Posts tagged with "controversy"

Mel Quargrainie for use by 360 Magazine

Rittenhouse Murder Trial Reaches The End

By: McKinley Franklin

After 24 hours of deliberations, Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all charges. Read more about the case and Rittenhouse’s shooting on the night of August 25, 2020 at a Black Lives Matter protest HERE.

Let’s analyze the trial and how the jury came to their decision.

The Rittenhouse trial resumed once again on November 11, as the closing arguments of the case have commenced. At the top of the day, the case progressed, and Judge Bruce Schroeder dropped the sixth count that Rittenhouse faced. This sixth count accused Rittenhouse of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. Although the prosecution objected this, Schroeder ultimately ended up dropping the charge.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys also filed for a mistrial shortly after the charge was dropped. Schroeder conveyed this news, announcing that Rittenhouse’s team had filed an official motion for mistrial, which read “The state has repeatedly violated instructions from the Court, acted in bad faith and intentionally provided technological evidence which was different from theirs. For those reasons, the defendant respectfully requests the Court find ‘prosecutorial overreaching’ existed, that overreaching was intentional and in bad faith and thereby grant the defendant’s motion for a mistrial with prejudice.”

The prosecution started their closing arguments first, having head prosecutor on the case Thomas Binger speak about Rittenhouse’s intentions of being in Kenosha. Binger urged the jury to question the intention that Rittenhouse had in Kenosha on the night of the shooting. Binger continued his argument for the prosecution by debunking the rumor that Joseph Rosenbaum, one of Rittenhouse’s two victims, threatened to kill him earlier on the night of the shooting. The prosecution highlights this to communicate to the jury that they believe Rosenbaum posed no real threat to Rittenhouse when the shooting occurred.

As the closing argument resumed, businesses in Kenosha started boarding up their storefronts amidst the final verdict of the case. 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops are reportedly on standby in Kenosha as well.

The prosecution wrapped up their final closing arguments with Binger arguing that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense. Binger points out that Rittenhouse killed two unarmed men and wounded another with a firearm that did not belong to him. While Binger has used several videos from the shooting as evidence to the jury, he urged the jury that Rittenhouse is guilty of all the counts against him.

Binger closes, “He committed first-degree reckless homicide against Joseph Rosenbaum. He put Richie McGinniss’s life in jeopardy. He put jump-kick-man’s life in jeopardy. He intended to kill Anthony Huber and he attempted to kill Gaige Grosskreutz. The question is whether or not you believe that his actions were legally justified, and I submit to you that no reasonable person would have done what the defendant did. And that makes your decision easy.”

The defense began their closing argument critiquing the arguments of the prosecution. Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards argues that Rosenbaum was intentionally trying to attack the defendant and that he even had his hand on the gun. Richards asked the jury to “use your common sense and judgment” when contemplating if Rosenbaum was a real danger to Rittenhouse when the shooting occurred.

As the closing argument continued, defense attorney Richards argued that there has been a “rush to judgment” in the case. Richards pointed out that after the shooting on August 25, 2020, there were rumors circulating about the shooting and Rittenhouse’s intentions. There was talk about the fact that Rittenhouse crossed state lines to attend the protests and brought his AR-15 with him.

Richards then stated that Gaige Grosskreutz should have not provoked Kyle Rittenhouse. The defense attorney says that Grosskreutz should have “let him be and go give aid and comfort” to Rosenbaum who was just previously shot by Rittenhouse. Richards also argues that Grosskreutz was proceeding on Rittenhouse when he was shot, and this was part of the reason for him shooting.

Richards goes on with his point that Rittenhouse was not searching for trouble when he went to Kenosha despite what the prosecution argued. The defense states that Rittenhouse “feels for this community,” and that he was not trying to start conflict.” The defense soon after wrapped up their closing arguments, and the court went on break.

After returning from the break, the prosecution began their rebuttal. Attorney James Kraus argued that it was unnecessary for Rittenhouse to react to threats by using deadly force. The prosecution says that Rittenhouse should have used all other methods of self-defense before turning to shooting.

Deliberations for the Rittenhouse trial began on November 16, 2021. The panel of 18 potential jurors was narrowed down to 12, with those who were not chosen to serve as alternates. The jury consists of five men and seven women. During the first day of deliberations, the jurors made two requests for more copies of the jury instructions. The jury was dismissed on November 15 after a little over eight hours.

