Turkish bill clears men of statutory rape if they marry

18 November 2016

turkey

A bill which would allow men accused of raping underage girls to be cleared if they marry the girl has been preliminarily backed by Turkish MPs.

The bill would pardon men only if they had sex without “force or threat” and if they married the victim.

Critics say it legitimises rape and child marriage, and lets off men who are aware of their crime.

Violence against women in Turkey has increased in the past decade – 40% of women report sexual or physical abuse.

Statistics also show the murder rate of women increased by 1,400% between 2003 and 2010.

The bill was initially approved on Thursday evening after being brought to parliament by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). On Tuesday, MPs will debate the bill a second time before casting their final vote.

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Analysis – BBC’s Mark Lowen, Turkey

It is a highly contentious bill that has divided Turkey along its traditional secular versus conservative fault line.

The aim, says the government, is not to excuse rape but to rehabilitate those who may not have realised their sexual relations were unlawful – or to prevent girls who have sex under the age of 18 from feeling ostracised by their community.

There is opposition to the bill on the streets of Istanbul. Many say it will encourage men to rape.

But the government will get support among its pious voter base in poorer areas where girls are married off young and the sexual abuse rate is higher. Supporters say Mr Erdogan has liberated religious women by repealing a ban on headscarves in public places.

The vote on Tuesday could spark mass protests.

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If it passes it will likely quash the convictions of some 3,000 men accused of assaulting an under-18-year-old.

But critics say as well as overlooking statutory rape (underage sex) it would legitimise child marriage.

“Sexual abuse is a crime and there is no consent in it. This is what the AKP fails to understand,” said Ozgur Ozel, MP for the opposition Republican People’s Party, according to AFP news agency. “Seeking the consent of a child is something that universal law does not provide for.”

But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said it could help couples who have engaged in consensual sex and want to marry.

“When a child is then born from this non-official union, the doctor warns the prosecutor and the man is sent to prison, putting the child and mother into financial difficulties,” he said.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38030182

Prisons Aren’t the Answer on Immigration

SEPT. 5, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security announced late last month that it is considering ending its use of private prisons, as the Justice Department has decided to do. The Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, told his department’s advisory council to study the issue and report back to him by the end of November.

That gives him only a few weeks to read, review and act before everything gets bumped to the Trump or Clinton administration. To save time, Mr. Johnson could do the wise thing and end the contracts now.

There is no need to further study the failings of the private prison industry. Mr. Johnson only has to read the Justice Department inspector general’s report in August about the prevalence of safety and security problems at private prisons, or a recent Mother Jones article that looks inside a brutal, mismanaged Louisiana prison run by Corrections Corporation of America, one of two companies that dominate the immigrant-prison business.

Whether private prison contracts should be canceled or simply not renewed, or whether Homeland Security should contract with state or county lockups, or run its own, will need to be answered. But the administration should first be asking itself why it locks up so many immigrants who are not safety threats, who are not there to be punished, who in many cases are refugees and who are the mothers of young children or are young children.

The Obama administration has spent years endorsing and enacting smart criminal-justice reforms, including pushing back against decades of useless, degrading imprisonment of nonviolent and petty offenders. But there is one huge area where it seems immune to enlightenment: immigration enforcement.

Dear Creepy Heterosexual Men Guarding Our Bathrooms

05/23/2016 03:50 pm ET

Kasey Rose-Hodge

Target Backlash

FILE – This Monday, Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, shows a Target store in Miami. Consumer backlash is growing against Target’s stance on what type of bathrooms its transgender customers and employees can use. In April 2016, the Minneapolis-based discounter issued a statement that said customers and employees can use the restroom or fitting room that “corresponds to their gender identity.” The move made Target the first major retailer to take such a prominent position on the issue, and won praise from supporters of transgender rights. But Target’s position also sparked criticism on social media that hasn’t let up. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

My entire life, I’ve been told to fear you in one way or another. I’ve been told to cover my body as to not distract you in school, to cover my body to help avoid unwanted advances or comments, to cover my body as to not tempt you to sexually assault me, to reject your unwanted advances politely as to not anger you. I’ve been taught to never walk alone at night, to hold my keys in my fist while walking in parking lots, to check the backseat of my car, to not drink too much because you might take advantage of me. I’ve been told what I should and shouldn’t do with my body as to not jeopardize my relationships with you.

