The Daily Moth 5-8-2019

School shooting in Colorado; NYT: Trump’s tax records show over $1 billion in losses from ’85 to ’94; White House says they have executive privilege over the Mueller report; Great-grandmother arrested at Disney World with CBD oil in purse; Mongolian couple dies from “Black Death” caused by Bubonic Plague; Interview with Deaf uncle of UNCC hero Riley Howell; #DeafBing: Interpreter Wrench


Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, May 8! Ready for news?

School shooting in Colorado 

Yesterday a school shooting happened at STEM School Highlands Ranch. This is a K-12 school located in Highlands Ranch, Colorado which 1,850 students attend.

The shooting happened right before 2pm. The school alerted the authorities. When police arrived on campus, they could hear gunshots still firing. The suspects began shooting in two separate classrooms in the high school building. One 18-year-old male student, Kendrick Castillo, was killed and 8 other students were injured.

It is believed that the two suspects are students from the school, one adult male and one juvenile. As of now, we only know Devon Erickson (18), as one of the two suspects. Police said no photos will be released because this situation needs to be investigated more. 

News reports say that students did try to stop the gunman. One teenager, identified as Brendan Bialy, who plans on joining the Marine Corps after high school, and another teenager tackled and disarmed one of the shooters.

Another student reported that one of the two suspects pulled out a gun from a guitar case.

People mentioned that they feel rattled about this because this school is only 7 miles away from the Columbine High School where a deadly school shooting happened 20 years ago.

[Updates: Castillo, the student who died, also rushed towards one of the shooters. The second shooter is a female juvenile.]


NYT: Trump’s tax records show over $1 billion in losses from ’85 to ’94

The New York Times published an investigative report that said Donald Trump’s business taxes showed over $1 billion in losses from 1985 to 1994.

The NYT said they obtained Trump’s tax documents that showed Trump reported more than $250 million in losses in 1990 and 1991, which is one of the deepest losses by any individual taxpayer during that time. The losses meant Trump did not have to pay income taxes for 8 out of the 10 years, but it is not clear if he later paid taxes after audits.

The NYT said they got the tax information from an anonymous person who had legal access to it.

A lawyer for Trump said the tax information was false and inaccurate.

Trump tweeted today before 4 a.m. that real estate developers in the ’80’s and ’90’s could get massive write offs and depreciation and that almost all real estate developers did this. He said it was “sport.”


White House says they have executive privilege over the Mueller report

Today the White House moved to block House Democrats and the public from getting the full, unredacted Mueller report by saying they had executive privilege.

The House Judiciary Committee voted and passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena for the full report. The next step would be a vote by the full House, which could lead to a federal criminal charge, but analysts said this is unlikely.

Executive privilege is the president’s power to keep decisions and information made in the White House confidential from the courts, Congress, and the public. It’s a presidential right and it’s being used to conceal the Mueller report.

The committee chairperson Nadler (D) said the president was acting against Congress’ rights, while the White House said Nadler was abusing his power.

Special Counsel Mueller is tentatively scheduled to testify next week on May 15 before Congress. President Trump recently said that Mueller should not testify.

Analysis of Contempt:


Great-grandmother arrested at Disney World with CBD oil in purse

A 69-year-old woman from North Carolina was recently arrested at Disney World because she had CBD oil in her purse. It was found by a deputy at a checkpoint.

Hester Jordan Burkhalter spent 12 hours in jail before being released on a $2,000 bond. Hester had CBD oil in her purse because her doctor recommended it for her arthritis. She had a note from her doctor for proof, but the authorities did not care and arrested her anyway.

Even if it is sold in stores, CBD oil is technically still illegal in the state of Florida unless the user has prescription. 

Hester explained that she has been planning for the trip for two years. She said that she could not believe that she actually got arrested, she never had a speeding ticket in her life.

The charges were later dropped. A lawyer for Hester said the arrest didn’t make sense because CBD oil is sold in stores to the public with the state collecting sales tax.


Mongolian couple dies from "Black Death" caused by Bubonic Plague

A pregnant woman and her husband from Mongolia died from a disease called bubonic plague. The couple ate raw marmot meat and kidneys. It is their traditional belief to eat it for good health.

The marmot that the couple ate had the disease. The husband died first, then the wife died a week later. The couple leaves behind four children.

A quarantine was ordered and about 118 people were quarantined for 6 days because they came in contact with the couple who died. It just has been lifted.

Bubonic plague happens when infected fleas hop on small mammals like rodents, squirrels, or groundhogs.

Humans can catch the plague if they are bitten by one of the infected fleas or if they eat or handle the small mammals who already have been infected.

Bubonic plague is believed to be the cause of "Black Death,” a pandemic that happened in the 14th century which killed an estimated 50 million people.


Interview with Deaf uncle of UNCC hero Riley Howell

Riley Howell, the 21-year old student hero who died after tackling the UNCC shooter last week, had a Deaf uncle, Matt-Sale Howell-Davis. Here is an interview with him and his wife, Ann.

Matt-Sale: I’m Uncle Matt and she’s Aunt Ann.

