Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: Mass shooting denier Alex Jones is on trial, and losing distribution for his lies, as tech companies pull his content from their platforms. Chicago suffers a dramatic outburst of gunfire as assailants target crowds. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Apple has scrubbed Alex Jones’s podcasts from iTunes. It’s perhaps the most sweeping move yet by a tech company to limit his reach. Facebook has also suspended Jones’s profile and removed some of his content. Spotify and Stitcher have also yanked some of his shows and YouTube has taken down a handful of Jones’s videos. “Apple does not tolerate hate speech,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, which was first to notice the move. “We have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.” Jones has spread conspiracy theories alleging that many mass shootings are staged by the government as a ploy to enact gun control. Several Sandy Hook families are suing him for defamation, and one of those cases is now at trial in Austin, Texas.
The Parkland gunman went without special education counseling for a critical 14-month stretch. A report commissioned by the school district, released Friday and un-redacted by a Sun-Sentinel reporter, reveals that the gunman displayed aggressive and disruptive behavior from a very early age and made some progress at a school for students with severe emotional disorders before transferring to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2016. His lawyers said the report is a “whitewash” and that it diminished the school district’s failure to deal with his psychological problems.
Ten people were killed and more than 50 were injured by gunfire in Chicago over the weekend. During one particularly violent two-and-a-half-hour stretch from Saturday night to early Sunday morning, 25 people were shot — two fatally — in five mass-casualty shootings. A paramedic said those hours felt like “a war zone.” Gunmen targeted gatherings on a front porch, at a block party, and at a funeral. The violence began just one day after protestors shut down Lake Shore Drive to call attention to ongoing violence in the city.
A plaque memorializing the site where Emmett Till’s body was found has been shot up again. The first marker was stolen; the second was destroyed by gunfire and is now on display in a museum dedicated to telling the story of Till’s death. The third, extant sign was apparently shot four times on July 25, just five weeks after it was put up.
A federal appeals court rejected challenges to California gun restrictions on Friday. The 9th Circuit court upheld requirements that new handguns must imprint identifying information into shell casings and include chamber load indicators and magazine detachment mechanisms, which can help prevent accidental discharges. In the decision, one judge wrote that requiring newly manufactured weapons to be equipped with “modern technology” does not pose a substantial burden. A separate panel of the same court also upheld a law that exempts former police officers from a statewide ban on carrying weapons on school property.
ONE LAST THING
Drawing on two dozen interviews and previously unreleased emails, the New York Times lays out Maria Butina’s path to befriending powerful NRA and GOP connections. The report jumps from Russia House in Washington, D.C., to the South Dakota hometown of her paramour Paul Erickson, to the Siberian region where she grew up. It’s the most thorough account to date of what we know about her alleged infiltration campaign. For more on Butina’s fixation with the NRA, read about her early blog posts, which we had translated from Russian here.