This case shows the public what a corrupt judicial system we have. How can anyone expect to be treated fairly in our court today. The government is upset about the IRS, that’s not news, its been happening for many years to the little man. What about Judges and Prosecutors sending innocent men to prison and nothing is done about it. When is the government going to get upset about that? Not only get upset but do something. Right the Wrong.
If investigated thoroughly, its not difficult to see that IRP6 were railroaded by a corrupt judge, Christine Arguello and prosecutor, Matthew Kirsch. They both assisted in a cover-up for big businesses wanting case investigative software that the small IRP Solutions business had to offer to law enforcement throughout this country!
It is amazing to me that the Associated Press was extremely vocal when the unethical practices of the DOJ was directed at them, but have been very silent when it comes to reporting stories on average American citizens, like the IRP6 and how ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ played a huge part in these six business executives being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison for a crime they didn’t commit!
In order to free these men and to restore their good names, business & lives will take the DOJ to conduct a thorough General Inquiry in to this case:
(1) for missing transcripts,
(2) violations of 5th Amendment Right, and lastly.
(3) right to a Speedy Trial.
If a proper investigation is done, there will be no doubt that the Prosecutor & Judge were working together with big businesses to run their small competitor, IRP Solutions Corporation out-of-business to maintain their lucrative, large dollar government contracts!
Our American government is never thought of as being our enemy. We don’t go to be nightly thinking or worrying about the door being kicked in by our own government.
MRS. OBAMA: Well, thank you. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness. It is such a — you all, rest yourselves. You’ve got a long day ahead. It is beyond a pleasure and an honor for me to be here with all of you today.
Of course, I want to start by thanking President Bernim for that very kind introduction, for this wonderful degree, and for his outstanding leadership here at Bowie State University. I also want to recognize Chancellor Kirwan, Provost Jackson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Karen Johnson Shaheed, Vice Chair Barry Gossett. And of course, I want to thank the BSU Madrigal Singers — they did a great job — the university choir, and DeMarcus Franklin for their wonderful performances here today. You all are amazing. I just wish I could sing. Can’t sing a lick.
I also want to recognize today’s Presidential Medal of Excellence recipient, Professor Freeman Hrabowski, who’s a for-real brother as well. (Applause.) And I want to thank him for his tremendous work as the Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He has done some magnificent work, but we have so much more work to do.
And let’s take another moment to thank all of the beautiful people sitting all around us today — the folks who have loved you and pushed you and put up with you every step of the way. (Applause.) Give another round of applause to all the family members who are here today. (Applause.) Yes, indeed. This is your day, too.
But most of all, to the Bowie State University class of 2013, congratulations. (Applause.) Oh, congratulations. You don’t know how proud we all are of you. Just look at you. We’re so proud of how hard you worked, all those long hours in the classroom, in the library. Oh, yeah. Amen. (Laughter.) All those jobs you worked to help pay your tuition. Many of you are the first in your families to get a college degree. (Applause.) Some of you are balancing school with raising families of your own. (Applause.) So I know this journey hasn’t been easy. I know you’ve had plenty of moments of doubt and frustration and just plain exhaustion.
But listen, you dug deep and you kept pushing forward to make it to this magnificent day. (Applause.) And in doing so, you didn’t just complete an important chapter in your own story, you also became part of the story of this great university — a story that began nearly 150 years ago, not far from where we all sit today. As you all know, this school first opened its doors in January of 1865, in an African Baptist church in Baltimore. And by 1866, just a year later, it began offering education courses to train a new generation of African American teachers.
Now, just think about this for a moment: For generations, in many parts of this country, it was illegal for black people to get an education. Slaves caught reading or writing could be beaten to within an inch of their lives. Anyone — black or white — who dared to teach them could be fined or thrown into jail. And yet, just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, this school was founded not just to educate African Americans, but to teach them how to educate others. It was in many ways an act of defiance, an eloquent rebuttal to the idea that black people couldn’t or shouldn’t be educated. And since then, generations of students from all backgrounds have come to this school to be challenged, inspired and empowered. And they have gone on to become leaders here in Maryland and across this country, running businesses, educating young people, leading the high-tech industries that will power our economy for decades to come.
That is the story of Bowie State University, the commitment to educating our next generation and building ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work for it. All of you are now part of that story. And with that tremendous privilege comes an important set of responsibilities — responsibilities that you inherit the moment you leave this stadium with that diploma in your hand.
