FROM Gerald Vernon
American History and the Politics of Gun Control A mystery to people from other countries, America's gun culture is as old as the Revolution, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, perpetuated by the Civil War and mythologized as "how the West was won." But, since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, even gun owners are joining the movement for gun regulation — at the same time supporting the 2nd Amendment. The NRA is still warning about a plot for gun confiscation, but it's hunkering down for a major battle in Washington. We hear from gun owners on both sides and go to the inner cities, where gun violence is epidemic despite tough gun restrictions. If city kids can get around local controls, is that an argument for cracking down at the state and federal level?
'Stand Your Ground' in the Spotlight It used to be that people threatened with violence had a duty to flee, unless they were defending their own homes. Now 25 states have extended the right to "defend the castle" to any place it's legal to be, and anyone who claims to "perceive" a threat has the right to use equal force for protection. Florida adopted the first so-called "stand your ground" law in 2005. The Trayvon Marin case has brought attention to the laws that give people with no law enforcement authority the right to make instant decisions about life or death — with immunity from prosecution. Is that really what the Second Amendment is all about?
Is it 'Stand Your Ground' or 'Make My Day?' It used to be that people threatened with violence had a duty to flee, unless they were defending their own homes. The recent Trayvon Martin killing has focused attention on so-called "stand-your-ground" laws, which began in Florida and have spread to 24 other states. Under such laws, anyone who claims to "perceive" a threat has the right to use equal force for protection. New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg says they're creating a nation of vigilantes. Many cops and prosecutors agree. The National Rifle Association supports "stand-your-ground" laws and gun control advocates are losing ground. Despite real dangers in some neighborhoods, is the right to carry a gun being given more value than the right to life? NOTE: The NRA declined our invitation to participate in this discussion.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.