More Updates on Las Vegas Massacre, Dept. of Justice Removes Transgender People’s Protections Against Sex Protection Discrimination Under Civil Rights Bill, 2-Year Old Boy Killed When Father Crashes Car While Getting Away From Police After Shoplifting, U.S. Cities Vote to Honor "Indigenous Peoples Day" Instead of Columbus Day, and Senate Makes Positive Changes on EHDI Reauthorization Bill
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, October 5. Ready for news?
Updates with the Las Vegas massacre:
— The death count is still at 58, but the number of injured is now at 489. The number was previously higher but was a mistake because some people had gone to two hospitals, causing the numbers to be double-counted. Over 300 have been released from hospitals.
— The lawyer of Marilou Danley, the Las Vegas gunman’s girlfriend, issued a statement yesterday evening after the FBI questioned her.
Marilou said she saw Stephen as a kind, caring and a quiet man — that he never said anything or did anything that she thought was a warning that he would do something horrible. She said she is devastated by the deaths and injures.
She said more than two weeks ago Stephen told her he’d paid for a plane ticket for her to fly to her home country Philippines. When she got there, Stephen wired her $100,000 so she could buy a house for herself and her family. Marilou said she didn’t expect it and thought it was his way of breaking up with him.
She said she flew back to the U.S. Tuesday night because she wanted to help with the investigation.
— Investigators say they think Stephen had planned to escape after the attack. His car parked at the hotel had 1,600 bullets and many cases of “small explosives” that gun hobbyists use to fire at on the range — and a type of fertilizer that can be converted to explosives.
— The night before the shooting, Stephen was gambling for 8 hours straight. He was seen with another woman (not Marilou) in the days before the shooting.
— Previously I said he shot through the door at a security guard’s leg. The security guard’s name is Jesus Campos.
He said he went up to the 32nd floor in an elevator and when he went to the door (Room #135), he was shot in the leg through the door. He then radioed his room location.
Stephen’s room was at the end of the hallway. He fired 200 rounds in the hallway as police tried to approach the room. Then it stopped — apparently because Stephen had killed himself.
The security guard helped other police officers clear guests out of the floor using his pass, even while he was bleeding. Police officers told him he had to go and get medical treatment.
— The process of clearing rooms one by one to get to Stephen’s room is why it took 75 minutes from the first shot until the SWAT team broke down his door.
— There is a lot of discussion in Washington, D.C. about banning bump stocks— which is what the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock used to make his rifles fire like an automatic.
The White House said they were open to conversations about bump stocks. The NRA National Rifle Association said they want the federal government to review if bump stocks are legal and to consider regulations — a big step for the NRA, as they are usually opposed to any kind of gun control.
Bump stocks were a “recent invention” — in 2009, during former President Obama first year, the federal bureau ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) looked at them and determined they didn’t need to regulate it because it was an accessory — it didn’t alter a gun’s trigger with springs, hydraulics, or electric current (which would make it a machine gun). So they were allowed in the years since, and it appears most people have never heard of it.
But now after the shooting, an increasing number of Republican lawmakers say they are open to legislation that will ban bump stocks
Democrats, led by Sen. Feinstein, have made a push for total ban on bump stocks.
Some Republicans say they needed to do more research. Some say they are against any form of increased gun control.
— There are reports that Stephen Paddock booked a hotel room in Chicago two months ago that overlooked a big music festival — Lollapalooza — two months ago, but seems like he didn’t check in. He also recently got Airbnb rooms at another music festival in downtown Las Vegas — Life is Beautiful on September 22-24. Both music festivals had Chance the Rapper and Deaf “interpreter” Matt Maxey, his team, as well as Deaf concertgoers. Police said they don’t know why he was there and are investigating.
Now those who plan out big concerts or musical festivals say the shooting is a game-changer — security teams now have to consider threats from buildings around the venue.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday that transgender individuals are not protected from sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act — which says that employers can’t discriminate based race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
In 2014, Obama’s AG Holder said “sex discrimination” applied to transgender individuals. But now Sessions says the Obama administration went beyond the law by including transgender people in the “sex discrimination” category.
The Dept. of Justice said they would still protect people who were discriminated based on their sexual orientation.
It is possible activist organizations will sue the Trump administration to challenge AG Sessions’ decision.
This is yet another big action related to transgender people from the Trump administration — a few months ago President Trump said he would ban transgender individuals from entering and serving in the military.
Terrible news in Pennsylvania — on Tuesday afternoon, a 27-year man — Christopher Kuhn — went to a Wal-Mart with his 2-year old son, Qadan.
