Moms Demand Action; Shooting Death in Yellowstone: From Grant Campground


By Jueseppi B.




Shooting Death in Yellowstone: From Grant Campground


by Moms Demand Action Douglas Scott, Exotic Hikes


The quiet serenity of Yosemite National Park was jarred in the mid-morning hours of Saturday, September 7th, as a small child, just 3 years old, was shot in the head with a 9mm handgun. Dying instantly, the 10 minutes of CPR provided by a lifeguard on vacation from San Diego were wasted. Her lifeless body was still and doll-like on the picnic table as the Park Ranger and paramedic vehicles raced through the tents and RVs along Lake Yellowstone.


The camp residents mulled around in a numb panic. Gray-haired women rushed to the mother of the child, wrapping her in blankets and shielding her from the sight of her lifeless daughter’s body lying on the picnic table. For 10 minutes, all you could hear were panicked voices. A few residents located the gun and started blocking off the area where the shooting had occurred, others rushed to secure the father and make sure he was in custody, as well as his wife.


The residents of campsite I-307 had arrived the day before from Idaho. A young family: both parents, a precocious three-year-old girl, and a newborn, staying at Yellowstone for the first time. They had brought a ton of wood with them, filling up a small trailer they towed behind their vehicle. From the look of it, they were nervous about making sure the kids were warm and safe. Camping with young children can be rough, and sometimes parents go a bit overboard in how much and what types of supplies are brought.


For the residents of “I Loop” in the Grant Campground, the night had been eerily silent. No wolves were howling like they were the night before, few elk were bugling and the geese along the lake failed to make a single honk. At about 9am MST, the silence was broken by one loud popping sound, then half a second of nothing that seemed like an eternity.


Gunshot, Inhale.
Pause, Exhale.
Silence broken, screams fill the air.


“Oh My God”
“Call 911”
“We need a doctor”
“My baby has been shot”
“Is she going to die?”


Residents were rushing toward the father, who ran with the dead daughter in his arms through the campground. A trail of blood followed him, and each time he yelled, he would twist and turn, spraying blood on cars and the pavement. He ran through four campsites, and laid her body on a picnic table, which just moments earlier had been used to eat breakfast.


The girl’s father walked in circles a few hundred feet from the table where his daughter was dying. Through his fingers, which were covering his mouth in shock, he admitted to fellow campers that he had just bought the gun last week to protect his family from wild animals.


He was worried about bears, and decided to get a handgun in case a grizzly walked into a campground. He told the campers that he had left the gun in the cooler, but it wasn’t loaded. He failed to realize that when he first loaded the magazine in the gun, it had left a bullet in the chamber; the bullet that was now into the left side of his daughter’s forehead.


Sirens broke the silence and shock. Rangers and paramedics raced to the table and moved the limp body to the ambulance. The ambulance raced out of the campsite as fast as it had arrived, leaving the campground once again silent. The father was transported by golf cart to the ranger station while the mother remained in a nearby camper. Residents of the campsite staggered around in shock, speechless and shaking their heads.


The I-Loop of the Grant Campground was closed for two days while the National Park Service conducted their investigation. This was the first shooting death in a National Park since 1978. [The National Rifle Association lobbied hard to allow guns in national parks. President Obama signed off on the new law, and since February 2010, loaded guns have been allowed in national parks.]


I was two campsites away from where the shooting took place – only 75 feet from where a young girl lost her life. What used to be my favorite place in the world now has blood on its hands.


Less than a week after the shooting, the I-Loop of Grant Campground in Yellowstone National Park was reopened. Driving by in the late afternoon, the picnic table in site 304 was still there, now covered with a cooler as a young couple was preparing dinner. Campsite 307 now had new residents, presumably unaware that just a few days earlier, blood was covering the post that marked their site. Rain had fallen, residents returned home and the tragedy was forgotten about by everyone except for those of us who were there. The Rangers who responded will never forget that day, and neither will the residents of the I-Loop of Grant Campground.


Ella Marie Tucker, I did not know you. I can’t speak for you and I can’t explain why your parents did what they did. All I know, because of what happened, is that I now don’t feel as safe while camping. Your mom and dad didn’t need that gun. You should have been given what I was given in life; a childhood of memories in America’s beautiful National Parks. Your death saddens me and I hope it never happens to anyone else’s child.


