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US saw 204 mass shootings in 2015: Report

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Washington:  As yet another mass shooting in the US put the spotlight back on the contentious issue of gun control, media reports said that there have been 204 mass shootings in as many days in 2015 so far. President_Obama_Speaks_on_the_Shooting_in_Connecticut_(2012-12-14)

Thursday night’s shooting by a white man at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theatre showing the comedy “Trainwreck”, that left two women killed and nine injured was the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks.

The alleged shooter John Russell “Rusty” Houser, 59, using a handgun he legally purchased from an Alabama pawn shop methodically shot 11 people by firing off one 10-round clip, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craig.

“This was slow and methodical,” as the State’s Indian-American Governor Bobby Jindal put it. “This was not a single burst.”

The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, according to the Washington Post, had listed 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015 before the Louisiana movie theatre shooting.

This year there were 18 mass shootings in April, 39 in May, 41 in June, and 34 so far in July, the Post said.

The theatre shooting was Louisiana’s eighth this year. There have been 10 in Ohio, 14 in California and 16 in New York.

“Will anything change?” the Post asked and itself answered “Probably not” noting the reaction to the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white young man shot and killed nine black worshipers at a historic church.

It “did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs,” the Post noted.

“The morning after the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks, the presidential candidates acted as though they hadn’t seen the news,” the New York Times suggested looking at their reactions.

Though most denounced the shootings and called for prayers for the victims, “none of the presidential contenders offered policy solutions to address gun violence”, it noted describing it as a “reflection of the fact that gun laws are politically radioactive”.

Even “Jindal, who is mounting a long-shot candidacy for the Republican nomination, completely deflected questions on tougher gun laws, saying he would talk about ‘policy and politics’ another time”, Times said.

The leading Republican presidential candidates are overwhelmingly opposed to any effort to restrict access to guns, it noted.

The Democratic hopefuls have proposed gun control measures, but they too have been generally more focused on issues of economics, race and gender than gun violence, according to the Times.

Although President Barack Obama said this week that the failure to convince Congress to pass “commonsense gun safety laws” was one of the great regrets of his presidency, Times said “Congress is unlikely to close any of the loopholes in federal gun laws exposed by the recent shootings”.

(IANS)

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Uber Receives 3,045 Cases of Sexual Assault in U.S. in Year 2018

"We are partnering with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme," Uber added

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Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Ride-hailing giant Uber has released its first safety review which contains thousands of sexual assault reports. The company has also revealed the changes it was making to make rides safer for its passengers and drivers.

The two-year safety review contains almost 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault that Uber received in 2017 and 3,045 it received in 2018.

Notably, the cab aggregator categorises sexual assaults into five subcategories, which are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, non-consenual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part and non-consensual sexual penetration.

In the last sub category, which is rape, the cab hailing major received 229 reports of rape in 2017 and 235 reports of rape in 2018. Throughout 2017 and 2018, the reported incidents occurred on 0.00002% of trips, according to the company.

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society,” Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, said in the review.

“And, most importantly, by bringing hard data to bear, we can make every trip safer for drivers and riders alike.”

Uber
Uber app. Pixabay

The ride hailing major long been under fire for its safety practices.

In its response to making rides safer for its passengers, Uber mentioned developments like its “in-app safety button”.

“We’re rolling out new features that allow riders to verify their driver with a secure PIN code, send a text message directly to 911 operators, and report safety incidents to Uber even before their trip is over,” the company said.

Also Read: Elon Musk Wins in Defamation Trial Over his ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

In 2020, the cab aggregator will expand sexual misconduct and assault education to all the US drivers.

“We are partnering with RAINN, the nation’s largest sexual violence organisation, to design and implement this programme,” Uber added. (IANS)