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More than 1,200 children in US killed by guns in the last year | News




Lexus Skyy posted a picture of her two-year-old son David Jermaine “DJ” Hall, dressed in a miniature bow tie and suspenders, on Facebook on November 3, 2018. 

“It is with heavy hearts that we honor and say goodbye to our previous Prince David Jermaine Hall,” the post read. 

Hall died after being shot on October 29, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Skyy later told a student reporter at Since Parkland, a website documenting a year of child victims of gun violence, that her son rarely left her side. 

“You see me out shopping, you see DJ. You see me getting my hair done, you see DJ,” she was quoted as saying. “I realised that God kept you close so I could cherish every moment.”

Hall is one of at least 1,200 children killed by a gun over the past year – more than 80 of whom were under the age of three.

Since Parkland, a project involving more than 200 teen reporters nationwide who worked with The Trace, The Miami Herald and other McClatchy news group newspapers, tells their stories.

The project was started the summer after a gunman opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Seventeen students and educators were killed. 

Since Parkland was “conceived as an antidote to” the imbalance between the large-scale media coverage of mass shootings and little attention paid to “chronic gun violence that exposes children in some city neighbourhoods to danger everyday”, the website said. 

Students start movement, make gains

While mass shootings have plagued the country for years, the Parkland shooting marked a pivotal moment in the US as students-turned-activists led a nationwide movement to end gun violence. 

Parkland shooting survivors David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, among others, remain national figures.

After the shooting, they immediately organised and planned the March For Our Lives, held on March 24, 2018 to call for a ban on assault weapons, a halt to the sale of high-capacity magazines, tightening of the background check process, the limiting of firing power on the streets, the disarmament of domestic abusers and an end to gun trafficking.

Shooting survivors Tyra Hemans, centre-left, and Emma Gonzalez, centre-right, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, hug as Hemans addresses the conclusion of the ‘March for Our Lives’ event demanding gun control [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Millions of people across 800 cities took part in a global protest under the banner #NeverAgain to end gun violence and demanded action from Congress, according to March for Our Lives website.

“Just because a bullet has not touched your life does not mean you or any of our American communities are safe,” reads the March for Our Lives mission statement.

“Our country must make the safety of its citizens a number one priority, and we must hold those in power accountable for perpetuating the root causes of this violence.”

Students hold a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, to demand stricter gun control [Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP]

Since the march, the students have travelled the country by bus to amplify their message, made countless television appearances and taken to social media to call out politicians and groups for not doing more to support stricter gun control laws. 

Their efforts prompted a number of companies, including First National Bank and Enterprise, to end partnerships with the National Rifle Association (NRA). 

Polls show Americans favour tougher gun laws after decades of mass shootings. But the political might of the NRA made supporting gun restrictions a risky proposition for many officials.

On the political front, the administration of US President Donald Trump moved to ban bump stocks, a device that allows a semiautomatic rifle to fire at the rate of a machine gun. 

A bump stock was used in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people. The ban takes effect next month. 

According to the Reuters news agency, at least 20 states are set to examine gun safety bills this year. And with the Democrats back in control of US House of Representatives, politicians recently introduced legislation that would regulate ammunition magazines that accept more than 10 rounds and prohibits their future manufacture for civilian use.

Nearly 40,000 people killed from US gun violence

The most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that gun violence is on the rise.

The CDC recorded 39,773 gun deaths in 2017 across the country, an increase of more than 1,000 from the previous year. The number is the largest in the CDC’s 50-year long database.

Nearly 24,000 of the gun deaths in 2017 were suicides, while about 14,500 were homicides. Data from 2018 is not available. 

In May 2018, a gunman opened fire at a school in Texas, killing 10 people and wounding 13 others. 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were more than 300 mass shootings – defined by the FBI as an incident in which four or more people are killed – in 2018, including in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thousand Oaks, California, and Annapolis, Maryland. 

But Since Parkland hopes to highlight the stories of gun violence that often do not land in the headlines, giving an “an unprecedented account of the full scale and contours of gun violence as it impacts American children”.

Four-year-old Ava Grace Field and her two-year-old brother, Ashen, along with their mother were shot dead by their father in March 2018. Ava “lived in a world of pigtails and constant smiles,” the website reported

Onjeray “OJ” Devereaux-Hale, 14, was killed in August 2018 when he and his friend were playing with a gun. He was a “kind-hearted athlete,” the website said. 

Nequacia Porsha Jacobs-Lewis, 18, was shot dead on February 24 while looking outside her window in Dallas, Texas. She had planned to go to the University of Texas. 


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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day




The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat




In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic




TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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