Family of Waukesha teen who died from heart condition facilitates EKG tests for kids

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) — Kai Lermer was your standout high school student. A three-sport athlete, Kai was an honor student at Waukesha North High School.

“He was an influencer,” his dad, Mike Lermer, said. “Keeping the team positive through cracking jokes. Just an all-around lovable kid. Always smiling.”

Kai died unexpectedly in 2019 at the young age of 16. An undiagnosed heart condition was the cause.

“It’s just overwhelming with the amount of support we’ve gotten over the years,” Mike said. “We wanted to give back to the community.”

Mike started the Kai Lermer Memorial Fund with Kai’s mom, Patty. They started by placing AEDs in parks and giving out some scholarships. After learning their son’s fate could have been different had he received an electrocardiogram (EKG), they decided to take action.

“We knew proactively, once we learned about EKG screening, that we could really make a difference and save young adults’ lives,” Mike said. “It’s all about education.”

In partnership with The Max Schewitz Fondation – HeartSmart EKG, the Kai Lermer Memorial Fund hosted its third annual EKG Testing and Sudden Cardiac Awareness Day on Tuesday in Waukesha. Roughly 500 students from 27 area communities were able to receive an EKG test, conducted by the medical professionals with HeartSmart EKG.

The Max Schewitz Foundation – HeartSmart EKG has been existence in 2006. Tuesday, the organization celebrated its 100,000th student screened.

“We find students at every screening that may be at risk for a hidden heart condition,” said Jeanne Coogan, a board member with The Max Schewitz Foundation – HeartSmart EKG. “A simple EKG test will find more than a physical exam. The hope is we can develop awareness so that families are aware that this is a risk and they need to consult with their physicians and have this maybe become a routine part of a sports physical.”

Kai’s parents are grateful to be able to keep their son’s legacy alive while encouraging parents to have their children screened.

“A standard physical only catches 10% of undiagnosed heart conditions. An EKG screening can catch up to 88%,” Mike explained. “One in 300 students has some type of undiagnosed heart condition. Parents, get your kids tested.”

“It’s excitement and some sadness as well. I wish I was one of the parents that was getting my son tested,” Patty said, adding she knows her son would be happy with the work they’re doing today in his honor. “He sees it and I know he’d be so proud of the whole community. He’d be so proud.”

The Kai Lermer Memorial Fund will provide more screenings in the future.

People are encouraged to follow the Facebook page for updates.

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More than 100,000 people in Michigan remain under a boil water advisory

That’s down from 935,000 people who were under the advisory at its height Saturday. The water authority said in a statement Sunday it expected the pipeline to return to service within two weeks — one week for repairs and a second week for quality testing.

The leak was discovered early on Saturday, according to the authority. The leak is approximately one mile west of the Lake Huron Water Treatment facility and crews are working to isolate the area so repair work can begin.

The water authority originally issued a precautionary Boil Water Advisory for the following communities impacted by the break: the Village of Almont, City of Auburn Hills, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, City of Flint, Flint Township, City of Imlay City, Lenox Township, Macomb Township, Mayfield Township, Village of New Haven, Orion Township, City of Pontiac, City of Rochester, City of Rochester Hills, City of Romeo, Shelby Township, City of Sterling Heights, City of Troy, City of Utica, and Washington Township.
Several communities were removed from the list Saturday afternoon, including the City of Flint, which has battled water issues since the 2014 water crisis in which lead contaminated water was being pumped into residents’ homes and businesses.

CNN’s Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.

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The same Joe Biden suddenly looks different

But suddenly, images of Biden as a feeble septuagenarian atop a mismanaged White House have given way to those of an experienced leader, smiling behind aviator sunglasses, whose battle-tested team has delivered on a range of national priorities. A winning streak does that for you.

It has not happened because of a strategy shift or staff shakeup, though at low points allies wanted him to take those ritual steps. It’s been a combination of good luck, skill and persistence by a president and Democratic Party determined to act unilaterally where Republicans wouldn’t and strike compromises where Republicans would.

Gas prices, which wounded Biden when they spiked, have declined for two months. The President didn’t cause either movement. But the turn of fortune has relieved some of the inflation pressures that remain his single largest political problem.

Late last month, weather conditions cleared the way for a CIA drone to kill al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on the balcony of his Kabul home. The precision strike, the planning of which began this past spring, vindicated Biden’s assertions that the US could fight terrorism in Afghanistan even without troops on the ground.