Really, what happened was I arrived home on a Tuesday night, I saw the news that there was a shooting at UNC-Charlotte. That’s tragic, but like I said, it’s more commonplace nowadays. I sent a text message to Riley to make sure he was alright. They said there were only two students injured. I thought it was probably not the same time because I just talked to him on Monday night. Then…I kept texting him and still heard nothing from him. But at the same time, the news said the students were undergoing a lockdown. That means everyone probably left immediately and Riley probably just left his phone there. I kept texting him and still heard nothing from him.

As the night went on, I still heard nothing. I started thinking he probably wasn’t involved because I heard nothing. I’d expect for them to contact family immediately.

Ann: Plus there’s 26,500 students enrolled there. You wouldn’t think it would happen to…you.

Matt: We stayed up all night and still nothing. Then finally, at 5am, I got up for work and got a message asking me to call them. I called them and they told me he died.

I was in shock. I thought that was impossible. It’s not true.

No…no, it’s not true. I was thinking, “No, no, it can’t be.”

I thought the news was wrong. There must be a misunderstanding.

At that time when it was confirmed, I dropped everything and took off to my hometown, Waynesville, where my brother was.

I went as fast as I could.

While I was driving, we looked at each other and said if this happened in the same classroom then we already knew the story.

We didn’t have to ask what happened because we knew that Riley was the kind of person who would run towards the shooter. It was obvious.

Ann: There’s no question.

We looked at each other hoping he wasn’t in that classroom. We thought maybe it was a mistake. When we arrived, we found out he was actually in that classroom. We looked at each other and we just knew. Nobody had to tell us anything.

We just knew in advance it was true. At the time, I was learning more facts and found out that there were 60 students in that classroom. It was a big class in the Kennedy building.

All the students in that classroom, I’m not going into the exact details, but basically all the students dropped everything and ran out while just one student ran after and tackled the shooter. We don’t know how many lives he could have saved because after the investigation, they found a bag with more ammunition in there. We knew he may have just prevented a lot more deaths.

Alex: Matt-Sale explained that Riley was the “first baby” of their next generation. He was the first child from his brother, Thomas.

Matt-Sale: I have to tell you one story that really inspired me. I’ll never forget this story. He was…

Ann: Probably 4 or 5 years old. 4 to 5.

I know he was in elementary school as a kindergarten student, of course, the fire department came to his school to show their fire truck and give demonstrations. Of course the kids were really into that. The firemen showed off their hose, how it works and gave tips on what to do in case of a fire or if the fire alarm goes off.

He went home that night and later, my brother, Thomas, said he saw Riley speaking on the phone with a phonebook opened up. He took the phone away and asked who was calling to the person on the phone.

He realized Riley had called 9-1-1…

Ann: It was the fire department.

Matt-Sale: Fire department.

Tommy asked what was happening. The fire department said Riley was concerned because he had a deaf uncle and he can’t hear the fire alarm. He was worried and he didn’t know what to do.

Thomas was taken aback and told them he would explain to Riley that they already have strobe lights and everything installed and accessible for deaf people. He thanked them and hung up the phone.

Thomas explained to Riley that everything including a strobe light was set in place to make it accessible for deaf people.

Riley was really and unrestrainedly concerned. That hit me and we knew that he really cared and was thoughtful of other people, and at 4-5 years of age. He thought of others, wow.

He was considerate of others.

[Images of family]

Image 1: Matt-Sale with young Riley

Image 2: Thomas (Riley’s father) with Matt-Sale

Image 3: Dexton (Matt-Sale’s son) with Riley in 2017

Matt-Sale: He was always really happy and always smiled. I’ve never seen him upset, never.

Hadn’t seen him mad either.

Never, he smiled and always said, “Sure!”


But at the same time, of course everyone remembers him as a happy person, but I want to emphasize one thing: that he was not afraid, unafraid of anything. He would do anything. He had guts. His mother would worry and remind him to be careful at times, but he would do anything for you. He would do a dare without any fear.

Just wow. He was not afraid.

Alex: Thank you both for being willing to share. Our condolences goes out to you and your family.

During a memorial service on Sunday, the father of Riley’s girlfriend asked mourners to raise their hands with the “I love you” handshape.

[News video clip of mourners raising their hands to show a ILY handshape]

Alex: Matt-Sale said that moment was very hard for him as he was overcome with emotion and struggled to raise his arm.

Riley was buried with full military honors.

[(Clip of uniformed members of the military giving honors). Text reads, “Riley was a ROTC cadet and would have served his country. He received a honor guard detail, which is normally reserved for veterans.”]

There was a second student who died, Ellis Parlier (19). He had a private funeral last weekend.


#DeafBing: Interpreter Wrench

I remember a chat I had with an interpreter who said she disliked it when deaf people ended an ASL sentence with “not” because it causes her to mess up.

What? I’ll give you an example.


The interpreter said as she is translating along, this screws her up because it changes the meaning. She said it felt like a wrench thrown in her engine.

It means interpreters have to be on a 10-second delay and wait to be sure before speaking to make sure the person doesn’t say “not!”


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