He stole a $228 *Vizio sound bar and was approached by a security guard upon exiting — but he went to his SUV, put his son in the back seat without strapping him in the car seat, covered his license plate with a sweater, and drove off at high speeds, running red lights.
At an intersection another car struck his SUV, causing it to roll over. Sadly the son, because he was not strapped, was ejected. Christopher got out of his SUV, walked to his son’s body, but stepped over it and ran away. The boy was taken to the hospital, but he died.
Police pursued Christopher and caught him. They asked him where his son was, and he said “back there.” Police has charged him with third-degree murder, vehicular homicide, and other charges. He is in jail on a $5 million bail.
The *County District Attorney said Christopher thought it was more important to cover his license plate than to strap his child in before speeding away.
The boy’s mother had shared custody with Christopher. Very sad.
Note: I spelled “Vizio” wrong - I said “Vizor.”
Note 2: The District Attorney I referred to is the Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Robert James
Several U.S. cities have voted to name what is usually Columbus Day (the second Monday in October — which is next Monday) to Indigenous Peoples Day to honor the “original” Americans, those who were here before Europeans came.
I’ve seen this sign for “Indigenous” — here it is.
The Salt Lake City (Utah) Council voted unanimously on it on Tuesday night. They say they are not eliminating Columbus Day, but just adding another group to honor on the same day. The city will encourage residents, businesses, and schools to recognize and celebrate IPD.
The Austin (Tx) City Council did the same today, voting to declare the second October Monday as “Indigenous Peoples Day.” They also wanted Austin schools to include the teaching of indigenous people’ history.
In Los Angeles County, their board of supervisors passed similar proposals and will start observing ‘Indigenous Peoples Day” on the second Monday in October no later than 2019.
Seattle, Albuquerque, and Denver has done the same. Columbus Day is a federal holiday, but cities can choose for their official calendars to have “Indigenous People’s Day” on it instead of “Columbus Day.”
What do you think?
Sign for Indigenous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2-FJbEGqhY
Here is an interview with Tawny Holmes, an attorney with the NAD. She will tell us about the recent EHDI bill.
Tawny: Hello, I’m Tawny, Education Policy Counsel for the NAD.
Alex: Hello. The Senate just passed the EHDI Reauthorization Bill. There seems to be some changes, can you tell us about that?
Tawny: The EHDI is short for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Bill. It is basically to define what kind of services families with a newborn deaf child will get. How will they get their ears screened to diagnose them? Things like that. This law gives authorization for a budget to be set for hospitals to continue to pay/provide those services. So this bill will decide if those services will continue or not.
Congress has been discussing this for some time. I’ve sat down with Senators to discuss proposed changes and they’ve agreed that langauge acquisition is critical. They’ve got some feedback from people and they’ve done some research on this. They noticed that Medicare and other insurance does not cover sign langauge support services, but covered speech and oral support services. So they reached out to Medicare — and they told them that this category was not mentioned in law. So they (Senators) decided to add “language acquisition services” to the bill. This was great — and I told them that it was important to mention ASL and English and the family’s home language as well. They told me they’d think about it and pointed to the House to make changes.
The bill passed in the Senate and it was released last week. I took a look at it and it included langauge acquisition services in both oral and visual modalities. This is a big step because they recognize the visual modalities. It’s not perfect nor what we wanted but it’s a step.
When the Senate proposes a bill, usually the House will make their own. But due to time limits, the House at the last minute decided to accept the Senate’s version and voted in favor of it last Tuesday. We were happy about this because the House bill was not as strong as the Senate version.
We here at NAD understands why they chose the term, “modalities” — it’s because langauge can be a political topic as here in the U.S., “language” means English. Laws usually don’t include other languages, so it’s a challenge. But we see that modalities are usually used in bilingual education. It means how a language is expressed — whether it is spoken, received, expressed, read, written, or heard. Since bilingual education uses this, we are okay with it — it’s a step in the right direction.
Alex: The Senate bill said there needed to be Deaf mentors. That seems to be a positive step. Can you expand on that?
Tawny: Yes, the Deaf mentors part in the bill is very important. This is a critical way for families with deaf children to get support for them to acquire sign langauge. Families will not only learn sign language, but learn about the deaf child’s identity and have support from Deaf mentors and pass on a healthy family identity. We’re excited about that and it’s an important part of the bill.
Now the bill is on its way to the President so we'll see what happens. With that, I want to thank those of you who engaged in dialogue, contacted your Congressional representative in whatever way you did — as it really made a difference. They really do listen. We’ll keep on making sure we educate them and keep on making the law stronger. Thank you all very much!
Alex: Thank you, Tawny, for all you do for Deaf children.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!