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The massacre of nine African-American worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., has sent shock waves through the nation and could well blow the roof off the Confederacy. Dylann Storm Roof is accused of methodically killing the congregants, reloading his Glock pistol at least twice. He let one victim live, according to a person who spoke with the survivor, so she could tell the world what happened. This brutal mass killing was blatantly racist, an overt act of terrorism.
A teenager who knows me too well says I'm obsessed with endlessly refighting the battle against free trade. That rings pathetically true. And now who wins a small victory over the ancient foe? Them. The U.S.! History is cruel.
It happened last week. President Barack Obama backed the latest in free trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- or TPP. The august Senate backed him. But the House of Representatives, the elected body nearest the people, voted No. It took a savvy, impassioned, grassroots campaign to make that happen and even so, it's not over. Pro-free traders are already attempting a TPP resuscitation. Victories over free trade should be celebrated swiftly. But what explains even that hiccup?
Twelve days after his 22nd birthday, Kalief Browder wrapped an air-conditioner power cord around his neck and hanged himself. In 2010, at the age of 16, he was arrested after being accused of stealing a backpack. He would spend three years in New York City's Rikers Island prison, more than two of those years in solitary confinement. He was beaten by prison guards and inmates alike. He was not serving a sentence; he was in pre-trial detention. He declined all plea bargains. He wanted his day in court, to prove his innocence. A judge finally dismissed the case against him. After his release, Kalief Browder tried to reclaim his life. In the end, the nightmare he lived through overwhelmed him. Two years after his release, he committed suicide.
Evan Young was the valedictorian of this year's graduating class at Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School, in Longmont, Colo. On May 16, at his graduation ceremony, Evan planned to give his valedictory address. Earlier in the week, he submitted the text of his speech to the principal, as required. Just before the ceremony, Principal B.J. Buchmann told Evan he was not allowed to give his speech. Evan was shocked. He had been practicing for days. He had planned to come out as gay in the speech for the first time, to his own family, to his classmates and to the whole school community.
There is a vast military complex deep in the hills of eastern Tennessee called "Y-12." This is where all of the highly enriched uranium is produced and stored for the production of the U.S. nuclear-warhead arsenal. It is in Oak Ridge, the city that was created practically overnight during the Second World War, that produced the uranium for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Today, the facility, dubbed "The Fort Knox of Uranium," holds enough of the radioactive element to make 10,000 nuclear bombs.
"What do you hope to accomplish with this protest," I asked a 13-year-old girl marching in Staten Island, N.Y., last August, protesting the police killing of Eric Garner.
"To live until I'm 18," the young teen, named Aniya, replied. Could that possibly be the American dream today?
Aniya went on: "You want to get older. You want to experience life. You don't want to die in a matter of seconds because of cops." It's that sentiment that has fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement across the country.