I’ve been warned not to emasculate you, to let “boys be boys,” to protect your fragile ego and to not tread on your even more fragile masculinity. I’ve been taught to keep my emotions in check, to let you be the unit of measure for how much emotion is appropriate and to adjust my emotions accordingly. I’ve been taught that you’re allowed to categorize women into mothers/sisters/girlfriends/wives/daughters but any woman outside of your protected categories is fair game.

 

So to those of you who think you’re being helpful by “protecting” me and my fellow women, you’re like a shark sitting in the lifeguard chair. I wasn’t uncomfortable until you showed up at the pool and the only potential predator I see is you.

 

Your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters don’t need you to walk them to the bathroom for safety. Your fathers, brothers, friends and sons need to walk themselves away from their own double standards. Women are sexually harassed and sexually assaulted on school campuses, on the street, at their jobs, on the Internet, in their own homes, in ANY public place. And it has been excused or ignored for so long because of what you and I are taught from the first years of our interactions with each other: You, as a male, are not accountable for your own actions. It’s MY responsibility, as a female, to not “provoke” you. But then you get to knight-in-shining-armor your way through life for those in your protected categories and I am expected to applaud you. Why the outrage now over bathrooms? Why aren’t you outraged every single day?

 

If you’re telling me that there are high volumes of boys and men out there, in schools or in general, who are just waiting for a “loop-hole” to sexually assault girls and women, we have bigger problems on our hands than bathrooms. The first problem would be your apparent lack of knowledge of how often it happens OUTSIDE of bathrooms, with no “loop holes” needed. This isn’t about transgender bathroom access. This is about you not trusting the boys and men in your communities and/or fearing that they’re all secretly predators. Why do you have this fear? How many fathers have panicked when their daughters started dating because they “know how teenage boys can be because they used to be one”? How many times have girls been warned “boys are only after one thing”? A mother can bring her young son into the women’s restroom and that’s fine but a father bringing his young daughter into the men’s restroom is disturbing because men are assumed to be predators and “little girls” shouldn’t be exposed to that.

 

So instead of picking up your sword and heading to Target or the girls’ locker room to defend our “rights,” why don’t you start somewhere that could actually make a difference? Challenge your children’s schools to end sexist dress codes and dress codes that sexualize girls as young as age 5. Advocate for proper (or any) sex education classes in all public schools by a certain grade level. Focus more on teaching your sons not to rape vs teaching your daughters how to avoid being raped. Stop asking “How would you feel if that was your mother or sister?” It shouldn’t take the comparison to clue you in to what’s right or wrong. Question why you’re more worried about your daughter being around men than your son being around women in bathrooms and dressing rooms. Stop walking by Victoria’s Secret with no problem but covering your son’s eyes if a woman is breastfeeding in public. Stop treating your daughter’s body as some fortress you’re sworn to protect as if that’s all she’s got to offer the world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kasey-rosehodge/dear-creepy-heterosexual-men-guarding-our-bathrooms_b_10105512.html?utm_hp_ref=queer-voices

NOW showing immigration documentary

On Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m., the Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) will host a viewing of the fi lm “Abrazos,” a documentary by award winning director Luis Argueta (“abUSed: The Postville Raid” and “The Silence of Neto”).  

The film tells the story of a transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the fi rst time.   “Without saying a word about the injustice of immigration laws, [“Abrazos”] shows us how connected we are, yet how politics and borders arbitrarily infl ict separation,” said Judy Ancel, University of Missouri – Kansas City.  

The film will be shown at the Central Lincoln PUD meeting room, 2129 N. Coast Highway in Newport.   Following the fi lm, Central Oregon Coast NOW will conduct a brief business meeting. Anyone interested in the film or in the Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is encouraged to attend.  

For more information, please email centraloregoncoastnow@gmail.com or visit www.centraloregoncoastnow.com.

May 18, 2016 Newport News Time B1

Donald Trump Thinks Men Who Change Diapers Are Acting “Like The Wife”

“I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.”