The second day of deliberations continued for the Rittenhouse trial again on November 17, 2021. Judge Schroeder did receive a question from the jury during the morning of November 17, asking about the reviewal process of video evidence in the case. The question was essentially if the jurors would be able to view videos in private or in the courtroom.

Schroeder also addressed the fact that he had not had a chance to read the defense’s motion for mistrial with prejudice. He explains that only one day prior to November 17 he received the motion. Schroeder continues, stating “And I really think before I rule on a motion, I should let the state respond. So why anyone would think, it is odd for the judge to sit on a motion to dismiss, I have no idea.”

Following the request of video evidence earlier during the day of November 17, this permission was granted to the jury. The jury requested a livestream video shot by Gaige Grosskreutz. The livestream was shot moments after Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum.

Deliberations continued through November 19, and after 24 hours of deliberations, the jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges he faced.

Judge Bruce Schroeder spoke to the jury and thanked them for their efforts, stating “”All of you – I couldn’t have asked for a better jury to work with, and it has truly been my pleasure. I think without commenting on your verdict… the verdict themselves, just in terms of your attentiveness and the cooperation that you gave to us justifies the confidence that the founders of our country placed in you.”

For use by 360 Magazine

Al Sharpton Responds

Today, November 11, through the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, William Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough shared some objections and concerns to the judge. Gough’s objection came from the presence of civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton being in the courtroom. He expressed to the judge, Judge Timothy Walmsley, that the presence of such civil rights leaders is “intimidation.” Reverend Al Sharpton was in attendance of the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. While in attendance at the trial, Reverend Al Sharpton organized a prayer vigil with his parents outside of the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton has since released this statement following the accusations of his presence being used for intimidation:

“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support.

My attendance yesterday and in the days to come is not disruptive in any way and was at the invitation of the family of Ahmaud Arbery who have stated that publicly.

The only way I could have been identified as a member of the ministry is if I was recognized for my public position and leadership. How else would the defense attorney know who was a “black pastor” or not?

This objection was clearly pointed at me and a disregard to the fact that a mother father sitting in a courtroom with 3 men that murdered their son do not deserve the right to have someone present to give spiritual strength to bear this pain. This is pouring salt into their wounds.

I respect the defense attorney doing his job but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley who is overseeing the case indicated that he would not make blanket rules over attendance of the public and acknowledged that the company of Reverend Sharpton would not be a distraction.

Background on the Case

Sunday, February 23, 2020, the unarmed, Black twenty-five year old Ahmaud Arbery was chased and killed by three armed white men in a neighborhood in South Georgia and was killed. The National Action Network has continuously stood by the family of the victim in their quest for justice and continues to criticize the range of the jury for the case. The jury consists of eleven white women, three white men and one Black man in a county that is predominately Black. Though Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledges the presence of “intentional discrimination” in the range of the jury, he states that the trial over the killing of Arbery will proceed.

*Additional coverage from USA today

illustration by Kaelen Felix for use by 360 magazine

Astroworld Festival

By: McKinley Franklin

Popular rapper and Houston-native Travis Scott hosted the Astroworld Festival this past weekend. The festival resulted in eight fatalities and dozens injured. How did the once cherished Astroworld Festival turn so dark so fast, and how can society learn from this atrocity?

This year’s Astroworld Festival marked the third of an annual series since 2018. The festival is held in Houston, Texas, where Scott grew up. Scott’s third studio album attributes directly back to Houston, being named after a theme park from Scott’s childhood, Astroworld. Before the festival was held in 2019, Scott was given a key to the city of Houston from the city’s mayor. The rapper received the key during his Astroworld Tour while performing in Houston. While presenting Scott with the key, mayor Sylvester Turner praised him for the recognition and reputation that Scott linked with the city of Houston. During the presentation Turner also announced that Scott had inspired the city to bring back another amusement park, like the original Astroworld, to the city.

Later in 2019, the second annual Astroworld Festival was held where a prelude to the events in this past year’s festival would be showcased. Much like the most recent festival, fans stormed the venue and three people were reported to be trampled. Such patterns of seemingly aggressive behaviors have been associated with Scott in the past that date back to 2015. Two arrests of Scott have been reported for similar behaviors of prompting fans to engage in disorderly conduct(s). Both instances involved Scott encouraging fans to breach security at music festivals.