If you or anyone you know has been a victim of gun violence and would like to share your story with Moms Demand Action, please email:


Moms Demand Action


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Keeping It Real & True With Barack’s Blog: Watch The Prez Tour The Science Fair!


By Jueseppi B.






Celebrate National Park Week!



President Obama in Yellowstone National Park


Jon Jarvis
April 22, 2013




Saturday, April 20th was the first day of National Park Week – an annual tradition celebrating, enjoying and giving back to our country’s great natural and cultural landscapes. For the next five days, parks across the country will waive their entrance fees to provide free access to thousands of miles of trails and coastlines, as well as battlefields, archeological sites and waterways. With spring now in full swing, National Park Week is a great opportunityto dust off your bicycle or sneakers, grab some healthy snacks and a water bottle and get moving outside.


You don’t have to be an outdoor expert or live near an iconic park to enjoy the broad network of national parks across the country. Some of the most treasured and well-used parks are located in and around America’s major cities, including San FranciscoNew York CityLos AngelesChicagoSt. LouisMiamiSan Antonio,Baltimore – and right here in Washington, D.C.


If you don’t have a national park in your city or town, chances are the National Park Service has played a role in increasing access to outdoor recreational opportunities in your community. Through the Land & Water Conservation Fund, the National Park Service has funded recreational facilities, such as playgrounds and trails, in 99 percent of counties across America.


Take advantage of mild temperatures and loads of free activities and plan a national park experience with your family this week.



If you are interested in:

  • Recreation - Find a national park near you and pick your adventure – hit the trails with your family and seek out free, ranger-guided tours and activities.
  • Service - Roll up your sleeves and give back on Volunteer Day, April 27.
  • Education - Encourage your kids to explore and learn about their natural and cultural heritage. Throughout the week, many parks will offer free programming for National Junior Ranger Day. In certain parks, the Let’s Move Outside! Junior Ranger program boosts activity levels and promotes healthy lifestyles.
  • History & Culture - National Park Week provides an opportunity to appreciate the landmarks, monuments and historical landscapes that define our national identity. Take this chance to discover the sites in your city or state.


Check out the National Park Week event calendar and plan your visit today.


Once you get out there, you can capture and share your experiences online through the National Park Foundation’s photo app.


See you out there!


The First Family Visiting Our National Parks























Young Scientists and Innovators Amaze President Obama at the White House Science Fair


Becky Fried
April 22, 2013




President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Ga., while looking at exhibits at the White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room, April 22, 2013. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and helps players maintain safe body temperatures on the field. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)



President Obama today celebrated the remarkable achievements of student science fair winners and extraordinary kid innovators from across the nation in the third White House Science Fair. The Fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.


As the President said in 2009, when he announced the first-ever White House Science Fair, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you’ve produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”


That’s why young inventors of everything from portable windmills to oil-producing algae, and from underwater robots to dehydration-preventing football gear were invited to share their wares at all corners of the White House — from the South Lawn to the State Dining Room — for today’s event. The cohort of kids included app-coders, rocket-builders, video-game designers, and city-planners—many of them, as the President pointed out, not yet old enough to drive. One team of innovators even helped the President hop onto a bike and test out their pedal-powered water filtration system.





After touring exhibits, the President congratulated the students on their extraordinary accomplishments and announced a number of ambitious new steps to advance his Educate to Innovate campaign—an all-hands-on-deck effort to get more girls and boys inspired about STEM and ensure we are doing everything we can to equip the Nation’s future innovators:

We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that we are giving these young people opportunity to pursue their studies and discover new ways of doing things. And we’ve got to make sure that we’re also leaving behind a world that is safer and cleaner and healthier than the one we found. That’s our obligation.



The steps announced today include the launch, this year, of a new AmeriCorps track focused on STEM Education; the launch, by ten leading education non-profits and U.S.. technology companies, of US2020—a campaign encourage companies to commit 20 percent of their STEM employees to 20 hours per year of mentoring or teaching by the year 2020; and an announcement of more than 1,000 summer learning events planned as part of the upcoming Summer of Making and Connecting program supported by the MacArthur Foundation; among others.


President Obama thanked parents, teachers, and mentors in the audience for their continuing roles in supporting students’ spirits of curiosity, creativity, and imagination. And, after repeatedly marveling at some of the amazing innovations represented at this year’s Science Fair (including a pancreatic cancer screening tool that is cheaper and more accurate than any on the market) — the President spoke to the students directly, saying simply, “we could not be prouder of all of you.”



