Mother of slain Capitol officer wants answers – National & International News – THU 27May2021

Gladys Sicknick, mother of Officer Brian Sicknick who died after the Jan 6. riot, hopes to convince Republicans to support a commission to get answers for her son and other Capitol Police officers.

Mother of slain Capitol officer wants GOP to back a Jan. 6 commission. 4th workplace shooting in 2 months. Biden orders probe of Wuhan lab leak theory.

NATIONAL NEWS

Mother of slain Capitol officer meets with GOP before Jan. 6 commission vote

Gladys Sicknick, the mother of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, will be meeting with 15 Republican Senators ahead of a vote on establishing a 9.11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The bill will need 10 Republican votes to pass, which it does not have at present. Mrs. Sicknick hopes to persuade some GOP Senators, saying that, “Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day”. Thirteen GOP Senators have refused to meet with her.

Several Capitol Police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 have expressed dismay and disappointment at the GOP’s stonewalling. One officer who left the department after the riot says, “They think we’re like servants”. More than 70 officers have left the Capitol force since the riot. This is already a higher turnover than usual, and many others are planning to depart. 

Many officers said that in the aftermath of the riots, they expected that they would get answers as to what happened that day and why things got as bad as they did. Their hopes had been buoyed by statements from GOP Senators, including Mitch McConnell, in the weeks that immediately followed. That hope has now turned to bitterness. “We are political pawns,” one officer says. “Now the people we are sworn to protect and did protect on the 6th don’t want to fund us or figure out what really happened that day”.

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4th workplace shooting in two months kills 8

Yesterday, a 57-year-old public transport employee in Santa Clara, CA, shot and killed 8 of his co-workers. Just over a month ago, a shooting by a former employee at an Illinois FedEx depot also killed 8 employees before killing himself. A week before that, an employee at a Texas at a cabinet factory killed one and wounded 5. On April 1, another shooter killed 9at an office block in Orange Park, CA. In that case, the shooter was not a current or former employee, but had business or personal relationships with those he killed.

Four such shootings in two months is well above the average of about one per year. Experts say the uptick may be due to the fact that shooters did not have access to their victims in the past year, having either been laid off or working from home. Another factor is that the perpetrators have had more time to nurse grievances and plan their attacks in the months at home.

Overall, 2021 has already seen 15 mass murders (killing four or more people) and 232 mass shootings (where four or more are shot). 

Robert McCrie of the Department of Security, Fire and Emergency Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice has described this recent spike as a “tsunami of gun violence”. McCrie also blames the pandemic, saying, “It has had a pervasive effect on behavior, releasing inhibitions of fragile populations in ways that we have not seen before”.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Biden orders probe of Wuhan lab leak theory

President Biden has ordered US intelligence agencies to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19, including the theory that it leaked from a biolab in Wuhan. Follow the announcement, China responded immediately. A statement from China’s Washington embassy read, “Smear campaigns and blame shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of ‘lab leak’ is resurfacing”.

Previous attempts to investigate the origins of COVID in China have met numerous roadblocks and obstructions from the Chinese government. Earlier this year, a group of experts from the World Health Organization went to China to investigate. During their visit, they were denied access to key parts of the lab in question and were prevented from examining documents and evidence gathered by the Chinese government. Upon their return, even Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, expressed concerns about China’s furtiveness around the issue and said more investigation was needed to rule out the lab-leak theory.

We’ve also recently learned that three scientists from the Wuhan lab who were working with COVID strains were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms back in November. No further information has surfaced regarding their cases, and China of course has completely denied the reports.

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