Hundreds of thousands of people across the country participated in the “March For Our Lives” rally on Saturday, March 24. The rally was held in response to the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida school shooting, which left 14 students and three faculty members dead. All 50 states had some type of “March For Our Lives” rally. Over 800 rallies took place in total across the Country. The rally, in large part, was organized by survivors of the school shooting.
Participants of the rally held various signs, which ranged from messages that student’s lives are more important than gun rights to messages counteracting the arguments of gun rights advocates. Examples of messages on signs included “Protect kids, not guns,” “21st century weapons, 18th century laws” and “Save lives or step aside.” The well know “Never Again” slogan that was created after the Parkland shooting was widely used, as well.
Advocates of gun control argued at the rally that there is no need for a civilian to own an AR-15 and similar “assault rifle” type weapons. People attending the rally called for Senators to stand up to the NRA and enact stricter gun laws, which they believe will help prevent mass shootings. Many attending the rally believed that Senators are prioritizing NRA donations over action, and vowed to stand up to these Senators at the ballots.
Gun-rights advocates held several smaller counter-protests at various other rallies. The counter-protesters argued that gun control will not prevent shootings and that potential shooters will still find a way to access guns. Some who opposed the rallies criticized Emma Gonzalez, one of the student organizers, for wearing the flag of Cuba, a communist country, on her jacket while calling for an end to violence, as they believed it sent a “hypocritical” message. Many gun-rights advocates have instead proposed armed guards in schools.
A man’s body was discovered off the shore of Barrington on Sunday morning. A motorist called police after they “noticed what appeared to be a body” in the water off of Route 114. The body was near a small island in One Hundred Acre Cove, according to WPRI. When police arrived, they found the body approximately 500 feet away from shore in Barrington. Firefighters retrieved the body, which was given to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. According to WPRI, this is the second body discovered in Barrington waters in three days, after another man’s body was found in the water near Nayaat Point on Friday. Neither body has yet been identified.
The 11th annual “Special Olympics Torch Run Plunge” occurred in Narragansett on Sunday. Participants of the event ran into the water at Salty Brine Beach at noon in order to raise awareness and funding for the Rhode Island Special Olympics. WPRI reported that more than $150,000 was raised. WPRI and FOX Providence were among those who sponsored the event.
President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill on Friday, March 23. Trump originally threatened to veto the bill, which would have likely led to a government shutdown. He ultimately signed it after advisors and Republican leaders advised he signed it to avoid a “government shutdown crisis,” according to the New York Times.
The spending bill was the result of bipartisan efforts and will increase military spending. Some of these funds, Trump hopes, will be applied to building the border wall that he frequently promised during his campaign. He alluded to on Twitter that the wall is an issue of national security and is therefore eligible for using defense funds to build the wall. Trump said there are a lot of things he does not like about the spending bill, but also parts he was in favor of.
A family of four from Iowa that was visiting Mexico were reported missing by family members on Wednesday, March 21 after not returning home. On Friday, March 23, all four members of the family were found dead in Mexico. The family, consisting of a 41-year-old father, a 38-year-old mother, and two kids aged 12 and 7 were found dead from inhaling toxic gas. The gas is believed to have came from a water heater leak. The family was described as beloved members of the their community.
A police officer in France who offered to exchange himself for a hostage during a terrorist attack died of his injuries on Friday, March 23. The officer, 45-year-old Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, was shot in the neck. During a shooting conducted by an ISIS sympathizer at a supermarket in Southern France, the officer offered to take the place of a female hostage. He was shot while attempting to enter the supermarket to exchange himself for the hostage. CNN reported that Beltrame left his phone on so police could hear his interaction with the gunman and after police heard gunshots, they entered the supermarket and killed the gunman.
According to CNN, Beltrame was married but did not have children. He served in the French Military Police and also provided security at the home of the French President prior to becoming a police officer. He served in Iraq in 2005 and was given an award for bravery in 2007. In 2012 he was “knighted in France’s prestigious Legion of Honor.” The French President, Emmanuel Macron, said that Beltrame “died a hero.”
A fire in Russia on Sunday killed at least 64 people, and there are estimates that 20 more people are still missing. The fire broke out at a shopping mall that had fire exits blocked and the alarm system turned off. The cause of the fire is not yet clear. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said that the fire was the result of “criminal negligence” and that those responsible will be held accountable. Protesters filled the streets on Tuesday calling for a full investigation into the fire. Some protesters believe that the Russian government is withholding the actual number of people who were killed, and have called on Putin to resign, according to CNN. Wednesday was declared a National Day of Mourning in Russia.