—Police arrested Scott Michael Greene, a 46-year-old white man, in connection with the fatal shootings on Wednesday of two Des Moines-area officers. He was detained west of Des Moines without incident and charged Thursday.
—The officers—one from Urbandale, Iowa, and the other from Des Moines—were shot 20 minutes apart early Wednesday. Both were in their patrol cars. Police said they were killed in an “ambush-style attack.” They were identified as Anthony “Tony” Beminio and Justin Martin.
The Des Moines Register and other news organizations are reporting that Scott Michael Greene was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Urbandale, Iowa, Police Officer Justin Martin and Des Moines Police Sergeant Anthony Beminio.
“The investigation has produced probable cause to support these charges,” according to a news release quoted by the Register.
Greene, who is being held at the Polk County Jail, could face life in prison if convicted of the charges.
President Obama paid tribute to the two Iowa police officers who were killed early Wednesday, saying they “represented our best, most decent instincts as human beings—to serve our neighbors, to put ourselves in harm’s way for someone else.”
The president praised officers across the country for their service to communities and risking their lives in the line of duty. He said in part:
All across the country, our police officers go to work each day not knowing whether they’ll come home at night. Their families live each day with the same fears. So as Americans, we owe them our respect and gratitude for their efforts to safeguard our families and our communities. And so as we once again mourn American police officers lost in the line of duty, we must also renew the call to match that same sense of service, that same devotion within our own lives and our own communities.
Obama, who has spent a good deal of time in Iowa in the last eight years on the campaign trail, also praised the community with how they handled the tragedy Wednesday, saying residents of Des Moines and Urbandale are “good, big-hearted people who look out for each other and are willing to come together across our differences.”
It is unclear whether the president will visit Des Moines in the wake of the shooting.
The Des Moines officer killed was Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Beminio, Sergeant Paul Parizek, the spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department, said at a news conference. He was “a great guy,” Parizek said. “It’s real hard” to lose him. Deminio had been with the department since 2005, he said. He was promoted last year.
The Urbandale officer was identified as Justin Martin, who joined the department in 2015. Both officers are white, as was the suspected shooter.
Parizek added that authorities did not know whether the videos posted on YouTube are a “relevant piece to our investigation.” He said he couldn’t confirm whether the man in the video was Scott Michael Greene.
Greene flagged down officers, presented his ID, and asked police to call 911, Parizek said. Greene was arrested without incident, he said.
In a statement, the attorney general said “the Department of Justice has offered any and all assistance to our state and local counterparts as they investigate these appalling attacks.”
I know that this is a time of particular tension and mistrust between law enforcement and many communities. I know that while we do not yet know what led the perpetrator to commit these awful crimes, many will be nevertheless be tempted to read a message or motive into this assault. But let me be clear: there is no message in murder. Violence creates nothing; it only destroys. And the path to the more just and peaceful society that we desire for ourselves and for our children is paved not with hatred and malice, but with compassion, and understanding, and the hard work of cooperation. Let those be our watchwords in the days to come.
The suspected shooter was first arrested for a misdemeanor in 2014 that came from an incident where he resisted arrest by two officers trying to pat him down for weapons at an apartment complex in Urbandale, The Des Moines Registerreported. Officers called Greene, who is 46 years old, noncompliant, hostile, and combative in that instance. He would later plead guilty.
Two days after that arrest, officers responded to a call saying Greene had threatened to kill a man in the parking lot of the same complex and he was charged with first-degree harassment. The Register reported Greene was accused of shining a flashlight in the man’s eyes, calling him a racist epithet, and then saying, “I will kill you.” Greene pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and received a sentence of one year of probation.
A YouTube video posted two weeks ago to an account named “Scott Greene,” and titled “Police Abuse, Civil Rights Violation at Urbandale High School 10/14/16” shows an unpictured man arguing with several officers. The police ask the man to leave the property, saying he was “causing disturbance in the stands.” The video has not been confirmed, but is being investigated by Urbandale police. In another video on the same account, this one posted last week, a man resembling Greene holds a Confederate flag in front of people seated on bleachers. Urbandale High School's football stadium is located near the intersection where one officer was found dead Wednesday, the Register reported. Law-enforcement have not said if the videos were posted by the man arrested for the fatal shootings on Wednesday.
Police arrested Scott Michael Greene in connection with the fatal shootings of the two officers, the Des Moines Registerquoted Sergeant Chad Underwood, a spokesman for the Urbandale Police Department, as saying.
Other news organizations are also reporting the arrest.
The New York Timesquoted Sergeant Paul Parizek, the spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department, as saying Greene was on foot when he was taken into custody in Dallas County, Iowa. He offered no resistance, Parizek said.