And that’s what I want to talk with you about today. I want to talk about the obligations that come with a Bowie State education, and how you can fulfill those obligations by how you live your lives.
So let’s return, for a moment, to the time when the school and others like it were founded. Many of these schools were little more than drafty log cabins with mud floors, leaky roofs and smoke-wood stoves in the corner. Blackboards, maps, and even books were considered luxuries. And both students and teachers faced constant threats from those who refuse to accept freedom for African Americans.
In one Eastern Shore town, a teacher reported to work one morning to find that someone had smashed the windows of her schoolhouse. Other black schools across Maryland were burned to the ground. Teachers received death threats. One was even beaten by an angry mob. But despite the risks, understand, students flocked to these schools in droves, often walking as many as eight to ten miles a day to get their education. In fact, the educational association that founded Bowie State wrote in their 1864 report that — and this is a quote — “These people are coming in beyond our ability to receive them.” Desperately poor communities held fundraisers for these schools, schools which they often built with their own hands. And folks who were barely scraping by dug deep into their own pockets to donate money.
You see, for these folks, education was about more than just learning to read or write. As the abolitionist Fredrick Douglas put it, “Education means emancipation,” he said. He said, “It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the only light by which men can be free.” You hear that? The only light by which men can be free. (Applause.)
So to the folks who showed up to your school on that January day back in 1865, education meant nothing less than freedom. It meant economic independence, a chance to provide for their families. It meant political empowerment, the chance to read the newspaper and articulate an informed opinion, and take their rightful place as full citizens of this nation.
So back then, people were hungry to learn. Do you hear me? Hungry to get what they needed to succeed in this country. And that hunger did not fade over time. If anything, it only grew stronger. I mean, think about the century-long battle that so many folks waged to end the evil of segregation. Think about civil rights icons like Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King, who argued groundbreaking school integration cases, led historic marches, protests, and boycotts. As you know, Dr. King’s house was bombed. A police chief pulled a gun on Thurgood Marshall. They both received piles of hate mail and countless death threats, but they kept on fighting.
Think about those nine young men and women who faced down an angry mob just to attend school in Little Rock, Arkansas. And that was just the first day. For months afterwards, they were spat on, jeered at, punched, and tripped as they walked down the halls. Their classmates threw food at them in the cafeteria and hurled ink at them during class. But they kept on showing up. They kept claiming their rightful place at that school.
And think about little Ruby Bridges, who was just six years old when she became one of the first black children in New Orleans to attend an all-white school. Parents actually pulled their children out of that school in protest. People retaliated against her family. Her father lost his job. And only one teacher at that entire school would agree to teach her. But the Bridges family refused to back down. So for an entire year, little Ruby sat all alone, a class of one, dutifully learning her lessons.
See, that is the sacrifice that those folks and so many others have made. That is the hunger they felt. For them and so many others, getting an education was literally a matter of life or death.
But today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of “separate but equal,” when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. (Applause.) Right now, one in three African American students are dropping out of high school. Only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 has gotten a college degree — one in five.
But let’s be very clear. Today, getting an education is as important if not more important than it was back when this university was founded. Just look at the statistics. (Applause.) People who earn a bachelor’s degree or higher make nearly three times more money than high school dropouts, and they’re far less likely to be unemployed. A recent study even found that African American women with a college degree live an average of six and a half years longer than those without. And for men, it’s nearly 10 years longer. So yes, people who are more educated actually live longer.
So I think we can agree, and we need to start feeling that hunger again, you know what I mean? (Applause.) We need to once again fight to educate ourselves and our children like our lives depend on it, because they do.
We need to dig deep and find the same kind of grit and determination that drove those first students at this school and generations of students who came after them. I am talking about the kind of grit and determination displayed by folks right here at Bowie State. Folks like Ariel Williams-Edwards, one of today’s graduates. (Applause.) Yeah, Ariel! Ariel’s mother struggled with substance abuse, and Ariel and her sister were removed from her care and sent to live with their grandmother.
But Ariel decided to draw inspiration from her struggle — she majored in Social Work so she could help families like hers. (Applause.) Yes! She became a member of the Phi Alpha National Honor Society. And she’s been accepted to graduate school to get her master’s degree in Social Work starting in September. Yes, indeed. (Applause.)