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Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

“Do you actually change diapers?” host Anthony Cumia asked Donald Trump on theOpie and Anthony show in November 2005.

The then-59-year-old businessman, whose wife Melania was pregnant with his fifth child and her first, responded bluntly: “No, I don’t do that.”

“There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife, and you know, there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that,” Trump added. “So you know, they go for it.”

“If I had a different type of wife,” Trump said, laughing, “I probably wouldn’t have a baby, ya know, cause that’s not my thing. I’m really, like, a great father, but certain things you do and certain things you don’t. It’s just not for me.”

The interview — one of many reviewed by BuzzFeed News — reveals a man with an extremely traditional view on the responsibilities a man and a woman have when raising a family. That view has already come under attack by an anti-Trump group, with one of his comments in a 2005 Howard Stern interview appearing in an ad from the super PAC Our Principles.

“I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park,” Trump said in the interview. He repeated the same sentiment to Stern two years later, saying, “Melania is a wonderful mother. She takes care of the baby and I pay all of the costs.”

Trump’s five children — Ivanka, Eric, Donald, Tiffany, and Barron — have been a highly visible part of his presidential bid and have all publicly praised their father as a parent. But Trump has described himself as hands-off, and, in the same 2005 interview with Howard Stern, expressed disdain for his ex-wife Marla Maples suggesting he walk their daughter, Tiffany, down the street.

“Well, Marla used to say, ‘I can’t believe you’re not walking Tiffany down the street,’ you know, in a carriage,” Trump said. “Right, I’m gonna be walking down Fifth Avenue with a baby in a carriage. It just didn’t work.”

Trump added of his current wife, Melania: “She would take great care of the child without me having to do very much.”

And in 2007, again in an interview with Stern, when asked if he stays home with his infant son Barron, Trump admitted that hands-on parenting has never been his “thing.”

“It probably should, but it never has,” replied Trump.

Here is Trump in his own words:

Trump in April 2005 said on The Howard Stern Showthat he would simply supply the funds and wouldn’t do anything to care for his children.

In another Howard Stern interview, Trump recalled how he was shocked to learn that his second wife, Marla Maples, was pregnant.

In a 2003 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Trump said he married Maples because she got pregnant with their daughter, Tiffany.

“At the time it was like, ‘Excuse me, what happened?’” Trump said he said to Maples when learning about the pregnancy. “And then I said, ‘Well, what are we going to do about this?’”

“She said, ‘Oh, are you serious? This is the most beautiful day of our lives,’” Trump said Maples responded.

“I said, ‘Oh, great.’ So I said, ‘Do you want to get married?’”

In 2006, Trump said men who change diapers and care for the child are acting “like the wife,” saying he wouldn’t have kids with a woman who wanted him to do this.

Speaking with Howard Stern in 2007, Trump called Melania a wonderful mother for taking care of their baby while he paid all of the costs.

Stern also asked how Trump’s daughter Tiffany was doing.

“I do see her, and she’s a great kid,” Trump said.

“She comes to town, visits a little bit?” Stern asked.

“You know for about an hour — ‘Hi, Dad,’ ‘Hi, Tiff, I love you, Tiff.’ She’s a great kid,” Trump said, laughing, saying he “glances” at her report cards. Trump said he would give Tiffany a future job at the Trump Organization if she had good abilities.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Megan Apper at megan.apper@buzzfeed.com.

One Week in April, Four Toddlers Shot and Killed Themselves

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Zai Deshields, 4, at her home in Stone Mountain, Ga., this week. Last week she pulled a handgun out of a backpack at her grandmother’s home in Arlington, Tex., and shot her uncle in the leg. Credit Melissa Golden for The New York Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sha’Quille Kornegay, 2 years old, was buried in a pink coffin, her favorite doll by her side and a tiara strategically placed to hide the self-inflicted gunshot wound to her forehead.

She had been napping in bed with her father, Courtenay Block, late last month when she discovered the 9-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow in his Kansas City, Mo., home. It was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like the red lights on her cousins’ sneakers. Mr. Block told the police he woke to see Sha’Quille by his bed, bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. A bullet had pierced her skull.