Wednesday’s killings in Des Moines comes just months after Micah X. Jones, an Army veteran angry at the police’s treatment of African Americans, killed five police officers on July 7 in Dallas.
Then on July 17, Gavin Long, a self-described black separatist, killed three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund noted that 14 officers were killed in ambushes in the first six months of 2016. Three officers were killed in that manner in the same period in 2015. The percentage increase: 300 percent.
The Urbandale officer was killed at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue at about 1:06 a.m. CT, police said. About 20 minutes later, a Des Moines police officer, responding to the scene where the first officer was shot, was killed near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Avenue.
Both officers were killed in their patrol cars.
“The shootings appear to have been ambush-style attacks,” the Urbandale police said in a statement.
A statement from Des Moines Public Schools said the Urbandale school district has cancelled classes Wednesday because the shootings occurred near Urbandale High School.
Classes in Des Moines are not being cancelled, but the city’s public schools “will be in close contact with the Des Moines Police Department throughout the day, and will take any additional precautions if needed.”
Ben Hammes, a spokesman for for Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, said:
The governor and lt. governor have been alerted to the attacks on law enforcement this morning. Shortly after the shootings, our office was briefed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on the shootings. DPS is working hand in hand with local law enforcement in the investigation. We will continue monitoring and working with law enforcement in the interest of public safety.
An attack on public safety officers is an attack on the public safety of all Iowans. We call on Iowans to support our law enforcement officials in bringing this suspect to justice. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the police officers who were tragically killed in the line of duty as well as the officers who continue to put themselves in harm’s way.
Aid to Ukrainian forces is achieving more than the long U.S. intervention in Afghanistan did.
American military aid to Ukraine has been remarkably effective, especially in comparison with the long, ill-fated U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan. A recent statement by General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, helps explain why. “Ukrainians are not asking for anyone to fight for them,” Milley said. “They don’t want American soldiers, or British, or German, or French, or anybody else to fight for them. They will fight for themselves.” The Ukrainians want only the means to defend themselves against Russian invaders, he said, adding that the United States would provide support “for as long as it takes.” By providing advanced weaponry and reliable intelligence, the United States and its allies have allowed Ukraine to inflict large losses on Russian armed forces and roll back earlier Russian territorial gains.
Juliet Tuttle may have been the most prolific murderer of pets in American history. How did she get away with it?
In a ritzy Park Avenue apartment, Juliet Tuttle posed in front of a birdcage, staring into the eyes of a parrot. She wore an elegant silk robe and a cloche hat. A photographer snapped a picture, and soon Tuttle appeared in newspapers around the country under the headline “Not Afraid of Parrot Disease.”
The year was 1930 and a panic had erupted over an illness spread by birds. Though only a few hundred Americans had caught the flu-like “parrot fever,” people were so afraid of being infected that they wrung the necks of their own pets. Tiny carcasses piled up in trash cans, the brilliant blue-and-green wings lying limp among the coal ash.
Tuttle insisted that the fears of contagion were overblown, saying that she often kissed her birds on their little beak. She seemed like the kind of daffy, kind-hearted widow who would one day leave her fortune to her menagerie. And yet seven years later, a tabloid dubbed her the “Eastchester Dog Poisoner” after she was caught in a New York suburb doling out suspicious tablets in doggie treats.
A canker sore—a painful white ulcer inside the mouth—might be brought on by stress. Or the wrong toothpaste. Or certain foods: tomatoes, peanuts, cinnamon. Or an iron deficiency. Or an allergy. Or a new prescription. Or an underlying autoimmune disease.
Even though millions of people suffer from them every year, researchers still don’t know much about what fundamentally causes these sores. This leaves doctors and dentists stuck playing detective with their patients—running down a checklist, trying to figure out which of more than a dozen potential triggers could’ve set off the gnarly little lesions.
That list is long and spans different specialties in medicine. It includes trauma to the mouth, stress, diet, genetics, hormones, allergies, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases. Diana V. Messadi, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, told me that canker sores are multifactorial, which makes them hard to study. Cold sores, by comparison, offer a much tidier story: They’re viral infections (herpes simplex) and thus are treatable with antivirals. (Cold sores are pimplelike blisters that usually form around the lips, whereas canker sores are white ulcers that occur inside the mouth.)
A sense of panic set in when I realized I’d erased the entirety of my inbox.
When the ominous warnings started hitting my inbox a few months ago, I tried to ignore them. The emails contained none of the humor or playfulness of the early Gmail ethos. Instead, they were terse and vaguely threatening, seeming to channel the depressing spirit of financial collapse and austerity present everywhere around us. The subject line: “Your Gmail is almost out of storage.” The body, in essence: This is a shakedown—pay us a subscription fee in perpetuity, and we will continue granting you what we once promised would be free access to your own life and memories.
