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Tim Mak

The NRA after Columbine

Nov 14, 2021

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Soon after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, senior leaders of the National Rifle Association huddled on a conference call to consider canceling their annual convention, scheduled just days later and a few miles away.

Thirteen people lay dead at a high school in Colorado. More than 20 were injured. Images of students running from the school were looped on TV. The NRA strategists on the call sounded shaken and panicked as they pondered their next step into what would become an era of routine and horrific mass school shootings.

Young investors have a new strategy: watching financial disclosures of sitting members of Congress for stock tips.

One way the National Rifle Association projects its power is through the image of tens of thousands of members in a convention center, in front of the politicians who back the powerful gun rights organization.

But this weekend, for the second year in a row, the NRA's chosen convention center will stand empty, after the group was forced to cancel its annual meeting due to the COVID pandemic.

As rioters made their way through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, many of them livestreamed their actions and posted photos and videos on social media. That steady stream of content created an enormous record of evidence that law enforcement needed to sift through to build cases against the accused.

Now, more than 575 federal criminal complaints have been filed, and a striking pattern has emerged: Time and time again, the FBI is relying on crowdsourced tips from an ad hoc community of amateur investigators sifting through that pile of content for clues.

The health care company One Medical, under government scrutiny for allegedly using vaccine distribution to increase its bottom line, is facing a new challenge from within: employees who accuse the company of placing profits over patients.

Dozens of One Medical employees are trying to unionize as a response to what they say has been mismanagement of the organization's COVID-19 response, poor working conditions for staff and, they allege, a declining focus on patients.

Early one morning in January, Suzanne Ianni peered through her window to discover two black SUVs and a police cruiser parked in front of her house. All she could think was: "Aw, they're here."

While Ianni had been expecting federal agents for days, she wasn't fully prepared for their arrival or for the moment when they said, "You're under arrest." "And I just sat down in a chair, I was trying to catch my breath," she told NPR. "And they're like, OK just relax," she said. "It's only a misdemeanor."

For months, officials have been saying the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of a classic intelligence failure. Now key officials are questioning whether that was the case.

Updated at 6:43 pm ET

A federal bankruptcy judge dismissed an effort by the National Rifle Association to declare bankruptcy on Tuesday, ruling that the gun rights group had not filed the case in good faith.

The ruling slams the door on the NRA's attempt to use bankruptcy laws to evade New York officials seeking to dissolve the organization. In his decision, the federal judge said that "using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem" was not a permitted use of bankruptcy.

More than three months after the U.S. Capitol riot, a bomb-maker remains on the loose.

A majority of the public's attention has been focused on the hundreds of people who have been charged for their role on Jan. 6. But the night before, someone committed a different crime: The person placed two explosive devices near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and that person is still at large.

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In the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a popular narrative has emerged: that because rioters did not fire guns that day, they were not really "armed."

As big tech companies "deplatform" domestic extremists, the far-right is innovating around this clampdown by embracing and in some instances creating novel technologies, experts say.

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The consequences are deepening for concierge health care provider One Medical following an NPR investigation that found the company administered COVID-19 vaccinations to those with connections to leadership, as well as ineligible patients.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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A national health care provider has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to people deemed ineligible for the scarce vaccine by local health departments, including people with connections to company leaders and customers of its concierge medical service, according to internal communications leaked to NPR.

On Election Day, Geoff Brown watched lines of text flow by on monitors at New York City Cyber Command in downtown Manhattan.

Brown, the head of the city's cybersecurity operation, was plugged into a bank of virtual conference rooms, checking in with partners at the local, state and federal levels working together to monitor election systems for any security breaches or disinformation campaigns that might target the voting process.

After all the waiting, after months of hardening defenses, the serious threats never came.

Five states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon — have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections: everything from demonstrations to violence.

That's the conclusion of a new report by ACLED, a crisis-mapping project, and the research group MilitiaWatch. They worked together to map out potential hot spots for militia-style activities around the elections.

The Trump administration has renewed a controversial contract with a Pittsburgh company to collect key COVID-19 data from hospitals.

The Department of Health and Human Services decided to award a second $10.2 million, six-month contract to TeleTracking Technologies even though Congressional committees are investigating the process by which the contract was awarded and the HHS Inspector General is looking at how the company is securing the information it is gathering, an NPR Investigation has learned.

Despite people's fears, sophisticated, deceptive videos known as "deepfakes" haven't arrived this political season. But it's not because they aren't a threat, sources tell NPR. It's because simple deceptions like selective editing or outright lies have worked just fine.

"You can think of the deepfake as the bazooka and the video splicing as a slingshot. And it turns out the slingshot works," said Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley specializing in visual misinformation.

Louis DeJoy, depending on whom you talk to, is either a Republican political operative beholden to President Trump, or a savvy businessman who's the right person to fix what's broken at the U.S. Postal Service. When senators question him this week, they will want to know which narrative is closer to the truth — and whether he is suited to head the service at this time.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report concludes.

The findings draw a direct line between the president's former campaign chairman and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

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