In Congress, Biden has proven detractors wrong from both directions. Politicians and pundits describing a failed legislative agenda had written their reviews before the end of the play.

Progressive lawmakers who scorned the former senator’s talk of working with the GOP have seen Congress make bipartisan investments in infrastructure, domestic manufacturing of semiconductors, and veterans’ health care. They joined a critical mass of Republicans to pass them.

Others who complained Biden had veered too far left have seen Congress take the largest-ever government steps to curb climate change. Not a single Republican voted yes. Every single Democrat did.

This doesn’t make Biden a modern-day FDR or LBJ. He cannot claim a singular monument to rival Social Security, Medicare or even the Affordable Care Act, though he has strengthened it.

Proposed investments to expand economic opportunity through child care, child tax credits, paid leave and universal pre-kindergarten have faltered. The bipartisan gun-safety law that ended years of congressional paralysis did not meet his call to ban assault weapons. He has not won legislation to safeguard voting rights at a moment when Republican extremism threatens democracy and the rule of law.

Partisan math has imposed the fundamental constraint. To act alone on the small number of top-priority initiatives shielded from Republican filibuster, Democrats can sustain only a few defections in the House and none in the Senate. The climate package prevailed only because Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, after months of resistance, finally agreed to join hands with party colleagues.

That legislative tightrope makes all the more remarkable what Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have achieved. To call them “wins” on the political scoreboard, as if governance were a sporting event, obscures their impact on American life.

The 2021 infrastructure law, which eluded Biden’s two immediate predecessors, means $550 billion for new federal investments in roads, bridges, airports, public transit, railroads, rural broadband, clean water and electric-vehicle charging stations, among others.
The semiconductor bill provides over $52 billion to spur domestic manufacturing of vital components for products ranging from cars to computers, reducing America’s reliance on foreign suppliers.
The so-called “burn pits” bill extends new health care and disability benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxins during their service.
The Inflation Reduction Act — named to lure Manchin though it will have negligible impact on inflation this year — means Medicare beneficiaries will pay no more than $35 per month for insulin and no more than $2,000 per year in out-of-pocket drug costs. For the first time, Medicare can use its market power to negotiate lower prices from drug companies.

The IRA also devotes $370 billion to developing clean energy and curbing climate change, which analysts say will help the US reduce carbon emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. It sustains American leadership at a time when extreme weather events increasingly place the dangers to the world in sharp relief.

Biden’s weak public standing has begun ticking slightly up. Democrats on the 2022 ballot have gained more ground from anger over the conservative Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to abortion.

But that doesn’t mean voters will reward them in midterm elections this fall. Republicans need just a four-seat net gain — well below the historical average for the party not holding the White House — to recapture control of the House.

Nor does it mean Biden will follow the precedents of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan in recovering from early setbacks to win a second term. At age 79, Biden looks the part of the oldest chief executive in American history as restless younger Democrats eye fresh leadership.

But it does mean the President and his party have capitalized on the opportunity control of government has given them for these two years. They have done much of what they sought public office to do.

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Egypt church fire leaves dozens dead and injured

It is unclear how many children were killed in the fire at at Abu Sefein church, but it was crowded with worshippers attending Sunday mass, Coptic Church spokesperson Archpriest Moussa Ibrahim said.

At least two officers and three civil protection service members were injured responding to the fire, Egypt’s interior ministry announced in a Facebook post.

The statement added that the fire started around 9 a.m. local time and was caused by an electrical failure in an air conditioning unit on the church’s second floor.

Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inside church classrooms after the electric failure, the interior ministry said.

Church officials also believe the fire was accidental, Ibrahim said. Egypt’s Coptic community and churches have been a target of religious-based violence and attacks historically, with persecution and discrimination spiking since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.

The fire broke out during a Sunday service at the Abu Sefein Coptic church.

“We are in continuous contact with the local authorities and the Health Ministry,” the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II said, according to the church spokesperson. 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi tweeted his condolences to the victims of the fire at the church.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who moved to the side of their Lord in one of the houses of worship,” El Sisi said.

The Egyptian president said he is closely following developments of the “tragic accident” and that he has directed state agencies and institutions to take the necessary measures to immediately deal with the tragedy and provide care for those injured.

Egyptian soccer player Mo Salah, who plays for Liverpool and captains the national team, also sent a message of support to those affected by the tragedy on Sunday, saying in a tweet: “My sincere condolences to the victims of the Abu Sefein Church, and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to all the injured.”

