EDM Monday Briefing: Police Ambush, Open Carry Gun Restrictions, Nice Attack Aftermath
Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 18, 2016: Three police officers in Baton Rouge die in an ambush, gun-related police deaths are on the rise, Cleveland's largest police union calls for "open carry" gun restrictions, France struggles to deal with the aftermath of the Nice terror attack, France's emergency smartphone app fails, and Florida is denied federal assistance to help deal with its algae problem.
- Three Baton Rouge police officers died and at least three other officers were injured in an ambush by a lone shooter who reportedly wore black fatigues and was armed with a rifle. Police confirmed that the suspect, 29-year-old Gavin Long of Kansas City, MO, also died in the shootout with police. Authorities originally believed that up to three suspects were involved, but later confirmed Long as the only suspect and only shooter.
- As the hours since the fatal shooting of three Baton Rouge police officers tick on, a clearer portrait of alleged shooter Gavin Long is surfacing. Long, a Marine sergeant who was deployed to Iraq twice, reportedly affiliated himself with the so-called sovereign citizen movement and was willing to endorse violent methods to take on those in power. He left behind an extensive digital footprint that officials are still combing through.
- Year-over-year from July 2015 to July 2016 police officer deaths from guns are up 72 percent in the United States. In 2015, from January 1 through July 17, there were a total of 18 gun-related law enforcement fatalities in the U.S. This year, from January 1 through yesterday, 31 law enforcement officers died in gun-related incidents. Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers started to decline steadily in 2014 before rising sharply the past two years.
- The recent spate of incidents involving police officers being shot led Stephen Loomis, the president of Cleveland's largest police union, to call on Ohio Governor John Kasich to restrict Ohio's open carry gun laws temporarily during the Republican National Convention (RNC). The RNC is set to take place in the city this week, and Ohio law makes it legal for licensed gun owners to wear their weapons in public. Kasich responded, saying that has no power to suspend federal and state constitutional rights, as requested by the union.
- French authorities arrested two people Sunday, an Albanian couple, in connection with the terrorist attack in Nice last week that left 84 people dead. The couple's suspected role in the attack is unknown at this point. Anger is rising in France after this recent terror attack -- the latest in a string of brutal terror attacks in the country in the past 18 months -- as a growing group on French citizens is beginning to call out French President François Hollande and the government for doing too little to protect the country.
- France's Saip emergency smartphone app failed at the worst possible time -- during the Nice terrorist attack. The app, which was created by the French government, was supposed to warn people of terrorist incidents. The app malfunctioned during the Nice attack and sent out alert hours after the incident occurred. The French government vowed to overhaul the app after the untimely malfunction.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid has been made available in Oklahoma in response to severe storms and flooding that hit the state from June 11-13, 2016. Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Garvin, Grady, and Stephens counties are all included in the declaration.
- The White House denied Florida Governor Rick Scott's request for a federal emergency declaration due to toxic blue-green algae that is plaguing Treasure Coast waterways in the state. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate responded to Scott's request for aid, stating that the request was denied because federal assistance (under the Stafford Act) is not appropriate for the event. Scott also declared a state of emergency on June 29, 2016 in response to the issue.
- Some regions of Sub-Saharan Africa are known for its remote villages and sparsely populated locations may soon have access to electricity due to an innovative program utilizing solar panels and mini-grids. The simplistic systems are more easily maintained, allowing for greater resilience for communities, and offer hope in the face of darkness.
- Chicago authorities and the Chicago Cubs collaborated in a simulation last week that tested emergency response to an active shooter at the ballpark. In addition to members of the Cubs organization, the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications also participated in the drill.
- Hong Kong’s beaches and coastal areas are awash in garbage -- everything from candy and food wrappers to plastic water bottles is being deposited on southern beaches and coastal areas. It is believed at least some of it is coming from mainland China, but officials are also admit that Hong Kong’s own citizens are likely contributing to the problem.