Ten US elementary students shot by pellet or BB gun

Parents pick up their kids at Wynbrooke Elementary School in Stone Mountain, Ga., Thursday, April 25, 2019. DeKalb County School District police are investigating an incident at Wynbrooke Elementary School after 10 students were shot by a BB or pellet gun, the school district confirmed Thursday. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Updated 26 April 2019
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Ten US elementary students shot by pellet or BB gun

  • The incident came days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting when two armed teens killed 12 students at their Colorado high school
  • In the past 20 years, an estimated 226,000 children in 233 schools have been exposed to the sight or sound of gunfire

MIAMI, US: Ten elementary school children in the southern US state of Georgia were hit by what appeared to be a pellet or BB gun when someone in a wooded area started shooting at their playground, an official said Thursday.
The incident sparked panic at the Wynbrooke Elementary School in DeKalb County as police descended on the scene of what initially appeared to be yet another mass shooting.
Caleb Edmonson, an 11-year-old student, told local news WSB-TV 2: “Everybody started to get a little bit panicked, but people started thinking it was a drill, but then a couple of minutes later we saw ambulances, police officers coming in, running down our hallways.”
The students were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for non life-threatening injuries or picked up their parents, Portia Kirkland, a spokeswoman for DeKalb County School District told AFP, adding a police investigation was underway.
The incident came days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting when two armed teens killed 12 students at their Colorado high school.
Since then, an estimated 226,000 children in 233 schools have been exposed to the sight or sound of gunfire, according to a Washington Post investigation.
The worst shootings to date were those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012 (20 young children and six adults were killed) and at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year (17 dead).

 


New Chicago mayor gives Arabs hope

Updated 44 min 49 sec ago
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New Chicago mayor gives Arabs hope

  • The election of Lori Lightfoot as mayor gives Chicago’s Arabs an opportunity to reverse the damage that Rahm Emanuel has caused
  • Emanuel’s first acts as mayor included blocking the annual Arabesque Festival, which Jewish groups complained against

Plagued by ongoing controversies and criticism that he tried to hide a video of Chicago police killing a black teenager in October 2014, Rahm Emanuel decided he had had enough as the city’s mayor and decided to retire.

Elected in 2011 with a big boost from his former boss, US President Barack Obama — also a Chicago native — Emanuel served two full terms.

But his hopes of reversing the city’s tumbling finances, improving its poorly performing schools, and reversing record gun-related violence and killings, all failed.

However, Emanuel did have one success. He managed to gut the involvement of Chicago’s Arab-American minority in city-sponsored events, responding favorably to its influential Jewish-American community leadership, which complained about Palestinian activists who advocated for statehood and challenged Israeli oppression.

Emanuel’s first acts as mayor included blocking the annual Arabesque Festival, which Jewish groups complained included photographs of Palestinians protesting against Israel. The festival had only been launched four years earlier by his predecessor in 2007.

Emanuel also disbanded the Advisory Commission on Arab Affairs, and ended Arab American Heritage Month, which had been held every November since it was recognized by Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor.

Emanuel refused to discuss his reasons for these decisions with leaders of Chicago’s Arab community.

He declined repeated requests by me to interview him, despite my having interviewed seven Chicago mayors. He declined similar requests from other Arab journalists.

While he hosted iftars for Muslims, he never hosted an Arab heritage celebration during his eight years in office.

His father was a leader of the Irgun, which was denounced as a terrorist organization in the 1940s by the British military.

The Irgun murdered British soldiers and thousands of Palestinian civilians, and orchestrated the bloody Deir Yassin massacre on April 9, 1948.

Before becoming mayor, Emanuel volunteered at an Israeli military base repairing damaged vehicles. His pro-Israel stance was never challenged by the mainstream US news media.

But with the election in February of Lori Lightfoot as mayor, Chicago’s Arabs have an opportunity to reverse the damage that Emanuel caused.

Lightfoot was sworn into office on Monday and serves for four years. She has already reached out to Arabs, appointing at least two Palestinians to her 400-person transition team, whose members often remain and assume government positions with new administrations.

The two Palestinians in her transition team are Rush Darwish and Rami Nashashibi. Darwish has organized several successful marathons in Chicago and Bethlehem to raise funds for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. Nashashibi is involved with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).

As an African American, Lightfoot knows what it is like to be the victim of racism, stereotypes and discrimination. That makes her more sensitive to the concerns of Chicago’s Arabs.