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No-Cook Summer Recipes | Recipes, Dinners and Easy Meal Ideas

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The acid from the lime and orange juices “cooks” the scallops for the easiest starter or no-cook light meal. Top with sliced avocado or make your own guacamole.

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Stay cool as a cucumber with this simple side dish that’s a perfect complement to a summer meal on the grill.

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This torte is a fantastic no-bake, hot-weather version of cheesecake. The recipe uses Neufchatel cheese, which is very similar in texture and taste to cream cheese.

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David Popovici, 17, breaks 100m freestyle world record at European championships

The 17-year-old broke the previous record, set by Brazilian Cesar Cielo in 2009, by 0.05 seconds as he took gold ahead of Hungary’s Kristof Milak and Italy’s Alessandro Miressi.

Popovici, who was crowned world champion in the 100m and 200m freestyle earlier this year, becomes the youngest world record holder in the 100m freestyle event.

“I wanted to go as fast as possible and it looks like I did it,” he told the BBC, calling himself a “skinny legend.”
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“A fantasy now might be a 45 (second time),” he added. “Adam Peaty is a pioneer in terms of the goals he set. For others it was science fiction, but not for him.”

British swimmer Peaty set himself the benchmark of becoming the first man to swim the 100m breaststroke in under 57 seconds during his career — a feat he achieved when he broke his own record in 2019.

The prospect of a new 100m freestyle record looked likely when Popovici broke the 47-second barrier for the first time in the semifinals on Friday. After his record-breaking swim the following day, he was congratulated by Cielo.

“I knew this day was coming… And it did! My 100m freestyle world record was broken after 13 years!” Cielo wrote on Twitter.

“Congratulations, Popovici! Glad to have had this huge record for so long!

“There is the new fastest man in the world in the 100 meters freestyle and he is just getting started!”

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Harriet Hageman: From Liz Cheney friend to foe, Trump’s candidate takes command of Wyoming race

“I am going to reclaim Wyoming’s lone congressional seat from that Virginian who currently holds it,” Hageman likes to say, casting aside the Cheney family’s deep roots in the state and suggesting the three-term congresswoman is more at home in the Washington suburbs.

These days, signs of trouble for Cheney are easy to spot here in Wyoming. Hageman holds a commanding lead in the final weekend of a primary election that stands as yet another reminder of the Republican Party’s evolution in the era of Donald Trump.

“If it’s a big Republican vote, there aren’t enough Democrats to change it, even if we all crossed over,” former Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan said in an interview Friday, noting that he is among the Democrats who have temporarily switched parties to support Cheney. “Out of honor and respect for her leadership, I cast my vote her way.”

The venom in the Cheney-Hageman race comes alive in conversations with voters, dueling television ads and reports of stolen yard signs. Their relationship wasn’t always acrimonious, when Hageman stood alongside Cheney and showered her with praise during Cheney’s first bid for Congress in 2016.

“I am proud to introduce my friend Liz Cheney,” Hageman said then. “I know Liz Cheney is a proven, courageous, constitutional conservative, someone who has the education, the background and experience to fight effectively for Wyoming on a national stage.”

Today, that national stage is starkly different than it was six years ago, back when Cheney and Trump were elected on the same day. Now, the former President is at the center of her political fall in a state where he won 70% of the vote, his widest margin anywhere.

He traveled to Wyoming three months ago to put his stamp on the race.

“Liz, you’re fired,” Trump told thousands of admirers at a rally in Casper. “Wyoming deserves a congresswoman who stands up for you and your values, not one who spends all of her time putting you down and going after your president in the most vicious way possible.”

Emphasizing ties to state

Yet here in Wyoming, Hageman is seen as far more than Trump’s hand-picked candidate.

She grew up on her family’s small ranch near Fort Laramie, population 207, not far from the state’s border with Nebraska. Long before her fight with Cheney, Hageman gained prominence as a natural resources attorney, specializing on cases protecting the state’s water, public lands and agriculture.

“One of the things, I think, we need to do is make the federal government largely irrelevant to our everyday lives,” Hageman told voters this week during a stop at the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce luncheon, highlighting decades of legal work fighting against such policies as protecting gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act and broader plans of national forest conservation.

Hageman, 59, spent most of her career doing this work at her own law firm in Cheyenne. But now, she is a senior litigation counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a group based in Washington that battles environmental regulations, taxes, campaign finance restrictions and far more.

