Just before midnight on Saturday, 19 November 2022, a man clad in body armor with an AR-15-style long rifle entered Club Q, an LGBTQ+ watering hole in a strip mall on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was hosting a drag show that evening. He began shooting into the crowd, but was tackled two minutes later by two patrons and subdued until police arrived. In those two minutes, he had killed five and wounded 18 others.
Tag archive: Tantalus
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.
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.
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.
Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics for almost a quarter century. A former KGB officer, Putin entered politics after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event he describes as the greatest tragedy of the Twentieth Century. In 1996 he joined Boris Yeltsin’s administration; appointed as prime minister in 1999, he filled the role of acting president when Yeltsin resigned later that year, being elected to the office in 2000. At the time, Russia had a prohibition on an individual serving more than two consecutive terms as president, so after being reelected in 2004, in 2008 Putin swapped jobs with then prime minister Dmitry Medvedev for a term, only to assume the top spot again in the following election, four years later. That would have entitled him to two more terms, but Putin changed the law to allow himself to run for an additional two terms uninterrupted, potentially continuing his occupancy of the presidency indefinitely.
I just couldn’t let the 25th anniversary of the premiere of my favorite show ever slip by without due acknowledgement, so here we go! On March 10, 1997, the Warner Brothers television network opened the gates of Hell and unleashed “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, a teen angst horror hell-odrama about a high school age Valley Girl fated to battle evil in all its forms; the world would never be the same. Creator Joss Whedon had assailed the topic in a 1992 theatrical film starring Kristy Swanson, but wasn’t done with the idea, not by a long shot! TV’s Buffy was the guardian of a hell mouth in “everyman” Sunnydale, California, charged with slaying, not just vampires, but all manner of demons, ghosts, zombies, hell-beasts and things that go bump in the night.