The message wouldn’t have triggered such resistance had I not been receiving it from every other quarter of my digital life simultaneously—if Apple hadn’t already ransacked my pockets for subscription fees to maintain my ever-expanding photo archive, and to insure and finance “care” for my ever more expensive assortment of its products; if Microsoft hadn’t insisted that I subscribe to its word-processing software; if so many talented, enterprising friends and acquaintances didn’t now depend on Substack and Patreon donations; if I didn’t have to rent my music library from Spotify instead of owning my own records; if I didn’t have to fork over Prime fees to Amazon for my packages and to watch professional tennis; if I hadn’t been obliged to maintain Netflix, Canal+, and AppleTV accounts so that my children would sit quietly on airplanes; if Elon Musk hadn’t promised to render my tweets invisible if I didn’t pay him in monthly $8 installments. By the time those damn Gmail requests became unignorable, I had long since reached the point of peak micropayments. I was drowning in subscriptions.
Fishers around the world are desperate for a reliable way to stop dolphins from plundering their catch. Dolphins’ net burgling—known as depredation—costs fishers income and also puts dolphins at risk of injury and entanglement. Proposed solutions, such as using noisemakers, have had mixed results. So researchers in Greece went back to the drawing board in search of the perfect deterrent: something so unpleasant that it would ward off dolphins and keep them away. They came up with fishing nets coated with a resin laced with capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chili peppers their signature heat.
Giving predators a spicy surprise might seem like a far-out solution, but capsaicin-based deterrents have proved successful on land with other mammals such as deer, squirrels, and rodents.
When women in the profession face mistreatment, everyone suffers.
Betsey Stevenson, a professor at the University of Michigan and a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, told me that when she hit her mid-40s, she had an “aha moment.”
“I was thinking, It’s so great having gotten to this stage of my career where I’m a little more established. It’s very freeing,” she told me. “And I realized: Oh, I think I just aged out of sexual harassment.” The leering, the inappropriate commentary, the talking over her—much of it had stopped, perhaps because she had become so accomplished, perhaps because she had reached an age where men in her profession did not automatically treat her as a sex object. “There was nothing like having babies to change the male gaze,” she added.
Some people who have to be responsible for their siblings or parents as children grow up to be compulsive caretakers.
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Laura Kiesel was only 6 years old when she became a parent to her infant brother. At home, his crib was placed directly next to her bed, so that when he cried at night, she was the one to pick him up and sing him back to sleep. She says she was also in charge of changing his diapers and making sure he was fed every day. For the majority of her early childhood, she remembers, she tended to his needs while her own mother was in the depths of heroin addiction.
From as early as she can remember, Kiesel says she had to take care of herself—preparing her own meals, clothing herself, and keeping herself entertained. At school, she remembers becoming a morose and withdrawn child whose hair was often dirty and unkempt.
And that was before Jordan, with incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair James Comer, repeatedly insisted the FBI had colluded with “Big Tech” to undermine former president Donald Trump by “suppressing” information about Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 election.
It was also before reports surfaced that Kevin McCarthy, in his bid to secure the votes as speaker, promised far-right members of his caucus that he would authorize investigations into the Justice Department’s treatment of the insurrectionists who rioted in support of Trump on January 6. This was also before McCarthy threatened to launch impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Last week, just a couple of hours into a house-sitting stint in Massachusetts for my cousin and his wife, I received from them a flummoxed text: “Dude,” it read. “We are the only people in masks.” Upon arriving at the airport, and then boarding their flight, they’d been shocked to find themselves virtually alone in wearing masks of any kind. On another trip they’d taken to Hawaii in July, they told me, long after coverings became optional on planes, some 80 percent of people on their flight had been masking up. This time, though? “We are like the odd man out.”
Being outside of the current norm “does not bother us,” my cousin’s wife said in another text, despite stares from some of the other passengers. But the about-face my cousin and his wife identified does mark a new phase of the pandemic, even if it’s one that has long been playing out in fits and starts. Months after the vanishing of most masking mandates, mask wearing has been relegated to a sharply shrinking sector of society. It has become, once again, a peculiar thing to do.
For Americans to live a productive, prosperous, happy life, homes need to be truly abundant.
How many homes must the United States’ expensive coastal cities build to become affordable for middle-class and working-poor families again? Over the past few weeks, I asked a number of housing experts that question. I expected a straightforward response: If you build X units, you reduce rents by Y percent—which means that Washington, D.C., needs to build Z units to become broadly affordable again.
I did not get such a simple answer. “That’s a difficult question with a lot of moving parts,” Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution told me. “Are we assuming that all of these homes drop out of the sky today?” asked David Garcia, the policy director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley. Chris Herbert, the managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, gave me a long response involving land prices, rental affordability, household formation, and building trends.