We're pleased to bring you "While You Were Out"—Verily's quick takes on the happenings of this week.
The Queen celebrates Platinum Jubilee with four-day celebration
Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years since her coronation. This past weekend, people gathered in the streets across the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth to celebrate their monarch’s long reign. The weekend events were attended by members of the royal family, with notable appearances including some hilarious toddler antics from four-year-old Prince Louis, who proved that children will be children even with royal blood.
The four-day celebration included the Trooping the Colour military parade, Jubilee Luncheons, a People’s pageant and a concert at Buckingham Palace, which included performances from Elton John, Diana Ross, and Andrea Bocelli.
The 96-year-old monarch was not present at all events, part of an ongoing pattern as she continues to step back from public appearances and let her son, Prince Charles, take the lead.
In a statement released by the palace, the Queen expressed her gratitude for her seventy years and her royal subjects.
“When it comes to how to mark seventy years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow,” she said. “It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee. While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.” —Gabriella Patti
Alleged attempt to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh fails
Officials apprehended a man near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after they were tipped off that the 26-year-old male, carrying a Glock and pepper spray, was plotting to break into the justice’s home to assassinate him.
Since the Supreme Court draft decision suggesting it would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, pro-abortion protestors have been demonstrating at the Supreme Court—and at justices’ personal residences.
According to the Washington Post, two people familiar with the investigation said anger over the Roe decision, and the mass shooting in Uvalde, inspired the would-be assassin, who was apprehended on a street close to Kavanaugh’s Montgomery County, MD, home early on Wednesday morning. The man, who was from California, was charged with attempted murder.
After the Supreme Court draft leak, the Senate passed a bill extending further security to Supreme Court justices. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the House of Representatives to finally pass it. “House Democrats need to stop their multi-week blockade against the Supreme Court security bill and pass it before the sun sets today,” he said.
The White House, which last month had refused to explicitly condemn protesting at justices’ homes, denounced the attempted attack.
“President Biden condemns the actions of this individual in the strongest terms, and is grateful to law enforcement for quickly taking him into custody,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told The Daily Wire. “As the President has consistently made clear, public officials—including judges—must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety or that of their families.” —Madeline Fry Schultz
Simone Biles and others file lawsuit against FBI for mishandling of Nassar sexual abuse case
Over 90 plaintiffs, including US gymnasts and Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, have filed a lawsuit against the FBI for mishandling the sexual abuse charges against Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor.
Nassar was found guilty in 2017 on state charges for decades of sexual abuse. The FBI was informed of Nassar’s abuse in 2015 but didn’t immediately act. In the 14-month-span when the FBI first knew of his behavior and when they acted, at least 40 girls and women were molested by Nassar.
This lawsuit comes two weeks after the Department of Justice decided not to pursue criminal charges against the former FBI agents who failed to act and investigate Nassar. The inspector general did acknowledge that the FBI had made errors and had failed to handle the case with the “utmost seriousness.”
“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us—the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, the FBI, and now the Department of Justice,” said former MSU gymnast Samantha Roy, who is named as one of the plaintiffs. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process.” —GP
House responds to families, victims call for swift gun reform
The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass wide-ranging gun control legislation called the “Protecting Our Kids Act.” While the measure is not expected to pass the Senate, it is a response to the two most recent mass shootings in the United States, in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX.
The measures listed in the bill included raising the minimum age for purchasing most semiautomatic rifles to 21 and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The vote came after two days of testimony, during which victims, parents of victims and witnesses to the horrors of the two recent mass shootings testified before the House Oversight Committee, urging them to act on gun control measures.
The shooting in a Buffalo grocery store left ten dead and three injured. The shooting in a Uvalde elementary school left 17 wounded and 21 dead, including 19 children.
Parents urged the House to implement red flag laws, strengthen background checks, raise the minimum age to purchase a gun and ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
The committee heard the gutwrenching stories of survivors and heartbroken parents as well as Dr. Roy Guerrero, the president of Uvalde Memorial Hospital. He recounted being in the hospital the day of the shooting.
"I raced to the hospital to find parents outside yelling children's names in desperation and sobbing as they begged for any news related to their child," he said. "Those mothers' cries I will never get out of my head."
Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman, a survivor of the Buffalo shooting, said that if these testimonies did not move lawmakers to act on stricter gun laws, she invited them into her home to help clean her son’s wounds caused by the shooting.
