Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 for US Employees; Mail Laced With Ricin Sent to Pentagon; High School Football Player Dies From Head Injury; Woman Loses Eyesight After Being Hit By Golf Ball at Ryder Cup; Deaf Man Punched and Maced By New Jersey Police Officers During Arrest; One Year Since Las Vegas Mass Shooting; Interview With Deaf Survivor
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, October 2. Ready for news?
Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 for US Employees
This morning Amazon announced that they will increase the minimum wage for Amazon’s US employees to $15 an hour, starting next month.
The new wages will benefit more than 350,000 Amazon workers, including part time, temporary and seasonal employees. Some employees who are already making $15 an hour will also see a pay increase.
This announcement comes after several months of criticism against Amazon for how they treat and pay their workers, that they had high work loads and low pay. Amazon is a trillion-dollar company, so many thought the employees should be paid more.
Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced new legislation called the Bezos Act, short for Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies. It’s clear who Bernie was targeting, because the bill is titled “BEZOS” after Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.
The bill proposes to tax corporations for each dollar that the government pays their low-wage workers if they depend on government health care benefits or food stamps.
This morning the Amazon CEO Jeff said, “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead.” He encouraged Amazon’s competitors and other large companies to join them in increasing the minimum wage.
Amazon said they will start advocating for an increase to the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25.
Retail company Target said it would raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2020, and Walmart said they would increase to $11 in January.
Mail Laced With Ricin Sent to Pentagon
Today two envelopes that were delivered to the Pentagon tested positive for ricin, a very dangerous and toxic substance that can cause organ failure and death.
The envelopes were written to the Sec. of Defense and the Chief of Naval Operations.
The envelopes never made it to their offices. The Pentagon has a mail facility in a separate, adjacent building. The mail was viewed as suspicious and tested positive, before it entered the Pentagon building.
Now all of the mail at that screening facility is under quarantine. It is said no employees are under threat.
Now the FBI is analyzing the mail and are on this case.
High School Football Player Dies From Head Injury
Dylan Thomas, a 16 year old high school junior from Georgia, passed away on Sunday night from a head injury from a football game on Friday night.
Dylan came out of the game in the third quarter seemingly because of a leg injury, but as he spoke with the team doctor and athletic trainers, he began to mumble then passed out. He fell off the bench. A few minutes later, Dylan woke up and said he couldn’t feel his body. He passed out again.
He was transported to a local hospital, then a larger one in Atlanta. He was in a coma until he was pronounced dead on Sunday night from a head injury.
Coaches and officials are not sure how or when in the game Dylan was injured, and are now reviewing video to try to pinpoint what happened. Dylan’s uncle believes he was hit in the second quarter but that his body did not respond to the impact until later.
Dylan had been wearing a new helmet, a NFL-quality helmet bought by Dylan’s father because he was worried about head injuries.
On Saturday, one day after Dylan was hospitalized, a similar incident happened in Tennessee. A linebacker for Tennessee State University, Christion Abercrombie, told the team’s athletic trainers he had a headache. A few minutes later he collapsed. He is still in critical condition.
Woman Loses Eyesight After Being Hit By Golf Ball at Ryder Cup
A woman who went to the Ryder Cup golf tournament in France, Corine Remande (49), has lost vision in her right eye after she was hit in the eye by a golf ball.
At the sixth hole, American golfer Brooks Kopeka hit a shot that veered into the crowd and hit Corine in the eye. The right socket was fractured, and her eyeball exploded.
Brooks quickly went up to her and apologized as she was being treated by medical responders.
Corine was taken to a specialist eye hospital in Paris. Doctors were able to sew her eyeball back together, but told her yesterday that she had lost vision in the right eye.
Corine is seeking legal action because she heard no warning before the ball hit her. She said it is the responsibility of officials to make sure crowds are alerted by calling the traditional “fore” warning.
A spokesperson for the Ryder Cup said that they would continue to offer support to Corine for as long as necessary, but that they did shout “fore” a few times before she was hit. They said sometimes crowds are too far away to hear the warning.
Deaf Man Punched and Maced By New Jersey Police Officers During Arrest
There are at least two viral videos of several police officers punching a deaf man as they arrest him on Friday night in Paterson, New Jersey. One officer sprayed what appears to be mace on his face as people shouted that the man is deaf.
The man’s name is Rasseon Adams (42). It is not clear if he is a signing deaf person or if he only uses his voice.
I watched the videos — it starts with several police officers on a narrow residential street standing around, they were there to investigate suspected drug-related activities. There were several people walking around them.
The deaf man, Adams, was seen pointing at the officers, apparently saying something to them. I read in an article that a woman told him, “Come on, you bugging.”
An officer said, “Can I help you?” People told the officer that the man is deaf.
The camera shifts away, then suddenly we see at least three officers pushing Adams against a police SUV. He moves his arms away, avoiding the officers, but they pull him and pushed him down on the sidewalk, holding him down.
One officer is seen shaking a can that seems like mace spray, then kneels by Adams and sprays it point-blank on his face. Other officers punch him, then handcuffed him in the front.
Adams is seen pointing to his eye and using his voice to talk with the officers, who pick him up and bring him to a police car. The video shifts away again, then we see Adams lying down on the street with officers pouring water on his face, apparently because of the mace.
Later, we see that Adams is not responsive, he seems to be passed out or had a medical issue. He did not respond to people who tapped on him. An ambulance arrived, then he is placed on a stretcher and transported away. He was later taken to custody, apparently charged with resisting arrest.
Officers told news that Adams flicked a cigarette at them, which is the reason why they arrested him.
The mayor of Paterson said he has referred this to prosecutors, and now they are investigating.
