Kindergartners Asked a Bus Hijacker So Many Questions That He Ordered Them To Get Off
The suspect, an Army recruit who was fleeing from his training center after three weeks there, faces 19 counts of kidnapping, along with charges for armed robbery, carjacking, and other offenses.
School Bus Hijacked
A South Carolina school bus driver who kept his cool during an armed hijacking earlier this month is now being hailed a hero.
The incident happened in the city of Columbia on May 6. Partial video shows the hijacker entering the bus, which was loaded with 18 children, while wearing an “ARMY” shirt and backpack. He then held the driver, Kenneth Corbin, at gunpoint.
“Get out of town, now!” the suspect shouted at Corbin. “Drive!” he continued. “Hurry up! Drive!”
The next town was at least 15 to 20 miles away, and as Corbin followed orders, the gunman allegedly kept asking how much further they needed to go, wanting Corbin to move faster.
But in an interview with “Good Morning America” this week, Corbin said the hijacker was no match for the students onboard.
“As we were traveling, I guess he realized there were several students on the bus — kind of scattered throughout,” Corbin explained. “He decided to move all the students up front so he could keep us all in close proximity, and when he did that, especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking questions.”
The students asked if the man was a soldier and Corbin said he “hesitantly answered, ‘Yes.'”
“They asked him, ‘why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one. They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘no.’ They asked, ‘are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘no. I’m going to put you off the bus.'”
Just 6 minutes after he boarded, the hijacker became frustrated and ordered everyone off.
“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘enough is enough already,’ and he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off,’” Corbin added.
Suspect Identified as Army Trainee
Everyone got off the bus physically unharmed, though scared and traumatized. The suspect drove off alone, then exited on foot. Police said he went through surrounding neighborhoods seeking clothes and a ride before deputies found him.
The suspect was later identified as 23-year-old Fort Jackson recruit Jovan Collazo. He was charged with 19 counts of kidnapping, as well as charges for armed robbery, carjacking, and other offenses.
Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. told reporters earlier this month that Collazo’s weapon lacked ammunition and that the trainee was just trying to get to a transit hub and get home. After three weeks of training in Columbia, Collazo had jumped the center’s fence line and escaped.
Beagle said the incident highlighted “a key failure in our accountability processes, that I will fix, going forward, because the outcome potentially could have been much worse.”
Still, he said, “There is nothing that leads us to believe, through his counseling, through anything in his screening records, that this had anything to do with harming others.”
Corbin Calls Students His Heroes
Since the incident, Corbin has received widespread praise for how he handled the situation, with reports noting that he calmly denied Collazo entry until he presented a weapon.
Corbin, who had just completed training on how to handle a hostage situation before the incident, was recognized last week at a special ceremony, and state Sen. Mia McLeod (D) introduced a resolution commending his courage.
“It was so evident that they were precious cargo and I pretty much just had to just do whatever — to get them off the bus safe and sound,” Corbin told “GMA.”
“It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”
See what others are saying: (Good Morning America) (Complex News) (The Washington Post)
Survey and Census Data Shows Record Number of Americans are Struggling Financially
Americans are choosing not to pursue medical treatment more and more frequently as they encounter money troubles.
A recent federal survey shows that a record number of Americans were worse off financially in 2022 than a year prior.
Coupled with recent census data showing pervasive poverty across much of the country, Americans are forced to make difficult decisions, like foregoing expensive healthcare.
According to a recent Federal Reserve Bureau survey, 35% of adults say they were worse off in 2022 than 2021, which is the highest share ever recorded since the question was raised in 2014.
Additionally, half of adults reported their budget was majorly affected by rising prices across the country, and that number is even higher among minority communities and parents living with their children.
According to recent census data, more than 10% of the counties in the U.S. are experiencing persistent poverty, meaning the area has had a poverty rate of 20% or higher between 1989 and 2019.
16 states report at least 10% of their population living in persistent poverty. But most of the suffering counties were found in the South — which accounts for over half the people living in persistent poverty, despite making up less than 40% of the population.
These financial realities have placed many Americans in the unfortunate situation of choosing between medical treatment and survival. The Federal Reserve study found that the share of Americans who skipped medical treatment because of the cost has drastically increased since 2020.
