No clear answers. Twenty-four hours after the latest school shooting, details about both the gunman and his victims are starting to emerge. Nevada law enforcement officials have not identified the shooter, who took his own life after wounding two 12-year-old classmates and killing a teacher, but other students described him as “a really nice kid” and not the “school shooter” type. One classmate said she thought he might have been bullied a few times, but officials say they don’t yet know what prompted him to bring his parents’ handgun to the Sparks, Nev., middle school on the first day back from fall break. Mike Landsberry, the teacher who died, was a popular math instructor and retired U.S. Marine. Witnesses said he intervened and tried to persuade the shooter to put down his weapon before he was shot and killed. The two wounded students, whom authorities have not named, were shot in the shoulder and the stomach. They remain hospitalized in stable condition.
Double down appeal. Christian-owned craft chain Hobby Lobby added its voice to calls for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the contraceptive mandate included as part of Obamacare. The Oklahoma-based company has prevailed in the lower courts, winning a temporary reprieve from the hefty fines it would have to pay while it challenges the new policy. But the Obama administration asked the high court last month to weigh in to the issue, and now Hobby Lobby is making the same request. A Pennsylvania woodworking company that lost its appeal in the lower courts has also asked the high court to consider its almost identical case. The conflicting appeals court decisions in the two cases make it more likely the Supreme Court will take them both under consideration. Another 65 challenges to the mandate are pending in lower courts across the country.
Protest and arrest. A retired California pastor staged a protest in front of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison to raise awareness for Christians detained inside. Eddie Romero, of La Puente, Calif., entered Iran from Turkey with a tourist group. After crossing the border, he disappeared for a few days before showing up outside the prison chanting, “Let my people go.” Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini is just one of the Christians authorities are holding in Evin. Romero hoped to appeal directly to the Iranian government to release Abedini and fellow prisoners Farshid Fathi, Mostafa Bordbar, and Alireza Seyyedian, as well as human rights lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah. Guards quickly arrested Romero and took him inside the prison. His daughter, Sarah Yetter, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that Romero recorded 6 minutes of video and about 30 minutes of audio, both of which he streamed online using a hidden cell phone, during and immediately after his arrest. Yetter said she does not know where her father is currently being held.
Irresponsible or free speech? British Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter yesterday to condemn Facebook for ending a ban on posting videos showing people being beheaded. A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the new policy, framing it in terms of free speech: “Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they’re connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events.” Advertisers, whose spots appeared on pages next to the videos, are protesting. So are some of Facebook’s own advisors.