And then there’s Audrey Marie Lugmayer, another one of this year’s graduates. Audrey is the daughter of a single father, and her dad has struggled with some serious health issues. So after graduating from high school, Audrey worked full time for a year, because she couldn’t bear the thought of putting any more financial burdens on her father. She kept on working here at Bowie State, even while juggling a full course load. And today, she is graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. (Applause.) Yes. God is very good.
It is that kind of unwavering determination — that relentless f
ocus on getting an education in the face of obstacles — that’s what we need to reclaim, as a community and as a nation. That was the idea at the very heart of the founding of this school.
It’s even in the words of your school song: “Oh Bowie State, dear Bowie State, may you forever be the flame of faith, the torch of truth to guide the steps of youth.” And that’s not just a lyric — it is a call to action. Many of you will answer that call by carrying on the proud Bowie State tradition of serving as teachers, devoting your careers to guiding the steps of the next generation.
But for those of you who aren’t going into education, you’re not off the hook. Oh, no. Oh, no. No matter what career you pursue, every single one of you has a role to play as educators for our young people. So if you have friends or cousins or siblings who are not taking their education seriously, shake them up. Go talk some sense into them. Get them back on track. (Applause.)
If the school in your neighborhood isn’t any good, don’t just accept it. Get in there, fix it. Talk to the parents. Talk to the teachers. Get business and community leaders involved as well, because we all have a stake in building schools worthy of our children’s promise.
And when it comes to your own kids, if you don’t like what they’re watching on TV, turn it off. (Applause.) If you don’t like the video games they’re playing, take them away. (Applause.) Take a stand against the media that elevates today’s celebrity gossip instead of the serious issues of our time. Take a stand against the culture that glorifies instant gratification instead of hard work and lasting success.
And as my husband has said often, please stand up and reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white. Reject that. (Applause.)
In short, be an example of excellence for the next generation and do everything you can to help them understand the power and purpose of a good education. See, that’s what my own parents did for me and my brother.
See, my parents didn’t go to college, but they were determined to give us that opportunity. My dad was a pump operator at the city water plant, diagnosed with MS in his early thirties. And every morning I watched him struggle to get out of bed and inch his way to his walker, and painstakingly button his uniform, but never once did I hear him complain. Not once. He just kept getting up, day after day, year after year, to do whatever he could to give our family a better shot at life.
So when it came time for my brother and I to go to college, most of our tuition came from student loans and grants. But my dad still had to pay a small portion of that tuition each semester, and he was always determined to pay his share right on time — even taking out loans when he fell short, because he couldn’t bear the thought of us missing a registration deadline because his check was late.
And there is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about the sacrifices that my mom and dad made for me. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about living up to the example they set, and how I must do everything in my power to make them proud of the daughter they raised. (Applause.)
And today, I am thinking about all the mothers and fathers just like my parents, all the folks who dug into their pockets for that last dime, the folks who built those schools brick by brick, who faced down angry mobs just to reach those schoolhouse doors. I am thinking about all the folks who worked that extra shift and took that extra job, and toiled and bled and prayed so that we could have something better. (Applause.)
The folks who, as the poet Alice Walker once wrote, “Knew what we must know without knowing a page of it themselves.” Their sacrifice is your legacy. Do you hear me? And now it is up to all of you to carry that legacy forward, to be that flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country.
And if you do that, and I know that you will, if you uphold that obligation, then I am confident we will build an even better future for the next generation of graduates from this fine school and for all of the children in this country because our lives depend on it.
I wish you Godspeed, good luck. I love you all. Do good things. God bless. (Applause.)
More details emerge from their captivity and escape.
Michelle Knight was forced to deliver Amanda Berry’s baby as their alleged captor Ariel Castro stood nearby threatening to kill her if the baby died, according to a police report obtained by reporters. When the baby stopped breathing during birth, Knight put her mouth to the child’s and “breathed for her.” The report also details the moment of escape, when Castro forgot to lock the “big inside door” and Berry got the attention of neighbors. When the officers entered, Knight and Gina DeJesus threw themselves into police arms. Knight told police she was forced to abort five pregnancies.
In a suicide note allegedly written several years ago by Ariel Castro, the suspected kidnapper of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight reveals who he thinks is responsible for their abduction: them. The 52-year-old, who is currently being held with his two brothers—Onil, 50, and Pedro, 54—says the teens are to blame for getting in his car. In the letter, first discovered by WOIO, the self-declared sex addict fails to acknowledge his own role in the crime, or even so much as mention the repeated sexual and physical abuse he had inflicted on the women.
about 8 hours ago by Brian Ries May 8, 2013 1:57 PM EDT
A Facebook page allegedly belonging to Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro surfaced Wednesday morning. A look inside the page reveals a musician and loving grandfather—no sign of a monster who kept three women locked in his house as sex slaves.
