45 Days, 67 Gun Fatalities. The mass shooting by a 43 year-old gunman on the campus of Michigan State University on 13 February is, 45 days into 2023, the 67th mass shooting in the United States, with 105 dead in the either through accidents, murder, or mass shooting sprees (13 Feb). Two days later, on 15 February, legislators in West Virginia passed a bill to allow concealed carry of firearms on university campuses despite overwhelming opposition from students.
Community for you but not for me. One day after that, on 16 February, administrators at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University had to apologize for sending an email emphasizing the importance of community to their students and families in the aftermath of the Michigan mass shooting, written in ChatGPT. Wrote Laith Kayat in their student newspaper: “There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself.”
Super pigs! In the prarie provinces and the northern midwest US states, populations of wild “super” pigs, a cross between domestic pigs and wild boars, have exploded over the past 8 years. Super pigs are highly intelligent, highly elusive, can weigh as much as 500 pounds, and can survive prairie winters which can get as cold as -30 (-50 with wind chill) by burying themselves in the snow — even creating a den out of cattail grass to insulate themselves in their snowy burrow. They can hide in bushes, forests and wetlands and be extremely hard to find for hunters wishing to control their populations. They cause damage to property and can kill larger wildlife and livestock. Super pigs have by now become “too established”, according to wildlife biologists, to control by hunting. (Feb 20)
Asian fail. This one from the South China Morning Post, via MSN: “I did the worst thing out of the best motivation,” said Yang Juming to police. He was in his home in Southwest China, and after an online meeting with a teacher, stabbed his 13 year-old son with a Samurai sword in an attempt to get him to study harder. The child died of his wounds on the way to hospital. (Feb 14)