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Why school shootings should be considered a homeland security issue

A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School[1] in Parkland, Florida, is accused of murdering 17 people in a shooting rampage. Wednesday’s massacre[2] marks the 18th school shooting just this year. CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend told “CBS This Morning” it’s time we start looking at school shootings as a homeland security threat. She served as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

“When we think of homeland security, we think of terrorism issues, we think of natural disasters. We don’t think of school shootings,” Townsend said. “This ought to be at the top of the list of homeland security threats because we have an obligation to protect our children. And we need to deal with – even though it’s a difficult political issue – it’s time for people to really put that aside and say we’re gonna deal with it.”

According to police, the suspected gunman used an AR-15 rifle that he legally bought last year.

“The assault rifle was really intended for military use, right? I think of that from my time in government as being the weapon used by the U.S. military overseas,” Townsend said. “We had an assault weapons ban. It expired. And the politicians in Washington don’t seem to be willing to continue to have that debate.”   

A Mississippi man told CBS News’ Jeff Pegues that he warned the FBI last September about a comment[3] allegedly posted by the suspected shooter on a YouTube video saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The comment is raising questions about the role social media companies should play in monitoring and reporting this type of behavior.

“They need to provide resources, people who go hunting on their networks, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, where they find this stuff, they don’t just take it down, they take it down and report it to law enforcement so we can try and prevent these things before they happen,” Townsend said.

But in this case, co-host Gayle King countered, the comment was flagged by a user to the FBI. What happened after that?

“We don’t know and you don’t know if they actually were able to identify him from – Nikolas Cruz is a common name. Could they identify him? Could they find him and interview him?  Did they understand he had other social media accounts that might have triggered even more concern.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

References

  1. ^ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (www.cbsnews.com)
  2. ^ Wednesday’s massacre (www.cbsnews.com)
  3. ^ warned the FBI last September about a comment (www.cbsnews.com)
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Why school shootings should be considered a homeland security issue

A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School[1] in Parkland, Florida, is accused of murdering 17 people in a shooting rampage. Wednesday’s massacre[2] marks the 18th school shooting just this year. CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend told “CBS This Morning” it’s time we start looking at school shootings as a homeland security threat. She served as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

“When we think of homeland security, we think of terrorism issues, we think of natural disasters. We don’t think of school shootings,” Townsend said. “This ought to be at the top of the list of homeland security threats because we have an obligation to protect our children. And we need to deal with – even though it’s a difficult political issue – it’s time for people to really put that aside and say we’re gonna deal with it.”

According to police, the suspected gunman used an AR-15 rifle that he legally bought last year.

“The assault rifle was really intended for military use, right? I think of that from my time in government as being the weapon used by the U.S. military overseas,” Townsend said. “We had an assault weapons ban. It expired. And the politicians in Washington don’t seem to be willing to continue to have that debate.”   

A Mississippi man told CBS News’ Jeff Pegues that he warned the FBI last September about a comment[3] allegedly posted by the suspected shooter on a YouTube video saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The comment is raising questions about the role social media companies should play in monitoring and reporting this type of behavior.

“They need to provide resources, people who go hunting on their networks, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, where they find this stuff, they don’t just take it down, they take it down and report it to law enforcement so we can try and prevent these things before they happen,” Townsend said.

But in this case, co-host Gayle King countered, the comment was flagged by a user to the FBI. What happened after that?

“We don’t know and you don’t know if they actually were able to identify him from – Nikolas Cruz is a common name. Could they identify him? Could they find him and interview him?  Did they understand he had other social media accounts that might have triggered even more concern.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

References

  1. ^ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (www.cbsnews.com)
  2. ^ Wednesday’s massacre (www.cbsnews.com)
  3. ^ warned the FBI last September about a comment (www.cbsnews.com)
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Why school shootings should be considered a homeland security …

A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School[1] in Parkland, Florida, is accused of murdering 17 people in a shooting rampage. Wednesday’s massacre[2] marks the 18th school shooting just this year. CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend told “CBS This Morning” it’s time we start looking at school shootings as a homeland security threat. She served as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

“When we think of homeland security, we think of terrorism issues, we think of natural disasters. We don’t think of school shootings,” Townsend said. “This ought to be at the top of the list of homeland security threats because we have an obligation to protect our children. And we need to deal with – even though it’s a difficult political issue – it’s time for people to really put that aside and say we’re gonna deal with it.”

According to police, the suspected gunman used an AR-15 rifle that he legally bought last year.

“The assault rifle was really intended for military use, right? I think of that from my time in government as being the weapon used by the U.S. military overseas,” Townsend said. “We had an assault weapons ban. It expired. And the politicians in Washington don’t seem to be willing to continue to have that debate.”   

A Mississippi man told CBS News’ Jeff Pegues that he warned the FBI last September about a comment[3] allegedly posted by the suspected shooter on a YouTube video saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The comment is raising questions about the role social media companies should play in monitoring and reporting this type of behavior.