In a country with more than 30,000 annual gun deaths, the smallest fingers on the trigger belong to children like Sha’Quille.

During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.

These are shooters who need help tying their shoelaces, too young sometimes to even say the word “gun,” killed by their own curiosity.

They accidentally fire a parent’s pistol while playing cops and robbers, while riding in a shopping cart, after finding it in the pocket of the coat their father forgot to wear to work. The gun that killed Sha’Quille last Thursday was pointing up, as if being inspected, when it fired.

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Sha’Quille Kornegay shot herself with a 9-millimeter handgun she found while staying at her father’s house.CreditHaven Parrish, Jr.

They are the most maddening gun deaths in America. Last year, at least 30 people were killed in accidental shootings in which the shooter was 5 or younger, according to Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group that tracks these shootings, largely through news reports.

With shootings by preschoolers happening at a pace of about two per week, some of the victims were the youngsters’ parents or siblings, but in many cases the children ended up taking their own lives.

“You can’t call this a tragic accident,” said Jean Peters Baker, the prosecutor of Jackson County, Mo., who is overseeing the criminal case in Sha’Quille’s death. Her office charged Mr. Block, 24, with second-degree murder and child endangerment. “These are really preventable, and we’re not willing to prevent them.”

Gun control advocates say these deaths illustrate lethal gaps in gun safety laws. Some states require locked storage of guns or trigger locks to be sold with handguns. Others leave safety decisions largely to gun owners.

Twenty-seven states have laws that hold adults responsible for letting children have unsupervised access to guns, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, though experts say such measures have, at best, a small effect on reducing gun deaths. Massachusetts is the only state that requires gun owners to store their guns in a locked place, though it has not stopped youngsters there from accidentally killing themselves or other children.

Gun rights groups have long opposed these kinds of laws. They argue that trigger locks can fail, that mandatory storage can put a gun out of reach in an emergency, and that such measures infringe on Second Amendment rights.

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Sha’Quille’s mother, Montorre Kornegay, said she did not believe that the girl’s father deserved to face a murder charge.CreditDaniel Brenner for The New York Times

“It’s clearly a tragedy, but it’s not something that’s widespread,” said Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America. “To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake.”

In Kansas City, Sha’Quille’s family is trying to come to grips with her death and the murder charge facing Mr. Block. In interviews, several relatives said they did not believe he deserved to be convicted of felony murder, but some questioned his judgment in leaving a loaded gun out while he slept as well as his actions after he discovered that his daughter was grievously wounded.

According to court records, Mr. Block told the police that immediately after the shooting, he went to the bathroom, wrapped the gun in a shirt and put it into a vent in the floor. He then ran outside carrying his dying daughter and yelled for a neighbor to call for help. He was also charged with evidence tampering.

Sha’Quille’s mother, Montorre Kornegay, said that she had recently separated from Mr. Block after more than five years together, but that they remained close. She said he loved the girl, whose first word was “Daddy.” When he called Ms. Kornegay from jail, he told her he was sorry and talked about how much he missed Sha’Quille.

The girl was just 2, but wanted to be older, telling people she was already 5. She would run through the house, playing her own private game of peekaboo, relatives said. In a cacophony of squeaky children at home, relatives could always distinguish Sha’Quille’s low, raspier voice. One day, she’ll be a singer, they told one another.

“What happened was wrong,” Ms. Kornegay said. She said that she did not think Mr. Block deserved to face a murder charge, but that he had behaved irresponsibly. “Why didn’t you stay up and watch her?”

Parents, police officers and neighbors from Georgia to California are asking similar painful questions this week. Here are some of their stories.

‘Stay With Me’

In 2015, there were at least 278 unintentional shootings at the hands of young children and teenagers, according to Everytown’s database. During the week in April when Sha’Quille and the other children died, there were at least five other accidental shootings by children and teenagers. Alysee Defee, 13, was shot in the armpit with a 20-gauge shotgun she had used for turkey hunting in Floyd County, Ind. Zai Deshields, 4, pulled a handgun out of a backpack at her grandmother’s home in Arlington, Tex., and shot her uncle in the leg.