After another successful year of the festival in 2019, the annual scheduling came to a halt amidst the ongoing pandemic in 2020. With much anticipation due to the cancellation of the festival in the past year, Scott announced the third annual festival in May 2021. This year the festival would be extended to two days “due to overwhelming demand as well as rave reviews around the festival’s incredibly curated lineup.” The official lineup was not released until October 26 of 2021, a little over a week before the festival was scheduled. Popular artists in the lineup included SZA, Young Thug, 21 Savage and Lil Baby, accompanied by Travis Scott as the leading headliner of the festival. Scott promoted the festival on his socials and referred to members of the lineup as “avengers.” In the same post Scott also communicated that the festival was sold out, but he had managed to acquire more tickets so that more fans could be in attendance.

November 5, 2021, marked the beginning of what was supposed to be the two-day Astroworld Festival. Festival gates opened at 1pm this past Friday, and mayhem began shortly after. A lot of the set protocols and rules surrounding security at the festival were disregarded early before the festival commenced. Security was failing to enforce ID and coronavirus vaccination checks, as well as other rules surrounding prohibited items and general security checks. The performance areas were noticeably packed around 7pm, and the crowds only grew as Scott’s performance was approaching. A countdown started thirty minutes prior to when Scott was set to perform, and as the countdown crawled down, so did the available space for those at the venue.

When Scott finally did take the stage, the intense compressing of the crowd really took off. The squeezing of the crowds became unoccupiable as the first song in Scott’s performance began. Fans in the crowd had nowhere to move, and if there was movement it was inevitably devastating. People were falling onto the floor, piling on top of each other in some areas. Individuals began to become so crushed that they were passing out in the crowds. Fans that were close enough to the front of the stage begged security to pull them out of the crowds to safety, As the night continued, paramedics were seen amidst the masses of fans performing CPR, treating unconscious people and even carrying off lifeless bodies.

During the chaos, Scott continued his performance taking few short pauses to notify security of fans being unconscious in the crowds. Kylie Jenner, Scott’s baby mother of two, posted to social media a video of the crowds at the festival with a noticeable ambulance in the mass of people. Multiple videos and images have been posted from fans at the festival across social media platforms. Specific videos recount the fearful experiences that individuals went through, and some even recount people trying to notify security of the chaos that was occurring throughout the swarms of fans in the crowd. The festival continued, forcing over three hundred people to be treated on-site by medical personnel, dozens being hospitalized and eight individuals dead.

How did the festival turn out so gruesome? On the Astroworld Festival webpage there are clear rules, regulations and precautions written out that were to be followed. One of the main problems that resulted with this festival was the insufficient quality of security and amount of medical personnel/ supplies onsite. Fans were spotted running past security throughout the day leading to Scott’s performance. Security checks were not followed as intensely as they were publicized to be. An insufficient number of medical supplies and personnel showed cracks in the groundwork of the festival throughout the day and when Scott’s performance started.

How can festivals be prevented from tragedies like this from reoccurring? A few simple tactics can be implemented that all lead back to ensuring efficient safety of all people in attendance of a festival. To ensure a safe venue, festivals must be held at safe venues with secure layouts. Creating a reliable layout with a well-organized security team can allow for a safer and more comfortable experience for everyone. Making sure the facility and its grounds have been well-inspected, kept and prepared for the festival are key elements to a safe experience. A well-managed and prepared security team and plan for the facility of an event can also ensure a safer experience for a festival.

Meghan McCain Speaks Against Antisemitism

Top Individuals Positively Influencing Jewish Life include Attorney General of New York Letita James, Comedian Bill Maher, Selma Blair, Noa Tishby

“I cannot stay silent when I see or hear antisemitism,” said actress Debra Messing on receiving the Algemeiner newspaper’s ‘Warrior For Truth’ award. “During Will and Grace it was important to me that Grace’s Jewishness be central to her identity because representation matters. I know that speaking up is a value shared by all of us here.” TV personality Meghan McCain followed Messing in the award ceremony, passionately declaring, “Antisemitism is abhorrent and innately un-American. We are Americans. What do Americans do when we meet up with the fanatical movement bent upon the eradication of Jews? We fight them. We’re going to fight these people too,” said McCain, “there is no place in America for antisemitism.”

The Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. and U.N. Gilad Erdan, philanthropist Nina Rennert Davidson, and Algemeiner Editor in Chief and CEO Dovid Efune, with his wife Mushka Efune were also honored at the Algemeiner newspaper’s 8th annual J100 Gala at the Rockleigh Country Club on October 12, 2021.

Joseph Borgen, the victim of a vicious antisemitic attack earlier this year in Manhattan and who McCain invited onto ABC’s The View, was a guest speaker.   It was an emotional moment at the J100 gala when McCain and Borgen met in person for the first time. “The only publication that continues to act as a voice for me and bring attention to my situation is The Algemeiner,” said Borgen, “They bring light to the issue and hold people accountable for what took place. They make sure that antisemitism is not washed away or forgotten.”

Ambassador Erdan, introduced by Malcolm Hoenlein, reinforced this position, saying, “The biggest threat facing Israel and the Jewish people today is the deadly combination of lies and disinformation. Disinformation may begin as words but violence is only one small step away.” 

Dovid Efune and Chairman Simon Jacobson shared the importance of the evening, “After the events of the past year,” said Efune, “when we witnessed again 1,000 strands of falsehood weaved together into a thick rope of hate, that a line has been firmly drawn under our long-held conviction that lies can kill and that the truth saves lives. It is often the case that stories first reported by The Algemeiner would simply not see the light of day, that the historical record would remain uncorrected, without the diligent skills of our team. The voice of the Algemeiner is indispensable.”

Nina Rennert Davidson implored the live crowd to join her and the other honorees in their fight, “Please speak up at board meetings and parties. Please do not allow your schools to have speakers, teachers and curriculums that attack Israel. If we do not respect our heritage, how can we ask anybody else to?”

TV journalist Dana Arschin served as Master of Ceremonies. The Event Chairs were Neil and Sharon Book, with Bernard-Henri Levy as Honorary Chairman. 

The J100 Gala celebrated the release of the Algemeiner’s highly anticipated J100 List. The Algemeiner newspaper releases an annual list of 100 significant individuals who positively influence Jewish life, called the J100 List. On the importance and relevance of the J100, Efune said, “This year we’ve placed particular emphasis on those standing at the forefront of the battle for truth.” 

The 2021 list includes Attorney General of New York Letita James, comedian Bill Maher, actresses Noa Tishby and Selma Blair, actor Jonathan Lipnicki, celebrity chef Jake Cohen, Morton Williams Supermarket owner Avi Kaner, publising mogul Mathias Doepfner, Papaya Global CEO Eynat Guez, and MLB athlete Jacob Steinmetz. 

Watch all speeches HERE.

Billed as the Jewish answer to the TIME 100, the full list, and a description of why they were chosen, can be found at HERE

ABOUT THE ALGEMEINER

Now celebrating its 49th anniversary, The Algemeiner newspaper has been labeled the “fastest growing Jewish newspaper in the US” by CNBC. It has been described by former Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor as “the voice of the Jewish people and Israel” and hailed as “brave and relentlessly accurate” by longtime New Republic editor Marty Peretz.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

DABABY, HOMOPHOBIA × CANCEL CULTURE

By: Andrew Shibuya

No one thought that the return to normalcy – or at least the path towards it – would be without hurdles. Indeed, the past six months have proven similarly difficult to the previous twelve, and the coming few seem to promise no respite. And so, in the now past and brief interlude in mask mandates and lockdowns in the United States, surely one would think that crowded events such as music festivals would be about celebrating reunion and unity.

Unfortunately, with the precedent of a certain performer at Rolling Loud, it is clear that unity was not the first thing on everyone’s mind. No one has made this more clear than rapper DaBaby. During his performance at the festival, the rapper is reported to have said several homophobic comments including, “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up,” as well as the peculiar, “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

Of course, the Internet had something to say, and the deserved virtual tirade against DaBaby began. Twitter users in particular took up arms against DaBaby’s comments, lambasting the rapper for what they deemed to be some mixture of idiocy and ignorance.