Learn more:



President Obama Tours the 2013 White House Science Fair

April 22, 2013


Published on Apr 22, 2013

President Obama talks with students about their projects at the 2013 White House Science Fair. April 22, 2013.






Live from the White House Science Fair with LeVar Burton and Bill Nye


Published on Apr 22, 2013

LeVar Burton, Bill Nye and Cristin Dorgelo interview young innovators at the 3rd White House Science Fair.






Speeches and Remarks


April 23, 2013

Remarks by the President at Teacher of the Year Event



April 23, 2013

Remarks by the First Lady at the Department of the Interior




Statements and Releases


April 23, 2013

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts



April 23, 2013

Statement by the President on Senator Baucus














Barack’s Valentine Day Blog News


By Jueseppi B.








Valentine’s Day: Our Beautiful, and Romantic, National Parks


Jesse Lee
By  Jesse Lee  February 14, 2013  The White House Blog


Happy Valentine’s Day to everybody, but most especially my wife Nita!  We got engaged a little over three years ago in one of our country’s great National Parks, in our case the home of the world’s most famous Portuguese Water Dog (read our story here).  That made me a natural candidate to promote this great new video from the good folks at the Interior Department highlighting some of America’s epic National Park engagements.  For those mulling locations for that most special and anxiety-filled popping of questions, I can’t recommend them highly enough, and they hold up very well in subtle “whose engagement was better” contests.




The coolest Valentine’s Day video you’ll watch all day


Published on Feb 14, 2013

As stewards of America’s National Parks, Wildlife Refuges and other public lands, we get to see many wonderful events on a daily basis. None of which are more exciting than when we see visitors using our Nation’s public lands for their most memorable moments.






Of course they’re also beautiful and romantic for first dates, fifth anniversaries, or random weekends when you can’t think of what to do.  Check out to get started , and here’s the page for the White House if you find yourself nearby.

For more Valentine’s Day engagement intrigue, here’s another charming and bipartisan story about engagements at the US Capitol, which may not be a National Park, but is on the National Park Service‘s National Register of Historic Places — which is still pretty good… I guess.  (Just kidding.)





“If Momma‘s happy, everybody’s happy”





Securing our Nation’s Borders


Secretary Janet Napolitano
By  Secretary Janet Napolitano  February 14, 2013  The White House Blog




Flying on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border and overlooking the Rio Grande River, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tours the border in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine helicopter over Clint, Texas, Feb. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)




Last week, I traveled to San Diego, CA and Clint and El Paso, TX where I saw firsthand the need for more modernized immigration laws that make it harder for criminals and transnational criminal organizations to operate, while encouraging immigrants to choose to pursue a pathway to legal immigration rather than breaking the law.



See a photo gallery of Secretary Napolitano’s visit



Over the past four years, we have dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border, and undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform our Nation’s immigration enforcement systems into one that focuses on public safety, border security, and the integrity of the immigration system. We have matched our success at the border with smart, effective immigration enforcement, with a focus on identifying and removing criminal aliens and other public safety threats, recent border crosser’s, repeat violators, and employers who break the law. We have also increased funding to our state and local law enforcement partners to make sure they have the resources they need.




Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano attends an operational briefing from the federal agencies assigned to border and maritime security operations at U.S. Coast Guard Station San Diego, Calif., Feb. 4, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)



The results of these efforts are clear. Attempts to cross the border illegally are down nearly 80 percent from their peak, seizures of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband are up, and some of the safest communities in America are found in our border states.


Our immigration system has been broken for too long, and Congress must act. At the Department of Homeland Security, we look forward to continuing to work closely with our many federal, state, local, and tribal partners, to build on the historic progress that we have made to help us keep our communities safe and secure.




Photo Gallery: 2013 State of the Union


On Tuesday, President Obama laid out his agenda for the coming year. Citing the importance of a strong middle class, he provided the framework necessary to move America forward.


The White House Photo Office followed the President throughout the day, and they’ve put together a collection of images from the State of the Union, which include the President greeting Members of Congress, reactions of his speech from the audience and a few special behind the scene looks. Check out the gallery below and visit our State of the Union page to share your own reactions from the State of the Union.