She has spent much of the last year driving around the state to build a campaign against Cheney, telling voters that she’s traveled about 40,000 miles since announcing her campaign nearly a year ago. Yet in the final week of the primary here, she had no public campaign events, rather meeting privately with groups.

Hageman declined to answer questions when CNN caught up with her in Rock Springs, a coal mining town in the southwestern part of the state, saying only: “This race is about Wyoming, nothing else.”

The race, of course, has become about far more. But several Wyoming voters this week said they appreciated the attention Hageman was devoting to energy, agriculture and other issues of direct importance to the state.

“We voted for Harriet,” said Scott Vetter of Carpenter, who works in agriculture sales. “When you dive into the work that she’s done, it’s been stellar. She’s close to agriculture, which is our bread and butter, and what we do to make a living.”

He said he and his wife voted early, insisting it wasn’t a knock against Cheney, but an affirmative vote for Hageman and her intense focus on Wyoming issues. He said Trump’s endorsement was not the decisive factor in his decision.

“We’re not Trump lovers, but we’re not Trump haters,” Vetter said, talking during the Laramie County Fair. “We just want to get the country moving again. I would say Harriet had our votes from the beginning.”

Hageman made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018. Even though she placed third in the Republican primary, the race elevated her profile across Wyoming. She went on to represent the state on the Republican National Committee, a position she resigned when she announced her campaign to challenge Cheney last year.

‘We’re fed up with Liz Cheney’

Hageman has sought to capitalize on the anger among Trump loyalists — much of which is directed at Cheney and her leading role in the Congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

“We’re fed up with the January 6 commission and those who think they can gaslight us,” Hageman told a cheering crowd at the Trump rally in Casper in May. “And we’re fed up with Liz Cheney.”

For her part, Hageman has wavered about the outcome of the 2020 election.

During a contentious debate in June, Cheney pressed her rival, saying: “I think that she can’t say that it wasn’t stolen because she’s completely beholden to Donald Trump. And if she says it wasn’t stolen, he will not support her.”

It wasn’t until last week, during a campaign stop in Casper, that Hageman fully embraced the former President’s baseless election denial rhetoric.

“Absolutely the election was rigged,” Hageman said. “It was rigged to make sure that President Trump could not get reelected.”

What Hageman doesn’t tell her audiences is that she once opposed Trump — and supported Ted Cruz in 2016. She was among the final wave of Republicans hoping to block Trump from clinching the party’s nomination at the GOP convention in Cleveland.

It’s a sign of her own transformation — from Cheney ally to Trump loyalist — with her sights now set on Washington.

“I will be taking that fight to DC,” Hageman said, “just as soon as I defeat Liz Cheney.”

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Josh Green wins Hawaii Democratic gubernatorial nomination, CNN projects

As of 7 a.m. ET Sunday, Green was winning 63.7% of the vote, while former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano had 21.4% and Rep. Kai Kahele had 13.7%.

CNN also projects that former state Sen. Jill Tokuda will win the Democratic nomination for the state’s open 2nd Congressional District, and Republican Joe Akana will win his party’s nomination for the seat. As of 7 a.m. ET Sunday, Tokuda was winning 58.6% of the vote while State Rep. Patrick Branco had 24.6%.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz will win renomination and face Republican Bob McDermott in November, and Democratic 1st Congressional District Rep. Ed Case will win renomination and will face Republican Conrad Kress, CNN projects.

Green, a former emergency room doctor who served in the Hawaii state House and Senate, defeated Rep. Kai Kahele and former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano to clinch the nomination.

Green was born in New York and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A part of the National Health Service Corps, he moved to Hawaii where he was stationed in 2000. He served in the Hawaii state legislature from 2004 to 2018. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 and in 2020 became the state’s Covid-19 liaison, according to his bio.

In a debate held in July, Green called out Kahele for serving one term in Congress and then retiring to return to Hawaii and run for governor, Hawaii News Now reported at the time.

Kahele, who was elected to Congress in 2020 to replace Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, came under fire earlier this year for his part-time work as a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, which raised questions of whether he was breaking any ethics rules for continuing his work with the airline.

Questions about Kahele’s work with Hawaiian Airlines arose after the Honolulu Civil Beat published an in-depth story looking into his attendance at the US Capitol this year and his personal income since he entered office. The report found that Kahele had voted by proxy at least 120 times from the start of the year through early April, meaning another lawmaker has cast his votes for him.

Kahele’s office at the time defended his part-time work with Hawaiian Airlines and said his decision to vote by proxy was motivated by concerns over new coronavirus variants, given that the congressman lives in a multigenerational family home. His office said he remained committed to his work in Washington, DC.

