Bali Tourists Hospitalised By Influenza Are Warning Other Travellers

A severe strain of influenza has reportedly struck down multiple people after visiting Bali.

Several Australians claim they have contracted the virus after catching flights back from the Indonesian island, taking to social media to share their stories.

Hayley Taylor says she was admitted to hospital, after complaining of a high fever and other influenza symptoms. She had flown back from her holiday in Bali on Thursday.

Posting on the Facebook group Bali Bogans, Hayley wrote: “There was a gentlemen on the plane with a violent cough, I hope he has had himself checked over.”

Hayley Taylor was taken to hospital with severe flu symptoms. Credit: Facebook/Hayley Taylor
Hayley Taylor was taken to hospital with severe flu symptoms. Credit: Facebook/Hayley Taylor

Another passenger also said she had been affected after flying with a different airline. After returning to Australia from Bali on an Air Asia flight, she tested positive for Influenza A after being taken to hospital, and posted on Facebook to warn others.

She wrote: “I’ve just become hospitalised after coming back from Bali on 3rd May 2019. I have tested positive to Influenza A.

“I travelled on the AirAsia flight leaving Denpasar to Perth at 7.10am. The health authorities have been notified.

“I have somehow caught it from either Bali or on the plane, however we are unsure.

“I know there were kids on the flight, so please do the right thing and get them checked out please. I’ve hospitalised and have been bed ridden in isolation for 5 days.

“This is nasty, I’ve been on an IV, dosed with 4 diff anitbiotics a day, oxygen and have almost been a code blue. Thank you!”

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, associate professor of virology at Queensland University of Technology, Ian Mackay said: “The surfaces most likely to spread viruses are the harder shinier ones like plastic and steel that you find in touchscreen, air controls, tray tables and perhaps armrests.

“An infected person can suddenly develop a fever and chills, exhaustion, headache, muscle aches, cough and chest discomfort”

According to the virologist, it is not down to the air on planes – as it is well filtered.

Another woman posted on Facebook that she had also contracted the virus, joking that she had joined the ‘influenza family’.

LADbible has contacted AirAsia for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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Extremists are winning the war on abortion

JACKSON, Mississippi — There is wailing and gnashing of teeth outside the Gates of Hell. Kneeling along the tarp-covered fence that surrounds Mississippi’s only remaining abortion facility are the men, women and children of Operation Save America, a deeply religious anti-choice group that’s been working for decades to end abortion in America. Quietly rocking on their knees, the asphalt cold on this early January morning, some members have put their foreheads to the ground while others are desperately grabbing the fence posts in front of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Behind them, marching back and forth with arms outstretched, is Ante Pavkovic. He’s leading the group in prayer, and admonishing the congregation to protest more loudly. “You have to cry, guys!” he shouts. “So that the Lord takes heart and the devils inside hear you.”

“Think of the beautiful babies,” Pavkovic shouts. “The innocent lives being ripped apart and pulled from the womb. Receive the burden of the Lord and cry! Cry! Cry!”

A young woman kneeling with her forehead on the sidewalk begins to sob and Pavkovic gives a satisfied nod. “Good,” he says. “Keep it going. Some of us may need to look at pictures of aborted children again. That’s OK.”

Operation Save America protestors outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on January 23. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

The rest of the group starts murmuring more loudly, then shouting. Some are speaking in tongues. An older member of the OSA has prostrated himself in the driveway. Two small children sit next to their mother, watching with vague bemusement as she drives her fists into the air, cursing the pink structure behind the fence. “Please, Lord, close down this evil place! Shut down this shrine to Moloch!” she rails at the heavens.

The leader of OSA, Rusty Thomas, a squat bald man in his late 50s, is sporting for the occasion a jaunty, white cowboy hat. Thomas kneels a ways further down the phalanx of protestors, sobbing and babbling uncontrollably while his friend Chet Gallagher stands behind him and tries to force some sound from a ram’s horn. The Israelites used rams’ horns to crumble the walls of Jericho, but the Israelites must have used bigger — or holier — horns, because the walls of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization remain stubbornly intact.

OSA protestors kneel outside Mississippi’s only abortion facility. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Earlier that day, a member of the congregation had asked me if I knew about Moloch, the god of child sacrifice. When I said no, he explained that Moloch is an ancient Canaanite deity who demanded child sacrifice and that every abortion clinic in America has a shrine to Moloch somewhere within its walls. He meant this quite literally. When members of OSA say that an abortion clinic is “a total hellhole,” they mean that the place is a literal conduit between the earthly realm and Hell, where Satan rules eternal.

