Welcome to the second edition of xoNews: I read the news, so you don’t have to!
It’s been an extremely tragic news week, which makes fitting all these current events into one post a week pretty difficult. So we're going to try dispensing this dose of xoNews twice a week now, on Wednesday and Friday.
I’ve also added some quick headlines of stories that, while important and interesting, might not warrant fuller coverage on xoJane. Or do they? Do you like this feature? Please let me know in the comments or tweet me @AmandaLauren.
See you on Wednesday!
Oh Captain, My Captain
The following might upset some people, so here is your TRIGGER WARNING.
Also, before you read any further, I want to say that depression and addiction, both of which Williams suffered from, are treatable illnesses, with many modalities of treatment. If you thinking about committing suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 (24 hours a day). Also, if you don’t want to talk on the phone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website has counselors you can chat with from 2:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. EST.
On August 11th, the world lost one of its greatest talents, Robin Williams. There have been countless tributes throughout the Internet, but here is a timeline of the events that led up to the actor’s death:
Williams was a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict, who had been open about his struggles. He once said, “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too much money.” The actor was sober from the early 1980s to 2003, when he relapsed. In 2006, Williams went to rehab to try and get sober again. In 2009, he began to suffer from heart problems and had his aortic valve replaced. Earlier this summer, Williams went to Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota, where he participated in a program to maintain long-term sobriety.
Financial problems may have also contributed to Williams’ depression. His highly anticipated sitcom, “The Crazy Ones,” was cancelled in May. In recent years, Williams was also forced to pay a $30 million divorce settlement to his two former wives. As a result, he put his Napa Valley Ranch on the market for $35 million two years ago and it’s still currently on the market for $29.9 million. Also, yesterday, Williams' wife stated that he had been dealing with the early stages of Parkinson's disease.
At 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Rebecca Irwin Spencer, Mr. Williams’ longtime friend/personal assistant discovered he had committed suicide, by hanging himself with a belt in his home. He did not leave a note. A toxicology report will be released in 2-6 weeks. Williams leaves behind a wife, three children and a world of grieving fans.
A Deadly Crash
On August 9th, 20-year-old NASCAR driver Kevin Ward, Jr. died after being run over by Tony Stewart in the middle of a sprint car race. Here’s what went down: Ward crashed after colliding with Stewart’s car. Ward got out his car, walked onto the track and gestured over to Stewart, who instead of driving around him like all the other cars did, struck Ward and killed him. While Stewart has yet to be charged with a crime, it’s still very much a possibility he could be facing second-degree manslaughter or other charges. An investigation will continue for at least another two weeks.
Ward’s grieving family hasn’t hidden their belief that Stewart’s actions were intentional. Ward’s Aunt Wendi even took to Twitter to make a statement saying Tony Stewart “decided to be a dick.”
While Stewart, who has reportedly gone into hiding, has yet to admit fault, he did make the following statement:
“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Violence in Missouri
On Saturday, August 9th, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Brown was walking in the middle of street with his friend Dorian Johnson when they were approached by a police car and were told by an officer to move to the sidewalk. Eyewitnesses said the officers got into a verbal confrontation with Brown and Johnson, which culminated in the police trying to put Brown in the police car. A shot was fired and Brown and Johnson attempted to flee. A second shot was then fired and Brown turned around with his hands in the air and attempted to surrender before being shot again multiple times.
The police are justifying their actions by saying that Brown assaulted the officer (his face was allegedly swollen) and tried to take his weapon. Eyewitnesses and authorities have conflicting stories as to whether Brown assaulted the officer, or entered the police cruiser.
A group gathered at the site where Brown was shot and another group of protestors formed at police headquarters. The first protests were peaceful, but tensions kept rising. A convenience store was set on fire and some of the protests descended into violence.
Police helicopters and the SWAT team came in and used tear gas to break up those looting. Dozens of people have been arrested and over 20 police cars have been damaged. The streets are still filled with protests. Reports of police brutality continue to pour in.
Police violence has not been limited to the protestors. Members of the press covering the events have also been subjected to everything from being assaulted to being gassed. On Wednesday night, the police stormed a McDonald's where no violence was occurring and arrested two journalists who, despite being asked not to, recorded the incident. One reporter was allegedly assaulted. They have since been released.
Violence in Iraq
Tens of thousands of Yazidis, who are a small religious group living in Northern Iraq, have been forced to escape into the mountains to hide from ISIS militants. ISIS has moved into the regions where the Yazidis live and have buried people alive and taken women as slaves. Syrian Kurds have aided this minority by helping people get off the mountain and bringing them Syria or back to Iraq.
The US has sent humanitarian aid, but will no longer continue to do so because they believe the situation is improving. The UN however, has declared a Level 3 Emergency.
Here are some other important things you might like to know that have happened since last week.
• The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues.
• On August 12th screen legend Lauren Bacall died at 89 of a stroke at her home in New York.
• The Los Angeles Clippers (remember Donald Sterling?) were sold to Steve Ballmer, a former Microsoft CEO, for $2 billion.