Beddinginn Thanksgiving Sales 336x280 Sam's Club Save Big on Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bill Clinton: Garner 'didn't deserve to die'

By Alexandra Jaffe, CNN

updated 1:36 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014

Clinton: Garner 'didn't deserve to die'

  • Clinton acknowledged that Garner's cigarette sale was illegal, but said he 'didn't deserve to die'
  • He said while economic opportunities have improved for minorities, issues remain
  • Clinton urged Americans to get past their "preconceptions" that are "wired into" their lives
(CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton said that the African American man killed with a chokehold by a white police officer "didn't deserve to die," and that while race relations have improved, Americans have to move beyond harmful preconceptions that are "almost wired into" their experience.
In an interview with Fusion that aired Monday, a network aimed at younger Latino viewers, Clinton acknowledged that Eric Garner, the man who died by chokehold after police found him illegally selling loose cigarettes on the street, was "obviously not well, overweight and vulnerable therefore to heart and lung problems" and that he was "doing something that was illegal."
But he added: "He didn't deserve to die because of that."
Clinton has spent much of the past week speaking on the killing of Eric Garner, telling CNN En EspaƱol last Friday that the "The fundamental problem you have anywhere is when people think their lives and the lives of their children don't matter, they they are somehow disposable, just like a paper napkin after a lunch at a restaurant or something."
"If we want our freedom to be in deed as well as word in America, we have to make people feel that everybody matters again," Clinton said last week.
The police officer in the case was not indicted, sparking a new wave of protests following months of unrest surrounding a similar incident involving Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen who was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That officer was also cleared by a grand jury, and the two incidents have prompted a nationwide discussion surrounding race relations and attitudes in the United States.
Clinton said in Monday's interview while Brown's killing "may not be a crime ... it shows you the divide that exists between the community and the police."
He did say that economic opportunities have improved for minorities, that "there are more opportunities for people, without regard to race, to be accepted into every business profession and avenue of American life than ever before."
But Clinton also said that there remain "preconceptions that, when people are scared, are triggered again."
"And when people like this get killed, the people in their neighborhoods, they feel almost that they're disposable ... like they're not really important, they don't really matter," he said.
Clinton added: "Whenever there's insecurity, these preconceptions are almost wired into us and we have got to get beyond them."
Clinton's wife, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is considering a presidential bid and has been more reserved in addressing the issue of race in her recent public appearances. She recently said the nation needs to face some "hard truths" about race.