He pointed at a triptych on one of the walls of the building. The panel on the left showed a couple bringing a small child to some kind of priest. In the middle panel, the couple and the child stood next to an angel with a sword, and in the last one, the smiling couple, sans baby, was walking away. The relief had been there since the building was used as an insurance office, but the demonstrators had latched onto it as proof of the building’s satanic use. “Tell me that’s not an illustration of child sacrifice,” the demonstrator said. I looked again at the blissful faces of the childless parents as they walked away from the heavily armed angel and had to admit the decoration wasn’t doing the clinic any favors.

The members of Operation Save America are considered extremists within the anti-choice movement in America. Rather than seeing themselves as pro-life, Operation Save America, in a shameless bit of appropriation, calls itself an abolitionist group. The blockades, pickets and sidewalk harassment they’ve become famous for are called “rescues.”

Anti-abortion protesters sing hymns outside the facility. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

The pro-life movement have spent almost half a century tinkering with gradual, political solutions, whittling away at Roe v. Wade and incrementally demolishing a woman’s right to govern her own body. In recent months, however, their work has become more overt: So far this year, 46 states have introduced more than 350 bills restricting abortion. Most recently, Alabama last week banned abortions at any stage of pregnancy unless a woman’s health is in grave danger. Two days later, Missouri passed a ban on abortions after eight weeks in nearly all cases. On May 7, Georgia banned abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. None of these laws make exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.

Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have also voted in favor of so-called “heartbeat bills.” Since a heartbeat is often an early indicator of a pregnancy, these bills have been called an effective ban on abortion. You can’t abort what you don’t know is there, and once you know it’s there, it’s too late to abort it. And, because the states attacking abortion rights also have few clinics — in some cases, only one — getting an appointment quickly can be difficult or impossible. These challenges are, of course, all multiplied for women who are low-income or impoverished and may not be able to take time off from work or travel with little notice.

OSA supporter Alan Hoyle in front of the Mississippi State Capitol on January 22. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

While the legislation being passed will severely limit women’s rights, the pro-life approach may even seem moderate compared with ”abolitionist” groups such as OSA and Abolish Human Abortion. They see no solution but the complete outlawing of abortion.

These groups represent a constant nuisance to abortion providers across the country. At best, they’re an inconvenience that clinics have learned to live with, using tall fences to try to keep the intruders out and volunteers to shepherd women in. At worst, providers perceive them as a danger to staff and patients, and a constant reminder of the often-deadly history of the anti-choice movement. What’s more, even as states around the country pass increasingly restrictive abortion laws, anti-abortion extremists are becoming more aggressive, and providers are facing even more threats.

“Hate mail and calls have skyrocketed in the last couple of years,” says Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers in America. According to their most recent numbers, internet harassment has risen exponentially, and picketing and obstruction have nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018, from about 54,000 incidents to 99,409 last year.

Hoyle argues with a clinic escort outside the Capitol. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Even more strikingly, the more aggressive act of trespassing, when protestors make their way onto clinic property or force their way into the clinic itself, has soared from 78 in 2014 to a whopping 1,135 separate incidents in 2018. It’s a spectacular rise that, coupled with a dramatic shift in tone from politicians and leaders, has providers waiting for the next act of violence.

“The safety of our providers and the people who work with them is in danger,” Ragsdale says. “They put their lives and livelihoods on the line. Protestors target not only the providers but also their families. They go to their homes. They harass their children.”

Recent months have seen several instances of threats and violence against abortion providers. On March 2, Wesley Brian Kaster was charged with arson in connection with a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Missouri. Kaster pleaded not guilty. In November, Maria Terry, a St. Louis woman, tweeted, “I’m gonna blow Up ALL YOUR FACILITIES AND CUT THE EYES OUT OF YOUR DOULAS.” Terry later pleaded guilty to one violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and one count of making a threatening statement on the internet. And last July, an unidentified would-be arsonist attempted to set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in California.

Mia Raven, a clinic worker and women’s rights advocate in Alabama, said she always checks her car for explosives before driving, never takes the same route to work two days in a row, never sits with her back to the door, and never, ever leaves her house without a concealed firearm.