Amanda Berry, the 27-year-old woman who first broke free from Ariel Castro’s house and revealed that she and two other women had been held for more than a decade, returned home Wednesday. Meanwhile, new evidence indicated all three Cleveland women held in captivity for a decade were not only sexually and physically abused—they were also tied up, police announced Wednesday. “We have confirmation that they were bound, and there was chains and ropes in the home,” Chief Michael McGrath told NBC. Although their physical states were “very good,” McGrath says they were likely allowed outdoors only “once in a while.” The grisly details, initially discovered through interviews with the women, have been corroborated by evidence in the house. Ariel, Pedro, and Onil Castro—the three brothers accused of the crimes—are likely to be charged Wednesday.
Ariel Castro, accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women, was a school bus driver with a long, long list of traffic infractions. Steve Miller digs up the suspect’s rap sheet.
Despite a driving record that included numerous points for moving violations and a move by the state to suspend his license, Ariel Castro drove a school bus for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for over 20 years, before being fired in November 2012.
Records show Castro had numerous encounters with local police while driving, from illegal parking in July 1995 to failing to obey a traffic device in January 2001.
The infractions pose yet another question as to how Castro was able to carry on his life in a most average fashion, even as he allegedly held three women against their will in his modest four-bedroom, one-bath home on Cleveland’s west side.
about 13 hours ago by Jake Heller May 8, 2013 9:47 AM EDT
See the best TV moments of Charles Ramsey.
We first met Charles Ramsey, the hero who rescued three Cleveland women from close to a decade of captivity, in this amazing interview. His plain white T-shirt counterbalanced his colorful personality, and Ramsey’s intensity and wit shone through as he described his decisive actions. But first, he mentioned his meal at McDonald’s. Delicious.
The interview made him an Internet celebrity. Before long, “Charles Ramsey” was trending on Twitter, YouTubers were paying him Auto-Tuned homage, and Antoine Dodson was welcoming him into the pantheon of hilariously expressive local TV interview subjects.
(Here’s the requisite Gregory Brothers auto-tune:)
Then, breaking news! In an interview with Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, Ramsey revealed that he had been eating a Big Mac when he heard Amanda Berry’s screams—and that he brought the Big Mac with him as he went to rescue her.
If three women were held hostage for 10 years on your block, would you notice? Christine Pelisek talks to shocked residents of Cleveland’s west side about the red flags they missed.
For many years, 52-year-old Ariel Castro was a neighborhood fixture on Seymour Avenue on Cleveland’s west side, greeting neighbors with a friendly, “Hello, God bless.”
“He would come home with these big ass bags of McDonald’s in his hands,” says Edwin Garcia, 19, who lives just down the street, of the former school bus driver. “We always just thought he was getting himself a big breakfast and lunch.”
What’s obvious now is that something much more sinister was going on inside the Castro home, where police say Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were held as hostages ever since they vanished without a trace over a decade ago in their teens or early 20s.
When Amanda Berry called 911 after being held captive for 10 years, the Cleveland dispatcher didn’t keep her on the line until police came—but quibbled over her address and rushed to get off the phone. David Freedlander on the blowback.
The voice was frantic, pleading, sounding even more frightened than the usual call to 911.
“Hello, police. Help me, I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
(Reuters) – Cleveland resident Ariel Castro was charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping three women who were rescued from his house on Monday after nearly a decade in captivity.
Castro’s two brothers Pedro and Onil, originally arrested in the case, were not charged, said Cleveland city prosecutor Victor Perez at a news conference.
The charges came as police revealed that the women, who were rescued on Monday after one of them, Amanda Berry, fled with the help of a neighbor, had not seen any previous chances to escape in nearly ten years of captivity.
“The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped,” Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at the same news conference.
“They don’t believe that they’ve been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively,” he said.
“They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there,” he added.
Police said earlier that they found ropes and chains in the house that had been used to hold them prisoner. No human remains were found, they said.
Castro, 52, faces four counts of kidnapping relating to Berry, now 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Berry’s 6-year-old daughter who was conceived and born during her mother’s captivity, authorities said.
A paternity test will be conducted to determine the girl’s father, Tomba said.
