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  • Writer's pictureTéa Satariano

Weekly News Blast | Jan 28 - Feb 3

a storm in California causes flooding

A historic amount of rainfall in Southern California has led to severe flooding in the region, forcing many to evacuate (Infantry Regiment, California National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)

California Embattled By Severe Storm System

Since Thursday, Southern California has been hit with historic amounts of rainfall, formed by two separate storm systems in the region. Meteorologists and local officials have addressed the potentially life-threatening conditions fast approaching the area as strong storm systems bring the most dramatic weather the region has ever seen. More than eight inches of rain are predicted to flood the coastline and valley, and the foothills and mountains are set to expect more than a foot of rain in the coming days. The National Weather Service has predicted a rate of more than one inch per hour for some areas. 

Eight counties have already declared a state of emergency—Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura—but with gusts of wind above 80 miles per hour in some areas, it can be reasonably said that more may join the list. Due to the uncharacteristically extreme wind speed across the state, a hurricane-force wind warning has been issued along the coastline, concentrated near San Francisco. Homes, businesses, and even freeways have flooded, and hundreds in areas including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San José, and Santa Clara, have been ordered to evacuate. This has led to several school districts canceling classes in the coming days, as counties across the state issue recommendations against travel unless absolutely necessary. Many cities have begun to distribute sandbags to protect homes, and the Office of Emergency Services has prepositioned several units for the inevitable emergency response needed as the storm hits the Golden State with full force. 

Presidential Election in El Salvador Shapes the Future of its Democracy

On Sunday, individuals across El Salvador voted in the presidential and legislative elections. Incumbent president Nayib Bukele has prematurely claimed to have won 85 percent of the vote, even though many electoral officials have yet to release results. His heavy favoritism for another term has been in part due to immense support for his fierce crackdown on gang violence, which significantly improved security within the country. 

His imminent re-election, however, does pose an issue for the South American country, as many voters have expressed a desire to forgo some aspects of democracy if it means improved national security. Bukele certainly entertains such a concept, as, throughout his previous term, his party replaced much of the country’s constitutional court with loyalists, who later overturned a constitutional bylaw, allowing Bukele to run once more. El Salvador’s constitution prohibits reelection, but his immense popularity gave way to stretching the rule for the candidate, which has been criticized as a violation of the country’s system of checks and balances, and largely, a threat to democracy in the country as a whole. 

Mother of the Michigan School Shooter Tried for Manslaughter

On February 2, after seven days of testimony and evidence regarding how Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Michigan School Shooter, could have prevented the death of the four students her son killed. Under charges of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution asked the question of why her son would not only have access to a gun, but be prepared to use it, as the parents had previously taken their son to a shooting range, and purchased large amounts of ammunition. Additionally, it was proposed consistently throughout the trial that the Crumbleys refused to make any effort to address their son’s mental health issues. However, perhaps the strongest point made by the prosecution was Crumbley’s blatant dismissal of her son’s cries for help, as, on the day of the shooting, she refused to take her son home from school when presented with disturbing drawings depicting a gun and the direct statement, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.” 

Crumbley, as well as her husband, are the first parents to be charged in a mass shooting committed by their child within the United States. The case itself has prompted a mass discussion of the extent to which parents play a role in the damage caused by their children’s actions. A final verdict has not been reached in the case, as the judge felt it best to send all parties home for the weekend, but the decision will likely set a precedent for any future cases involving violence by students.



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