Extreme as these measures might seem, they have been proven necessary over and over again.

Anti-abortion protestor Austin Pilgreen outside the Capitol. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Since 1993, there have been at least 11 deaths attributed to anti-choice extremism, most recently a mass shooting in Colorado Springs that killed three people in 2015. In addition to this are myriad assaults, attempted murders, kidnappings, acid attacks and anthrax threats. Diane Derzis, the owner of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, once owned the New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, which was bombed in 1998 by Eric Rudolph, the Atlanta Olympics bomber. One person died, and Derzis still has the charred remains of the clinic door. She says that these acts of violence are not isolated incidents but a natural extension of the anti-choice struggle in America. According to her, the violence against abortion providers is completely predictable, and the leaders of the anti-choice movement are to blame.

“Eric Rudolph was a believer,” she says. “But nobody is born that way. They develop into it until all they need is a little push to send them over the edge.”

OSA supporter Frank Campana argues with a clinic escort outside Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

That push, according to many abortion providers, is now coming from the very top. Ever since taking office, President Donald Trump has been a vocal supporter of the anti-choice movement, and his rhetoric has become increasingly extreme, to the point where many now feel it presents a clear danger to abortion providers. On February 25, after the failure of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Trump lashed out at pro-choice Democrats, accusing them, without evidence, of “executing babies after birth.” In his February 5 State of the Union address, he referred to lawmakers in New York who apparently “cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”

Statements like these have become staples during his rallies — at a May 13 rally in Panama City, Florida he warned about Democrats “aggressively pushing late-term abortion allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb” — but are wildly misleading. The law in question would require doctors to use any means available to save the life of a baby born alive during an abortion. However, a fetus is only viable at around 24 weeks, and only a small fraction of abortions are performed after 21 weeks — it was 1.3% in 2015, the last year for which the CDC has made date available. Of these, only a minuscule fraction showed signs of life at birth. These abortions are most often caused by severe deformities or other health issues with the fetus. As such, it would face a lifetime of pain and severe disabilities, and so the medical staff, in concert with the parents, will sometimes make the excruciating choice to swaddle the baby and let it die, rather than expose the child and family to the trauma of medical treatments that will only prolong suffering.

In February, Trump also took aim at Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, claiming, again without evidence, that the governor had said he would “execute a baby after birth.” This, apparently, was a reference to comments Northam had made saying that “the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

When asked to comment, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd P. Deere wrote in an email that “Unlike radical Democrats who have cheered legislation allowing a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth, President Trump is protecting our most innocent and vulnerable, defending the dignity of life, and called on Congress to prohibit late-term abortions.”

Clearly statements like these are designed to rally a base that cares deeply about the abortion issue. But there’s a larger concern that the words and ideas espoused by powerful people might lead to violence.

“The leaders of the anti-choice movement lie about the science of abortion, about the Bible and about the procedure itself,” says Ragsdale. “All in the service of demonizing and dehumanizing abortion providers. You create outrage and you point that outrage at those you have dehumanized. What do you think is going to happen?

OSA supporter Brandon Owen Hornick preaches at pro-choice supporters outside of Mississippi State Capitol. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Linking the words of leaders to acts of violence is tempting but tricky. Some pointed fingers at Trump after the bombing campaign of Cesar Sayoc, the man who sent pipe bombs to prominent members of the media and the Democratic Party, saying he was likely inspired by the president’s vendetta against the media and Democratic politicians. Others have said Trump’s many digs at the Jewish community makes him partly culpable for the massacre of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October.

It’s hard to know with certainty why anyone does anything, and one should be careful linking the rise in threats against abortion providers to Trump or any other pro-life leader just because he calls them baby killers. But there is certainly correlation.

Activity by anti-abortion extremists has spiked since Trump took office, Ragsdale says. “The number of threats, harassment, picketing and trespassing — everything. He’s doing what the anti-choice movement has always been doing, but from a far larger platform. He’s doing it for a crowd that is already incensed and that is willing to listen to him.”

“President Trump and the entire administration have and will continue to condemn all forms of violence,” Deputy Press Secretary Deere wrote to VICE News.

As much as the constant barrage of threats and abuse presents a danger and a nuisance to abortion providers and patients, most people, even the activists themselves, acknowledge that the fate of Roe v. Wade won’t be decided on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic, the presence of satanic demons not withstanding. While the early anti-choice extremists in the immediate aftermath of the Roe decision made their displeasure known in the streets, through sit-ins, blockades, bombings and killings, the hard edge of today’s movement has shifted decidedly into the corridors of power.

