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Suspect in Boulder Colorado Shooting Charged With 10 Counts of Murder

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  • Colorado Police have filed 10 counts of first-degree murder against the 21-year-old man suspected of shooting and killing 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.
  • The suspect allegedly used an AR-15-style weapon to carry out the attack just days after a judge struck down a ban on assault rifles in Boulder aimed at preventing exactly this kind of mass shooting.
  • Many have condemned the shooting and pushed for gun reform, including President Joe Biden, who called for a ban on assault rifles as well as high-capacity ammunition magazines and demanded that Congress not “wait another minute” to act.

Boulder Grocery Store Shooting

The suspect accused of murdering 10 people at a Sooper King grocery store in Boulder, Colorado on Monday has now officially been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

Law enforcement officials announced the charges in a press conference Tuesday morning where they named the suspect, who opened fire on customers and responding officers, as well as the victims of the attack. The incident comes less than a week after a mass shooting in Atlanta left eight dead, including six Asian women.

According to the Boulder police, the suspect is a 21-year-old man who lived in Arvada, a suburb of Denver about 65 miles from Boulder. He has reportedly “lived most of his life in the United States.” 

The police in Arvada have now said they had two encounters in 2018 with the suspect: one on a report of third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor, and one of criminal mischief, though it is unclear if he was convicted of a crime.

Additionally, FBI officials already knew the suspect’s identity because he was linked to another person under investigation by the bureau. Federal law enforcement officials have also separately confirmed that the suspect used an AR-15 type of assault rifle.

That fact is significant because the attack comes just 10 days after a judge blocked the city’s ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines. That ban was implemented in 2018 following the Parkland shooting to prevent mass shootings exactly.

According to a police affidavit made public Tuesday, the suspect purchased a semiautomatic pistol less than a week before the attack. It is unclear if he used that gun in the shooting, because the affidavit also said he had both that pistol and an automatic rifle.

Renewed Calls for Gun Reform

Many people took to social media to call for gun reform, including prominent politicians like Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct), who has lobbied extensively for common-sense gun control since the Sandy Hook shooting in his state.

“This is the moment to make our stand. NOW,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today, our movement is stronger than the gun lobby. They are weak. We are potent. Finally, a President and a Congress that supports gun reform. No more Newtowns. No more Parklands. No more Boulders. Now – we make our stand.” 

Murphy also noted that, before the Boulder shooting, the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on gun violence Tuesday, and urged Senators to come up with a legislative solution.

Those calls were also made in the Tuesday hearing by Murphy’s counterpart, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), who condemned Republicans for shutting down numerous Democrat-led efforts on common sense gun reform while failing to propose an alternative.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) shot back in remarks that were later widely circulated on social media.

“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Cruz said. “What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that’s their political objective.”

Backlash Against Republicans and the NRA

Social media users slammed Cruz, and some accused him of being complicit in allowing gun violence.

Others also made similar arguments about Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.), a freshman representative who ran on a pro-gun platform and owned and restaurant in Colorado called Shooters Grill, where she encouraged people to open carry.

Many criticized her for not issuing a public statement about the shooting in her state on Monday, but instead sending a fundraising email capitalizing on the attack to push against gun reform in her ask for campaign donations. That backlash grew even stronger when she finally did release a statement the next day, where she accused others of using the attack for political gain and appeared ambivalent to her own efforts to do so.

“While some elected officials have already started using this shooting to advance a political agenda, I refuse to do so,” she said.

In addition to the direct criticisms on Boebert and Cruz, there were also a lot of people who took aim at Republicans at large.

“Most Republicans today believe a mail-in ballot should be regulated more heavily than an AR-15. They are trying to ban ballot drop boxes and early voting, not weapons of war. The Senate must protect the right to vote and we must defeat them with that vote in the states,” tweeted David Plouffe, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Obama himself issued a statement, decrying “coward politicians” and the “gun lobby that opposes any limit on the availability of anyone to assemble and arsenal.”

The condemnation of the National Rifle Association was echoed by many others, some of whom circulated a tweet where the organization applauded the judge who struck down the Boulder assault rifle ban, calling it “something to celebrate.” 

Currently, it is unclear what policy actions will come from the tragedies that have occurred in the last week. While speaking to reporters Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and demanded that the Senate not “wait another minute” to take up background check bills that have already been passed by the House.

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

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Medical Workers Sign Letter Urging Spotify to Combat Misinformation, Citing Joe Rogan

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The letter accused Spotify of “enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research.”


Doctors and Medical Professionals Sign Letter to Spotify

A group of 270 doctors, scientists, and other medical workers signed an open letter to Spotify this week urging the audio platform to implement a misinformation policy, specifically citing false claims made on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. 

