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This is America: 9 out of 10 public schools now hold mass shooting drills for students

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How "active shooter" drills became normal for a generation of American schoolchildren.
"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.
His friendly tone then turns serious.
“What I don’t want you to do is hide in the corner if a bad guy comes in the room,” he says. "You gotta get moving."
This training session — shared online by the ALICE Training Institute, a civilian safety training company — reflects the new normal at American public schools. As armed shooters continue their deadly rampages, and while Washington remains stuck on gun control, a new generation of American students have learned to lock and barricade their classroom doors the same way they learn to drop and roll in case of a fire.
The training session is a stark reminder of how American schools have changed since the 1999 Columbine school shooting. School administrators and state lawmakers have realized that a mass shoot…

Tennessee Death Row Inmates Sue Over Lethal Injection Drugs

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – As Tennessee eyes a wave of executions, attorneys for 33 death row inmates on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the state's new three-drug combination for lethal injections.
The lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court claims that the three-drug combination instituted in January in Tennessee and unused there so far presents a substantial risk of serious and severe pain and suffering. Similar or identical combinations were used in botched executions in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia, the group of attorneys said in a news release.
The lawsuit could delay one man's Aug. 9 execution and sidetrack eight proposed executions requested before June by Attorney General Herbert Slatery, who has said it's uncertain whether officials can get lethal injection chemicals after that. Tennessee last put someone to death in 2009.
"What Tennessee is proposing to do amounts to torturing prisoners to death, which we know becaus…

Eric Branch: From witnesses to the last meal: What happens at an execution

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Death row inmate Eric Branch will likely spend his final hours awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision as the executioner, wardens and witnesses continue preparations for the convicted killer's scheduled execution Thursday.
The execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida State Prison in Raiford. Branch, who has been on death row since 1994 for the murder of University of West Florida student Susan Morris the year prior, has opted out from speaking to media ahead of the execution.
He has been vocal instead through court documents, having expressed concern and discontent with the execution and judicial process through numerous appeals that last week rose to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Branch has questioned everything from the direction his body will face during the execution to the expiration date of the injection drugs. He claimed in one appeal that his 24 years on death row constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and most recently is appealing to the country’s highest cour…

Malaysian woman charged with murdering domestic worker, faces the death penalty

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A Malaysian woman was charged Wednesday with the murder of an Indonesian domestic worker who was found with wounds covering her body and was allegedly forced to sleep outside with a dog.
M. A. Ambika, 60, will be sentenced to death if found guilty of murdering Adelina Sau, in a case that has sparked new tensions between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur over a long-standing flashpoint issue.
About 2.5 million Indonesians work in neighboring Malaysia — both legally and illegally — including many as domestic workers, but there have been repeated cases of abuse over the years.
The victim, in her 20s, died at a Malaysian hospital this month, a day after being rescued by a migrant workers’ protection group.
Her head and face were swollen and she had wounds on her hands and legs. A Malaysian lawmaker said she had been forced to sleep on a porch next to a dog.
Ambika was charged during an appearance at the magistrate’s court in the northern town of Bukit Mertajam with the murder of the domestic work…

Remembering the White Rose

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Seventy-five years ago Thursday, a group of young German idealists, students who had dared to speak out against the Nazis, were executed by the regime they had defied. Like a flickering flame in the darkness, the White Rose, as its members called themselves, is an inspiring group that never lost its courage — and a frightening reminder of how rare such heroes are.
The group’s founder, Hans Scholl, and his sister Sophie grew up outside Munich. Their father instilled in them a strong moral compass and a religious worldview. Like many his age, Hans joined the Hitler Youth. But he began to have doubts almost immediately: The Nazis did not allow him to sing certain songs, fly certain flags or read Stefan Zweig, his favorite author. He earned a spot as a flag-bearer at the annual Nuremberg Rally and returned disturbed at what he had seen.
Hans wanted to become a doctor, and when he was drafted he was posted as a medic in France. After a tour of duty, he went back to the University of Munic…