“What people don’t realize is that Rusty and groups like Operation Save America are making big speeches and a lot of noise,” says Robin Marty, pro-choice activist and author of “Handbook for a Post-Roe America.” “But the real threat is how groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life and the Alliance Defending Freedom have been putting people in the Trump administration. All these people have been working for years to end abortion, and now they are in the room.”

Anti-abortion protesters pray while Thomas preaches outside the Capitol. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

But the radical anti-choice movement deserves much of the credit — or blame, however you want to look at it — for creating the modern evangelical movement in America. The abortion issue galvanized and rallied Protestants in the country in a way that nothing had before — but it took some prodding and pulling. The early days of the post- Roe anti-abortion movement was dominated by the Catholic Church. Protestants believed firmly in the second coming of Jesus Christ, and that until he arrived they should keep their heads down and be good Christians. When the Rapture inevitably came, good Christians would be lifted up and bad ones cast down to Hell. If abortion was a sin, then the sinners would be punished soon enough. Protestants had the afterlife to worry about.

It took the teachings of evangelical philosopher and anti-abortion activist Francis Schaeffer to bring his fellow Christians around in the late 1970s. “He appealed to their sense of theology like no one else had done,” says James Risen, co-author of “Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War.” “He played on a sense among Protestants of ‘blood guiltiness’ — meaning that they were guilty of sin for having ignored the abortion issue and having done nothing about Roe. They had left the issue to the Catholics, and as a result, they, too, had blood on their hands.”

Ever since, it has been an article of faith among GOP candidates and presidents to pay homage to the evangelical voting bloc that plays such an outsized role in putting them in office. Through issues like school prayer, same-sex marriage, and abortion, the GOP ensures that evangelicals feel heard and validated for their support, without necessarily actually delivering much. Reagan, arguably the first president carried into office by the newly politicized evangelical movement, was a perpetual disappointment to the movement, despite being seen by many evangelicals as only slightly less pious than Jesus. Likewise, neither George H.W. Bush nor his son G.W. were the anti-abortion crusaders the evangelical movement had hoped for. The evangelicals have, despite some success in curbing the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, largely failed at securing the prize that brought them together as a movement in the first place: a complete ban on abortion.

“Ever since Reagan, the GOP have had this delicate balancing act with the anti-choice movement,” continues Risen. “The party wants to pay just enough lip service to it to convince evangelicals, but they don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade because they know that will mobilize the opposition.”

There’s plenty of evidence, though, that this dynamic is shifting — and strangely enough, it is not a shift reflected in the general population. The public’s views on abortion have remained relatively stable for the last couple of decades. To a remarkable degree, the success of the anti-choice movement is manifested in electoral victories rather than popular opinion. Although 36% of Republicans believe abortion should be legal in most cases, there are now only two Republicans in the Senate who support abortion rights. And in the House, there are currently zero Republicans who support abortion rights.

Lady Parts Justice League protesters outside the Capitol. Photo by Finlay Mackay.

If the GOP of a couple of years ago was skittish when it came to overturning abortion rights in this country, the current party leaders show no such aversion. Republican politicians and activists seem to have taken a throw-everything-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks-approach to the fight. In what the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank dedicated to advancing reproductive rights, is calling “a surge,” states are enacting a host of anti-choice laws, each more draconian than the last, in an effort to curb abortion rights — including heartbeat bills, which have been signed by governors in four states.

On May 15, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law that would make performing an abortion punishable with up to 99 years in prison. In Texas, state representative Tony Tinderholt feels that a century in prison is too good for abortion doctors and has proposed a bill that would allow patients and doctors to get the death penalty. It was given a hearing in April.

And it’s not just laws being passed. The extreme fringe of the anti-choice movement has been granted unprecedented access to the White House under Donald Trump.

Trump was and remains an unlikely champion for the evangelical, anti-abortion movement in America. He’s an admitted sexual predator with three marriages and several alleged extra-marital affairs under his belt. All that combined with a history of flip-flopping on the issue of abortion — he was once a Democrat and has described himself as a “very pro-choice” — made his background certainly enough to foster a healthy skepticism among the anti-choice movement. In fact, the country’s leading anti-choice group, the Susan B. Anthony List, in early 2016 begged Iowa voters to pick “anyone but Donald Trump,” arguing that he could not be trusted.

