The Daily Moth 4-29-19 (Full Story)

Synagogue shooting leaves 1 dead and 3 injured; NFL draft pick Corey Ballentine shot and teammate killed; Avengers: Endgame shatters records with $1.2 billion opening; Deaf and blind Saudi Arabian man executed; Illinois School for the Deaf teacher under investigation on allegations of sexual misconduct; First Black Deaf woman with PhD in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University

*Correction: Her first name is Alesia, not Aleisha.


Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, April 29. Hope your weekend was good. Ready for news?


Synagogue shooting leaves 1 dead and 3 injured

This recent Saturday, in Poway, California, a sad incident happened. A person came in a Jewish synagogue during their Passover celebration, with an A.R. 15 style gun and began shooting inside leaving 1 person dead and 3 people injured. The shooter is a white 19 years old man whose name is John T. Earnest. John went in the synagogue, calling out anti-Semitic names, and began shooting, but at one point his gun was jammed so he ran out and got in his car. An off duty border patrol officer was hired to work as a security guard at the synagogue for that day. This officer fired shots, but missed and hit his car instead as John drove off. John himself called 911 and told them his location and surrendered to the police. Among the victims of the shooting are Noya Dahan, 8 years old, wounded in the leg and face. The second victim is Almog Peretz, 34 years old, he is Dahan’s brother in law. He was injured by shrapnel trying to protect his niece (Noya). Almog was visiting from Israel for Passover. The 3rd victim is Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57 years old, who lost his right index because he was trying to protect his face. The 4th victim, the one who got killed, was the one who ran up to protect Rabbi Yisroel. Her name was Lori Kaye who was the member of the Jewish congregation. She served the community so well. Lori’s husband is a doctor and he rushed to the scene to perform CPR, but realized it was his wife who was dying. He fainted. People said that Lori was a hero. She died saving the Rabbi’s life. John (the shooter)’s father is a pastor. He was shocked with John’s actions, The police investigated John’s posts on Facebook and on social media - they found many racial slurs and it seems that John was inspired by the recent explosions in Sri Lanka. President Donald Trump called Rabbi Yisroel to talk to him for about 15 minutes. Rabbi Yisroel mentioned that he found that very comforting and appreciated the USA President calling him. One witness mentioned that with all the targets at places of worship: shooting at mosque in New Zealand last month, the explosions at churches Sri Lanka last week, and shooting at the synagogue, this person feels that nowhere is safe anymore. John is currently in the San Diego jail for one count of first degree murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder. His court date is scheduled to be on Wednesday, May 1st.


NFL draft pick Corey Ballentine shot and teammate killed

Last Saturday there was a celebration that immediately turned into mourning. Last weekend was the NFL draft picks for 2019. Corey Ballentine from Topeka, Kansas, was drafted in 6th round by the New York Giants on Saturday night. Corey was so thrilled. He mentioned that it was an opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately his celebration ended within a few hours when he was injured from an off campus shooting. His friend and teammate from Washburn University, who was with him, Dwane Simmons, was killed in the shooting. Washburn University President Jerry Farley mentioned that he is heartbroken because Washburn University was looking forward to Dwane’s upcoming year and Corey’s professional career with the New York Giants. Right now, Corey is recovering in the hospital and should be okay soon.


Avengers: Endgame shatters records with $1.2 billion opening

Have any of you seen the movie “Avengers: Endgame” yet? This film just made history. Why? “Avengers: Endgame” is the first movie in film history to have hit the $1.2 billion mark for just the opening. This movie also beat their own previous record of “Avengers: Infinity War” making $640 million dollars last year. So, the Endgame movie opened up on Wednesday and quickly spread internationally then within 5 days, it hit the $1 billion mark already. Which country had the highest gross from the debut? China with $330.5 million. Some theaters here in USA even stayed open for 72 hours for this movie. The Endgame movie also received praise from not only fans, but critics as well. The movie got 98% on a website called Rotten Tomatoes. There is a time frame for how long a movie is shown in movie theaters before distributing them in DVDs, Redbox, etc. So the records for highest worldwide grossers are: “The Force Awakens” with $2.068 billion in 2015, “Titanic” with $2.187 billion in 1997, and “Avatar” with $2.788 billion in 2009.Now, we have to see for the Endgame movie for how high the gross will be by the end of time frame since the movie already earned $1.2 billion. Will this movie beat any of the top 3 movies? We will find out later!


Deaf and blind Saudi Arabian man executed

Last year I reported that a deaf and blind man from Saudi Arabia, Munir al-Adam, was sentenced to death by the country’s kingdom for being involved in political protests in 2012. He was accused of being violent and for sending texts.

There are reports that he was executed last Tuesday with 36 other men. One of them were crucified. Saudi Arabia usually executes people with beheading.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities tried to intervene, but was not successful in stopping his death sentence.

CNN’s office in Lebanon reported that al-Adam said during his trial that a confession letter attributed to him was false. He said it was written by his interrogator and that he did not write it.

CNN explained that most of the prisoners executed last week were a part of the Shia community, which is a minority.

A human rights organization, ADHRB, condemned the Saudi Arabian government, saying al-Adam’s trial, sentencing, and execution was unfair.


Illinois School for the Deaf teacher under investigation on allegations of sexual misconduct

An Illinois newspaper, The State Journal-Register, reported last week that the Illinois State Police is investigating an Illinois School for the Deaf teacher, Charles Hicks Jr., on allegations of sexual contact with one or more students. Hicks is deaf and worked at ISD for more than 24 years.