Rogan has faced no shortage of backlash over the last year for promoting vaccine misinformation on his show, which airs exclusively on Spotify. Most recently, he invited Dr. Robert Malone on a Dec. 31 episode that has since been widely criticized by health experts. 

Dr. Malone was banned from Twitter for promoting COVID-19 misinformation. According to the medical experts who signed the letter, he “used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public.”

“Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust,” the letter continued. “These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.”

Joe Rogan’s History of COVID-19 Misinformation

Rogan sparked swift criticism himself in the spring of 2021 when he discouraged young people from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. He also falsely equated mRNA vaccines to “gene therapy” and incorrectly stated that vaccines cause super mutations of the virus. He took ivermectin after testing positive for the virus in September, despite the fact that the drug is not approved as a treatment for COVID.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the doctors and medical workers wrote. 

“We are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform,” they continued. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

Rolling Stone was the first outlet to report on the letter from the medical professionals. Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago, was among the signees. She told the magazine that Rogan is “a menace to public health.”

“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue,” she said. “And there are really not.”

Spotify had not responded to the letter as of Thursday.

See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Deadline) (Insider)

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Data Shows Omicron May be Peaking in the U.S.

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In some cities that were first hit by the surge, new cases are starting to flatten and decline.


New Cases Flattening

After weeks of recording-breaking cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, public health officials say that new COVID infections seem to be slowing in the parts of the country that were hit the hardest earlier on.

Following a more than twentyfold rise in December, cases in New York City have flattened out in recent days. 

New infections have even begun to fall slightly in some states, like Maryland and New Jersey. In Boston, the levels of COVID in wastewater — which has been a top indicator of case trends in the past — have dropped by nearly 40% since the first of the year.

Overall, federal data has shown a steep decline in COVID-related emergency room visits in the Northeast, and the rest of the country appears to be following a similar track.

Data from other countries signals the potential for a steep decline in cases following the swift and unprecedented surge.

According to figures from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, cases rose at an incredibly shocking rate for about a month but peaked quickly in mid-December. Since then, new infections have plummeted by around 70%.

In the U.K., which has typically been a map for how U.S. cases will trend, infections are also beginning to fall after peaking around New Year’s and then flattening for about a week.

Concerns Remain 

Despite these recent trends, experts say it is still too early to say if cases in the U.S. will decline as rapidly as they did in South Africa and the parts of the U.K. that were first hit. 

While new infections may seem to be peaking in the cities that saw the first surges, caseloads continue to climb in most parts of the country. 

Meanwhile, hospitals are overwhelmed and health resources are still strained because of the high volume of cases hitting all at once.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (The Wall Street Journal)

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COVID-Driven School Closures Top Record Highs, But Many Remain Open

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While some districts have implemented protective measures, many teachers say they fall short.


Schools Respond to Omicron Surge

U.S. COVID cases, driven by the omicron variant, are continuously topping new record highs, posing difficult questions for schools resuming after winter break.

According to Burbio, a data firm that tracks school closures, at least 5,409 public schools canceled classes or moved to remote learning by the end of last week due to COVID — more than triple the number at the end of December.

That is still only a fraction of the nation’s 130,000 schools, and many of the biggest school districts in the country are still insisting that students come into the classroom.

Los Angeles, which is home to the second-biggest district, is requiring that students at least test negative before they return to school this week.

In the biggest district of New York City, classes have already resumed following winter break. Although the city has said it will double random tests and send home more kits, students were not required to provide negative results.

Teachers Protest In-Person Learning

Teachers in other major districts have protested the local government’s decisions to stay open.

One of the most closely watched battles is in Chicago, where students on Monday missed their fourth consecutive day of school due to a feud between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D).

Last week, the union voted to return to remote learning in defiance of a city-wide order mandating they teach in-person, citing inadequate COVID-19 protections. Lightfoot claimed the conditions were fine and that students were safe, despite record surges, instead opting to cancel classes altogether while the fight plays out.

On Sunday, the union said it was “still far apart” from making any kind of agreement with public school officials after Lightfoot rejected their demands.

Lightfoot, for her part, has said she remains “hopeful” a deal could be reached, but she also stirred up the union by accusing teachers of staging an “illegal walkout” and claiming they “abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families.”

Meanwhile, teachers in other school districts have begun to emulate the tactics in Chicago.

On Friday, teachers in Oakland, California staged a “sick-out,” promoting 12 schools serving thousands of students to close.

See what others are saying: (The Chicago Tribune) (CNN) (The New York Times)

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