Castro is not a suspect in any other cases, he said.
Authorities were searching a second house in relation to the case, Tomba said.
Berry and DeJesus went to their families’ homes on Wednesday, while Knight was in a Cleveland hospital where a spokeswoman said she was in good condition.
The rape charges against Castro relate to Berry, DeJesus and Knight, the prosecutor said. He would be arraigned on Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.
Castro and his two brothers were arrested on Monday evening within hours of the women’s escape from his house.
However, there was no evidence Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, were involved, the prosecutor said.
Investigators took some 200 pieces of evidence from the Castro house, which Tomba said was “in quite a bit of disarray.”
Neither Berry nor DeJesus spoke publicly as they were hustled inside their family’s homes, and relatives emerged instead to speak to the waiting crowds of spectators and media.
Berry and her daughter could be seen from an aerial television camera arriving in a convoy of vehicles at her sister’s house and going in the back door.
DeJesus was rushed into the home she had not seen in nine years, clenched in a tight embrace by her sister Mayra. DeJesus hid her face in a yellow hooded sweat-shirt but raised her hand in a thumbs-up sign to the crowd that was chanting “Gina. Gina.”
Her mother Nancy DeJesus came outside after a little while.
“I want to thank everybody that believed,” she said. “Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most because they’re the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there.”
Before Monday evening, Berry had last been seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant the day before her 17th birthday in April 2003. Her disappearance as a teenager was widely publicized in the local media.
DeJesus vanished while walking home from school at age 14 in 2004, and Knight, 32, was 20 when she disappeared in 2002.
Born in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Records show he was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta, Barbara Goldberg; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Grant McCool, Toni Reinhold and Bernard Orr)
Cleveland homeowner Ariel Castro charged with kidnapping and rape, but two brothers not charged.
Ariel Castro, the man who owned the Cleveland home where three women escaped this week after nearly a decade of captivity, was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
The kidnapping charges include the 6-year-old daughter of Amanda Berry, who was conceived and born in the house on the city’s west side. DNA tests are being conducted to determine the child’s father.
Castro will be arraigned Thursday morning.
His two brothers, Pedro and Onil, will not be charged. Cleveland prosecutor Victor Perez said there was no evidence they were involved in the crime or had any knowledge of it.
No other victims are expected from the case.
• Berry and Gina DeJesus were welcomed back to their family homes. The third victim, Michelle Knight, remained hospitalized Wednesday.
• Berry was reunited with relatives at her sister’s home in Cleveland. Her sister, Beth Serrano, made a brief statement thanking the public for their support and requesting privacy so that Berry can “heal” and “recover.”
• DeJesus hid her face with a hoodie and gave a thumbs-up sign as she arrived home.
• DeJesus reportedly told investigators she was abducted when she accepted a ride home from school, according to NBC News.
• DeJesus is in “good sprits,” according to a CNN interview with a family member.
• DeJesus was a friend of Ariel Castro’s daughter as a young teen, WKYC-TV reports.
• Ariel Castro helped search for DeJesus when she went missing, and Castro was friends with the girl’s father, Khalid Samad, a friend of the DeJesus family, told the Associated Press. Samad also said Castro helped pass out missing-persons fliers.
• AP reported that Castro also comforted DeJesus’ mother at a candlelight vigil for her missing daughter.
• Victims’ family members told CNN that survivor Michelle Knight, the longest held captive, was “malnourished and weak.”
• Metro Health Hospital spokeswoman Tina Shaerban-Arundel confirmed Knight was still hospitalized Wedneday, in good condition.
• Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask said no human remains had been found at the site where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped. Authorities had been drawn to disturbed soil in the yard — and previously told WKYC-TV that the three women were forced to have sex with their captors, that the pregnant women were beaten and that the babies didn’t survive.
• One victim reportedly suffered up to three miscarriages because she was so malnourished, according to Cleveland’s WEWS-TV.
• One of the brothers is believed to have fathered the 6-year-old girl found at the home with Berry, now 27, according to Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba. DNA tests are being conducted to verify paternity.
• Berry give birth in an inflatable swimming pool inside the house, police told The Plain Dealer. The girl’s name is Jocelyn.
• WKYC-TV reports Berry’s family is “excited” to meet their grandchild and is eager to “embrace Berry’s daughter as their own.”
