Welcome to your midweek dose of “aren’t you glad this isn’t your life!” From a domestic beheading (tragic, but at least unrelated to international terrorism) to a potential pubic health crisis and an athlete breaking the law (no, it wasn’t an NFL player and no, it wasn’t related to domestic violence). One of the most interesting stories this week is about the Attorney General of Pennsylvania victim shaming a federal employee who was raped on the job. The worst part? The person doing the shaming is female!
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First Ebola Case Reported In The U.S.
Hold onto your Purell because the first case of Ebola in the U.S. has been officially diagnosed. According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, who is the head of the CDC, the man diagnosed (who cannot be named for privacy reasons) came back to the United States from Liberia on September 20th and did not feel symptoms of the illness until four or five days after landing. He is currently being treated in intensive care at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Frieden also added,
It's a severe disease, which has a high-case fatality rate, even with the best of care, but there are core, tried and true public health interventions that stop it. The bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this importation of this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country.
So, stay calm, perhaps postpone any scheduled travel to Africa and you should be just fine.
California Gives Plastic Bags The Bag
On Tuesday, California became the first state to outright ban single-use plastic bags, which are the kind of you get when you buy something at the grocery store or pharmacy. This new law will reduce waste and encourage consumers to bring their own re-usable bags.
There are over 100 cities in California that have already banned plastic bags on a local level, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. And should you forget your reusable bags (hey, it happens) paper bags will continue to be available at a cost of 10 cents each.
The ban will officially be in effect in July 2015, phasing out all plastic bags from supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores.
Both plastic and paper bag manufacturers are opposed to this legislation saying it will result in a loss of manufacturing jobs. However, the law does provide funds to make up for the revenue loss.
It should be noted that while re-useable bags are best for the environment, many studies have shown that both paper and plastic bags have a similar impact on the environment.
A Beheading In The U.S.
Alton Nolen, 30 has been charged with first-degree murder and could potentially face the death penalty.
After being fired from his job at the Vaughan Foods processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, Nolen allegedly went on an angry rampage beheading his former co-worker Colleen Hufford, 54, and stabbing another, Traci Johnson, 43. He was reportedly fired due to an altercation with Johnson.
Mark Baughan, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, who is also a reserve sheriff’s deputy, shot and injured Nolen in both his arm and abdomen, preventing him from injuring anyone else. Nolen is currently being treated for his injuries at a local hospital, but will be arraigned after he is released.
Cleveland County Prosecutor, Greg Mashburn said that Nolen had recently converted to Islam and was trying to convert several coworkers. Mashburn added that Nolen has “some sort of infatuation with beheadings,” and said:
[The incident] seemed to be related to his interest in killing someone that way. Other than that, it seemed to be related to his being suspended earlier in the day.
Nolen’s family was surprised and his mother responded to the reports through a video on Facebook saying
My son was raised up in a loving home. My son was raised up believing in God. Our hearts bleed right now because of what they're saying Alton has done.
However, Nolen isn’t exactly the person his mother would lead you to believe he is. Previously Nolen served two years of a six-year sentence for various charges including assaulting a police officer and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He was released in March 2013.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane Victim Shames A Raped Federal Employee
Yes, you read that correctly. A female attorney general blamed a state employee for her own rape in response to a lawsuit the victim filed against the state. In 2013, an unnamed 24-year-old woman was working at Rockview State Prison in Bellfonte, Pennslyvania as a clerk. She was attacked, choked unconscious and raped by Omar Best, an inmate serving time for sex crimes. Best had been transferred to Rockview from another state prison because he assaulted another female assistant.
The victim is suing the state because the inmate was allowed unfettered access to her despite his previous record for assaulting women. The lawsuit stated:
There were no locked doors between the offices and cell blocks, including Block C where [the victim] worked, except for the copy room.
Kane’s office initially responded to the clerk’s lawsuit, saying:
Some or all of the damages plaintiff have alleged are in part, or substantially due, to the acts of third parties other than the answering defendants, and/or plaintiff acted in a manner which in whole or in part contributed to the events which led to the damages plaintiff has alleged in her complaint.
But Kane claims she didn’t know about this statement and never approved it. Her spokesperson said:
This initial filing should not necessarily be interpreted as meaning this defense will be pursued throughout the entire case. ... Attorney General Kane is disappointed that she was not made aware of this matter prior to the filing, and was saddened to learn that the filing implied that the victim somehow contributed to this crime.
In other words, Kane says she never signed off on the initial response and would not have made those statements otherwise.
• Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps’ week isn’t going as swimmingly as you would expect. Monday night, he was busted for DUI in Baltimore, while driving nearly twice the speed limit, crossing double lines and failing multiple sobriety tests. He apologized on Twitter saying, “Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines. I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
• On Tuesday, Fern Creek High School in Louisville Kentucky went under lockdown when a student was shot just before 1:00 p.m. The victim had non-threatening injuries and the suspect is currently in police custody.
• Loving your new iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy, but having trouble fitting it into your jeans? No, there’s not an app for that, but several jeans manufacturers -- including American Eagle, Levi, Lee, L.L. Bean and J. Crew -- are looking to find a solution to this problem, especially because of the new iPhone 6s bending issue.