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Gun Violence Archive: How a tiny non-profit with no full-time employees became the foremost tracker of gun violence

The first was the CDC. The second was the Gun Violence Archive.

That increasing visibility is a sign of success for Mark Bryant, the executive director of the Gun Violence Archive. He told CNN he started noticing the phrase “according to Gun Violence Archive” in news articles and Google searches a few years ago and sees it as a positive.

“We realize that we are making a difference. We’re making the conversation consistent,” he said. “If they’re using ‘according to Gun Violence Archive,’ they’re using consistent vetted data, and that legitimizes their story as much as it does us.”

Yet for all its influence in providing that data, the Gun Violence Archive is remarkably small-scale. The organization is funded almost entirely by a single octogenarian donor, has no office space or any full-time employees, and is led by a bushy-bearded Kentucky gun owner who sold several of his firearms to help launch the group.

That this bare-bones organization informs the highest levels of power underscores the startling lack of timely, standardized data on American gun violence. The FBI collects data on aggravated assaults and murders, and the CDC collects data on total deaths from firearms. Yet both release that information months if not years after the fact, making it difficult to understand new trends or determine the impact of legislation or policies.
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“Imagine trying to understand baseball where you’re only collecting some stats and you’re publishing them nine months after the season ended,” explained Jeff Asher, a gun violence researcher and co-founder of consulting firm AH Datalytics. “It’s an absurdity that we don’t collect better systemic data there.”
The Gun Violence Archive’s recent prominence comes after three horrific mass shootings in the past few months: the racist attack on Black people in a New York supermarket, the slaughter of little kids at a Texas elementary school and the killing of 4th of July parade-goers in Illinois.
In late June, President Joe Biden signed into law major gun safety legislation with bipartisan support, the most significant law addressing gun violence in nearly three decades. In a speech pushing for that legislation, Biden noted that there had been 20 mass shootings in the week after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting — data likely pulled straight from the Gun Violence Archive.

“Everybody needs a consistent set of information, and until the government can come up with near real-time, very granular data, we’re it,” Bryant said. “So I see no reason for us to stop.”

A provocation turns into a dataset

The Gun Violence Archive grew out of an initiative inspired by the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Gun Violence Archive grew out of an interactive project by Slate magazine that was launched as a provocation.

In the wake of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, Slate’s senior editor of culture at the time, Dan Kois, wanted to do something that would force people to confront the scope of America’s gun violence, he told CNN. He was angry about the shooting and became further frustrated when he tried to look up real-time gun violence data and found only outdated information from the CDC.

“It seemed surprising to me that there was no central location where anyone was keeping track of gun violence as it happened,” Kois said.

The CDC’s death data is based on death certificates certified at the state level, and the timeliness of those certificates varies from state to state, said Jeff Lancashire, a spokesman for the National Center for Health Statistics, a unit of the CDC. In addition, the Justice Department’s collection of firearm death data from crime reports requires an investigative process, which takes a long time, he said.
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To fill the void, Kois and Slate’s interactives lead, Chris Kirk, teamed up and launched a project attempting to track all gun violence in the US a couple weeks after Sandy Hook. But their data was haphazard and incomplete, largely relying on an anonymous Twitter account called @gundeaths that tweeted local news stories of gun violence. And updating the database rapidly became “overwhelming” for the duo, Kois said.

Still, the project garnered media attention, and a handful of committed volunteers reached out to try to fill in the gaps in the data. Bryant was one of those volunteers.

A 67-year-old with a Santa beard, Bryant has spent his career in systems architecture, or building and designing computer systems to make data accessible and useful, primarily at IBM. A native of Kentucky, he also has a personal comfort with guns. He learned to fire a rifle at about 5 or 6 years old by shooting at rats at the garbage dump, and he has continued target shooting as a hobby as an adult.

In November 2012, when a blood clot sent him to the ICU for over a week, he decided to make a career change. After recovering, he came across the Slate gun violence interactive and began “bugging them” that they had missed certain shootings in their database, he said. He bothered them so much that they eventually turned over their passwords to him so he could update the project himself.

“One thing I remember from those days is that Mark was really rigorous about the data,” said Kois, the Slate editor. “Every time there were problems or discrepancies with our data it drove him crazy. It also drove us crazy, but it drove him crazier.”

Slate looked about for someone to fund the project on a more permanent basis and found Mike Klein.