“They need to provide resources, people who go hunting on their networks, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, where they find this stuff, they don’t just take it down, they take it down and report it to law enforcement so we can try and prevent these things before they happen,” Townsend said.

But in this case, co-host Gayle King countered, the comment was flagged by a user to the FBI. What happened after that?

“We don’t know and you don’t know if they actually were able to identify him from – Nikolas Cruz is a common name. Could they identify him? Could they find him and interview him?  Did they understand he had other social media accounts that might have triggered even more concern.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

References

  1. ^ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (www.cbsnews.com)
  2. ^ Wednesday’s massacre (www.cbsnews.com)
  3. ^ warned the FBI last September about a comment (www.cbsnews.com)
0

Why school shootings should be considered a homeland security …

A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School[1] in Parkland, Florida, is accused of murdering 17 people in a shooting rampage. Wednesday’s massacre[2] marks the 18th school shooting just this year. CBS News senior national security analyst Fran Townsend told “CBS This Morning” it’s time we start looking at school shootings as a homeland security threat. She served as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

“When we think of homeland security, we think of terrorism issues, we think of natural disasters. We don’t think of school shootings,” Townsend said. “This ought to be at the top of the list of homeland security threats because we have an obligation to protect our children. And we need to deal with – even though it’s a difficult political issue – it’s time for people to really put that aside and say we’re gonna deal with it.”

According to police, the suspected gunman used an AR-15 rifle that he legally bought last year.

“The assault rifle was really intended for military use, right? I think of that from my time in government as being the weapon used by the U.S. military overseas,” Townsend said. “We had an assault weapons ban. It expired. And the politicians in Washington don’t seem to be willing to continue to have that debate.”   

A Mississippi man told CBS News’ Jeff Pegues that he warned the FBI last September about a comment[3] allegedly posted by the suspected shooter on a YouTube video saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The comment is raising questions about the role social media companies should play in monitoring and reporting this type of behavior.

“They need to provide resources, people who go hunting on their networks, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, where they find this stuff, they don’t just take it down, they take it down and report it to law enforcement so we can try and prevent these things before they happen,” Townsend said.

But in this case, co-host Gayle King countered, the comment was flagged by a user to the FBI. What happened after that?

“We don’t know and you don’t know if they actually were able to identify him from – Nikolas Cruz is a common name. Could they identify him? Could they find him and interview him?  Did they understand he had other social media accounts that might have triggered even more concern.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

References

  1. ^ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (www.cbsnews.com)
  2. ^ Wednesday’s massacre (www.cbsnews.com)
  3. ^ warned the FBI last September about a comment (www.cbsnews.com)
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When military deployment costs a spouse their job

WASHINGTON — Lakesha Cole has been through six deployments and five base transfers as a spouse of a Marine. Each move has represented an exhausting, if familiar routine: There’s the task of packing and unpacking an entire home. Of enrolling three children under the age of 13 in new schools, and tracking down available child care. Of adjusting to a new neighborhood, with new neighbors and friends and routines.

But perhaps the most draining step of the process is the part where the final decision lies mainly outside Cole’s, and the military’s, control: the near-constant effort to find new jobs in new states, even new countries — “to reinvent myself every time I had to pick up and move,” as Cole, 37, described the experience to NBC News.

There are more than 640,000 spouses of active duty members of the military, 87 percent of them civilian, according to the Defense Department. This group, overwhelmingly women (92 percent), tend to be slightly younger and better-educated than the U.S. population as a whole, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation Hiring Our Heroes.

They are also far more likely to be looking for work: the report found that their unemployment rate is roughly four times higher than the national average, at 23 percent in 2015 and 16 percent[1] last year.

That may be because military spouses face unique job hunt challenges. It isn’t just that they move frequently, many times with little notice. There’s also the reality that their new homes on military bases are often located 50 miles or more from the cities that tend to generate the greatest number of, and highest-paying, available jobs.

If spouses have education certifications or licenses, such as those required for employment as a teacher or lawyer, those credentials often don’t transfer between states or countries. And even if they find a place to work, there is often the logistical hurdle of finding a place for their children as well: Cole says the waiting list for daycare at her current base in Jacksonville is five months long.

But one of the biggest hurdles in finding a job may simply be widespread awareness of the fact that the military careers of active duty service members involve frequent moves: Military spouses often find that some employers are reluctant to hire them, fearing another transfer is likely to soon take them away.

Image: A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2.

Image: A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2.

A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2. Courtesy of the Cole family

There’s now a new Senate proposal to address some of those challenges. “A transition isn’t just for the service members — it’s for the whole family,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who introduced the bill last week.

Kaine, who is up for re-election in 2018 in a state that is home to one of the largest military populations in the nation, hopes to attach the measure to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act this year.