However, once the primaries were over and Trump was the nominee, the SBA List changed its tune, announcing that the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, would chair Trump’s pro-life coalition. In the course of a few months, the evangelicals in America had gone from barely concealing their disgust at the freewheeling philanderer to embracing Trump as anointed by God to protect the unborn.

OSA assistant director Jason Storms antagonizes clinic escorts outside the abortion facility. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

So what happened?

There is no Republican road to the White House that does not run through churches. Previous Republican presidents knew this: Reagan was a staunch pro-lifer long before he was president, and both Bushes had, to some degree, built pro-life portfolios before running. Trump, seemingly flying into the campaign and the presidency by the seat of his pants, had no such background to fall back on, so nothing short of full-throated evangelical support would do the job. Trump knew this, but more importantly, the anti-choice movement knew it.

In the spring of 2016, SBA President Dannenfelser contacted her longtime friend Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president. Dannenfelser had come up with a list of demands for the candidate in exchange for the SBA’s support. Among other things, the letter demanded that Trump appoint pro-life judges and that he work to defund Planned Parenthood. He signed it. It was an extraordinary concession, and along with the enlistment of staunchly anti-choice Mike Pence, it convinced the movement that Trump, while not perfect, would be leaps and bounds better than Clinton.

“Trump is beholden to the movement,” says Mary Alice Carter, director of Equity Forward, a watchdog group that monitors the influence of anti-choice groups on policy. “And the policies from the administration reveal that they know that their support is important to him. There is very little daylight between the priorities of Susan B. Anthony’s List and policy coming out of the White House.”

“What Trump has really done is put the anti-abortion movement into the government,” says David S. Cohen, a professor of law at Drexel University and author of “Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism.”

“He’s appointed two justices who are at best hostile to abortion and at worst willing to overturn Roe. He’s appointed lower-court justices who are in the same camp. Those two things alone are seen as huge victories, and so the evangelicals are willing to overlook everything else.”

Protesters outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

What’s more, Trump has actively staffed key positions with ardent anti-choice activists, some with close ties to fringe groups and limited experience in what their new jobs entail.

Before being selected to run the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd had worked as a lawyer for pro-life organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and he has served on the board of Front Royal Pregnancy Center. Front Royal is a so-called crisis pregnancy center, an often-times religiously motivated, and unregulated center that aims to dissuade women from having abortions. Before taking over the ORR he had no experience with the delicate work of caring for refugees and asylum seekers. One of his first orders of business was to make a spreadsheet of pregnant minors who had crossed the border from Mexico, tracking the gestational age of their fetuses and making it the government’s business to stop these minors from having abortions.

Additionally, several key staffers have links to organizations that peddle in extreme untruths and hateful rhetoric in their fight against abortion. Under Trump, groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, a fiercely anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ group, and the Family Research Council, another vitriolic anti-LGBTQ group, have found positions of power. Earlier this year, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar gave a talk at the Family Research Council, an organization known for outlandish claims such as that teen suicides would go down if kids were discouraged from coming out.

Health and Human Services deputy general counsel Matt Bowman has close historical ties with not only anti-choice groups but also anti-LGBTQ groups. He was once listed as a local contact for an Operation Save America protest in Wisconsin. The target for the protest was Disney’s alleged endorsement of homosexuality.

March Bell, the chief of staff at HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, has a history of perpetuating long-debunked myths and dubious attacks on Planned Parenthood, and was quoted by Right Wing Watch saying “Any interference in [Planned Parenthood’s] cash flow that we can bring through any kind of lawsuit… can shut down a whole state or a whole group of clinics.” Bell was the staff director and chief counsel for Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s unfounded investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood was profiting from legal donations of fetal tissue. Many of the “facts” — including widely discredited video footage — supporting the investigation were supplied by Center for Medical Progress, a group with close links to Operation Rescue, an extreme anti-choice organization whose vice president was convicted in 1987 for conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic.

HHS is in charge of implementing health and welfare programs. The fox is very much in the hen house.

