Free shotgun plan divides
A campaign promising free shotguns for people to protect themselves in troubled neighborhoods of an Arizona city has divided residents in the community still reeling from a 2011 shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded a congresswoman. Shaun McClusky says guns are the solution to Tucson’s crime problem, and he is working with the Armed Citizen Project to give shotguns to single women and homeowners. Donors have committed about US$12,000 to the Arizona effort. It costs about US$400 for each participant to receive a shotgun and weapons training. The Armed Citizen Project based in Texas seeks to arm neighborhoods in 15 cities by the end of the year. The group says that at least 13 single women in Houston have already received shotguns.
Sea lions overwhelm centers
Hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing up on beaches in southern California, overwhelming rescue centers and leaving scientists scrambling to figure out why. At island rookeries off the coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June last year have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die. It has become so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.” That will allow more scientists to join the search for the cause, Melin said. Pups are normally weaned from their mothers in April. Even the pups that are making it are markedly underweight, Melin said.
Jolie didn’t plagiarize: judge
A federal judge says actress Angelina Jolie did not steal the story for her movie In the Land of Blood and Honey from a Croatian author. City News Service reported Friday’s tentative ruling in Los Angeles would quash the lawsuit accusing Jolie of copyright infringement. In 2011, author James Braddock sued Jolie and the film company that made the film, saying it was partly based on his book The Soul Shattering. US District Judge Dolly Gee wrote in a tentative ruling that the plots, characters and themes in the two works were not “substantially” similar, though both centered on war romances. Jolie wrote, directed and co-produced the film.
Mercy killer gets probation
An 86-year-old man, who carried out a mercy killing by shooting his ailing wife in the head, was sentenced to probation on Friday after an emotional hearing where family members tearfully spoke on his behalf. George Sanders could have faced more than 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. The judge opted for probation. The World War II veteran told authorities his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969, and the couple moved from Washington to the retirement community of Sun City outside Phoenix in the 1970s for the warm, dry climate. Virginia Sanders, 81, had been diagnosed with gangrene on her foot just a few days before the shooting. In a videotaped confession, George Sanders said his wife begged him to kill her. Wrapped in a blanket as he sat being questioned by a detective, Sanders appeared frail and tired in the hours after he shot his wife in the head. “She never wanted to outlive me and be left at the mercy of someone else,” he said. “We loved each other so much. It was a wonderful life in spite of all the hard things we had at the end.”