The bill would allow federal agencies to expedite the hiring process, which can often take months, of military spouses in a manner similar to that used for applications from veterans. The bill instructs the Defense Department to provide provide education and training for spouses, and addresses the shortage of child care by aiming to increase the number of Defense Department approved child care facilities.

“It’s not a silver bullet that’s going to solve everything, but I think it speaks to some of the most common problems that our military spouses have,” Kaine said in an interview.

The problem is so common because those moves remain one of the defining features of the military family experience. Ninety percent of Hiring our Heroes’ nearly 1300 poll respondents say they’ve moved at least once during their spouse’s military career, with 34 percent saying that, like Lakesha Cole, they’ve moved more than three times.

Image: Lakesha Cole in the store she owns.

Image: Lakesha Cole in the store she owns.

Lakesha Cole in the small business she launched.

Eight years ago, Cole decided to give up her constant job hunt, becoming a small business owner instead. But that decision came with own set of logistical challenges. When she and her family transferred to Okinawa, Japan, said Cole, it took her six months to work through the red tape to open her business — a situation the new legislation would address by directing the Defense Department to present Congress with a plan on how spouses can more easily start businesses on base.

If the new proposal passes, “it will allow us to continue working and contribute to our household,” Cole said. “It’s not a cure-all. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

References

  1. ^ 16 percent (www.uschamberfoundation.org)
0

When military deployment costs a spouse their job

WASHINGTON — Lakesha Cole has been through six deployments and five base transfers as a spouse of a Marine. Each move has represented an exhausting, if familiar routine: There’s the task of packing and unpacking an entire home. Of enrolling three children under the age of 13 in new schools, and tracking down available child care. Of adjusting to a new neighborhood, with new neighbors and friends and routines.

But perhaps the most draining step of the process is the part where the final decision lies mainly outside Cole’s, and the military’s, control: the near-constant effort to find new jobs in new states, even new countries — “to reinvent myself every time I had to pick up and move,” as Cole, 37, described the experience to NBC News.

There are more than 640,000 spouses of active duty members of the military, 87 percent of them civilian, according to the Defense Department. This group, overwhelmingly women (92 percent), tend to be slightly younger and better-educated than the U.S. population as a whole, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation Hiring Our Heroes.

They are also far more likely to be looking for work: the report found that their unemployment rate is roughly four times higher than the national average, at 23 percent in 2015 and 16 percent[1] last year.

That may be because military spouses face unique job hunt challenges. It isn’t just that they move frequently, many times with little notice. There’s also the reality that their new homes on military bases are often located 50 miles or more from the cities that tend to generate the greatest number of, and highest-paying, available jobs.

If spouses have education certifications or licenses, such as those required for employment as a teacher or lawyer, those credentials often don’t transfer between states or countries. And even if they find a place to work, there is often the logistical hurdle of finding a place for their children as well: Cole says the waiting list for daycare at her current base in Jacksonville is five months long.

But one of the biggest hurdles in finding a job may simply be widespread awareness of the fact that the military careers of active duty service members involve frequent moves: Military spouses often find that some employers are reluctant to hire them, fearing another transfer is likely to soon take them away.

Image: A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2.

Image: A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2.

A family portrait of Lakesha Cole and her husband, GySgt. Deonte Cole, and children Kailey Mariah, 12, Kirby Marie, 3, and Keegan Milo, 2. Courtesy of the Cole family

There’s now a new Senate proposal to address some of those challenges. “A transition isn’t just for the service members — it’s for the whole family,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who introduced the bill last week.

Kaine, who is up for re-election in 2018 in a state that is home to one of the largest military populations in the nation, hopes to attach the measure to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act this year.

The bill would allow federal agencies to expedite the hiring process, which can often take months, of military spouses in a manner similar to that used for applications from veterans. The bill instructs the Defense Department to provide provide education and training for spouses, and addresses the shortage of child care by aiming to increase the number of Defense Department approved child care facilities.

“It’s not a silver bullet that’s going to solve everything, but I think it speaks to some of the most common problems that our military spouses have,” Kaine said in an interview.

The problem is so common because those moves remain one of the defining features of the military family experience. Ninety percent of Hiring our Heroes’ nearly 1300 poll respondents say they’ve moved at least once during their spouse’s military career, with 34 percent saying that, like Lakesha Cole, they’ve moved more than three times.

Image: Lakesha Cole in the store she owns.

Image: Lakesha Cole in the store she owns.

Lakesha Cole in the small business she launched.

Eight years ago, Cole decided to give up her constant job hunt, becoming a small business owner instead. But that decision came with own set of logistical challenges. When she and her family transferred to Okinawa, Japan, said Cole, it took her six months to work through the red tape to open her business — a situation the new legislation would address by directing the Defense Department to present Congress with a plan on how spouses can more easily start businesses on base.

If the new proposal passes, “it will allow us to continue working and contribute to our household,” Cole said. “It’s not a cure-all. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

References

  1. ^ 16 percent (www.uschamberfoundation.org)