A child who accidentally pulls the trigger is most likely to be 3 years old, the statistics show.

Holston Cole was 3, a boy crackling with energy who would wake before dawn, his pastor said. He loved singing “Jesus Loves Me” and bouncing inside the inflatable castle in his family’s front yard in Dallas, Ga.

About 7 a.m. on April 26, he found a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol in his father’s backpack, according to investigators. The gun fired, and Holston’s panicked father, David, called 911. Even before a dispatcher could speak, Mr. Cole wailed “No, no!” into the phone, according to a redacted recording.

Mr. Cole pleaded for his 3-year-old son to hold on until the ambulance could arrive: “Stay with me, Holston,” he can be heard saying on a 911 tape, his voice full of desperation. “Can you hear me? Daddy loves you. Holston. Holston, please. Please.”

Holston was pronounced dead that morning.

The local authorities have been weighing what can be a difficult decision for prosecutors and the police after these shootings: Whether to charge a stricken parent or family member with a crime. While laws vary among states, experts said decisions about prosecution hinge on the specific details and circumstances of each shooting. What may be criminal neglect in one child’s death may be legally seen as a tragic mistake in another.

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Holston Cole, 3, shot himself with a semiautomatic pistol found in his father’s backpack, according to investigators. Creditvia Brent Moxey

Officials with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office have suggested that they expect Mr. Cole to face, at most, a charge of reckless conduct.

“Anything that we do, criminally speaking, is not going to hold a candle to the pain that this family feels,” said Sgt. Ashley Henson, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. Sergeant Henson said investigators had sensed early on that the shooting was accidental. “You want to be able to protect your family and take care of your family, but on the same hand, you’ve got to be safe with your weapons,” he said.

Some gun control groups have urged states and district attorneys to prosecute such cases more aggressively, saying that, grief aside, people need to be held responsible for what are easily preventable deaths.

Brent Moxey, the pastor who officiated at Holston’s funeral, said the boy’s father was already haunted. “I think he runs the scenario over and over and over in his mind.” Mr. Moxey said the family — which did not respond to a message left at their home seeking comment — was still asking for privacy.

About 1,000 mourners attended Holston’s funeral on April 30, remembering a boy who loved superheroes and would sometimes wrestle cardboard boxes. The day he died, he spent time alongside his mother, Haley, as she read the Bible, playing with the highlighter pen she used to note passages, Mr. Moxey said.

“This little boy loved to tinker and to play, and he loved to get into things,” Mr. Moxey said, describing the very impulse that probably led to Holston’s death. “He loved to figure out how stuff works.”

A Ringing Purse

In Indianapolis, Kanisha Shelton would stay protectively near her 2-year-old son, Kiyan, watchful of the stray dogs known to roam through the neighborhood.

But on the night of April 20, Ms. Shelton stepped away from the boy, leaving him in the kitchen while she was upstairs. She had placed her purse out of his reach on the kitchen counter, but when her phone started ringing, the boy apparently pushed a chair close to the counter, climbed onto it and reached for the purse, according to an account from a cousin, John Pearson. There was also a .380-caliber Bersa pistol in it.

Just after 9 p.m., Ms. Shelton heard a loud bang and rushed downstairs. There, in the kitchen, she found Kiyan lying on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was rushed to a local children’s hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Ms. Shelton’s mother, who answered her daughter’s cellphone, said the family did not want to speak about the death. No criminal charges have been filed.

The police in Indianapolis said such scenes were becoming more common. “The mother was obviously very shaken up,” Capt. Richard Riddle said. Indeed, on Sunday night, another child, 10 years old, died in what the police say appears to have been another accidental shooting.

A 2013 investigation by The New York Times of children killed with firearms found that accidental shootings like these were being vastly undercounted by official tabulations, and were occurring about twice as often as records said.

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A detective in the garage at the home where 2-year-old Kiyan Shelton shot and killed himself last month in Indianapolis. CreditMichael Anthony Adams/The Indianapolis Star

Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, an emergency physician and a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who studies the public health effects of gun violence, said that nearly everyone — from toddlers to adults — can fail to accurately distinguish toy guns from real guns, loaded guns from unloaded ones.

