Tag archive: Rip

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Into the Heavens & Under the Sea: The Dual Passing of Nichelle Nichols and Pat Carroll

On Saturday, 30 July 2022, two actresses whose work is embedded in American nostalgia took leave of this life:  Nichelle Nichols, 89, who played Lieutenant Uhura on the 1960’s sci-fi series “Star Trek”, reprising the role in several feature films; and Pat Carroll, 95, a staple of television for decades with supporting and guest roles on sitcoms and game shows, most likely known to more modern audiences as the voice of Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

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Kentucky Rain Keeps Pouring Down

Torrential rains drenching eastern Kentucky in late July led to massive flooding on July 28, 2022, particularly of isolated rural communities in the poorest areas of Appalachia, where rivers and creeks swelled to overflow their banks by as much as 20 feet, filling the hollows and washing away some homes and businesses, inundating others in feet of standing water.  Hardest-hit areas received 8-10 inches of rainfall within 48 hours.  As of this writing (July 31) 26 are dead and dozens more still missing, while continued rain forecasts imperil search efforts and threaten to exacerbate an already tragic situation.  Among the dead are four young siblings from Montgomery, Kentucky:  Maddison, Riley, Nevaeh and Chance Noble, aged 2 to 8, torn from their parent’s arms by the current’s grip as the family’s mobile home was swept away.

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The Independence Day Parade Shooting

Highland Park is an Illinois North Shore suburb which, though just 25 miles from downtown Chicago, has always retained a small-town feel, with an ethnically mixed, middle-class population of about 30,000.  The annual Independence Day parade has been a feature of the civic calendar for decades, drawing crowds of families to watch the typical summer parade staples of high school marching bands, gleaming red firetrucks, floats and local dignitaries, complete with candy and prizes for the kiddies.

But on July 4, 2022, this peaceful bit of nostalgic Americana was invaded by a 21st Century reality check, as a lone gunman fired multiple rounds into the unsuspecting crowds from a rooftop perch along the parade route.  Pandemonium ensued, with panicked people scattering in all directions, leaving behind lawn chairs, strollers, picnic lunches and bikes.

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The Tulsa Hospital Shooting

On June 1, 2022, a disgruntled patient opened fire at his doctor’s office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing four before turning the gun on himself.  Michael Louis, 45, had received surgery the month before for back pain, but found no relief.  Enraged, when his doctor failed to ease his suffering, he bought a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun on May 29th, then an AR-15 style assault rifle just three hours before the shooting.

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Salvador Ramos: In the Mind of a Killer

By now we’ve all heard of the tragic events at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last week, on May 24th, where Salvador Ramos killed 19 fourth-graders and two teachers, after shooting his grandmother.  Ramos used two AR-15 assault-style weapons on his rampage, which he had purchased within days of his 18th birthday the week prior.  It’s taken far too long for accurate details of the crime to emerge, with conflicting, not to say contradictory, reports about Ramos’ entry to the school, and a mystifying 40-minute delay in active response by law enforcement before terminating the gunman as a threat, exposing an astounding level of incompetence.

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buffalo shooter

The Buffalo Mass Shooting

The latest in a string of seemingly endless mass shooting hate crimes unfolded in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, 14 May 2022, when 18-year-old suspect Payton Gendron unleashed a hail of bullets from his modified AR-15 weapon at a Tops Friendly Market, killing 10 and wounding three others.  Nine of the dead were black and specifically targeted for their race by Gendron, who is white and had released his White Supremacist manifesto online days before the shooting, then live-streamed the initial stages of the massacre from a camera mounted on his helmet.  Clad in body armor, Gendron drove 200 miles from his home near Binghamton to exterminate individuals he feared were “replacing” whites as America’s majority, and had made the trip at least twice earlier to select additional targets, which included a nearby black church and an elementary school.

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