clip of art on large building]


The Deaf artist’ name is Warren Miller.  His art was chosen by the Fishers Art Council who worked in partnership with the city of Fishers to ask artists in the city to submit applications for their art to be featured in an exhibit, “Art in City Hall.” A jury selected Warren’s art out of more than 20 applicants.


His art was blown up into seven huge banners that are 25 feet tall land 10 feet wide. They were hung side-by-side over a large parking garage. There are two more banners at the ends of the exhibit — one that has Warren’s name and another for the city. 


Warren was honored at an unveiling ceremony at the end of March. The Mayor of Fishers and a City Councilwoman was there. Here are some video clips — thanks to George Martin for filming it.


Mayor Fadness: It’s a wonderful morning with you all. I’m really excited for the unveiling. 


City Councilwoman Coble: I’m sure he feels honored as a Deaf artist representing the Deaf community. 


Warren: I’m really inspired. I have goosebumps. I’ve been given this opportunity to work for the city of Fishers. I want to show you unity between the deaf and hearing communities. We are together. You can see people in the art talking and interacting with each other.


[Clip of artwork]


The lines represent growth. People and businesses. In the center, it’s us — the citizens. See the planes — they represent people who hear about Fishers and come here to start businesses and move into homes — this city is growing. We are becoming united with you all. 


Mayor: Thank you for your nice comments to show us what the art means. We want to show you a small gift — I’m sure this art wouldn’t fit at your home. 


Warren: I’m sure the Indiana School for the Deaf would like this. 


Mayor: Hmm, maybe, when we are finished, we can talk about this. (applause).


Warren: I’m really inspired. I first saw it in an email — a friend who knew of my work sent it to me and encouraged me. I looked at it and thought, “why not?” I applied. I heard back and was asked for an interview. They looked at my work and really liked it. I worked with the Mayor and the art council. We sat down for feedback and discussion on what they would like to see in the art. I drew some ideas and showed it to them — they loved it — pop art. The rest is history. 


Alex: Nice! Remember Warren’s remarks to the Mayor about the art being donated to Indiana School for the Deaf? I got word that the art will be donated to the school — which is around 12 miles south in Indianapolis. There is a large Deaf community in Fishers. 


Congratulations on the success, Warren, and thank you for representing us well.




There are now increasing international tensions between the U.S. and several countries. 


First: North Korea. There are now U.S. warships that are sailing towards the Korean peninsula in response to increasing aggressive tactics from North Korea — they’ve test-fired ballistic missiles several times. 


Today President Trump tweeted twice about North Korea while calling on China to help out: 


Tweet: I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!


Tweet: North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!  U.S.A.


North Korea has responded by saying they are watching the U.S. and would use nuclear weapons against USA if they were attacked. 


South Korea’s leader said North Korea would do more provocations and ordered the South Korean military to increase monitoring and keep in close communication with the U.S. 


Second: Russia and Syria. Sec. of State Tillerson gave a warning to Syria — saying al-Assad’s rule would come to an end and that there are steps underway to to remove him with international partners. 


But Russian President Putin spoke today that the U.S. wanted to conduct missile strikes against Syria — and wanted to plant “fake chemical weapon attacks” there in order to justify the strikes. Putin said the U.S. was planning to do it again. 


Sec. Tillerson is slated to meet Putin today. We’ll see what comes out of their discussions. 




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 

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