We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
San Bernardino Shooting Kills Three
This week another tragic shooting took place in San Bernardino, California, the city’s second since December 2015. Cedric Anderson, 53 years old, entered an elementary school and opened fire on his estranged wife Karen Elaine Smith, killing her and 8-year-old student Jonathan Martinez before shooting himself. One student named Brooklyn, who escaped when the gunman opened fire, told NBC Los Angeles, “I ran as fast as I can. . . . It was scary. I was a brave girl.” Her mom later added, “I’m just going to make sure I kiss my baby every day before she leaves for school and just pray to God every day that she makes it home safely.” Our thoughts and prayers are with the families. —Mary Rose Somarriba
United Airlines Under Fire for Forcing Man Off Plane
United Airlines hit a little more than wind turbulence this past week after a video went viral of officials forcibly removing a man off a flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday night. According to the Louisville Courier, the man had refused to give up his seat on the overbooked flight 3411. To remedy the overbooking, “passengers were offered $400 and a free hotel room in exchange for their seat.” The offer was doubled when still no passengers took the offer. “United officials said the flight would not take off until four of its employees who needed to be in Louisville on Monday morning to service a flight were seated.” The man in the video was one of four randomly selected passengers that were asked to be removed from the flight and placed on a flight the following morning, according to United statements. After refusing to get off the plane, explaining that as a doctor he had patients to see the following day, he was confronted by security and, as seen in the video, was dragged off the plane. He later received medical attention for a bloody face.
Flight 3411 was delayed for nearly two hours because of the incident. United's stock price dove in the aftermath, losing nearly $1 billion in market capital. CEO Oscar Munoz issued a formal apology on Tuesday but also said he would not resign. The latest follow-up action from United is that it offered a full refund to all of the passengers on the flight that day.—Mary Brodeur
Ashton Kutcher Says His Brother Taught Him How to Love
Last Saturday, 39-year-old Ashton Kutcher was in Iowa receiving the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award. The award is given to “individuals who consistently demonstrate good character as a visible role model.” Besides having a hugely successful acting career and being married to Mila Kunis, Kutcher is also well known for his charity work. He co-founded The Native Fund, an Iowa disaster relief organization. He is also the co-founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, which combats the sexual exploitation of children through technology.
In a moving speech, Kutcher paid tribute to his brother to whom he says he owes much of his character. He said, "My brother was born with cerebral palsy, and it taught me that loving people isn't a choice and that people aren't actually all created equal.” Kutcher seemed to be struggling with his emotions as he continued: "The Constitution lies to us. We're not all created equal. We're all created incredibly unequal to one another, in our capabilities and what we can do and how we think and what we see.” While the Founding Fathers most likely recognized distinction between equity and equality—that we are all created equal in value, even if we do differ in terms of abilities—Kutcher’s next comment melts the heart: “But we all have the equal capacity to love one another, and my brother taught me that." —Maddy Kearns
We Wish This Existed When We Were Teenage Athletes
Since third grade, 2016 U.S. track and field Olympian gold medalist, Michelle Carter, aka “Shot Put Diva,” has battled ideas about how females "should" look. A shot putter in high school, she met a guy who told her, “Wow, you actually look like a girl.” “In that moment,” Carter told The Root in an interview published this week, “I kind of realized that people don’t look at my sport as . . . feminine or girly. They don’t expect you to look that way. But I always embrace both sides of me. I like throwing this heavy ball into dirt, but I also wear lipstick and lashes while doing it.” Carter adds, “Sometimes we have this idea that for me to be a great athlete . . . I have to look a certain way to be taken seriously.”
With this in mind, Carter founded You Throw, Girl, a sports-confidence camp that encourages young women to embrace all of who they are as females and athletes. Carter notes, “I probably wouldn’t be the gold medalist if I didn’t learn how to accept my body as it is today.” Suffice it to say my teenage athlete self wishes I'd heard this message sooner. Thanks to Carter's initative, young female athletes today can look forward to You Throw, Girl’s inaugural camp starting May 20, 2017. —Krizia Liquido
Report from France Shows Motherhood Penalty Results in Lower Pay
A new study out of France this week revealed that mothers earn less for each child that she bears. According to researchers, mothers earn 3 percent per hour less for each child they have compared with women working in similar jobs who do not have children. The university behind this research—the University of Paris-Saclay—studied sixteen years of income data in private sector companies in France. The results showed that women’s incomes were affected by adding a new child to the family, while a new baby did nothing to men’s incomes.
Researchers noted the cause of this as a possibility of several different reasons. For example, after welcoming a new addition to the family, some women tend to return to work part time or make trade-offs between rates of pay and flexibility of hours and location. Another example researchers gave was the toll all the time spent on maternity leave took on women’s career trajectory and that mothers may miss out on new training and promotional opportunities. However, researchers also noted that these reasons weren’t enough to account for all 3 percent of the pay gap, suggesting that there is likely discrimination against mothers in the workplace. The director of graduate studies at the ENSAE school of the University of Paris-Saclay said, "The motherhood penalty accounts for noticeable hourly wage differences following childbirth.” He added, "This is both unfair and inefficient. It requires further public intervention, including campaigns against discrimination, development of on-the-job childcare, and extension of paternity leave." —Katie Faley
Nancy Kerrigan Opens Up About Her Six Miscarriages
This week on Dancing with the Stars, contestants recalled their most memorable years, incorporating past formative moments into their dances. It was a tearjerker. Monday night, the celebs opened up about past struggles, including health issues and parenting troubles. Former Olympian figure skater Nancy Kerrigan opened up to her dancing partner, Artem Chigvintsev, about her painful experience with miscarriage.
Through tears, Kerrigan shared how she always hoped to have three kids by the time she was 30. Soon after marrying her agent Jerry Solomon, the couple welcomed their first son Matthew in 1997. Kerrigan said, “Not long after having Matthew, we thought we wanted to have more kids. So I got pregnant, but I had a miscarriage . . . it makes you feel like a failure.” She continued, “It almost felt shameful, because I couldn’t do it on my own.” The former figure skater went on to suffer five more miscarriages. The hardest part, she told People Magazine, was telling her son. “Once, the pregnancy was far enough along that we actually told our son and he was so excited,” she added, “How do you explain [a miscarriage] to a little kid? Having to tell them that it was now gone and they had to take it out? He asked why, and we had to explain, ‘Because it’s dead. It’s not alive anymore.’ That was awful.” Kerrigan’s story certainly echoes the pain miscarriage brings many women. —KF
France Sees Results on Anniversary of Anti-Sex-Buying Law
One year ago, on April 13, 2016, a new French law was enacted which made paying for sex a criminal offense. Countries with similar laws are Northern Ireland, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. These laws were brought about in order to reduce sex trafficking and the clients are the focus of punishment rather than the prostituted people. Of the 30,000 to 40,000 prostituted people in France, nearly 90 percent are victims of human trafficking from the third world, hence the turn from criminalizing them for a lifestyle they didn’t choose.
Since the law was introduced in France, 937 sex buyers have been arrested (according to the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution). The Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution is an international charity providing support to victims of sexual exploitation. CAP Chief Executive Gregoire Thery said, "The aim is to reduce the scale of prostitution, pimping, and trafficking in France. To remove the repression of victims, and remove the impunity of the exploiters." We’re glad to see France’s efforts showing promise and stepping away from charging prostituted women for crimes done against them. —MK