‘What Next’ podcast: What Texas Can’t Forget

One tragedy replaces another in the headlines—that’s just how things go.

The Texas state Legislature isn’t scheduled to convene until January 2023, when the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde will no longer be fresh in people’s minds, and the momentum for changing Texas’ gun laws will be long gone. One state senator, however, won’t accept that.

Guest: Roland Gutierrez, Democratic Texas state Senator for District 19, which includes Uvalde.

Careless adults take note: ‘Children will listen … children will see’

Careful the things you say

Children will listen

Careful the things you do

Children will see

And learn.”

At his death late last month at the age of 91, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was praised for writing for character rather than the hit parade. Playwright Arthur Laurents, who worked with him on several productions, once said that Sondheim “writes a lyric that could only be sung by the character for which it was designed.”

However, the audience for his work is everyone.

At this moment, the words of “Children Will Listen” from “Into the Woods” sadly resonate in a country where children are learning the wrong lessons from adults who should know better.

In Michigan, family, friends and classmates are mourning Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana and Justin Shilling, killed in an attack in a place that should be safe — high school. A 15-year-old was charged in the murders at Oxford High School, and in a rarity, his parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter for what prosecutors said was behavior that made them complicit.

Guide them along the way

Children will glisten

Children will look to you

For which way to turn.”

Local News Roundup: Election recap; mask mandate update; children’s vaccines; guns found at Hopewell High

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

Election Day was Tuesday with many local offices on the ballot around Mecklenburg County. We’ll go over some of the key wins in the region and the impact those wins may have.

Guns found at Huntersville’s Hopewell High School prompt conversations about safety at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners discuss the future of the county’s mask mandate, as questions are raised about the metrics being used to calculate COVID-19 positivity rates in the county.

Vaccines have been approved for children ages 5-11 and are already available in the Charlotte region.

CMS is weathering news of another sexual assault allegation — this time, one that resulted in a suspension for the student reporting the assault.

And the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit against Colonial Pipeline for the largest gasoline spill in state history, which happened in Huntersville last year.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

  • Nick OchsnerWBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter
  • Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
  • Claire DonnellyWFAE health reporter
  • Joe BrunoWSOC-TV 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.”

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.

Opinion: Showing Your Gun — A New Campaign Strategy?

A U.S. House race in South Carolina may depend on how you define the word “brandish,” as in, what exactly do you call it when Republican Congressman Ralph Norman pulls out his gunin a Rock Hill diner meet-and-greet with constituents?

Though the state’s law enforcement division and attorney general have concluded “this is not a prosecutable offense,” Republicans and Democrats are weighing the political plusses and minuses of the recent event in light of a midterm race that gets more interesting by the day.

In wake of the hate crimes in Maryland and Oregon, self-protection becomes a priority

Should we bring a gun?

It’s not exactly the question you think would come to mind while planning a leisurely getaway. But as my husband and I packed for a long weekend of culture, Southern cuisine and a well-deserved rest, it was one we repeatedly and seriously asked ourselves.

My White Husband Loves Guns, Our Black Son Does Not

My husband likes guns – a lot. He collects a variety of pistols, rifles and shotguns and likes to shoot targets at the range and, occasionally, skeet.

When a clever squirrel figures out how to raid his fenced-in garden, he has been known to pick up the air rifle to scare it off. He once bought a pistol for me to carry in my car when I would return home very late from my copy editing job in Tucson, Ariz., where getting a gun was as easy as going to a shop and telling the clerk you weren’t a dangerous criminal. But once we moved back East, I was fine with keeping my distance.

Though guns are not an interest I share, his hobby never did more than amuse me—because you know how it is with married couples: compromise. He doesn’t join me on every theater outing, either. But the first time he took our young son to the range to enjoy the gun experience, I stopped smiling.

Clinton, Feinstein and standing up to bullies

If you said Hillary Rodham Clinton owes the start of her independent political career to Rick Lazio, even Lazio might agree. The tipping point for the 2000 race for the U.S. Senate from New York between a former first lady and a U.S. Congressman? When Lazio, the Republican nominee, crossed over to Clinton’s side of the stage in a pre-election debate and demanded she sign a piece of paper. Few remember what was on that page, a pledge against using soft money in the campaign. They do remember the moment. Women – and to be fair, a lot of men – cringed, recalling similar encounters they might have had with a guy who stepped over the line. The rest is history, and it belongs to Clinton.

I thought of that image watching the back-and-forth between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the gun legislation debate last week. Cruz’s question on the constitutionality of a ban on assault weapons, using the example of limits on the First Amendment, had merit. But it was the tone of condescension in Cruz’s voice and the smirk on his face that stuck.

While his Senate seat looks to be safe in Texas, his national ambitions definitely took a hit. Who wants a president who reminds them of that dude who treated you like an idiot?