And while fools’ remarks should hardly be considered worth coverage alone, the following onslaught and festivals’ responses are worth discussing. In the past week, numerous notable festivals have pulled DaBaby from their lineups, including Lollapalooza, New York’s Governors Ball, and Day N Vegas. The festivals all shared similar messages to their social media channels regarding the change, citing the need for and value of inclusion and diversity. The former’s message read: “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect. And love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Read our coverage of Lollapalooza and its implications with COVID HERE.

These festival changes seemed to have induced an apology from DaBaby, who, at first, was reluctant to apologize or recognize any wrongdoing. In response to the first wave of criticism, the rapper responded on his Instagram Story, stating, “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show. It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. Because, regardless of what y’all motherfuckers are talking about and how the internet twisted up my motherfucking words, me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

This was just the first response of many, with each becoming increasingly apologetic as more of his shows were cancelled. The most recent of his apologies, which many on Twitter have dubbed “DaApology,” reads: “I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made. Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I knew education on this is important.” And while some fans online deemed his response to be acceptable, many did not see it as adequate.

Celebrities similarly took to Twitter and other social media platforms to offer their two cents on the situation. Many decried DaBaby’s words, such as his recent collaborator Dua Lipa, who claims to be incredibly taken aback by this side of DaBaby. Other big names in the music industry such as singer-songwriter Elton John and pop legend Madonna have similarly criticized the ignorance and inaccuracy of DaBaby’s comments on HIV and AIDS. Most recently, Miley Cyrus has shared on social media that she has reached out to DaBaby to “learn from each other” in the wake of this incident.

And still, some rappers and other industry names have come to DaBaby’s defense. Some, like rapper NLE Choppa, insist that this is just a slight hiccup in DaBaby’s career, with NLE Choppa recently tweeting, “Dababy Gone Come Out Bigger Than Ever While Y’all Tryna Down Play The Man.” Rapper T.I. similarly called for more equality and fair treatment for DaBaby, seeming to suggest the praise Lil Nas X has recently received. In an Instagram comment, T.I. wrote, “If Lil Nas X can kick his s**t in peace… so should DaBaby.”

DaBaby’s comments come after a recent onslaught of homophobic vitriol directed toward Nas X this past summer. Following the release of the rapper’s successful singles “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” and brazen accompanying videos, many – both fans and other rappers – took to Twitter. And while many people did support Nas X as T.I. seems to allude to, the openly gay rapper received far from unanimous praise.

In addition to spurring an inundation of homophobic sentiment online from quotidian users, Nas X proved to be similarly divisive amongst other rappers in the hip hop industry. While some voiced their support and praised the rapper’s bravery and bold works, some were similarly quick to voice their disproval. Many condemned the rapper for what seemed to them to be brazen lewdness, though many Twitter users thinly veiled homophobia.

The discourse over “cancelling” is rather interesting in light of so much present discussion over the actual existence of cancel culture and its implications. Especially in the music industry, where the effects of “cancelling” someone seem to be diminished – Chris Brown still plays on the radio, Dr. Luke still produces number-one hits, and most recently “cancelled” country singer Morgan Wallen has seen his popularity grow tremendously despite this year’s earlier controversy. This is in contrast with the film industry, where, although far from free from offenders, certain players have been blackballed far more effectively and efficiently.

Surely, all those people could be an argument against the existence of cancel culture. The consequences to their actions seem to have faded as quickly as people’s memories of their wrongdoings. And so, as to the question of whether or not DaBaby has been “cancelled” is unclear. The action against him – at least at the level of cancelling his headlining performances and shows – has so far managed to induce at least a single apology from the rapper. And while what lies in store for DaBaby remains unclear, one certainty remains – the Internet has at least some power to affect change in the real world.

illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

DEBATING THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE DRAFT

By: Clara Guthrie

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have proposed a revolutionary reconfiguration of the federal military draft that is aimed at including women in the Selective Service System, according to a release from POLITICO. As the law stands now, all American men must register for the service when they turn 18, although the draft has not actually been enacted in more than 40 years since the Vietnam War. Refusing or failing to register can lead to fines, being denied student financial aid or federal jobs, and even prison time.

In the new proposal – authored by Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed of Rhode Island – the language regarding who must enlist at 18 would be expanded to include “all Americans,” not just men.