The Mental Health System Can’t Stop Mass Shooters

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SACRAMENTO — A few years ago, the police brought a 21-year-old man into the crisis unit where I work as an emergency psychiatrist. His parents had called the police after seeing postings on his Facebook page that praised the Columbine shooters, referred to imminent death and destruction at his community college and promised his own “Day of Retribution.” His brother reported to the police that he had recently purchased a gun.
When I interviewed the patient, he denied all of this. He had no history of mental illness and said he didn’t want or need any treatment. My job was to evaluate whether he met the criteria to be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Each mass shooting reignites a debate about what causes this type of violence and how it can be prevented. Those who oppose further restrictions on gun ownership often set their sights on the mental health care system. Shouldn’t psychiatrists be able to identify as dangerous someone like Nikolas Cruz, the young man charged…

Court denies stay for Alabama inmate, orders execution through IV in legs or feet

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Alabama is set to go forward with its planned Thursday execution of a death row inmate, but a judge's order today specified the Department of Corrections will not use the inmate's arms or hands to insert its execution drugs.
U.S. Chief District Judge Karon O Bowdre's order on Tuesday comes after a months-long legal battle over whether Doyle Lee Hamm's cancer has made his veins unable to handle the 3 drugs the state uses for lethal injections.

The federal court has ordered that Hamm is able to be executed, and his veins will not impede the process.
His lawyer Bernard Harcourt has argued that inserting the catheter required for the drugs in Hamm's one accessible hand vein would be cruel and unusual punishment.

The Alabama Attorney General's Office argued Hamm's cancer is in remission and there is no reason he shouldn't be executed after spending 30 years on death row.
"The Alabama Attorney General's Office argued Hamm's cancer is in remissio…

Delaware law is overturned, yet 2 remain on death row

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2 men remain on death row a year and a half after the state Supreme Court ruled Delaware's death penalty unconstitutional.
Michael R. Manley and David D. Stevenson have been fighting their convictions since being sentenced 20 years ago. Ironically, those decades-long battles are what is keeping them on death row.
"It's routine," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.
That's because what typically occurs when the state or U.S. Supreme Court declares a law unconstitutional is if the case is pending on appeal it will be modified the next time it comes to the sentencing court.
For example, when Ohio's death penalty was declared unconstitutional in 1978 there were 54 cases pending in the that state's Supreme Court, Dunham said. As a result, all of those were immediately resentenced to life in prison. But there were another 50 in the appellant process. Those cases took longer to resen…

A call for clemency: Abbott should halt execution

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Kent Whitaker lost his wife and son to a criminal act.
Now he's about to lose his last remaining child. We call on Gov. Greg Abbott to end this chain of death and grant clemency to Thomas "Bart" Whitaker.
In 2007, Bart was convicted of a murder-for-hire plot to kill his mother and brother. His execution is scheduled for Thursday.
There is no questioning the sickness - the evil - that must course through a man's veins if he is driven to such a horrific act. But compounding violence upon violence will not bring a family back to life, nor will it further the cause of justice or bring peace to the victims.
Kent Whitaker himself is asking the state of Texas to spare his son, and it falls to Abbott to grant this father's request.
"For 18 months pre-trial, every victim - my wife's entire family, me and all of my family - actually begged the district attorney to accept two life sentences and spare us the horror of a trial and an eventual execution," Whitake…

Jakarta scrabbles to save 3 female migrant workers due to die in Saudi

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But with only days left, few expect them to be spared for killing bosses
3 Indonesian migrant workers sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for killing their employers are due to be executed this month unless last-ditch efforts from Jakarta can force a reprieve.
Former housemaid Tuti Tursilawati and Ety Thoyyib, both from Majalengka in West Java, and Muhammad Zaini Misrin from Madura in East Java are scheduled for execution "sometime" within the next 6 days, a local government official said.
A fixed date has not been set, he added.
A Saudi Arabian court sentenced them to death in 2011.
However the foreign ministry is racing against time and lobbying Riyadh for clemency, according to Lalu Mohamad Iqbal, director of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's Citizen Protection Bureau.
"We are struggling to get them released," Iqbal told ucanews.com on Feb. 19.
The government has managed to get 79 of 100 Indonesians off death row from 2011 until January 2018, he said, adding …