Pandemics and gun violence are real life, not ‘theater’

Perhaps Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky needs a refresher course on the meaning of the word “theater.” His GOP colleague Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could listen in.

The former recently initiated a verbal brawl with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease specialist who has been providing information and advice to guide Americans dealing, along with the rest of the world, with a deadly pandemic. The latter accused anyone proposing the consideration of gun restrictions, in light of two horrific mass shootings in the space of a week, of “ridiculous theater.”

Now, I realize the term “theatrical” can be used as an insult hurled at someone accused of exaggeration, but what is happening in America is a fact. So let me offer my own definition: “Theater” is the thrill of escaping from it all in a darkened hall with a group of strangers, to see and hear professionals act or sing or dance, and to be uplifted by the experience, if only for an hour or two.

And it’s something we’ve been deprived of during this past, very long year amid the pain of COVID-19, with deadly gun violence that has not abated as a backdrop, and so much more.

 

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.

New Talks on Gun Control Policy in America

CHARLOTTE, NC — The push for new gun legislation is growing in the United States following numerous mass shootings over the past month.  Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the gun debate.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Proposed City Budget; CMPD Updates Body Cam Policy; 9th District

On this edition of the Charlotte Talks local news roundup-

The proposed budget for the City of Charlotte was presented this week by City Manager Marcus Jones. The budget features a revenue neutral property tax rate but even so, with the county’s revaluation, many homeowners could see an increase in their property taxes. The budget also raises pay for some city workers, raising the minimum hourly pay to $16/ hour and offers raises for police. We’ll talk about that and the other major items in the budget.

Early voting ends Friday for the 9th Congressional district special election, and the primary is coming up May 14th. We discuss the final debate this week and where the candidates stand now.

CMPD has updated its policy about body cam video and how it is accessed after an incident. This comes weeks after the Danquirs Franklin shooting and the controversy that followed over the department only releasing short clips of video. We’ll provide an update.

The bill that would incentivize the Carolina Panthers to move across the border into South Carolina passed on Thursday, but not before lawmakers went down to the wire with a vote. We’ll discuss what the Panthers will get for moving, and what team owner David Tepper said about the vote earlier this week.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters will go through those stories and much more on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB 

Katie Peralta, reporter for the Charlotte Observer 

Steve HarrisonWFAE’s Political Reporter

After gun massacre, Charlotte is now ‘one of those cities’

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Now we’re one of those schools.” That’s what a  University of North Carolina student, in more sadness than anger, told a local radio station after a gunman killed two and wounded four others on her campus on Tuesday. And now Charlotte, a city already experiencing a spike in homicides, is “one of those cities.”

In the city and state, there is shock, plus questions. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers about why it happened and what can be done to keep it from happening again.

That this latest incident did not make it to the top spot in many national news outlets speaks to how commonplace such incidents have become and how frustrated many citizens are. Is the answer more mental health resources, more “good guys with guns,” more regulations and background checks, or something else?

Finding the Solution to Growing Gun Violence in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC — The country has been talking about the murder of Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles, shot outside a store he owned. The young Grammy-nominated rapper was making a difference in his community, stressing education and entrepreneurship among young people, even as he moved on from former membership in a gang to business and personal success.

Gun violence is a problem beyond Los Angeles, reaching many communities, including Charlotte. There have been more than 300 shootings in Charlotte this year, more than 30 of which were homicides. Members of the community – students, community leaders, citizens – gathered Tuesday night in a vigil to confront the problem and talk about ways to turn around the dangerous trend and turn toward a safer city. (Mary C. Curtis)

Rev. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte NAACP said: “All the talking we’re doing has to stop, we need some real concrete changes, some tangible changes.”

If Trump is looking for a national emergency, he should try these ones instead

OPINION — Dueling teleprompter speeches and a high-drama walkout: This is what it looks like when our country’s leaders debate the best way to meet the challenges at the border and whether shutting down the government is the best way to settle it.

If no one budges this week — and the way talks have been going so far, optimism is not particularly warranted — the next step could be a national emergency, declared by the president. But first Donald Trump seems intent on diluting the word “emergency” to mean whatever he wants it to mean on a particular day or hour.

After This Election, the NRA Is No Longer Calling All the Shots

OPINION — The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It’s the mantra of the National Rifle Association, and a certainty for those who would brook no incursion into Second Amendment rights and definitely no gun control measures, no matter how small or “sensible,” as they are often described by those who propose them.

When children were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and federal legislation that would strengthen background checkswent nowhere, gun control advocates despaired. If the murder of children failed to crack the gun lobby, what would?

But real-life events and political surprises indicate that the landscape might be changing. And the work of groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun ViolenceMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other large and small organizations has made a difference.

Where once politicians were loath to cross the NRA because of the organization’s hefty purse and powerful get-out-the-vote success, candidates in unlikely places are showing that a nuanced position is not a deal breaker. Earlier this month, Democrat Lucy McBath, a onetime spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, won a House seat in Georgia that Newt Gingrich once held, no doubt surprising some leaders in her own party. Though the district has been trending away from its once deep-red hue for a while, a well-financed race by Democrat Jon Ossoff last year that engendered enthusiasm could not achieve what McBath did with far less attention.

National School Walkouts in Charlotte: What’s Next?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Thousands of students across the country, and right here in Charlotte, are expected to walk out of their classrooms today to demonstrate against gun violence.

Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis talks about the planned protests, and steps students and families can take moving forward.

Charlotte Talks Friday News Roundup: NC Legislature Update; Cam Newton Makes Sexist Comment; More

On this edition of the local news roundup…

State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh this week for another special legislative session. Overriding gubernatorial vetoesand a push to redraw judicial districts were topics that were tackled. We’ll talk about what, if anything, was accomplished.

The North Carolina Supreme Court dismissed a last-chance appeal to halt the I-77 toll lane project, ending the legal fight for the group Widen I-77. We’ll hear about the reaction from stakeholders.

Cam Newton’s comments about a female reporter went viral, causing widespread backlash and even talk that he’ll lose some of his sponsors. We’ll talk about what he said and the aftermath.

The homicide count in Charlotte for 2017 continues to rise, and this week officials changed the number from 2016 as well. We’ll discuss the change.

President Trump arrives in North Carolina this weekend for the first time since his election as president.

And we’ll bring you local politicians’ reactions to the mass shooting in Las Vegas and talk about the NRA and gun control with host Mike Collins and the roundup reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Tom BullockWFAE Reporter.

Sarah DeliaWFAE Reporter.

Mary C.Curtis, columnist at Roll Call and a contributor to other publications including WCCB News Rising and NBCBLK.

Ann Doss Helms, Reporter for The Charlotte Observer