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Klein, 80, had co-founded the real estate and IT company CoStar Group in 1987, and he has used that wealth to fund initiatives focused on transparency and real time access to information. In 2005 he co-founded the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that uses data and technology to make government work more transparent. The organization closed in 2020 and its work and staff were moved to the Internet Archive and the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

“I have a fundamental interest in and commitment to utilizing information to make intelligent decisions,” Klein explained.

In spring of 2013, Klein offered up his own money to bankroll the gun violence data project independently and take it out of Slate’s overwhelmed hands. He and Bryant connected and they agreed to use Klein’s funding and Bryant’s data expertise to create the Gun Violence Archive.

Bryant also put his gun collection toward the effort. He sold several Colt Python revolvers for about $3,000 to $3,500 each and put that money toward paying the starting staff.

“I like the balance of that,” he said. “It paid for operating expenses for me and the four other people that were starting with us. That was the start.”

After Slate’s one-year experiment ended, the Gun Violence Archive launched with its own website on January 1, 2014.

How the Gun Violence Archive works

Chairs and bycycles lie abandoned after people fled the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

For all its data background, the Gun Violence Archive’s work is, at its heart, basic journalism.

Researchers scrape data automatically from about 7,500 law enforcement agencies, media outlets and more organizations, Bryant said. They then comb through the results, double check media sources, follow up with police, and add that information to the database. Most shootings are added to the system within about 72 hours, Bryant said.

About 20 people work under Bryant’s direction, but there are no full-time employees; all of the workers are paid as independent contractors, Bryant said. They live across the world and come from a variety of backgrounds, but over half are librarians, he said.

“We have good people that think,” he said. “They think about archiving. They think about research. They think about getting the facts right.”

The Gun Violence Archive is set up with the IRS as a 501(c)(3), making it a tax-free nonprofit. Klein said he donated about $250,000 per year initially, a sum that grew to $500,000 per year and is now up to $750,000 annually. His contribution makes up about 90% of the group’s budget, according to Bryant.

For the fiscal year ending December 2020, the organization’s entire revenue of $650,000 was from contributions and it spent about $755,000, according to a Form 990 filed with the IRS.

The group has sought to collect data not just on the number of deaths and injuries but on the nature of a shooting: whether it was a domestic incident, police-involved, unintentional, or defensive; where and when it took place; and the age or identity of the victims.

Mark Bryant, left, and Mike Klein launched the Gun Violence Archive to try to log every incident of gun violence in the US in real-time.

“From the beginning, we really focused on making sure that we had a comprehensive view of all the different” types of gun violence, Bryant said.

The researchers are trained using a 50-to-60-page manual that defines the group’s methodology in detail. As needed, they go back and revise their reporting as new information is released or if they discover they had missed some shootings.

The database is not perfect. Bryant believes their data undercounts non-fatal accidental shootings as well as shootings on Native American reservations, likely due to a lack of reporting. Still, he said the differences are generally minimal, and their end-of-year data holds up well compared to the FBI’s and CDC’s reports.

“If you want to see how many people were killed in Kentucky in 2020, you can go to the CDC or the FBI and you will get a number,” he said. “With us, you will get a list of every person, what their general address was, the date, the time, how many people were shot, how many people were arrested, etc., etc. So we will provide a level of texture that nobody else has, period.”

Asher, the gun violence researcher, praised the Gun Violence Archive’s work as “one-of-a-kind” and said it was an “amazing” tool for understanding broad trends and year-to-year changes. However, he has found that their data is sometimes a little bit off from police incident-level reports, making the database difficult to use on a really granular level.

“‘Accurate but not precise’ is a good discussion of them, or good way of thinking of them,” Asher said. “In times where you don’t need exact precision, (it’s a) perfect tool. In times where you do need precision, then it’s not inherently the best tool.”

‘We are simply against gun violence’

A memorial dedicated to the 19 children and two adults killed on May 24, 2022, in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Klein and Bryant have emphasized from the start that the Gun Violence Archive is non-partisan and non-advocacy.

“We basically didn’t want to undermine our ability to be cited as a source,” Klein said. “And I think that’s worked extremely well.”

“We want to convey statistics only,” Bryant said, “and let other people draw conclusions from those statistics.”

