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Idaho woman shot dead by 2-year-old son in Walmart was a nuclear research scientist

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The woman who was shot to death by her 2-year-son at an Idaho Walmart was identified as nuclear research scientist Veronica Rutledge, The Spokesman-Review reports.

Rutledge had taken her son, as well as her nieces and nephews, to Hayden Walmart so they could spend their holiday gift cards. She was carrying a concealed handgun in a purse specifically designed to do so — it had been a Christmas gift from her husband, Colt.

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Her father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told the Washington Post that the gun was “zippered closed” inside the new purse, which she momentarily left unattended while shopping.

“An inquisitive 2-year-old boy reached into the purse, unzipped the compartment, found the gun and shot his mother in the head,” Rutledge said. “It’s a terrible, terrible incident” — and one which his son is not handling well.

“[Colt] has a 2-year-old boy right now who doesn’t know where his mom is and he will have to explain why his mom isn’t coming home. And then, later on in his life, as he questions it more, he’ll again have to explain what happened, so we’ll have to relive this several times over,” Rutledge said.

Rutledge also said that he is angry that his daughter-in-law’s death has become a talking point for both sides in the gun rights debate.

“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” he said. “I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.”

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Both Colt and Veronica were avid gun enthusiasts who never left the home unarmed. “They carried one every day of their lives, and they shot extensively,” Rutledge said. “They loved it. Odd as it may sound, we are gun people.”

Veronica Rutledge — who earned a degree in chemical engineering — worked as a researcher at the Idaho National Laboratory, an installation that assists the United States Department of Energy with nuclear and energy research. She had published several articles during her tenure there.


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Navy captain fired by Trump over coronavirus letter tests positive for COVID-19: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, the Navy captain relieved of his duties by the Trump administration over a letter drawing attention to dangerous health conditions on his aircraft carrier has tested positive for COVID-19.

The report states, "Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family."

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Georgia GOP governor orders several beaches to reopen days after acknowledging he’s woefully uneducated on coronavirus spread

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that Kemp is reopening Tybee Island and other beaches along the Georgia coast.

Local officials in several of Georgia’s coastal communities reacted with fury on Saturday after Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order simultaneously reopened several of the state’s most popular beaches.

The stupidity and lack of regard of human life on display in Republican-run states is beyond criminal and inhumane. In fact, there are no words to describe this. Because the longer these so-called “leaders” make decisions that are in the best interests of, I don’t know who, the longer it will take to come out of this pandemic that is claiming so many thousands of lives.

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Health care insurers expected to jack up premiums as much as 40 percent to recoup coronavirus losses

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Private health insurers are expected to raise premiums by as much as 40% to recoup the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment, according to a new analysis from Covered California, the state's health care marketplace.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Though it remains unclear how much the coronavirus crisis will ultimately cost in health care expenditures, insurers will be submitting their 2021 rates to state regulators next month. Analyzing a wide range of models, Covered California expects that this year's care associated with the virus will cost between $34 billion and $251 billion, or between 2% of premiums and 21% of premiums. The analysis estimates that insurers would price the costs at double the rate into their 2021 premiums, projecting increases that range from as little as 4% to more than 40% for the 170 million workers and individuals who have private plans.

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