Rusty Thomas preaches in Riverside Church in Flowood, Mississippi on January 21. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

In a radio interview in mid-April, Michelle Bachmann, once a tea party favorite and an ardent evangelical doctrinaire, speaking of Trump said, “We will in all likelihood never see a more godly, Biblical president again in our lifetime.” The utter ridiculousness of this statement not withstanding, it illustrates the transactional nature of Trump’s relationship with evangelicals. “Trump doesn’t care at all about abortion,” says Cohen. “His base does, so he’s going to make it an issue every time he can. On the other side of that, Trump could have an affair every day and the religious right will still support him as long as he delivers.”

Mary Ziegler, a law professor and historian at Florida State University, echoes this.

“When the SBA says that Trump is the most effective president in history, that’s not ridiculous,” Ziegler says. “Because he’s been so suspect to them, he’s had to do more to prove himself and has done more in office than other presidents.”

Back in Jackson, in a sprawling church on the outskirts of the city that a sympathetic pastor has allowed Thomas and his crew to borrow, the mood is jubilant. It has been a good day. Exactly how and why is uncertain — they’d picketed the abortion clinic on a day when it was closed, so they’ve hardly stopped any sacrifices to Moloch. But the congregation, which is normally spread throughout the country and has gathered for three days of planning and strategizing, seems happy just to be together.

Pastor Cali from Sermon in the Park Church of Victoria, Texas, preaches. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Picketing and clinic blockades is inherently limited in its success, and for the movement it is as much about staying visible as stopping abortions. Lately, clinic protestors, hindered by the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which says clinics may not be physically blocked, have started experimenting with other ways to interfere. In so-called Red Rose Rescues, protestors peacefully enter clinics to hand out roses to patients.

“They are poking at FACE laws to see what holds,” says activist and author Marty. “For every clinic they enter without being hit with FACE charges, they are setting a precedent, and they are targeting clinics that serve low-income individuals and that are shoddy and less likely to press charges.”

In this way, the grassroots arm of the anti-choice movement is working together with the political arm, nudging a federal judiciary to be ever more lenient to anti-choice policies and activists, creating an environment where abortion and the access to abortion is under pressure from below as well as above.

A band of clean-cut teenagers, most of them Thomas’ kids, are on stage, playing the kind of anodyne, soulless, Christian rock music that evangelicals have foisted upon the world.

When the music finally peters out Thomas takes the pulpit to celebrate the various local chapters who have made their way to Mississippi.

A child outside Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

“Where’s Alabama at?” he shouts, to cheers from a rowdy bunch in back. The Alabamians have plenty cause to celebrate. Only three abortion clinics remain in Alabama, and all three are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. The newly signed law makes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest and allows abortions only in instances where the pregnancy presents “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” What’s more, the sponsors of the bill — 67 out of 76 Republicans in the state Legislature are listed as co-sponsors — go out of their way to not only link the practice of abortion to atrocities throughout history but also explain how abortion in America is in fact much worse, writing that the number of abortions in the U.S. since Roe dramatically outnumber those killed in the Holocaust, Cambodian killing fields, the Rwandan genocide, and “Chinese purges.”

Pro-choice activists immediately denounced the bill and Planned Parenthood called it a “death sentence for women across this state.” It’s worth mentioning that the bill, the effects of which will disproportionately affect poor people of color and — obviously — women, was voted through by a GOP caucus where only 7 out of 76 members are women, and exactly none are people of color.

Next Thomas welcomes crowds from Arkansas — “Heck yeah!”— Idaho — “How’s that for long-distance?” — Oklahoma — “Right on!” — Florida — “I see you, Florida!” and a bunch of other states. There are around 100 activists in the room, all jumping to their feet, whooping and cheering at the slightest provocation. In the front row are minor anti-choice celeb Elizabeth Johnston, known online as Activist Mommy, and her brood of kids. Not far from her sits Pastor Matthew Trewhella, a close friend of Thomas’ and a signatory to what’s known as the Defensive Action Statement , which says that the taking of a life in defense of the unborn is justified, making the killing of abortion providers fair game.

The statement was written by the Army of God, a loosely organized anti-abortion group active in the 1980s and ‘90s and notorious for being linked to the most deadly attacks against abortion providers. Later Trewhella explains to me that he no longer believes that murder is justified in the fight against abortion. But he also thinks when the laws created by man break the laws of God, then the laws of men have no authority. He has a book about it that he’s trying to sell.