On Thursday, the House voted to nationalize red flag laws, passing the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order.” Red flag laws allow courts to seize guns from individuals deemed a threat to themselves and others.
The House passed the two bills just ahead of the March for Our Lives rally, which is set to take place in Washington DC and cities across the country on Saturday, June 11. The rallies are being held to ask Congress to change gun laws. The first one was organized in 2018 by student protesters after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman High school in Parkland, Florida. —GP
DHS warns of copycat violence after Ulvade shooting
Radical online forums may be encouraging copycat violence similar to the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, according to the Department of Homeland Security. On Tuesday, the department issued a terror threat bulletin warning these online forums have “seized on the event to attempt to spread disinformation and incite grievances, including claims it was a government-staged event meant to advance gun control measures.”
The United States has seen a violent past few weeks, with a racially motivated mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, followed by a school shooting resulting in the deaths of 21 students and teachers at Uvalde. Last week, a man shot and killed four people at Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa.
Most of the deadliest mass shootings in the past several years have been carried out by men under the age of 21; a senior homeland security official noted that many of these men may have been radicalized by their internet activity.
“With individuals who are younger in age, committing these attacks, we think—and this is something we're still looking at—access to content online is really fueling those personal grievances and often inaccurate misperceptions about current events,” the official told reporters, according to CBS. “It's really difficult for younger individuals to navigate the internet and understand what is considered to be credible information that they're consuming.”
Now U.S. officials are guarding against future threats. “As recent acts of violence in communities across the country have so tragically demonstrated, the nation remains in a heightened threat environment, and we expect that environment will become more dynamic in the coming months,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “The Department of Homeland Security remains steadfast in our commitment to provide timely information and resources to the American public and our partners across every level of government, in law enforcement, and in the private sector.” —MFS
‘Ms. Marvel’ TV show premieres on Disney+
The first episode of the new Ms. Marvel TV show was released on Disney+ on June 8, marking a new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a moment of representation for Muslim and South Asian communities.
Ms. Marvel, or Kamala Khan, is a young Pakistani Muslim girl in high school who fangirls over her favorite Avengers and loves comic books. Islam and South Asian culture are woven into her story as she discovers that she has superpowers like her heroes, the Avengers. Twitter was abuzz with women who finally felt seen by the cultural representation that Khan brings to the Marvel universe.
American author, activist, and founder of the blog MuslimGirl, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, tweeted a video from the Ms. Marvel premiere, saying that this was the first time that Muslim media was represented on the Marvel red carpet. She noted on Instagram, “even though kamala khan’s story is relatable to anyone, this is a historic milestone for muslim representation in hollywood & media that deserves to be celebrated . . . i’ve watched the brilliant women behind this project patiently + persistently build up this dream for years to get to this moment, and now we’re finally here. like we’ve been telling you — teen girls will save the world.” —GP
Harvey Weinstein faced new charges in UK as LA trial date is announced
Former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, faces two new indecent assault charges against a woman in the UK in 1996. These charges were authorized after British law enforcement reviewed the evidence about the alleged assaults, which took place between July 31 and August 31, 1996.
These new assault charges were announced as Weinstein awaits trial this October for charges of rape and sexual assault against five women over nine years in LA county. He is currently serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted on rape charges during a trial in Manhattan in February 2020. If found guilty, Weinstein could face 140 years behind bars. —GP
Good News of the Week
A child known as “Baby Holly” went missing 40 years ago after her parents were found dead in the woods in 1981. Now 42-years-old, Baby Holly, who goes by a different name, has been found alive and well and has been reunited with her remaining family members, including her paternal grandmother.
In 1981 the bodies of Florida residents Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr. were found in Houston, TX. Their baby girl was nowhere to be found. The couple’s bodies were not identified until last year, when investigators used genetic genealogy to positively identify the bodies.
Holly had been mysteriously left in a church in Arizona by two women. She was adopted and raised by a family who investigators said had nothing to do with the murder of her biological parents. Holly is now a mother of five and lives in Oklahoma.
The discovery of Holly was made on her biological father’s birthday, which her grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said was "a birthday present from heaven.”
"I prayed for more than 40 years for answers, and the Lord has revealed some of it," Casasanta said. —GP
Watch of the Week
Watch Prince Louis, the four-year-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as he stands next to his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II during her Platinum Jubilee celebration and acts like, well, a four-year-old.