The SJR article said the investigation started last year, in March 2018, and that Hicks was placed on paid administrative leave. He is still on administrative leave. His leave was extended three weeks ago.

The SJR showed an official letter written by Superintendent Julee Nist to Hicks dated March 2, 2018. Nist told Hicks that he was placed on administrative re-assignment because of an investigation that started on February 28, 2018.

Nist told him in the letter that he was to not be at any location on campus where students were present, to not work around them, or have any contact with them.

So it has been more than a year and Hicks is still on paid administrative leave. He earns a salary of more than $70,000 a year.

Hicks is scheduled to return to his job in May, but a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Human Services, who oversees the school, told the SJR that (Hicks) would remain on leave for the duration of the investigation.

The Daily Moth was in touch with a deaf person familiar with the situation at ISD who confirmed that it was Hicks who was being investigated. The person preferred to remain anonymous.

The person explained that the investigation started last year after Hicks allegedly texted a female, who used to be an ISD student and had returned to work there, to ask her if she wanted to “do it again.”

The person said there were reports that Hicks allegedly openly talked about sex with minor students and behaved in an inappropriate way.

The person explained that there are several women who have revealed themselves to be victims of Hicks in the past.

The person also said that Hicks was in a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship with the former superintendent of ISD, Marybeth Lauderdale, who is currently the Director of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

The SJR said that the county attorney general is waiting for the probe by state police to be finished before deciding whether to file criminal charges or not. It is not known how long the investigation will last.


First Black Deaf woman with PhD in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University

Last Friday, Alesia Howard Allen, a PhD student in Gallaudet’s Clinical Psychology department, successfully defended her dissertation to become the first Black Deaf woman with a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet.

She is not yet officially done with her studies as she still has to complete one year of internship, but she has passed the “peak” of her studies.

There were many people who watched her defense and celebrated with her when she was successful.

[Images and video of people celebrating and congratulating Aleisha]

Aleisha: Hello! My name is Dr. Alesia Howard Allen!

Alex: Here is an interview with her.


What does this moment mean to you?


Whew, really, there’s no words to really describe this feeling right now. Honestly, a little part of me feels like I have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real. I’ve worked so hard for a long time and finally I’ve made it. Did this really happen?

Another part of me is like, AHH…PAH!

I mean…I never thought, for a long time, I would see this day and it’s meaningful. It’s not just for myself, but I want to think about people before me that had their obstacles who’ve tried but maybe didn’t have the opportunity nor the access and more.

I’ve achieved this for them and at the same time, I’m setting a pathway for the future generations to succeed so it is a really meaningful experience.


Why did you decide to go into that field of clinical psychology and what motivated you to go into that field?


Well, honestly, I really had no clue about the field of clinical psychology. I know that since I was young, I had this feeling of wanting to help people. People tend to be drawn to me and I’ve always helped people. I have that natural ability to relate to people. Being able to interpret their experiences, problems and so on. Also, validate their experiences, I think these are key traits I’ve had since I was younger. The goal was to graduate from RIT in their undergraduate program and to become a VR counselor. That was already the goal, but I met a man, Dr. Peter Hauser, who was my professor a long time ago. He saw that I had this potential to succeed. He was a clinical psychologist from Gallaudet. He saw and realized that I could do more. He exposed me to the field which I fell in love with. It was the perfect field for me to go into.

I can’t emphasize enough how it’s so, so important to have a mentor. A person who you cherish. A person who knows the field and can guide you. In addition to that, I think it’s key to have a person, if you’re lucky, I was very fortunate to have Dr. Peter Hauser, but a person of “privilege.” I’m a person of color, so a person with privileges and has access — I’ve capitalized on that. Plus having several people of color who can understand your experiences and navigate you. I think if you have that, you capitalize on that support system. You’ll be off to a good start.

I have to add that I was so touched when one of my former colleagues…she’s a psychologist who worked at Clerc Center at Gallaudet. She brought two young students who were Black to my dissertation defense. That really touched me. I caught a little of…according to people who were there, they said they looked up at me and said I was famous. “What does she do?”

“Is she famous?”

“Will she be on television?”

They asked all these questions.

After I finished my defense, they asked me all these questions which I found really touching.

That shows the impact of how a person of color can become a representation of them and how much influence they can have.

Again, I don’t take that lightly. That’s a big deal. That experience gave me goosebumps and now I’m in a position of power and I’m hoping to use that privilege to create opportunities for these kids so that they can achieve later on.

You know? I almost want to cry thinking about it. There’s a bunch of impacts I can have on these kids.

I was talking about complex academic concepts and they were still fascinated and in shock. It’s now 2019 and still, that’s an issue. I feel that, by now, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. We should be able to approach people. Now, there are kids who still are so shocked that we can succeed as a deaf person, a Black woman, and they can achieve. Wow!

Nowadays, in 2019, we still have that while we’ve improved in terms of accessibility…we still have a lot of work left to do because these kids are still shocked. That was one of my best experiences, at that dissertation defense.


Wow. I really appreciate your time.


Oh sure!


For sharing your experiences. I just want to say congratulations to you.


Thank you again!


On that big achievement. How impressive.


Yes, yes! It was hard, so hard!

But I made it! Thank you so much for doing this story. I appreciate it!




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!