What to Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: How lockdown drills can retraumatize kids who have experienced domestic violence. Lockdown drills have been a way of life for American children for more than a decade. Proponents say the drills can save lives, The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia reports, but experts question if an intense approach to hardening schools does more harm than good. For kids living with domestic violence, the drills can be especially difficult, even damaging, and rob them of the reprieve from abuse that the hours spent in school can provide. Read Jennifer’s full story, published in collaboration with Scary Mommy, here.
MORE from THE TRACE: As a young journalist, she reports on gun violence. Then her classroom went into lockdown. Mary Claire Molloy was 20 years old when she covered her first mass shooting. Before that, when she was 18, her first journalism byline was for The Trace’s Since Parkland project, in which student journalists wrote nearly 1,200 obituaries for every American child and teenager shot and killed in the year after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Molloy has consistently covered gun violence as a young journalist — running toward the bloodshed, as she puts it, while everyone else tries to escape it. But when her university locked down after a potential shooter entered the vicinity, she had to confront the emotional reverberations of our gun violence crisis. Read Molloy’s essay here.
Alex Jones to pay $965 million to eight families of Sandy Hook victims. In his second defamation trial, a Connecticut jury ruled Wednesday that the Infowars host and conspiracy theorist owed nearly $1 billion to 15 parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as well as an FBI agent who responded to the attack, VICE reports. Prosecutors had asked that Jones pay $550 million. Jones was instrumental in bringing into the mainstream the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “false flag” operation to boost support for gun control. In August, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of one of the slain children. Jones did not attend the Connecticut verdict hearing.
Uvalde footage shows delayed law enforcement response broader than school district police chief. A New York Times analysis shows that high-ranking officers, state troopers, police academy instructors, and SWAT specialists delayed taking action against the gunman at Robb Elementary School, contradicting the Texas Department of Public Safety’s conclusion that Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief, was solely to blame for the slow response to the massacre. The Times found little evidence that Arredondo issued commands during the police response, and that Texas DPS’s findings were selective and often imprecise.
Former San Antonio police officer who shot teen charged with aggravated assault. James Brennand was fired from the San Antonio Police Department earlier this month after he shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu in a McDonald’s parking lot. Cantu, who remains on life support in a local hospital, was sitting in his vehicle when Brennand opened the teenager’s car door and fired five rounds. The city’s police chief announced Tuesday that Brennand had been charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant, first-degree felonies, the San Antonio Current reports.
NYC mayor makes Times Square a gun-free zone, despite federal ruling. On Tuesday, Eric Adams signed legislation prohibiting firearms in Times Square, bypassing a federal judge’s ruling that such bans are unconstitutional. The judge last week struck down key parts of a new state law that banned guns in “sensitive places” — including Times Square — and required concealed carry applicants to provide officials with three years of their social media history. Adams’s ban is likely to remain in place as the state appeals last week’s decision, CBS New York reports.
51 percent — the increase in mental health disorders among gun violence survivors, compared with study participants who had not been exposed to firearm injury. Substance use disorders increased 85 percent. [Annals of Internal Medicine]