This afternoon, President Obama will sit down for a discussion about the State of the Union and his plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. Be sure to check it out.







































































What You Need to Know About President Obama’s Plan to Provide High-Quality Early Education for All Children


Megan Slack
By  Megan Slack   February 14, 2013


“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own.  We know this works.  So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”  


President Barack Obama,  State of the Union, February 12, 2013



The beginning years of a child’s life are critical for building the early foundation needed for success later in school and in life.  Leading economists agree that high-quality early learning programs can help level the playing field for children from lower-income families on vocabulary, social and emotional development, while helping students to stay on track and stay engaged in the early elementary grades.  Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t.


Despite the benefits of early education, our nation has lagged in making sure high-quality programs are available for our youngest kids. While 39 states and the District of Columbia offer state funded pre-school, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of four-year olds enrolled in early childhood education. And just 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality programs that prepare kids with the skills they need for kindergarten.








In particular, studies show that children from low-income families are less likely to have access to high-quality early education, and less likely to enter school prepared for success.  By third grade, children from low-income families who are not reading at grade level are six times less likely to graduate from high school than students who are proficient.  And the high costs of private preschool and lack of public programs also narrow options for middle-class families.



That’s why, in his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality pre-school to every child in America.



The President is proposing a new federal-state partnership to provide all low- and moderate-income four-year old children with high-quality preschool. His proposal will also expand access to high-quality preschool for children from middle class families and incentivizing full-day kindergarten policies.



Under his proposal, the U.S. Department of Education would allocate dollars to states based their share of four-year olds from low- and moderate-income families (those at or below 200% of the poverty line) and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program. In order to access federal funding, however states would be required to meet quality benchmarks that are linked to better outcomes for children, include:

  • State-level standards for early learning
  • Qualified teachers for all preschool classrooms
  • A plan to implement comprehensive data and assessment systems.








Funds under this program may also be used to expand full-day kindergarten once states have provided preschool education to their low- and moderate-income students.


The President’s proposal will also help expand the availability of Early Head Start, which provides early learning opportunities before kids begin preschool, as well as voluntary home visiting programs. Home visiting programs enable nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services and educational support that will improve a child’s health, development, and ability to learn.




Reducing Pollution For All American Families


Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
By  Administrator Lisa P. Jackson  February 14, 2013 The White House Blog


When I first became Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I made a list of my priorities for the Agency.Working for environmental justice was at the top of that list. Ensuring equal environmental protections for all Americans is the unfinished business of the environmental movement.


It’s a simple idea – that all Americans are entitled to clean air to breathe, safe water to drink and a healthy community to raise their families – but often, it is America’s low-income and minority communities that bear the brunt of our country’s pollution.


As a result, these communities are also hit harder by the many illnesses pollution is linked to – conditions like asthma, heart disease, cancer and strokes. Studies show that minority groups face a greater risk of having asthma, and once they have it, they are at a greater risk of needing emergency treatment. African-American children are hospitalized for asthma at twice the rate of white children, and asthma-related deaths among African-American children take place at a rate of four times that of non-Hispanic white children. Hispanic children — especially of Puerto Rican descent — also face higher rates of asthma.


Dirty air, polluted water and contaminated lands not only put families at higher risks of serious and potentially costly diseases – they also discourage new developments and new jobs. Poison in the ground often means poison in the economy. Limiting the economic possibilities of low-income and minority communities only makes it harder to break the cycle of poverty.


Shortly after I was sworn in, I asked EPA employees to make environmental justice part of every decision we make. I called on the whole Agency to think creatively and work hard to make certain that our efforts reach all communities. Plan EJ 2014 – the environmental justice strategy we unveiled more than two years ago– is the tool we created for answering that call. It is aimed at ensuring that environmental justice is integrated into all of EPA’s day-to-day responsibilities – everything from permitting, compliance and enforcement, to community-based programs and the work we do with other federal agencies.


As I prepare to leave EPA, one of my last acts as administrator is issuing the Plan EJ 2014 Progress Report. The report provides ample evidence of how far we have come in making environmental justice an integral and permanent part of EPA’s day-to-day business. It also details how we have mobilized the entire federal government to incorporate environmental justice into the work each agency conducts.


For the first time in our 42 year history, we have laid the groundwork for EPA to fully implement its environmental justice mission of ensuring environmental protection for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity or income level. I am proud of the work we have started and the progress we have made, and I am confident that it will continue long after I depart.

















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