Supreme Court Ruling Finds Anti-Gay Church Led Protests at Funerals Constitutional
On March 2, the Supreme Court ruled that Westboro Baptist Church was within its constitutional right of free speech to protest at military funerals with.
Westboro believes God is punishing the U.S. for “the sin of homosexuality” through soldier deaths and other events. Church members have gained notoriety for protesting outside of military funerals with signs such as “God hates fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”
The vote, passed 8-1, said that church members have the right to promote “broad-based messages” on topics such as wars. The main issue was the grieving families’ right to privacy versus the demonstrators’ right of free speech.
Tucson Shooter Charged with Murder
A federal grand jury indicted Jared Lee Loughner on 49 counts for a shooting at a political event near a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. The indictment includes murder charges for the deaths of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman. He also faces charges of the death or wounding of participants at a federally provided activity.
“This indictment is comprehensive and is solid, and covers all the murdered and injured victims,” U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said. “There are no distinctions between victims.”
Loughner previously pled not guilty to federal charges for attempting to assassinate Giffords and her two aides. Prosecutors have yet to state if they will seek the death penalty. Loughner can also be charged and tried at the state level for the crimes.
Mass Extinction on the Way?
A recent study points towards an impending mass extinction, a period in time when all living species die out in a short period of time. The study, published in “Nature,” says that this sixth mass extinction would be caused by human practices resulting in climate change, the consummation of the Earth’s natural resources, the destruction of habitats, and the introduction of invasive species and their effect on an area’s endemic species. According to Tony Barnosky, the paleontologist from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study, the extinction could happen in the next 300 to 2,200 years.
Earth has experienced five different mass extinctions, the most recent is the extinction of the dinosaurs.
East Coast Rapist Suspect Arrested
A man believed to have been raping women in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island since 1997 was arrested on Mar. 4. An acquaintance of Aaron H. Thomas tipped off law enforcement, who already had Thomas’s name on a potential suspect list, after spotting a sketch of the attacker in a police media campaign. As a result, police were able to obtain a discarded cigarette butt while Thomas was at court for an unrelated charge. The saliva matched DNA obtained from his rape victims.
Thomas is believed to be responsible for the rape of 17 women.