The conversation around including women in the draft has picked up speed and garnered national attention in the past few years. In June, the National Coalition for Men brought a case to the Supreme Court that challenged the male-only draft, calling it unconstitutional. While the Court declined to hear the case, three Justices—Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh—did release a public statement on the topic. The statement argued that the exclusions of women from the draft made little sense when considering how much the military has changed in the past four decades since the Supreme Court first held up the original policy. The tone of the statement was unsure about whether the draft meets the standard of “exceedingly persuasive justification” to discriminate on the basis of gender. The Justices also noted the monumental 2015 decision from the Pentagon to open all military combat roles to women as further evidence.

This hot-topic issue most recently entered Capitol Hill in 2016. At the time, the Senate voted to have the decision become part of the annual defense policy bill; the House Armed Services Committee adopted a similar provision, but eventually scrapped it. As a compromise, an independent commission was formed to study the draft and the pressing question of what role gender plays in it. In March of 2020, the commission published its final report, which backed the idea of requiring women to register for Selective Service.

However, another distinctive school of thought advocates for the abolition of the draft altogether, as opposed to requiring all young people to register regardless of gender. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote in his recent piece, Women don’t register for the draft, and men shouldn’t either, “Selective Service has outlived its usefulness. It should be consigned to history. […] Congress shouldn’t just end male-only draft registration. It should end draft registration, period.” Jacoby goes on to argue that the draft is an outdated practice and that an all-volunteer army is far more effective: “Compared with draftees, [those who volunteer for service] work harder, serve longer, perform better, and are more likely to regard their service as a calling, not a compulsion. Their commitment and skill are reflected in the consistent No. 1 ranking of the military as the most trusted institution in America.” This final point is supported by a 2019 Gallup Poll that found that Americans trust the U.S. military more than any other public institution. 

But, of course, there are legitimate issues posed by relying on a solely volunteer force. The All-Volunteer Force Forum (AVF Forum) is a network of military personnel and citizens alike who support some sort of draft being reinstated in order to combat the civil-military gap (a disconnect in views between military and non-military individuals). The AVF Forum cites issues including unsustainable recruiting techniques, a lack of socioeconomic and geographic diversity in the armed forces, and an inability to draw from the largest pool of possible candidates as all being exacerbated by a reliance on volunteerism.

In April, The AVF Forum held a conference to discuss potential amendments to the draft which do not include the complete dissolution of the institution. One solution is as follows:

“The conscription of only 5 to 10 percent of the force from the top 10 percent income tax bracket, [presented] by Marine Corps veteran and author Elliot Ackerman. The logic being that those within reach of the levers of power would be more inclined to limit military involvement if their own children faced drafting and deployment.”

No clear solution was reached at The AVF Forum conference, as the complicated debate continues to rage.

While it is unclear where exactly President Biden stands on the matter, he did share a clarifying quote at the Military Officers Association of America candidate forum in September of 2020 before he assumed the presidency. “The United States does not need a larger military, and we don’t need a draft at this time. […] I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts,” said Biden.

The original proposition by the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to be considered during committee markup this week. However, there will be no official floor action on the bill until at least later this year. 

If the legislation eventually passes, the measure would only go into effect one year after approval.

Breaking News illustration via Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

Hunter Echo Makes Disgusting Comments About Millie Bobby Brown

By: Skyler Johnson

On July 12, TikTok user Hunter Echo–AKA Hunter Ecimovic–made a now-deleted livestream where he jokingly claimed he abused and groomed Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown after a picture surfaced of the two kissing. He also went into great detail about their sex life during the course of their alleged eight month relationship when he was 20 and she was 16. While Ecimovic made serious accusations against himself, he still seemed to shrug it off and stated that he didn’t do anything wrong. 

To be clear, everything that Ecimovic has said at this time is alleged. We have no clear knowledge of what this relationship might’ve been, and whether or not it even existed in the first place. All we know is what Ecimovic has said and all we’ve seen is one picture that’s surfaced of the two kissing. 

There is the question of whether or not the information should have been made public in the first place, looking past who decided to make it that way. After all, the internet has no right to know about Brown’s abuse. Brown shouldn’t be forced to deal the public knowing about her trauma, yet she’s having to deal with people constantly asking if she’s okay. While this is well-intentioned, a lot of survivors don’t want to talk openly about their trauma. This is likely especially for the case for Millie Bobby Brown, who we’re not even sure had any form of relationship with Ecimovic. Yet, people online are treating her like she’s a survivor–which may not be a label she’s comfortable with.

