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Wyoming teacher smacks down Betsy DeVos: Fences — not guns — are enough to keep bears out of schools

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A Wyoming teacher knocked down claims by Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary — who argued that guns were necessary in schools to protect against bear attacks.

During her confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos told Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represented Sandy Hook families as a congressman, that regulation of firearms in schools should be left up to states and local government.

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“I’d imagine (in Wyoming) there’s a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos told the lawmaker.

Her remarks were apparently based on an anecdote shared earlier Tuesday by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), who told DeVos about wildlife fences used to keep bears and other animals from wandering onto school property in the state.

A former teacher at Wyoming’s Valley Elementary School told Mic that those fences, along with bear spray, were “absolutely” sufficient to keep wild animals away from students.

“No firearms in our schools!” Morrow told the website. “We do have bear spray but have never had a problem that would require using it.”

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Bears have attacked students and teachers in recent years, but there have been no reports of such attacks on school grounds.

Several schools in Alaska were placed on lockdown after a reported bear attack in November, but police later determined an 18-year-old student had injured himself after encountering a grizzly and falling backwards in surprise.

A teacher in the same town, Seward, was injured in late October while walking his dog before dawn at the municipal airport.

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Two hunters were injured by bears this fall in Wyoming, but neither incident took place near any schools.

Bear attacks in the U.S. are actually quite rare, according to Backpacker.

Most bear attacks, when they do occur, are generally limited to hikers and hunters in wilderness areas.

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In Yellowstone National Park, where bear attacks are probably most frequent, the chances of being injured by a bear are about one in 2.1 million.

By contrast, 63 people were killed and 156 were wounded by guns in 201 school shootings between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2016.

A growing body of evidence suggests pepper spay, and not guns, is a more effective self-defense strategy during close encounters with bears, which have a thick hide and skull.

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One study, published in 2012, found that gun owners suffered the same injury rates during bear encounters regardless of whether they used their weapons or not.

That same study found that bear spray had a better success rate in a variety of situations than firearms.


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Millennials are moving to Trump-backing states — and the GOP should be terrified: columnist

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Millennial voters are substantively more progressive than older generations of voters, but their political power has been diluted by the fact that many of them have been concentrated in cities in deep-blue states.

However, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson argues that this is about to change because more millennials are leaving the big blue-state cities to move out to metro areas in key states such as Arizona, Georgia and Texas.

"The five fastest-growing metros of the past few years -- Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando, Florida -- are in states won by Trump," he writes. "The other metro areas with a population of at least 1 million that grew by at least 1.5 percent last year were Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Antonio; Tampa, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. All of those metros are in red or purple states."

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‘The man who sold America’: Mitch McConnell’s mountain of political sins catalogued in devastating new profile

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Mitch McConnell finally has the power he's longed for since he was a 22-year-old intern for Sen. John Sherman, but his ruthless march to become Senate majority leader has seen him abandon almost all of his stated principles -- and earned him a lot of enemies.

The Kentucky Republican has been unpopular in his home state for years, but this summer has seen his approval rating plunge to 18 percent after MSNBC's Joe Scarborough tarred and feathered him with the nickname "Moscow Mitch," and he's increasingly seen as "the man who sold America," reported Rolling Stone.

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Sarah Sanders rages on Fox News that the ‘out-of-control’ media is ‘making stuff up’ about Trump

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In her new gig as a Fox News contributor, former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders complained to host Sean Hannity that the "out-of-control" media makes "stuff up" about Donald Trump because they hate him for winning in 2016.

Sanders, who once told reporters that "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in James Comey only to later tell investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller's office that she made it up, complained to the Fox host about the press being untrustworthy.

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