Ex-Marine wanted in 6 killings committed suicide

Associated Press
PENNSBURG, Pa. (AP) — An Iraq War veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives was found dead of self-inflicted stab wounds Tuesday in the woods of suburban Philadelphia, ending a day-and-a-half manhunt that closed schools and left people on edge.
Bradley William Stone's body was discovered a half-mile from his Pennsburg home, about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The 35-year-old former Marine sergeant had cuts in the center of his body, and some kind of knife was found at the scene, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.
Stone, who had been locked in a custody dispute so bitter that his ex-wife feared for her life, went on a 90-minute shooting and slashing rampage before daybreak Monday at three homes a few miles apart, authorities said.
"There's no reason, no valid excuse, no justification for snuffing out these six innocent lives and injuring another child," Ferman said. "This is just a horrific tragedy that our community has had to endure. We're really numb from what we've had to go through over the past two days."
The killings set off the second major manhunt to transfix Pennsylvania in the past few months. Eric Frein spent 48 days at large in the Poconos after the September ambush slaying of a state trooper.
This undated photo provided by the Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney in Norristown, Pa., shows Bradley William Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, Pa., a suspect in six shooting deaths in Montgomery County on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said all of the victims have a "familial relationship" to Stone. © AP Photo/Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney This undated photo provided by the Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney in Norristown, Pa., shows Bradley William Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, Pa., a suspect in six shooting deaths in… Stone's former wife, 33-year-old Nicole Stone, was found shot twice in her apartment after a neighbor heard glass breaking and saw Stone fleeing around 5 a.m. with their two young daughters, authorities said. The girls were later found safe with Stone's neighbors.
Police went to two other homes and discovered five more people dead: Nicole Stone's mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece. A 17-year-old nephew suffered knife wounds to the head and hands, and Ferman said he was in "very serious" condition.
The adults were all shot. The teens were slashed.
Authorities said Stone bashed in the back doors of the first two homes and smashed his ex-wife's sliding glass door with a propane tank.
"It's a relief that they found him," said Stone's neighbor Dale Shupe. "Now we know he's not out trying to do more harm to anybody else."
As the manhunt dragged on — with SWAT teams making their way through neighborhoods and the Philadelphia police sending in a heat-sensing helicopter — at least five schools within a few miles of Stone's home closed, and others were locked down. Veterans' hospitals and other places tightened security.
Ashley Tessier, of Pennsburg, took her sick 7-month-old son to the pediatrician in a stroller Tuesday as SWAT teams knocked on doors along her route. She said she felt she had no choice, since she postponed Monday's doctor visit because residents were told to take cover.
"Seeing all this is really terrifying — the dogs, the guns, the SWAT team," she said.
The rampage unfolded in the towns of Harleysville, Lansdale and Souderton.
A police officer moves near a home Monday in Souderton, Pa., where a suspect is believed to have barricaded himself inside after shootings at multiple homes. © AP Photo/Matt Rourke A police officer moves near a home Monday in Souderton, Pa., where a suspect is believed to have barricaded himself inside after shootings at multiple homes.
Stone and his ex-wife had fighting over their children's custody since she filed for divorce in 2009. He filed an emergency request for custody this month and was denied Dec. 9, Ferman said.
Neighbors said Nicole Stone lived in such fear of her ex-husband that she would sometimes ask her apartment complex's maintenance staff to go in and check her place first because she was afraid he might be lying in wait.
"She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life," said Evan Weron, a neighbor in Harleysville.
Stone was in the Marines from 2002 to 2008. His specialty was listed as "artillery meteorological man."
Stone told a 2011 child support hearing that Veterans Affairs deemed him permanently disabled and that he was collecting benefits from the agency, according to court documents. The VA had no comment Tuesday.
Ferman said Stone sometimes used a cane or walker, but she said had no evidence he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Stone faced several driving-under-the-influence charges, and Ferman said he was undergoing treatment through veterans' court as part of his sentence.
Stone remarried last year, according to his Facebook page and court records, and has an infant son. Neither his wife nor the son was injured. Nicole Stone became engaged over the summer, neighbors said.
Associated Press writer Michael Rubinkam in Pennsburg contributed to this report.