The comments Ecimovic made were obviously gross, but not surprising when directed towards Brown, whose relationships and physicality have constantly been publicized and degraded by the public. 

Millie Bobby Brown’s Sexualization

Despite Brown’s young age, because of her popularity and the popularity of Stranger Things, her life and public image have constantly been put into question. This questioning comes from both men who obsess over her physicality and women who have expressed desire for her to be in a relationship with Stranger Things co-star Finn Wolfhard, among others. 

She’s gotten attention from people who believe that she’s presented herself, or has been presented, in a sexual way. Critics claim that certain outfit choices she made weren’t “acceptable” because they showed too much of her skin. 

Brown’s dating life has long been under a large amount of scrutiny. Everyone knew when she was dating Musical.ly star Jacob Sartorius, and Brown recieved backlash. Some begged her to cheat on him with Wolfhard.

Ultimately, this is a problem for many child stars and celebrities–particularly internet celebrities. With cases like Danielle Cohn and Danielle Bregoli being clear examples, albeit they made more extreme choices. Ultimately, all Brown is doing is wearing dresses and dating people which, obviously, a lot of teenage girls do. But because of her fame, she gets criticized for it.

While bragging about alleged sexual abuse and grooming may seem sociopathic, the American public is so in-tune with celebrities and their dating lives. In this way, it’s not unrealistic that someone would talk about Brown in the way that Ecimovic has. To be clear, this is not me defending the actions of Ecimovic in any way. What he said is still horrendous, especially if his accusations hold any merit. Sexual assault is not something to laugh off with your friends. All I’m saying is that because of the way our society treats teenage girls, Ecimovic’s comments make sense.

The Aftermath (What We Know So Far)

While Brown hasn’t said anything about the situation personally (and she doesn’t have to), her team has made a statement suggesting they’re going to take action. What that exactly means, no one is entirely sure. Though the next step most likely won’t be legal action given everything at this point is hear-say. However, the de-platforming of Ecimovic is possible. Ecimovic’s Instagram and Twitter account have both been suspended, and Ecimovic has made an apology for the livestream. Ecimovic has now suggested that his comments about grooming Brown was a fabrication, but again, we don’t yet really know anything.

Breaking News illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 magazine

Free Tameka Drummer

Free Tameka Drummer, who is serving a life sentence for a marijuana charge due to unjust habitual offender laws in Mississippi.

In 2008, Tameka Drummer was sentenced to life in prison in Mississippi for possessing 2 ounces of marijuana. She was pulled over for a routine traffic stop for an expired license plate when officers searched her car and found a small amount of pot – the same amount which can now be bought legally in many states. She has been in prison for the last 12 years for this offense and will be for the rest of her life unless citizens continue to put pressure on the Mississippi government to do away with unjust “habitual offender” laws like the one that has imprisoned Drummer.

The habitual offender statute allows for extended imprisonment for previous offenders, usually far beyond the typical maximum sentence for a crime. This allows for lesser offenses, like Drummer’s small amount of pot, to result in life sentences. These laws disproportionately affect Black men and women and participate in the toxic cycle of mass incarceration in America. Drummer was counted as a habitual offender due to two previous marijuana possession convictions, as well as being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1992 and aggravated assault in 1998.

While people put pressure on Gov. Tate Reeves to pardon Drummer or do away with habitual offender laws, something he says he has no intention of doing, more people are coming to understand how unjust these laws are. Mississippi’s habitual offender laws are some of the harshest, and the state holds the title of the third-highest imprisonment rate in the US. A report by FWD.us says “Mississippi’s habitual offender laws are causing “extreme” prison sentences that are disproportionately affecting African American men and are costing the state millions of dollars for decades of incarceration.”

Drummer, as well as many others, deserves a chance at justice. Help her achieve it by signing this petition to put pressure on Gov. Reeves and state officials to do away with unjust habitual offender laws and release minor offenders like Drummer.

Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.

Now available in all formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Blurb, Walmart and Audible.

Signed copies of Vaughn’s memoir, Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available in our shop.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Surfside Collapse Updates

As rescue efforts continue and further investigation is made into the Surfside building collapse, the death toll rises to 32 and 113 remain unaccounted for. 

