Photo takes aim at gun critics
Mar06

Photo takes aim at gun critics

Gun critics and supporters are not sure what to think of the recent photo of President Obama shooting skeet at Camp David. The White House released the photo Feb. 2, but it was snapped back in August while the president vacationed with his family at the camp in Maryland. The picture shows the president with protective glasses and ear-muffs, peering down the barrel of a shotgun immediately after pulling the trigger. The photo is thought to be proof to critics who are skeptical about Obama’s efforts to tighten gun control. Some are calling it staged, while the president said that he has a profound respect of the tradition of hunting. This newfound enthusiasm for shooting clay pigeons seems a bit suspicious, even after the president was asked in an interview if he had ever shot a gun. “Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” Obama said. The president and others have been pushing for more gun control since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed. But will this picture silence those who are skeptical about gun control? It is very unlikely, since most of them are saying that the president has no experience or knowledge of guns. This is obvious by how the president is handling the shotgun in the photo. Notice his right hand is pretty far up the barrel. If the president is an active shooter, he would know that the barrel of the gun gets pretty warm up there. John H. Josselyn, legislative vice president for the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore Inc. said this photo is most likely staged to help quiet those concerned with Obama’s gun control laws. “If the president were actually shooting on a skeet or trap range, he would have been wearing a belt with a shell bag or a shooting vest. This is a poorly staged publicity photo intended to deceive the public by portraying the president as something he is not,” Josselyn said. The president has shot skeet before. Once at the President’s Cup, which is a shooting competition tradition involving the presidential Marine guards. The president only stayed there for about five minutes. Another source said he remembered the president skeet shooting one other time at Camp David, very early in his first term. It is unclear if the picture was staged or not, but it is obvious that President Obama is trying to make amends with the skeptics who say he has no experience in handling...

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Belton celebrates Oscars in Grand Way
Mar06

Belton celebrates Oscars in Grand Way

In Belton, the Academy Awards isn’t just a one-time ceremony, but a week-long event at Grand Avenue Theater this week. Through Feb. 28, the theater is showing two of the nominated best pictures of the year, as well as three sets of short films. Daniel Bucher, business manager at Grand Avenue, said that showing films like these offers viewers a chance to see different material, instead of the normal films. “We are trying to draw in different people and offer different options. Some people may not come to see a movie, but they like the Oscars and it’s free admission, so they’re going to come check it out,” Bucher said. Adam Dubberly, assistant manager at Grand Avenue was eager about the theater being able to screen films that other theaters are not. “We are especially excited to be showing the nominated short films, in part because we are the only theater in the area showing them,” he said. The top five most celebrated winners were Christoph Waltz who won best supporting actor for his role in Django Unchained, best supporting actress, Anne Hathaway in her role as Fantine in Les Miserables, Jennifer Lawrence as leading actress in Silver Linings Playbook and leading actor, Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln.And for Best Picture of the Year,  Argo  won the Oscar. Sunday evening the Oscars were shown live on the big-screen at Grand Avenue.     Movie posters of the nominated best pictures were given away. Junior communication major Wesley Ashton went to watch the ceremony at the theater with a friend. He said, “My friend and I enjoyed the friendly service the grand Avenue staff provided throughout the showing. They offered us sparkling grape juice, food, and even raffle prizes….” Chances to see the films are still available at the Theater.     For show times, check www.grandavenuetheater.com/.nows...

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Woman’s execution halted

A Dallas judge postponed the execution of a Texas woman who would have been the first woman put to death in the U.S. since 2010. State District Judge Larry Mitchell halted the execution of Kimberly McCarthy after an appeal by McCarthy’s lawyers that focused on whether the jury that convicted and sentenced her to death was selected improperly based on race. The jury was made up of 11 white people and one black person. McCarthy is black. McCarthy, 51, was convicted and faced lethal injection for the 1997 beating, stabbing and robbery of her 71-year-old neighbor in Lancaster, Texas. Evidence showed that McCarty phoned her neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. Instead of retrieving it,  McCarthy was convicted of assaulting her neighbor, stabbing her with a knife, beating her with a candle holder and severing her ring finger to steal a wedding ring. Prosecutors presented evidence that tied McCarthy to similar slayings of two other women in Dallas in December 1988, which sealed the deal for the jury that McCarthy    was guilty. McCarthy’s lawyer said that “of the twelve jurors seated at trial, all were white, except one, and eligible non-white jurors were excluded from serving by the state….These facts must be understood in the context of the troubling and long-standing history of racial discrimination in jury selection.” The DA’s office had called the effort a “mere delay” tactic, saying the record didn’t support a legal claim for discrimination. Are the defense attorneys procrastinating to buy McCarthy more time? Or are they genuinely concerned that there is evidence of racial discrimination against her? It’s hard to tell if the jury sentenced her to death because of her race or of her crimes. The basis of racial discrimination should not be allowed in the courtroom. If a person committed a crime, he or she should be punished fairly. The Declaration of Independence, an official U.S. document, states that all men are created equal, which should hold the same amount of power in a U.S. courtroom. Some believe that the death penalty should not be used in the case of a female defendant, while others argue that all criminals should be punished for their crimes. McCarthy would have been the 13th woman executed in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation’s busiest death penalty state, since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. During that same time period, 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide. McCarthy is one of 10 women currently on death row in Texas, but only one with an execution date, or who had an execution date. No doubt this punishment for...

