Families of several of the 70 people killed or injured in the Aurora shooting in Colorado have launched an impassioned attack on local bureaucrats who they say have denied them a voice over the $5m relief fund raised after the tragedy.
Family members of 11 of the 12 who died in the shooting on 20 July joined relatives of some of the injured at a news conference in which they disclosed increasingly rancorous relations between them and local organisations purporting to help them. They complained that although the funds had been raised to support victims and their families, they had been entirely cut out of decision-making process over how the money should be used.
Tom Teves, father of Alex Teves, 24, who died during the rampage at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, read out a statement on behalf of the group. It said that not a single victim was represented on the 24-strong board of the 7/20 Recovery Committee that had been set up to disburse the funds.
“We are certain that everyone who donated intended that their money goes directly to the victims. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case,” Teves said.
He had particularly harsh words for the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, who set up the Aurora Victim Relief Fund in partnership with local groups. “You came and you grieved with our families. We allowed you into our family circles at the worst time in our lives. You pledged to stand by the families, but are you a man of your word?” Teves said.
So far the relief fund has handed out $350,000 of the $5m in lump sums of $5,000 to families of the dead or to those injured. But the families are angered that the money is being disbursed indirectly, with no direct involvement for them.
The website of the fund states explicitly that “it does not make grants directly to individuals, but to non-profit organizations offering assistance to those individuals”.
When Teves protested that the families wanted a robust voice over how the funds were allocated, he said he was told that they should start their own money-raising charity.
Tuesday’s press conference was the first time that the Aurora families have spoken out since the massacre, other than sparse individual comments at the time of the shooting. They made no comment on gun laws or any security failings that might have contributed to the disaster, though Teves hinted that he might talk about such subjects on a separate occasion.
The families were palpably distressed when they were asked by a reporter why they needed the money. Several family members referred to ongoing treatment and medical bills.
Melisa Cowden talked about the impact on her four children who had lost their father, Gordon Cowden, 51, in the tragedy. “They will go through the rest of their lives without their dad – this is about their futures.”
Teves added: “Nobody’s going to get rich out of this. For the 12 of us [families of the dead] – there’s not enough money in the federal government to make up what we’ve lost.”
Trump declares himself the ‘greatest of all presidents’ in manic tweetstorm attacking Pelosi and Democrats
Donald Trump broke out of his Twitter hibernation on Saturday afternoon just before flying off to Florida for a pair of fundraisers, and used the opportunity to declare himself the "greatest of all presidents."
Attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not passing his signature trade bill, Trump then went after Democrats for trying to impeach him -- saying they were making a big mistake.
On Twitter, the president wrote: ""Hard to believe, but if Nancy Pelosi had put our great Trade Deal with Mexico and Canada, USMCA, up for a vote long ago, our economy would be even better. If she doesn’t move quickly, it will collapse!"
Donald Trump sounds like a complete lunatic because he’s isolated himself in a far-right media bubble
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
If you have an older relative who spends way too much time stewing in the conservative media, you may have experienced a moment when you not only disagreed with him, but you realized that you had no earthly clue what he was going on about. Perhaps it was when he started talking about the UN plot to eliminate golf courses and replace paved roads with bicycle paths. Maybe he stopped you in your tracks with a discourse on why flies were attracted to Barack Obama, or complained about the government insisting on referring to Christians as "Easter-worshippers" or expressed outrage over 9/11 hijackers being given leniency by Muslim jurists.
Trump’s claim impeachment ‘nullifies’ 2016 election blown up in new House Judiciary Committee report
On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released their report outlining the offenses committed by President Donald Trump, and the legal framework for impeachment — which clears the way for Congress to write and approve articles of impeachment against him.
One of the key issues examined by the report is the claim, repeatedly made by the president and his supporters, that impeachment would "nullify" the 2016 presidential election and the popular will — which is already a weak claim given that Trump never won the popular vote, and that impeaching Trump would still install Mike Pence as president. But the report more broadly rejects the entire claim that an election result immunizes a president from punishment for official misconduct.