“That doesn’t stop them from playing with it,” he said.

Mr. Pearson said he sympathized with Ms. Shelton and thought of Kiyan’s death as a tragic accident. “It was up on the counter, so I do think she thought she put the gun away, out of the baby’s reach,” Mr. Pearson said. “She’s going to be in a living hell.”

Essie Jones, who lives across the street, said Ms. Shelton had recently taught Kiyan to ride a small bicycle with training wheels, guiding him on the bike in the driveway. “They’d be up in the yard playing,” she said. “He was very happy.”

In a condolence book online, Dianna Mitchell-Wright, who identified herself as “Auntie,” wrote of her anguish over losing the boy she had nicknamed “My Main Man.”

“All I have are memories,” she said, “and your pictures in my cellphone.”

Anguished Goodbyes

The coffin that held Za’veon was no bigger than a piece of carry-on luggage, and it was so light that two pallbearers easily carried it through the packed St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Bermuda, La.

His full name was Za’veon Amari Williams, but to his family in Natchitoches, the 3-year-old was known as Baby Zee. On April 22, he found a pistol and shot himself in the head, according to Detective John Greely of the Natchitoches Police Department. When paramedics arrived, they found the mother cradling the boy and crying that he was not breathing, according to KSLA News 12.

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Sha’Quille’s grave in Kansas City. CreditDaniel Brenner for The New York Times

The police arrested a companion of the mother, Alverious Demars, 22, on charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice. Detective Greely said that the police believed that the pistol belonged to Mr. Demars, and that he hid it after the toddler shot himself. The police have not found the weapon.

“As a responsible adult it’s his obligation to secure that — to make sure a child does not get ahold of it,” Detective Greely said, explaining why Mr. Demars had been arrested.

The family declined to speak, but in a Facebook post, the boy’s mother, Destiny Williams, wrote that she had not been able to sleep and was a “useless sad waste.” “I can’t take life,” she wrote. “Why is it so cruel and unrelenting and unforgiving.”

The funerals for these children were filled with a similar anguish.

At the funeral for Baby Zee, the wails and screams grew so loud during a final moment of goodbye that ushers closed the church doors to give the family privacy. In Georgia, Holston’s father tearfully read a letter that reflected on how the family used to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” At the Kansas City funeral for Sha’Quille, family members crumpled as they looked into the coffin, shaking with tears or kissing her.

The day after Sha’Quille was buried, her maternal grandmother, Pamala Kornegay, reflected on the girl who was missing from the cluster of grandchildren who sat coloring on her living room floor. Ms. Kornegay said she was not angry with Sha’Quille’s father.

“We’re just upset,” she said. “It was careless. It could have been prevented.” So senseless, she said, because Mr. Block had loved his daughter so dearly.

“He would take a bullet for her,” she said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/us/guns-children-deaths.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Homeless students on the rise

BY CALLEY HAIR   Of the News-Times

NEWPORT — One out of every eight students in Lincoln County aren’t certain where they’ll sleep tonight, up from one in nine students by the end of last year.

The number of homeless kids in the region continues to grow, according to a running tally kept by the Lincoln County School District’s Homeless Education and Literacy Project (HELP). And with more than two months left in the school year, that number will keep going up, said HELP Homeless Program Coordinator Katey Townsend.  

“I think definitely this year, it’s lack of affordable housing that has increased our numbers in Lincoln County. Because it’s a pretty drastic increase so far,” Townsend said.  

During the 2014-15 school year, 717 students were identified as homeless in the district, including 579 in the K-12 schools. The remaining 138 children included younger students, often siblings enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs.  

This year, that figure had already reached 707 students by the end of the first semester.  

“At the midyear point, we were at the same amount as the whole school year prior,” Townsend said. “When we pulled the numbers up at the end of the semester, we were feeling overwhelmed by the need in the community. The numbers just validated that.”  

They hit 817 students by an updated tally on April 11, 2016, with 654 homeless students enrolled in K-12 schools.  

“Still, we have an influx of referrals.”  