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Russia bans adoptions
Jan29

Russia bans adoptions

Many American families aren’t sure what the future holds for them after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month banning the adoption of Russian children by                                       American families. Putin put the law into effect after he claimed U.S. authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence go unpunished. This was a reference to Dima Yakolev who was adopted by Americans. He died in 2008 after his father left him in a car for hours in blistering heat. Yakolev’s father was not found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Backers of the new bill said that American adoptive parents have been abusive, citing 19 deaths of adopted Russian children since the 1990s. In 2012, an American woman sparked outrage after she sent her adopted son back to Russia on a one-way flight. The woman said that the boy, then 7, had violent episodes that made her family fear for their safety. Out of the 60,000 Russian children who have been adopted by American families in the past two decades, 59,981 of them are still alive. Russian leaders don’t seem to realize that all of the 19 deaths were, most likely, accidental. For example, China did not ban adoptions after Christian songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter was accidentally killed. But it’s not just the Americans who are frustrated by the turn of events; the Russians are upset as well. On Sunday, Jan. 13, thousands marched through Moscow to protest Putin’s ban on adoption. The march was led by many who also want to put an end to Putin’s 13-year reign. One poster read “Parliament deputies to orphanages, Putin to an old people’s home.” Maybe now, Russian leaders will consider lifting the ban since it’s not only the Americans who are upset. A Putin spokesperson tried to ease some of the anger by announcing that most of the adoptions currently under way could proceed. This will allow the children who have already met their adoptive families to leave the country without any difficulties. But what about the other thousands of children who are without loving families to care for them? UNICEF estimates about 740,000 children in Russia are without parental custody, and only 18,000 Russians are on the waiting list to adopt. While leaders are encouraging more Russians to adopt, that is very unlikely to happen. When a Russian orphan reaches the age of 15 or 16, UNICEF estimates that one in three live on the streets, one in five is a criminal, and one in ten commits suicide. Many families as well as adoption advocates are hoping and praying that the ban will be lifted so children can become members of a...

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Cru for Life hosts Roe v. Wade event
Jan29

Cru for Life hosts Roe v. Wade event

A thousand flags scattered across the Quad last Tuesday were definitely not hard to miss. They represented 55,000 abortions, just a portion of 55 million since the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade in 1973. This was the 40th anniversary of the momentous event that legalized abortion in any instance in the U.S. Cru for Life had a few events, a poll and an 8 p.m. candlelight vigil, to memorialize the 55 million children who have been aborted. According to its Facebook page, Cru for Life is a group of students who deal with the issue of abortion on the school campus. The page also said the organization defends the rights of those who cannot speak,  the unborn. Senior nursing major Stephanie Taylor is the current president of the organization and has been a part of it since her freshman year. “Cru for Life has had this memorial every year since its existence to first honor and remember those who lost their lives,” Taylor said. The organization is trying to get more people aware of how serious the issue of abortion is in the U.S. “We also try to raise awareness on campus about the toll it has taken on our nation and ways to get involved,” Taylor said. Many students participated in the vigil where they lit candles, had a moment of silence and prayed that government leaders would realize the need to overturn Roe v. Wade so more unborn babies can live. Sophomore English education major Sarah Tipton is the vice president of Cru for Life and a volunteer counselor for Hope Pregnancy Center in Killeen. “The vigil is important to me because women are facing this choice every single day in our country, and over 3,000 of them will choose abortion per day. Praying for them and their circumstances helps put a human element to abortion,” Tipton said. A pro-life march and rally took place this past Friday in Washington, D.C. Taylor attended both events this year. Before the march, a number of well known pro-life speakers provided encouragement for those fighting for the cause. 650,000 people marched in opposition  to abortion compared to 400,000 who participated in last year’s  national march. While the pro-life march in D.C. was happening, an event in Austin, the “Texas March for Life,” also took place. “The purpose of a state march is to advocate for more pro-life state laws,” Taylor said. After the march in Austin, a rally took place featuring Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and  pro-life activist Abby Johnson at the Capitol. Tipton said, “We live in one of the most pro-life states in...

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