The remaining structure for the Champlain Towers South building was demolished on Sunday night. Living residents were not permitted to enter the premises to retrieve their property in advance, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis remarked, “Obviously it wasn’t worth the risk, we cannot lose any more people.” The sister building, Champlain Towers North, was also evacuated out of an abundance of caution, as well as other nearby complexes with safety concerns like Crestview Towers.

Hurricane Elsa threatened further damage and destruction, which was ameliorated by the demolition. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said, “The looming threat of that building – the dangerous situation where debris could fall down – is now eliminated.” Rescue efforts can now continue in full force, while search and rescue teams strive to retrieve all survivors and remains from the site. However, now 11 days after the initial collapse, anguished families are losing hope that they will ever be reunited with their loved ones.

Victims range from ages 4 to 92. Amongst the victims are at least four children, including the 7-year old daughter of a Miami firefighter, Stella Cattarossi. 113 residents still remain unaccounted for, with at least 70 of those missing confirmed to be in the building at the time of the collapse.

Investigation into the cause of the collapse reveals a complicated history of building safety failures and major structural damage, which also reflects onto the larger, flawed system of building safety recertification. 

Regulation dictates that nearly every building in the Miami Dade County area must be examined and recertified after 40 years and every 10 years thereafter the first recertification. The Champlain Towers board had begun this process in 2018 when they brought in engineer Frank Morabito to review the tower. Morabito reported that failed waterproofing caused major structural damage, adding that “failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.”

Morabito detailed the major design flaws in original construction, specifically focusing on the waterproofing below the pool deck and around the garage – two of the primary locations of damage in the initial collapse. “Abundant cracking and spalling of varying degrees was observed in the concrete columns, beams, and walls,” he wrote, attaching images of “new cracks radiating from the originally repaired cracks,” as a result of failed attempts to patch the concrete quickly.  He warned the board that repairs would be extremely expensive and cause “a major disturbance to residents.” 

Morabito’s report also identified additional problem areas and complaints from residents. The New York Times reported that “residents were complaining of water coming through their windows and balcony doors, and the concrete on many balconies also was deteriorating.”

The board forwarded this report to city officials, but Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County said officials there knew nothing of this report, thus confirming suspicions that building regulation enforcement is too lax or enforced unevenly across the board. In response, Mayor Cava announced a 30-day audit of all buildings over 40 years old.

Resident Jay Miller recalled that almost everyone in the building knew of the 2018 report, but the concern wasn’t so much the structural damage as the cost of repairs. The exorbitant price of the repairs, estimated around $9 million in 2019, caused infighting and tension amongst the Champlain Towers board members, and ultimately led the majority of the board to resign by fall of 2019. 

Efforts to comply with recertification and address building damage continued in 2020 when residents were informed about upcoming repairs. They were told about design flaws in water drainage and structural damage, but not given an accurate understanding of the extensiveness of the damage or warned that collapse was a potential risk. Different language has been used over the years by a variety of people to describe the damage, possibly contributing to different understandings of the severity of deterioration or urgency of repairs. 

Morabito’s services were employed again when Morabito Consultants was brought on board in June 2020 to plan and prepare for extensive repairs, but the coronavirus pandemic slowed progress in rectifying building damage. Water issues in the roof were also found at this time, though it is unknown how or if the roof’s condition contributed to the collapse.

A report by researchers at Florida International University detailing where land in Miami was sinking only served to complicate matters more as it indicated that the land on which the Champlain Towers were built is a hot spot for sinkage. Researcher Shimon Wdowinski estimates the building has sunk into the ground at least 2 inches and has been sinking for over two decades. 

A letter by board president Jean Wodnicki from April 9, 2021 revealed that the board did not have enough money to pay the now $15.5 million tab of repairs. However, they are likely now facing even more costs in lawsuits to come.

Morabito Consultants has since released a statement clarifying their involvement with the history of building damages at Champlain Towers: “Our firm exclusively provides engineering consulting services. We do not provide construction-related services, such as building repair and restoration contracting. We are deeply troubled by this building collapse and are working closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed. As we do so, we also continue to pray for all those impacted by this tragic event.”

Search and rescue efforts will continue as we learn more about the circumstances behind the collapse. City of Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll says, “We continue to remain focused on our primary mission, and that is to leave no stone unturned and to find as many people as we can and to help bring either some answers to family and loved ones or to bring some closure to them.”

Written by Sydney Mayer