The reflection of this can be found in the overall health of households in different income brackets. 75% of households with an income of $25,000 or less report being in good health – compared to the 91% of households with $100,000 or more income.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (Federal Reserve)
Montana Governor Signs TikTok Ban
The ban will likely face legal challenges before it is officially enacted next year.
First Statewide Ban of TikTok
Montana became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation aimed at protecting “Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, though the law will likely face a handful of legal challenges before that date.
Under the law, citizens of the state will not be held liable for using the app, but companies that offer the app on their platforms, like Apple and Google, will face a $10,000 fine per day of violations. TikTok would also be subject to the hefty daily fine.
Questions remain about how tech companies will practically enforce this law. During a hearing earlier this year, a representative from TechNet said that these platforms don’t have the ability to “geofence” apps by state.
Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, told the Associated Press that app stores could have the capability to enforce the restriction, but it would be difficult to carry out and there would be a variety of loopholes by tools like VPNs.
Montana’s law comes as U.S. politicians have taken aim at TikTok over its alleged ties to the CCP. Earlier this year, the White House directed federal agencies to remove TikTok from government devices. Conservatives, in particular, have been increasingly working to restrict the app.
“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gov. Gianforte said in a Wednesday statement.
Criticism of Montana Law
TikTok, however, has repeatedly denied that it gives user data to the government. The company released a statement claiming Montana’s law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people” in the state.
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” the company said.
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned Montana’s law for similar reasons.
“This law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet,” the ACLU tweeted. “Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin.”
Per the AP, there are 200,000 TikTok users in Montana, and another 6,000 businesses use the platform as well. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the law in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Fast Company) (CBS News)
How a Disney-Loving Former Youth Pastor Landed on The FBI’s “Most Wanted” List
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Chris Burns’ 19-year-old son pleaded to his father via The Daily Beast.
Multi-Million Dollar Scheme
Former youth pastor turned financial advisor Chris Burns remains at large since going on the run in September of 2020 to avoid a Securities Exchange Commission investigation into his businesses.
Despite his fugitive status, the Justice Department recently indicted Burns with several more charges on top of the $12 million default judgment he received from the SEC.
Burns allegedly sold false promissory notes to investors across Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. The SEC claims he told the investors they were participating in a “peer to peer” lending program where businesses that needed capital would borrow money and then repay it with interest as high as 20%. Burns allegedly also reassured investors that the businesses had collateral so the investment was low-risk.
The SEC says that Burns instead took that money for personal use.
Burns began his adult life as a youth pastor back in 2007 before transitioning into financial planning a few years later. By 2017, he launched his own radio show, The Chris Burns Show, which was funded by one of his companies, Dynamic Money – where every week Burns would “unpack how this week’s headlines practically impact your life, wallet, and future,” according to the description. He also frequently appeared on television and online, talking about finances and politics.
The SEC alleges that he used his public appearances to elevate his status as a financial advisor and maximize his reach to investors.
His family told The Daily Beast that he became obsessed with success and he reportedly bought hand-made clothes, a million-dollar lakehouse, a boat, several cars, and took his family on several trips to Disney World. His eldest son and wife said that Burns was paying thousands of dollars a day for VIP tours and once paid for the neighbors to come along.
Then in September 2020, he reportedly told his wife that he was being investigated by the Securities Exchange Commission but he told her not to worry.
The day that he was supposed to turn over his business documents to the SEC, he disappeared, telling his wife he was just going to take a trip to North Carolina to tell his parents about the investigation. Then, the car was found abandoned in a parking lot with several cashier’s checks totaling $78,000
FBI’s Most Wanted
The default judgment in the SEC complaint orders Burns, if he’s ever found, to pay $12 million to his victims, as well as over $650,000 in a civil penalty. Additionally, a federal criminal complaint charged him with mail fraud. Burns is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Last week, the Justice Department indicted him on several other charges including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.
“Burns is charged for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients in an illegal investment fraud scheme,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Financial crimes of this nature can cause significant disruptions to the lives of those who are victimized, and the FBI is dedicated to holding these criminals accountable.”
His family maintains that they knew nothing of Burns’ schemes. His wife reportedly returned over $300,000 that he had given to her.
She and their eldest son, who is now 19, told The Daily Beast they just want Burns to turn himself in, take responsibility for his actions, and try to help the people he hurt.
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Burns’ son said in a message to his father via The Daily Beast.