Last year, Lincoln County had already ranked highest in the state for homeless children, according to a 2015 study by Children First for Oregon. Ten percent of Lincoln County’s children were homeless, according to the report, compared with the statewide average of 3.3 percent.  

HELP uses the national criteria for identifying a homeless child. Included in that definition are children living in a shelter, a car, a campsite, a motel, or with a friend or family member.  

The majority of the reported homeless students are living with friends or family, a situation HELP refers to as “doubled up.” However, those situations often lead to more dire circumstances, Townsend said.  

“We see a lot of movement between the categories,” Townsend said. “We have to report on how they were first qualified — the first circumstance in which we met them in the school year.”  

This creates some misrepresentation in reporting. While 525 of the reported 817 students are categorized as “doubled up,” many of them have since moved into cars or shelters, Townsend said.  

Between this year and last year, HELP didn’t make any changes to its reporting practices, or in how it identifies homeless students. Townsend attributes the spike to a precarious local economy and tough housing market.  

“What I’m hearing across the county is that there’s just no place for families to live,” Townsend said. “As soon as a rental gets on the market, it gets snapped up usually the same day.”  

The issue is compounded by the region’s seasonal industries, including tourism and fishing, said Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall.  

“The nature of our economy is a big driver of it. Tourism has so many part-time and low-wage jobs,” Hall said, adding that the average age of a minimum wage employee in the county is 31 years old.  

Even for families who could afford to pay the rent on a reasonably priced home, often times that place just doesn’t exist.  

“(We’ve) always had a low rental vacancy rate,” Hall said. “For a long time in Lincoln County, it’s been 2 percent. It’s now less than 1 percent.”  

He partially credits the recent drop to a rise in technology. The ease of websites like Craigslist and Airbnb made it more convenient — and often more lucrative — for landlords to rent property on a nightly basis.  

“What I hear again and again (from) a lot of people who own rentals is that they were renting on a month-to month basis, and they have converted them from monthly rentals to nightly rentals,” Hall said.  

The staff at HELP is well acquainted with the region’s rental issues. Homelessness has always pervaded Lincoln County, Townsend said.  

However, she said they weren’t entirely prepared for how quickly their enrollment would spike in just a year.  

“We couldn’t do this work without community donations, both with people who drop off jackets and shoes and school supplies, or they drop off checks,” Townsend said.  

Contact reporter Calley Hair at 541-265-857 1, ext. 211 or chair@newportnewstimes.com

The News Times, April 13, 2016 Number 30, Page 1  www.newportnewstimes.com

 

Donald Trump, ‘Are You Proud’ of White Children Who Harass Children of Color?

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by | 12:37 pm, March 9th, 2016

Speaking to Donald Trump on Morning Joe Wednesday, NPR’s Cokie Roberts demanded to know if the GOP frontrunner was “proud” of the reports of white children harassing and taunting their darker skinned peers, citing Trump’s incendiary nativist rhetoric.

Trump responded that it was a “nasty” question, that he was unaware of any such reports, and furthermore, that he was going to “make America great again.”

Roberts challenged Trump: “There have been incidents of children, white children, pointing to their darker skinned classmates and saying, ‘You’ll be deported when Donald Trump is president.’ There have been incidents of white kids at basketball games holding up signs to teams which have hispanic kids on them saying, “We’re going to build a wall to keep you out.’ Are you proud of that? Is that something you’ve done in American political and social discourse that you’re proud of?”

“Well, I think your question is a very nasty question,” Trump responded. “And I’m not proud of it because I didn’t even hear of it. Okay? And I don’t like it at all when I hear about it.”

Roberts remarked that the reports had appeared in many newspapers.

Over Trump’s interruptions, Roberts pressed him: “When you talk about deporting people and talk about building a wall and banning muslims… Does it have an affect on the whole discourse? …What about the effect on children?”

Trump retorted that “people are responding very positively” to his message because “the messages are very positive. You know, ‘Make America Great Again’ is a very positive message. Not a negative message.” The candidate segued into his familiar stump speech, refusing to respond to her “nasty” query.

Donald Trump, ‘Are You Proud’ of White Children Who Harass Children of Color?