The Gun Violence Archive receives the most skepticism for its broad definition of “mass shooting” as any incident with four or more people shot, excluding the shooter. The FBI defines “mass murder” as the murder of four or more people and tracks “active shooter incidents,” but there is no federal or agreed-upon definition for a mass shooting.
The Second Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit gun rights group, has criticized the Gun Violence Archive’s expansive definition of the term as sensational and misleading.
'Active shooter' incidents jumped more than 50% last year, FBI report finds

“When most Americans hear the term ‘mass shooting,’ they picture a crazed gunman stalking the halls of a school or a shopping mall, coldly and randomly executing innocent young victims,” the foundation wrote. “What does not come to mind are rival drug crews shooting it out in Chicago or Detroit, or a madman murdering his entire family.”

Bryant calls the criticism essentially irrelevant.

“My answer on that is, the same number of people are shot whether you call it a ‘mass shooting’ or whether you call it a ‘shooting that four people or more were shot,'” Bryant said. “But they just don’t like when the (term) ‘mass shooting’ is used, some don’t like that.”

In conversation, Bryant used his gun ownership background to push back against criticisms from gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment Foundation. He said the Gun Violence Archive is “anti-gun violence” and compared it to the nonprofit group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“They’re not against alcohol. They’re not against cars. They’re not against drivers. They are against the combination of drivers driving drunk and causing violence through car wrecks,” Bryant said of MADD. “We are not against guns. We are not against gun owners. We are not against any of that. We are simply against gun violence.”

More than eight years after their launch, Klein said he was proud of what they had achieved. Given their respective ages, he has begun searching around for a permanent funding source as well as a successor to Bryant if and when he retires.

“Mark has achieved the goal, which is to have credible, online, free to anybody source of reliable information about … gun violence,” Klein said. “It’s been used to inform discussion and debate, and the question is whether or not we can as a country do something with that information that’s useful.”

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Let’s talk about royal titles

Who has one? Who doesn’t? When do royals get them and why? And, of course, why do some give them up or lose them? Questions like these crop up all the time, and frankly, given all the tradition and historical context involved, we don’t blame you if it gets a bit confusing.

Obviously, heading up the British monarchy you have the sovereign, and when you address them, it’s “His” or “Her Majesty.” Beyond that, most titles are a gift of the monarch.

With a monarch’s children, there are automatic titles in play. The eldest son always becomes the Duke of Cornwall. He is also traditionally granted the title of Prince of Wales — a role in which Charles was invested in 1969.

Beyond the first-born son, all children and grandchildren in the male line of the monarch are born a prince or princess.

It’s worth noting here that royal parents can decline the gift of a title, which the Queen’s daughter, Anne, chose to do for her children. Additionally, royal parents may want their offspring to follow similar styling to themselves. So, in the case of the Queen’s youngest son, Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife, Sophie, their children are styled as those of an Earl and are called Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Great-grandchildren only get the coveted title if they are direct heirs to the throne, like the Cambridges’ eldest, Prince George.

But wait, don’t his siblings have titles, too? You’re quite right — but it’s worth noting that the Queen made special exceptions for them to have equal titles, rather than it being standard for all the Cambridge kids. It’s for this reason that the Sussexes’ two children, Archie and Lilibet, aren’t prince or princess yet. However, that will change once Charles, their grandfather, becomes king.

You’ll also have noticed that senior members of the family are often referred to as “HRH” or “His” or “Her Royal Highness.” With an HRH comes the expectation that you will perform duties on behalf of the monarch. Nevertheless, there are a few members of the family who hold HRHs but don’t represent the Queen, like Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

And, of course, there have been instances when a royal has been asked to stop using the honorific, as was the case with Prince Andrew earlier this year, or they choose to give theirs up, as with the Sussexes. It doesn’t mean that Andrew and Harry are no longer princes — that label is still their birthright — and they are still in the line of succession. There are also fairly recent examples of the title being stripped away — think of Diana, Princess of Wales, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, or Edward VIII following his abdication.

Spouses of princes also usually get courtesy titles. So, when Harry wed Meghan Markle in 2018, she became Princess Henry of Wales — though she rarely goes by this, opting for her gifted title of the Duchess of Sussex instead.

If you’ve got all that down, let’s move on to the peerage system. This dates from medieval times and was designed to ensure the monarch was surrounded by a stable group of nobles to assist in governing the kingdom. The most exclusive rank is that of a duke, followed by marquess, earl, viscount and, finally, baron. These can be gifted to anyone — royal or non-royal subjects.

If the precedence of peerages weren’t baffling enough, it’s further complicated by the fact that an individual can hold multiple peerages of differing ranks. Wives of peers also receive courtesy titles, but husbands generally don’t.

