Friday News Bites: WDBJ Shooting, Food Recalls + More

Hello, unicorns. Lots to cover this week, so let’s jump right in.

Wednesday morning, a former employee of WDBJ7 in Moneta, Virgina, shot station reporter Alison Parker, cameraman Adam Ward, and executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, Vicki Gardner, live on air. Parker and Ward died at the scene, while Gardner remains in critical condition.

Here is the report from WDBJ7 after the fact. The shooter, Vester Flanagan, attempted suicide later that day and died in the hospital. [auto-playing video]

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) called for stricter gun laws (again), saying “There is too much gun violence in America.”

The US is now averaging more than one mass shooting per day in 2015, with the year not even over yet. My coping mechanism when confronted with some of the mega-pro-gun people who are resisting all changes to existing laws has been mocking them. Because at this point, I don’t even know what to say anymore.

This is what it looks like if I type “shooting” into our tags editor on WordPress. But noooo, we don’t have a problem. /sarcasm

Tags for "shooting" at P-Mag

James Holmes, the man who shot up the Aurora, Colorado movie theater in 2012, has been sentenced to 3,318 years in prison, on top of 12 consecutive life terms.

And the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Randall Kerrick, the former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who killed an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell, two years ago.

Here’s a new organization dedicated to ending police violence: Campaign Zero.


#BlackLivesMatter organizers held a rally for black trans lives on Tuesday. Nineteen transgender people have been murdered this year, most of them black women. The most recently known person is Tamara Dominguez.

Illinois becomes the latest state to ban “gay conversion therapy” for minors. Oregon, California, and New Jersey are the only other states that ban such programs.

At a campaign event in Iowa, Ellen Page confronted Ted Cruz over his discriminatory LGBTQ views. Cruz reportedly didn’t recognize her at the time.

Here’s some analysis on a recent study into the sexuality of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women:

“What I was really interested in was that sexual identity is a social construct,” Dr. McClintock said. “We always attach to people these sort of arbitrary social labels. And given that, even if it that desire is completely biological, there’s some kind of construct in which we translate our attraction and our sexual identity. I was also interested in how heteronormative pressures are going to push people down that heterosexual path, particularly if that path is also the path of least resistance. Those relationships are more easily available.”

Homeland Security agents raided the offices of, a male escort site, on Tuesday. The company was charged with “conspiring to violate the Travel Act,” which is the bullshit law used when they don’t have anything else. (I maaaaaayy be editorializing here.)

Restricting the sale and use of guns is apparently “impossible,” but heavens no, we can’t let some gay/bi/queer men have sex. *clutches pearls* Here’s the perspective of an escort who has listed his services on the site.


The Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign is looking for people to work with her on African-American outreach committee, headed by director LaDavia Drane.

Jeb Bush doubled down on racism with his “anchor baby” comments. He totally didn’t mean Mexicans, you guys. He meant, Asians.


In response, Twitter users started #MyAsianAmericanStory.

Jorge Ramos theorizes what the U.S. would look like under a Trump Administration. And this was before he and Donald Trump had their “encounter,” where Trump kicked Ramos out of one of his campaign events.

In Other News:

We’re still on fire here in the Inland Northwest. Here are some ways you can help.

John Oliver’s effect on public policy still holding strong: After his segment on televangelists, the IRS may now be taking a closer look.

Meanwhile, Twitter is making it easier for shady people to hide their shady tweets.

Toronto police are offering $500,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the Ashley Madison hackers.

Here’s what those silent phone calls (you may be getting) mean. (The amount that end up on our landline make us rarely answer the phone anymore.)

A study of people who decided against paying their TV license in the UK indicates that they wanted the BBC and its services back after just nine days. This “study” kind of seems like propaganda, but okay. The price does seem like a bargain for what you get.

To the surprise of no one with any sense: Those Planned Parenthood “sting” videos were edited.

If you’ve purchased Starkist tuna any time between February 19, 2009 and October 31, 2014, you are likely eligible for either $25 or $50 worth of tuna.

Two food recalls of note: Kraft Heinz food company has recalled their turkey bacon for potentially spoiling before its sell-by date. And then Sara Lee, Kroger, and Great Value breads are being recalled because in certain states there may be glass fragments within the loaves.


Former NBA player Darryl Dawkins has died at age 58. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson has died, aged 104.

In Entertainment:

Kirk and Anne Douglas are giving away a whole ton of their money. Causes include Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Anne Douglas Center for Women.

Can’t say it better than the headline: “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards and Why It Matters.”

And finally:

Until next time, friends.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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