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Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 @ 6:56 AM
— While police continue to investigate Monday’s attack that left 11 injured on Ohio State’s campus, here are five things to know surrounding the case.
1. Attacker’s social media posts examined
Federal law enforcement officials confirmed late Monday to CNN that attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan wrote a Facebook post saying he had grown “sick and tired” of seeing fellow Muslims “killed and tortured.”
Law enforcement officials from Ohio State and the city of Columbus said Monday that they were investigating any ties to terrorism with help from federal authorities, but said it was too early to determine a motive.
Shortly before the attack, Artan posted a comment urging America “to stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah,” a term for Muslim people at large. “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims,” he wrote. “You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday.”
2. Political arguments over terror, guns
While university officials were urging unity on campus, some political leaders were already arguing about the role of Islamic terrorism and guns.
Josh Mandel, Ohio’s elected treasurer, tweeted: “Looks like Radical Islamic terror came to my alma mater today. So sad what happened at OSU. We must remain vigilant against Radical Islam.” He later tweeted the last line again.
Ohio Democrats fired back at the Republican Mandel. Michael Premo, the Ohio Senate Democrats’ chief of staff, tweeted, “Looks like knee-jerk islamophobia came to my state today. So sad what @JoshMandelOhio said. We must remain vigilant against prejudice.”
The gun debate also came into play. The attack was first reported as an active shooter, until it became clear that Artan used a car and knife, and was eventually shot by a police officer with a gun.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a simple statement after the attack: “Thank God he didn’t have a gun.”
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association tweeted: “If there’s one lesson to be learned today, it’s this: In the right hands, guns are tools that protect & save lives #2A #OhioStateUniversity.”
3. Ohio legislature addressing campus gun issue
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ohio Senate could pass a bill this week that would reduce the penalty for carrying a gun on a college campus from a felony to a misdemeanor.
That issue is addressed in House Bill 48, which easily passed the Ohio House a year ago. The bill also would allow colleges to let people carry concealed handguns on campus.
The bill has been scheduled for a possible Senate committee vote on Wednesday morning. It’s unclear whether the Ohio State incident will change that timeline in any way.
The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the bill when it was in the House.
4. A huge roller coaster for OSU
The simple timing of Monday’s attack meant people on campus had gone through a wide range of emotions in just a few days.
Last week saw Thanksgiving celebrations on campus, followed by students saying goodbye to head home for a long holiday weekend. Then Saturday, Ohio State’s nationally ranked football team won an overtime thriller against their intense rival Michigan, buoying spirits on campus.
Then Monday morning, as thousands of students were returning to their normal routines and saying hello to those they hadn’t seen in almost a week, the attacker struck.
5. One-year anniversary of other incident
Monday’s attack happened 364 days after a man fired gunshots in the Wexner Center for the Arts on OSU’s campus. That incident happened on a Sunday morning when few people were there, and no one was hurt.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 6:11 PM
FAIRFIELD — A Mexican mother of four once living in Fairfield who was deported nine months ago won an appeal on Wednesday , a decision indicating the immigration court that sent her back to Mexico “abused its discretion” and must reconsider her case.
A three-judge panel from the Sixth U.S. Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that Maribel Trujillo Diaz failed to demonstrate a case for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act “because she failed to show that she would be singled out individually for persecution based on her family membership.”
That immigration appeals court must now reconsider the matter, obeying the Sixth Circuit’s guidance.
The decision is by no means a complete victory meaning she can return to the country, according to one of her lawyers, Kathleen Kersh. It does mean there will be more hearings, and the possibility of a return — if not permanently, perhaps while the legal battles continue. Her family continues to live here.
“They found that the BIA had abused its discretion when it did not sufficiently consider the evidence that we gave in support of our motion to reopen Maribel’s asylum case,” Kersh said.
Trujillo and her supporters had argued she originally fled Mexico because drug cartels targeted her family.
Kersh told this media outlet in April that Trujillo’s asylum request was made after her brother was kidnapped and threatened by a cartel in Mexico, but she had lost that case.
Kersh in April — before the BIA’s ruling — said Trujillo’s father had more recently been kidnapped, which Kersh felt made her asylum case “much stronger.”
“We have recently found some information out from her father that her father had been kidnapped, so there are new facts that came to light in the asylum case that really change things — it makes it much stronger,” she said in April.
When told about Wednesday’s decision, Trujillo was “really happy and excited,” Kersh said.
“She is living in fear every day, and I think she feels vindicated in a way, that somebody is finally recognizing that, and she has really good reasons for her fear of living in Mexico, because of some of the dangers that her family specifically faces,” Kersh said.
“This is indeed good news, but far from a victory,” said the Rev. Father Pucke, who was her pastor at St. Julie Billiart Church, which advocated for her to stay, as did the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
It still is possible her evidence will be considered but that she will be denied the ability to return to this country.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 10:18 PM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A firefighter was driving home from work when he saw a dog in the middle of the road. While many drivers honked their horns and continued past the dog, the firefighter, Justin Luttrell, stopped.
“She was freezing, shaking and terrified -- it was written all over her face with her tail tucked between her legs,” Lutrell said in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Before I left work I checked the weather. It was -1 with wind chill. I pulled over to try and pick her up.”
Lutrell said the dog was nearly hit by cars. He used cooked chicken and lunch meat to get her close and he finally caught up to the dog a fourth of a mile down the road.