Titles are, for the most part, seen as ceremonial. But there are still hereditary ones — duke or baron — that can give you the chance to sit in the House of Lords, one of two of the houses of the British Parliament, and to vote on laws. As royals are supposed to be politically independent, they don’t take any seats themselves.

Then, lastly, there are knighthoods, which are bestowed by the monarch for exceptional achievement and are handed out on the advice of the government. Men who are knighted are called “Sir” and women are known as “Dame.” Other non-hereditary awards that can be handed out by the monarch include Commander, Officer or Member of the Order of the British Empire (more recognizably known as CBE, OBE or MBE). The sovereign can also choose to confer a British Empire Medal or invest an individual into the orders of the Garter or Thistle.

Phew, ok, that wraps up our overview of the intricate titles systems in play. It’s a complicated arrangement rooted in centuries of tradition. There are some who think it’s outdated and perpetuates the British class system. But whatever your perspective, it doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.


Queen welcomed to Balmoral in private.

The 96-year-old monarch was welcomed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland by a guard of honor on Tuesday, but the event was held privately. The event was adapted for the Queen’s “comfort,” the palace told CNN. Traditionally, the monarch inspects a military unit at the property’s gates to mark her return to the residence. Britain’s PA Media news agency reports that the Queen traveled to Scotland in late July but was understood to have been staying elsewhere on the estate before moving to her main Balmoral retreat this week. The Queen is often joined by family members over the summer at her Scottish residence, but she is expected to break her vacation in September to briefly travel back down to England for audiences with the outgoing Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his successor.

File photograph of the Royal Standard flying from the turrets of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Prince Edward closes Commonwealth Games with message of hope.

The Earl of Wessex wrapped up the 2022 Commonwealth Games by praising the athletes for inspiring future generations of competitors. Taking the podium at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham for the closing ceremony on Monday, the Queen’s youngest son told a packed crowd: “Every four years, we endeavor to come together to celebrate our Commonwealth through sport. Thanks to the manner, style and enthusiasm with which you have competed, officiated, supported, organized and volunteered, you have, once again, brought the spirit and values of the Commonwealth to life.” The prince added, “You have inspired us and hopefully future generations. You have also demonstrated what unites us.” Edward — who has been the vice-patron of the games since 1990 — was a frequent spectator at the various sports, often bringing his wife, Sophie, and children, James and Louise, along, too.

Prince Edward closes the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 8.

Harry and Meghan to receive humanitarian award.

The Sussexes and their Archewell Foundation are to be honored at a charity event next week for their work advocating for Afghan refugees. The award from Human First Coalition will be given to the couple during a benefit event in New York City on Monday. Archewell’s executive director, James Holt, is reportedly set to accept the honor on their behalf. The event will feature traditional Afghan food, music and a bazaar. US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut will also be picking up an award for his services to Afghan refugees at the ceremony, which coincides with the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on July 18.


After 70 years, you’d think the Queen had done it all. And yet, this week we were surprised to find out that her signature is to be featured on UK coinage for the very first time. To coincide with her Platinum Jubilee, the Royal Mint — the official maker of UK coins — is releasing a three-coin set that celebrates important aspects of her reign: awards and honors, her work with charities and the Commonwealth.

Irish artist and illustrator P.J. Lynch, who designed each of the £5 coins, revealed his inspiration, saying: “I initially focused on The Queen’s hands; she is so often shaking hands — it is how she welcomes and communicates with the people she meets. It led me to consider her signature, which is so symbolic, an instrument of state when she signs official documents, but also her personal promise and commitment.”

While the Queen's signature is one of the most recognizable in the world, it's never been struck on UK coinage until now.

“It is time for us all to come together to support the world’s future workforce.”

Prince Charles on International Youth Day.

The Prince of Wales marked International Youth Day on Friday with a call to action to champion the next generation while also acknowledging the challenges it has faced in recent years. In his video message, Charles noted that “from the impact of a public health crisis, and now a cost-of-living challenge, to the threat of climate change, there has been much to erode the hope of the younger generation.”

However, he said the day provided an opportunity to recognize the achievements of younger generations and praised “the resilience and ambition” they present “in the face of unprecedented global challenges.” Take a look at his full remarks here.


Just a quick one, Royal News readers — we wanted to let you know that we’re going on another short two-week break as the summer draws to a close (gosh, that flew by, didn’t it?). But worry not, we’ll be resuming our regular weekly service from September 2.

Take care and see you soon,

Max and Lauren

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