Outrage in Pakistan after Taliban gunmen kill at least 141 at school

The Washington Post

A plainclothes security officer escorts students evacuated from a school as Taliban fighters attack another school nearby in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in over a year. © Mohammad Sajjad/AP Photo A plainclothes security officer escorts students evacuated from a school as Taliban fighters attack another school nearby in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban…
SLAMABAD, Pakistan — The bloody siege of an elite army high school Tuesday by Taliban gunmen, which killed at least 141 students and teachers, was an apparent retaliation for a major recent army operation after years of ambivalent policies toward the homegrown Islamist militants.
The mass targeting of children, in a military zone in the northwestern city of Peshawar, drew condemnation from around the world, as well as from across Pakistan’s political and religious spectrum — a rare display of unity in a country where Islamist violence is often quietly accepted and sometimes defended. The attack was also condemned by Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
Some analysts suggested that after years of suicide bombings and attacks on markets, mosques, hotels and military bases, the insurgents had finally gone too far, and that widespread public outrage over this attack might signal a decisive turn in the nation’s — and the government’s — reluctance to fully take on the Taliban.
The massacre was the most intimate assault ever against Pakistan’s military, the nation’s most respected and powerful institution. The only comparable incident was in December 2009, when a small group of assailants penetrated army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and killed more than 30 people praying at an army mosque.
The death toll Tuesday also rivaled one of the highest in Pakistan in recent years, when suicide bombings in 2007 killed about 150 people in Karachi during celebrations to welcome former prime minister Benazir Bhutto back to Pakistan after years in self-exile. Bhutto was assassinated soon after.
Yet even when previous attacks have drawn strong condemnation and vows of action from military officials, Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment have remained deeply ambivalent about taking on the domestic Islamist forces and have often been accused of playing a double game in their partnership with the West in the war on terrorism.
One chief reason is that such extremist groups have long acted as proxies in Pakistan’s rivalry with India, an issue that trumps all others for Pakistan’s security leaders and that has long been seen as a far greater threat than Islamist militants. Terrorist attacks are routinely decried as the work of unknown foreign hands.
Pakistan’s civilian leaders, for their part, have long deferred to the army in security and foreign policy, and they have also been reluctant to act against Islamist violence, for fear of alienating the nation’s deeply religious Muslim masses and organized groups.
“Despite this national tragedy, I don’t see any chance of the nation as a whole building an anti-terrorism narrative,” said Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, a veteran Pakistani legislator from the northwest. He noted that a variety of religious and political leaders have “deep sympathy” for the militants. “For now they may tone down their support,” he said, but in time they will “start showing their true colors again.”
The army, however, has always been carefully attuned to public opinion, and Tuesday’s attack provoked a remarkably swift, broad and emphatic outpouring of revulsion and anger. News channels showed grim scenes of dead children in hospital beds, many still wearing green school uniforms, and of weeping mourners carrying hastily made pine coffins out of hospitals in Peshawar.
“Today is the saddest day of the history of our nation,” said Haniyah Siddiqui, 18, who was shopping in the port city of Karachi. “It is high time to make up our mind to fight terrorists and eliminate them in toto, not just mourning or condemning the tragic incident.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who rushed to Peshawar, denounced the assault as a “cowardly act” and vowed to maintain military action “until the menace of terrorism is eliminated” from Pakistan. “The nation needs to get united and face terrorism,” he added. “We need unflinching resolve against this plague.”
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager and Taliban attack survivor who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting girls’ education, said from England that she was “heartbroken” by “these atrocious and cowardly acts” but vowed that even as she and millions mourn the students’ deaths, “we will never be defeated.”
Her denunciation was echoed by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the leader of Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamist movement, whose followers were blamed for a 2008 terrorist siege on the Indian city of Mumbai. Saeed said the attack was “carried out by the enemies of Islam. It is open terrorism. . . .These are barbarians operating under the name of jihad.”
Even the Afghan Taliban, which operates separately from the Pakistani group but shares a religious agenda, took the unusual step of indirectly condemning the attack. A statement from spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, “The intentional killing of innocent people, women and children are against the basics of Islam, and this criterion must be considered by every Islamic party and government.”
The Pakistani Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was to avenge Pakistan’s sweeping military operation in June in North Waziristan, part of a tribal region that straddles the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The group had been warning for months that it would take revenge.
Hasan Askari Rizvi, a military analyst, said the attack was “unprecedented,” even in a country that has experienced thousands of terrorist attacks over the past decade. He said the Taliban appears to be growing more desperate as the military operations continue.
“Now they are attacking the soft targets,” Rizvi said.
But Mohammad Khorasani, a spokesman for Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was “a gift for those who thought they have crushed us in their so-called military operation in North Waziristan.” He said such opponents were “always wrong about our capabilities. We are still able to carry out major attacks, and today was just the trailer.”
In a statement, the group said six militants, including three suicide bombers, carried out the assault. After a gun battle that lasted nearly nine hours, Pakistan police officials said a total of seven militants had been killed.
An army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, said the attackers sought “to inflict maximum harm” and took no hostages. Hundreds of people were also wounded as classrooms erupted in chaos and carnage, with students and teachers shot point-blank.
The school, while open to the public, is funded by Pakistan’s army, and many students are children of military personnel based in Peshawar.
“My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” wailed one father, Tahir Ali, as he collected the body of his 14-year-old son, Abdullah, according to the Associated Press. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”
Pervaiz Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the Taliban attackers started “indiscriminate firing” after entering the school through a back door. The first students targeted were gathered in the auditorium to receive first-aid training, police said.
Muhammad Harris, 16, said he was in a room with 30 students and four teachers when they heard commotion in the hall. The students said some of the attackers appeared to be speaking Arabic.
“Our female teacher went outside when we heard the firing and was shot dead,” Harris said. “One attacker was crying, ‘Help me, I am injured.’ But he was not and was trying to trap us and shoot us.
Dozens of relatives, desperate for information about missing students, tried to reach the school on foot but were pushed back by a cordon of military guards as emergency and security vehicles rushed by. Some relatives shouted angrily; others milled in distress.
One man looking for his nephew, an eighth-grader named Walid, said he had searched through the emergency wards and the morgue at Lady Reading Hospital, where many victims of the attack were taken.
“I saw all of the patients and all of the dead,” said Hameed Mohammed, 38. “There was no sign of him.”
As darkness fell, families were still waiting at the roadblock and the military school compound was shrouded in fog. From a distance, men with flashlights could be seen, searching slowly from room to room.
Constable reported from Kabul. Brian Murphy and Karen DeYoung in Washington, Aamir Iqbal and Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar, Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad and Nisar Mehdi in Karachi contributed to this report.