A lawyer representing Adams said the officer showed unprofessional conduct and was unprepared to deal with someone who has an obvious handicap.
The local police chief said the officer showed great restraint. So there are differing perspectives.
Deaf activist organization HEARD tweeted about this. They told people to not erase other identities, pointing out that this was a “Black Deaf man,” and said police violence often happens at the intersection of race and disability.
Longer FB Video of Arrest: http://bit.ly/2QoZiLq
One Year Since Las Vegas Mass Shooting; Interview With Deaf Survivor
Yesterday marked one year since the terrible mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured hundreds of people.
Gunman Stephen Paddock used several rifles to fire over 1,000 bullets from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel at thousands of people who were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
After 10 minutes of shooting, he killed himself. Police barged into his room over an hour later, and in the months of investigation since then, police still don’t know why he did it.
Last year, I did an interview with a Deaf woman, Tara Adams, who survived the shooting. She was there with a group of friends and her husband. Here is a clip from the interview last year.
Tara: I could hear the gunfire, but I didn’t know where it was coming from. I looked at my husband’s face and said, “What? Where is it from?” He said it was a gun, and I was shocked. We ran. My husband grasped my hand and pulled me through an area with many porta-potties. We went through and saw many people crouched down and hiding everywhere, under objects. We were waiting and felt safe because we were far away, we were sitting down but heard the incessant gunfire, it just went on and didn’t stop. People were confused and angry. There were many police officers lined up, why didn’t they stop him? People didn’t understand where it was from. That feeling of safety is destroyed. I imagine it would take time to heal.
Alex: I reached out to her again and asked if she was willing to do another interview one year later. She said okay.
Alex: Last year, you said your feelings of being in a “perfect world” was shattered and that you were changed. What is your viewpoint now, one year later?
Tara: First, after it happened, there was serious anxiety. Triggers from different things would hit me, I’d be scared and break down. I felt stressed. Over time, with reading, studying, and counseling, and introspection, I feel more calm now. I’m more at peace and feel love for life and appreciate the beautiful. I am thankful. That incident was terrible, but what I gained from the incident far exceeds the pain and grief.
Alex: You were just in Las Vegas and met with other survivors. You also have a tattoo to honor those who died. Can you tell us about the two?
[Images of a gathering in Las Vegas, Tara with her friends, and a memorial honoring the 58 who died]
Tara: Last weekend in Las Vegas, there was a gathering of people who were there at the shooting, or family members of those who passed away. I thought it was a big step and a part of healing. It was like I boldly said, “I’m not scared. I will continue to live.” The gathering itself was mournful, there were many tributes, pictures, videos, and slideshows. It was deeply touching and very emotional. But on that weekend in Las Vegas, when people wore their “91” t-shirts, it was easy to spot them, feel a bond, and embrace them. We met many strangers.
[Image of Tara’s tattoo, which is a large drawing of angel wings with a cowboy hat with “91” on it, resting on red roses.]
Tara: About the tattoo, really I’ve been wondering when I would get a tattoo. I knew it must have a lot of meaning for myself. When it happened, I knew I wanted to honor and never forget those who departed. To never forget what I learned from that experience. My tattoo has angel wings on the back. It symbolizes protection, that there are always angels around us. For the cowboy hat with the “91” on it, it symbolizes country people who love each other and have that bond. Under the hat there are flowers to honor those who passed away. The quote that runs vertical on my back says, “Peace can be found in the madness we survive.” It means if you go through terrible things, will it ruin your life? No. You can use that experience to transform your life in a positive way. At the bottom, there is the number 58. It is to honor those who passed away. I will always have that love on my back, to always remind myself to be thankful and honor those who don’t have the opportunity to be here. I will live my life in thankfulness for them.
Alex: You made a Facebook posting saying you feel like you can’t talk about the shooting online because the comments would get into a ugly political debate. Can you share more and explain why you said that?
Tara: If I post something and share my feelings on going through this or write a message on another shooting to express my condolences -- if I post a message, there will be a barrage of comments with arguments. I feel stifled, it’s not what I am looking for. I get that strong negativity. I learned to keep quiet, to not share anything related with gun violence because it causes people to argue. I already -- that experience has already scarred me, and do I want to add more to the pain with the comments? No. I stay quiet. It’s hard because sometimes I feel a little limited in my access to support and understanding because people are so angry. Wow. It’s hard to find common ground, for love and respect for each other. Push politics aside. It’s tough. That is one big issue that I have faced over the year. I feel as if my feelings are suppressed. It’s sad. It’s really sad.
Alex: Do you have anything to add?
Tara: We typically dwell on horrible incidents or dwell on what we want to happen or on our unachieved goals. We want to hurry there. But do we realize that the worst moments and the best moments are very brief? Everything that happens in between, we miss out on because our brains are just spinning about the negativity and desires. The future and the past. Just push it all aside. Right now, what is going on in your life right now, if you see a person in the street and you make eye contact and smile, maybe that is the last time you look at them. Maybe. You don’t know. If your mind is rambling, tell it to quiet down. Enjoy the now, what you see around you, who the people are. Enjoy each moment you have. Even the boring moments, treasure them. I think that’s the most important thing, each moment feels like a gift, it’s beautiful. I am thankful. I think that is my ultimate message I want to share with you. Enjoy every moment, the boring and the exciting. It doesn’t matter. Treasure them.
Alex: Thank you for your time, Tara.
Last night in Las Vegas, the lights on the strip were dimmed to honor those who died. There was a 58-second moment of silence. At a ceremony, the names of the those who died were read one by one.
Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/taraadamssmith/posts/10156743463939629
Interview from October 3, 2017: http://bit.ly/2xS8hOt
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!