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Democracy

Chris Murphy perfectly explains why the new bipartisan agreement on gun safety is so important

Joe Biden says it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

chris murphy, bipartisan gun control, senate gun control

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.

Americans are far too familiar with the mass-shooting cycle. After the feeling of horror lifts, we ask ourselves, "Why won’t someone do something?” Then after thoughts and prayers are showered upon the victims' families, there’s some discourse in Washington but the topic soon fades from consciousness after it becomes clear that our elected leaders refuse to do anything substantial to stop the violence.

When Congress did nothing after Sandy Hook, many of us reluctantly accepted that the unique form of terror that are school shootings as a normal part of American life.


However, a bipartisan group of senators has announced they’ve come to a compromise that, if passed, would enact a series of reforms that could significantly reduce gun violence in America. What’s encouraging about the legislation is that 10 Republican senators, the number needed to pass the law in the senate with full Democratic support, have signed on to the compromise.

According to Politico, President Biden said it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

The compromise doesn’t include a ban on assault rifles, even though, according to a study cited in the Austin American-Statesman, the one in place from 1994 to 2004 made mass shooting deaths 70% less likely.

Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy still sees it as a groundbreaking piece of legislation on an issue that has seen little progress over the past 30 years.

Murphy has been one of the most vocal supporters of reforms to protect Americans from gun violence after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre happened in his home state.

"The fact of the matter is that we've reached a compromise over the weekend that will save lives," he told MSNBC. "This does allow us to break this log jam and it allows us to be set up for future success. But the content of this compromise, in and of itself, will save lives."

Murphy provided an outline of the compromise in a press release on June 12. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”

The proposals contain legislation that would empower states to enact “red flag” laws to prevent people who are “a significant danger to themselves or others'' from acquiring firearms. It also expands access to mental health services for people in underserved areas.

The bill would also keep weapons out of the hands of those who've been convicted of domestic violence and include enhanced background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21. These checks would consult local law enforcement and take mental health records into consideration.

The new legislation may prove controversial among die-hard conservatives but aligns with most Americans' views. An ABC News/Ipsos poll from June 5 found that 70% of Americans “think enacting new gun control laws should take precedence over protecting ownership rights.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas has been Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s emissary to the talks and he feels Congress is under a lot of pressure to take action after the Uvalde mass murder in his home state, according to Politico, which quoted Cornyn as saying “it will be embarrassing” if nothing happens this time.

While some gun safety advocates may find the bill disappointing because it doesn’t include a ban on assault rifles, they shouldn’t allow perfect to be the enemy of good. Murphy sees the compromise as a way to lay the foundation for future gun control legislation.

He told MSNBC that it's a means to "test the theory" that Republicans won't lose support for backing legislation that curbs gun violence and "will allow us to build on this."

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

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A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
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Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

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Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

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Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

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Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

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