“She had icicles hanging off of her with multiple sores on her body and looked anorexic,” Lutrell said in the post. “Not knowing if she’d bite me or if she had rabies, etc., I picked her up and put her in the back seat of my truck.”
Lutrell said he drove to an Animal Emergency Center in Memphis, where he was told the dog was heartworm negative, didn’t appear spayed and did not have a microchip.
Lutrell made the public post in hopes of getting the dog adopted.
“She is extremely sweet and will be needing a home,” he wrote. “Please share this to find this sweetheart a good loving home and keep her off the streets.”
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 10:17 PM
XENIA — A 33-year-old Xenia man who evaded capture, which led to a manhunt in Xenia, was taken into custody by Xenia police and the U.S. Marshals.
Charles E. Dameron was arrested Wednesday night without incident, Xenia police Capt. Alonzo Wilson stated tonight in a news release.
Charles will be facing additional charges as a result of this arrest, Wilson said.
Kazia M. Dehart, 30, who was with Charles was arrested on outstanding warrants, police said.
Dameron fled in a vehicle Jan. 5 when Greene County Sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him on U.S. 35 E. He was a suspect in a gun-related incident in Riverside.
Police found the vehicle idling with a child inside on North Richard Drive. Dameron had been baby-sitting the child, who was not hurt.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:16 PM
Making his first foray on to the campaign trail in 2018, President Donald Trump goes to southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday to stump for a GOP candidate running for Congress, as Republicans have encountered some troubling signs in this mid-term election year, struggling with an election playing field that seems tilted against their party.
In stops near Pittsburgh, Mr. Trump will help Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, who is trying to win a March 13 special election for Congress, in a U.S. House district that voted for for the President by 19 points in November 2016.
The campaign trip comes two days after the latest evidence of a voting surge for Democrats, as they flipped a state legislative seat in Wisconsin, in a district that voted for President Trump by 17 points in 2016.
“That sound you hear is a tsunami alert,” said election handicapper Stu Rothenberg, who like many in Washington, sees the possibility of a wave election in 2018 for the Democrats.
The Wisconsin outcome was not ignored by the state’s Governor, Scott Walker, who is up for re-election this year.
In a fundraising email sent to supporters on Wednesday night, Governor Walker’s subject line was, “SHOCKING LOSS.”
“Wisconsin conservatives just received a much-needed WAKE UP CALL,” the missive began.
“Typically we’ve held this seat,” said House Speaker and Wisconsin native Paul Ryan to reporters. “Yeah, I think we should pay attention to it.”
“We all have to work,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), who finds himself under great pressure as the head of the campaign arm of House Republicans.
But the shift hasn’t just been in Wisconsin, as Democrats have seen their vote share increase across the board, in red states like Oklahoma and South Dakota, red districts in Georgia and South Carolina, and then in a big upset win in December in Alabama, where Doug Jones won a U.S. Senate seat.
“These results continue the trend we saw in 2017,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. “Voters are flat-out rejecting the Trump-GOP agenda.”
Whether that’s the case is not yet clear – but the numbers do show what Democrats have been able to do in race after race – get more of their own people out to vote, and attract more Independents as well.
In 2017, while Republicans were able to win a series of special elections for the U.S. House, the margins were much closer than normal – and that has campaign experts wondering if Democrats can maintain that momentum into November of 2018.
“I don’t think people have fully priced in how much *worse* things could get for House Republicans in the next 300 days,” tweeted Dave Wasserman, an expert on House elections for the Cook Political Report.
So far in 2018, all of the news about retiring lawmakers in Congress has come from the GOP side, as 31 House Republicans won’t be back next January, compared to 14 Democrats.
That turnover – before even one vote has been cast in a Congressional primary – is higher than normal, and even higher than the number of Democrats who left in 1994 – when the GOP had a huge mid-term victory, and took control of both houses of Congress.
All of that is getting noticed by those who have been in politics, like ex-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who now does talk radio.
The game plan for the GOP in 2018 is straightforward at this point – President Trump and Republican lawmakers are doing all they can to highlight the tax cuts enacted into law late last year, and how that’s going to help working Americans right away.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump will stop at H&K Equipment near Pittsburgh, a company that White House officials say is going to benefit from the new tax plan.
“2017 was the best year in company history, which they credit to the President’s pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-growth economic agenda,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Thanks to the passage of the Trump tax cuts, H&K will now be able to expense 100 percent of the investments they make in new equipment in the same year they buy it,” Sanders added.
On Capitol Hill, it’s also a daily drumbeat for GOP lawmakers, as they tout the tax cuts at every opportunity – like this speech on the Seante floor from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
While the polls have shown weak numbers for Congressional Republicans in recent months, some of the new data indicates an uptick in public support for the tax cuts, and GOP lawmakers believe that can only help as more people see more money in their paychecks.
“Had the other side gotten in, the market would have gone down fifty percent,” the President told an audience at the White House on Tuesday, as he is ready to make the case repeatedly this year that his election over Hillary Clinton was key to more economic growth and jobs.
“You know what we’ve done in our tax bill, and you know how successful it’s been,” Mr. Trump added.
He’ll make that case again Thursday in Pennsylvania, as Republicans try to make sure 2018 isn’t remembered for an election tide that swept them out of the Congress.