• Police sources said the 6-year-old-girl was occasionally taken out of the house and would visit suspect Ariel Castro’s mother, Lillian Rodriguez, whom she called “grandmother.”
• The women were restrained by ropes and chains and occasionally had been allowed into the backyard, Police Chief Michael McGrath said.
• WKYC-TV spoke with Ariel Castro’s son, who said his father was “secretive” and that there were padlocks on doors to the attic, basement and garage in his father’s home. Castro’s son said he was not close to his father.
• Investigators are talking with relatives of at least one other missing woman from the neighborhood, AP reported. Ashley Summers, a 14-year-old girl, disappeared in 2007 near the house where Castro lives.
• McGrath told NBC’s Today show that the physical condition of the three women was “very good considering the circumstances” and the women were allowed in the backyard of the suspect’s home “once in a while.”
• McGrath said police did everything they could to find the women since they went missing, denying claims by neighbors that officers had been called to the house for suspicious circumstances from time to time in the past 10 years.
• Cleveland neighbor Israel Lugo said that other neighbors had seen women crawling on all fours behind Castro’s house, and that the men were controlling the women, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail Online.
• Suspect Ariel Castro speaks both English and Spanish. Brothers Pedro and Onil Castro speak only Spanish, according to WKYC-TV.
• FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told ABC-TV that the three woman “had a bond, that they had been through this together.”
In light of the NRAsshole Convention in the great city of Houston, Greater State Of Texas…here is the first really true public service announcement from the NRAsshole Organization for it’s membership….
A ‘Gun Lobby’ commercial reassuring all Americans that 2nd Amendment Gun Rights will not be taken away by the government. Help Support their efforts to keep guns in the hands of those who want them. No questions asked.
The current background check ‘loopholes’ create a very dangerous environment, where anyone can easily bypass the system of safety regulation and get the guns that they desire. Contact your local Senator and tell them that this is unacceptable.
For More Information about how you can support the effort, please visit:
The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston is prepared for the annual convention of the National Rifle Assn. The event, which begins Friday, is expected to draw more than 70,000 people. (Johnny Hanson / Associated Press / May 1, 2013)
“If you are an NRA member, you deserve to be proud,” Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive wrote to members last week, saying they “exemplify everything that’s good and right about America.”
On Friday afternoon, LaPierre is scheduled to appear at the convention with a panel of political leaders who have championed gun rights, including former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (who some tea party advocates are hoping will make a run for the Senate), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (also a tea party favorite), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
LaPierre will address the membership again Saturday before a “Stand and Fight” rally.
More than 70,000 people from across the country and abroad are expected to attend the three-day event at Houston’s downtown convention center drawn by, among other things, a gun trade show, youth day, firearms classes and a speech by rocker and NRA ally Ted Nugent.
“It is on track to be the largest NRA annual meeting ever,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Los Angeles Times. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fight that we’re in. People understand that now more than ever they need to come out and support the 2nd Amendment.”
Gun control advocates also planned to flock to the convention center, and Arulanandam said that shouldn’t cause friction.
“That is people exercising their 1st Amendment rights. We respect their 1st Amendment rights, and we hope they respect our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights,” he said.
Among events gun control groups have planned: a petition drive for expanded background checks of gun purchasers, veterans speaking out against illegal guns, and a vigil near the convention center for victims of gun violence that will start Friday morning and last through Sunday.
The “No More Names” vigil includes the names of those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and others who have died since then in gun violence, said Lauren Weiner, a spokeswoman for Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Change.
When supporters held a similar event last month ahead of the Senate gun control vote, they had collected about 3,300 names, Weiner told The Times.
“We don’t want to add any more names to the list. That’s our goal ideally through passing legislation,” Weiner said.
Among those expected to attend the convention is Erica Lafferty, daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung. Lafferty has become an outspoken proponent of gun control legislation.
Weiner said the failure of gun control legislation has emboldened rather than demoralized supporters, citing an incident earlier this week in which Lafferty and others confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) over her vote.
“We look at it as a first step in a process,” Weiner said of the legislation’s defeat. “It has galvanized folks — you’ve seen it in New Hampshire this week. Folks realize that we need to be louder,” particularly relatives of those killed in Newtown.
Kim Russell, national field director for the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said their membership grew and donations poured in after the Senate vote (20% of their total donations to date came within 24 hours). They, too, plan to have a presence in Houston.
“That Senate vote was the second alarm. Newtown was the first,” Russell told The Times. “There’s a backlash now.”