US Survivor of California Christmas massacre is joining walkout
Empty shoes, empty schools: U.S. gun law activists plan two days of theater
A makeshift memorial made up of 7,000 pairs of shoes took shape on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, as gun control activists dramatized the number of children killed in the United States by gunfire since the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. The shoe demonstration comes a day before a massive nationwide walkout by students to demand tougher laws on gun ownership, part of a campaign that emerged after the killing of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school a month ago."This is really about putting the human cost of refusing to pass gun control at the doorstep of lawmakers," said Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz, a U.S.
LOS ANGELES — Katrina Yuzefpolsky was 8 when a man dressed as Santa Claus shot her in the face and killed nine of her family members with guns and a homemade flamethrower at a Christmas Eve party in Southern California.
'Haunted by the tragedy,' Columbine joins U.S. gun violence walkouts
Like most of her friends at Columbine High School, Abigail Orton had not yet been born when a shooting attack at her school in a Denver suburb left 15 people dead and horrified the country. She was raised in a world in which students have regular active-shooter drills, as their parents once had fire drills, and she joined Wednesday's national student walkout against gun violence to help prevent massacres, such as the one at Columbine in 1999, from happening again."I grew up in a community still haunted by the tragedy from 19 years ago.
More than nine years later, Katrina is 17 and joining a growing number of teenagers who have survived gun violence and are demanding change to weapons laws. She and students across California and the U.S. are walking out of their schools for 17 minutes on Wednesday — each minute representing a victim of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Katrina and her close friend created a video to help spread the word about the walkout at their school in Pasadena, telling peers that it's their "duty to stand together as a generation to demand change."
"I've lived through it, and I'm still living my life as best as I can," she said. "It's not stopping me, it's not instilling fear in me. I want that change. I don't want other families to go through what me and my family went through."
At a school in North Carolina, he was the only one of 700 students who walked out
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Justin Blackman got up from his desk and calmly walked out of Mr. Mendez's Spanish class. When he got outside, he discovered he was the only one. Of the approximately 700 students at Wilson Preparatory Academy in Wilson, North Carolina, 16-year-old Justin was in a company of one during the national school walkout. For 17 minutes, he said he stood by himself. He said he was disappointed no one joined him. Earlier in the morning, the teen spoke with classmates about the walkout, but they didn't seem to know about it, he said. Undeterred, when the time came, he stepped out by himself.
Katrina was the first one shot when her aunt's ex-husband, Bruce Pardo, burst into her grandparents' home on Christmas Eve in 2008. He immediately began shooting, then used the flamethrower to torch the house in Covina, 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
Pardo killed his ex-wife, who had recently divorced him, and eight of her relatives. He killed himself shortly afterward.
Katrina underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments and close the wound in her cheek that she got before escaping.
Her mother, Leticia Yuzefpolsky — who also escaped the massacre with her other daughter — has worked to make life as normal as possible for her girls and for her niece, whom she adopted after the girl's mother died in the attack.
She has tried to teach the girls not to give power to their family's killer, to continue celebrating Christmas, to associate Santa with good things, and to honor their loved ones by living life with purpose.
Sister of South Carolina mass shooter arrested on weapons charges
The sister of avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to die for the 2015 massacre at a historic South Carolina black church, was arrested on Wednesday for carrying weapons at a high school, media said. Morgan Roof, 18, was carrying a knife and pepper spray, as well as marijuana, at a school in Columbia, S.C., the Post and Courier and other media reported.The arrest came on the morning of a protest walkout by thousands of students nationwide to demand gun law reform in the wake of a Florida mass shooting that killed 14 students and 3 teachers a month ago.
Katrina, a junior in high school, is doing just that. She loves playing softball and wants to keep it up in college while she studies business. She plans on going to an elite school, possibly Harvard or Amherst.
She tries not to sweat life's little irritations.
"I remind myself, 'I'm OK. These are minor details in my life. I will get through it,'" Katrina said. "I've survived being shot in the face, shot in the cheek, losing my family. A test is not going to break me."
Recently, she has been inspired by teenage survivors of the Florida shooting and their determination to effect change even though plenty of adults don't think they should have a say in the discussion over gun laws.
When her friend Bella Marez — also Pasadena's 100th Rose Queen — came up with an idea to make a video spreading the word about the walkouts, she immediately asked for Katrina's help.
"I really want our generation to wake up and say, 'We can make things happen and make long-lasting change,'" Bella said.
Katrina said the video and walkout have become part of her healing process.
"I know my family — my angels — are here watching me," she said. "They're seeing I'm finally going to make a difference and stand up for something that needs to be changed. I'm fighting for them."
Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP
Students plan abortion protest after debate on walkout .
Students at a California high school are organizing an anti-abortion rights protest that was inspired by the recent nationwide student walkout for gun control. Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie tells KOVR-TV he wants to "honor all the lives of aborted babies" with the protest.He says the idea was prompted by history teacher Julianne Benzel. She was placed on administrative leave when she asked students to consider whether there was a double standard over protests on school grounds between gun control and abortion.
Shoes placed in front of Capitol for kids killed by guns since 2012
Thousands of pairs of shoes were placed on the lawn in front of the US Capitol on Tuesday to mark every child who has been killed due to gun violence since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.According...
Reunions | Critical Role RPG Show Episode 33, pt. 1
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