What We’re Following: The (Gravitational) Force Awakens
The universe has just become a much more interesting place. Physicists at LIGO announced Thursday that they had successfully detected gravitational waves for the first time, spawned by the collision of two black holes over 1.3 billion light-years away. The discovery, first predicted by Albert Einstein over a century ago, opens an exciting new chapter in modern physics and astronomy.
A Standoff Stands Down: The last four holdouts at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning, ending a 41-day occupation and standoff. Authorities also arrested Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led an armed militia protest against the federal government in 2014, when his flight landed in Oregon. His son, Ammon Bundy, was one of the occupation’s leaders before his arrest last month.
Clinton vs. Sanders, Round 2: Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet in Milwaukee Thursday night for a debate hosted by PBS, the first showdown between the two candidates since Sanders’ landslide victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday. No further debates are scheduled until after Super Tuesday on March 1, making tonight’s meeting a crucial moment for both contenders’ campaigns.
On December 1, 1980, two American Catholic churchwomen—an Ursuline nun and a lay missionary—sat down to dinner with Robert White, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador. They worked in rural areas ministering to El Salvador’s desperately impoverished peasants, and White admired their commitment and courage. The talk turned to the government’s brutal tactics for fighting the country’s left-wing guerrillas, in a dirty war waged by death squads that dumped bodies in the streets and an army that massacred civilians. The women were alarmed by the incoming Reagan administration’s plans for a closer relationship with the military-led government. Because of a curfew, the women spent the night at the ambassador’s residence. The next day, after breakfast with the ambassador’s wife, they drove to San Salvador’s international airport to pick up two colleagues who were flying back from a conference in Nicaragua. Within hours, all four women would be dead. …
In the years since, much has come to light about this pivotal event in the history of U.S. interventions in Central America. But the full story of how one of the most junior officers in the U.S. embassy in San Salvador tracked down the killers has never been told. It is the tale of an improbable bond between a Salvadoran soldier with a guilty conscience and a young American diplomat with a moral conscience. Different as they were, both men shared a willingness to risk their lives in the name of justice.
1. American workplaces in 1915 were _______ times more dangerous than today.
You asked about policy measures that could be implemented to help lower rates of gun suicides, in particular whether people with mental illness or a history of suicide should be banned from purchasing firearms. I think that’s an extremely problematic idea for a number of reasons.
One major issue is something the FAA learned re: depression in pilots [link, link]. If you ban people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness from owning guns, I suspect what you’ll end up with is a bunch of gun owners with mental illness that they don’t get treated because they know if they do they’ll be barred from owning and/or purchasing firearms. Discouraging depressed and/or suicidal gun owners from getting help is presumably the opposite of what we want.