A girl prays while Thomas preaches outside the Capitol. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

Operation Save America’s vision for the country isn’t political; it is biblical. The church teaches its children abstinence only, not because they believe it reduces unwanted pregnancies and the risk of STDs (it doesn’t) but because it’s what the Lord has ordained. They believe that Islam wants to subjugate the West and that there is a radical gay agenda. Their vision for the country goes well beyond abortion, and when politicians and policymakers start taking their calls and mimicking their talking points, there’s cause for concern. When Thomas’ son was terminally ill last year, he made a telephone call to Republican Gov. Greg Abbot of Texas, asking him to outlaw abortion in the state as his dying wish. The conversation, recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube, has the governor promising to pursue an outright ban.

What was once considered anti-choice extremism is now the party platform of the Texas GOP, and other states are following suit. Laws that even anti-choice groups like SBA once saw as too radical, such as the fetal heartbeat bills, are now mainstream. Most of these laws will be struck down in the courts, but abortion-rights foes only need one case to go to the Supreme Court for Roe to be overturned. Strangely, it doesn’t even have to be about Roe v. Wade.

“The heart of Roe v. Wade is that abortion laws are to be looked at with strict scrutiny, because it involves a fundamental right,” explains Cohen, author and professor of law at Drexel University. “Any case considering abortion brings up whether or not we should give them strict scrutiny or treat them like we would treat building codes or regulate milk. The case could be about admitting privileges, counseling restrictions or an abortion ban. Any of these could potentially topple Roe.” At the moment there are roughly 20 cases like these making their way through the judicial system.

None of these experts are optimistic about the future of Roe v. Wade. They all believe it will be overturned sooner or later. Most agree that it will happen after the 2020 election rather than before, since Trump will want to use it as a campaign issue. Currently five states have “trigger” laws in place — laws that will ban abortion completely if and when Roe falls. Several other states have similar laws in the pipelines. However, it is far from certain that the kind of draconian law introduced in Alabama, Georgia and other states will be the one that brings it down. Many think the new laws go too far, and will force the Supreme Court, if they go that far, to reject them.

Thomas in Jackson’s Woodland Hills Baptist Church on January 23. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

The extremity of these laws have exposed a rift in the pro-life movement among those who want to ban abortion completely and those that favor an incremental approach. Trump laid bare this rift in a Tweet on Saturday, making clear that he favors a ban of abortion, that unlike Alabama and Georgia, makes exceptions for rape and incest. Underscoring the precarious nature of the anti-choice fight, he urged unity in the movement, tweeting that “If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!“

As with most other issues he wades into, Trump has increased the vitriol in an already remarkably ugly fight for women’s reproductive rights. Anti-choice extremists are emboldened by the president, and his attention and support has given the movement a new sense of urgency. Trump’s words may or may not might incite violence against abortion providers, but at the very least, the protestors who call in threats, who harass and picket, feel validated by the White House.

Alternatively, Trump can do what every Republican president before him has done: nothing. He can court the support of the anti-choice evangelicals and disappoint them. This carries with it its own risk of violence, the same way frustration with Reagan led to increased violence against abortion providers in the 1980s.

Either way, reproductive rights advocates are expecting an ugly time ahead.

“We’re going to see more violence toward 2020,” says Katherine Ragsdale, head of the National Abortion Federation. “One way or another Roe will fall or it might as well fall because of all the whittling away. People of means won’t lose access to abortion, but the majority of women, those of color, the poor, in rural areas; they will.”

Rusty Thomas isn’t convinced about Donald Trump. The president may be a step in the right direction, but he has a long way to go if he wants to catch up with Operation Save America. In a Facebook post after the signing of the Alabama bill, Thomas lamented that the bill did not go far enough. For one, it still has exceptions for the life and mental health of the mother, exceptions that Thomas believes that the pro-choice movement will exploit. He also believes women who have abortions should be punished.

In OSA’s world there is no excuse for ending a pregnancy. What’s more, Thomas believes the Alabama law is too concerned with being legal. “Any law we pass to outlaw abortion must defy and ignore the courts,” he wrote on the organization’s site. To the OSA, there is no law higher than God’s, and increasingly certain factions of the GOP are joining them. Ted Cruz’ father once said his son would bring about “the end times.” Roy Moore, who only lost his Alabama senate election by a hair said 9/11 and crime in the country was because we have “forgotten God.” Washington State congressman Matt Shea once outlined “The Biblical Case for War ”against “‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists and establishment Republicans.”

“Trump doesn’t have the fullness of understanding yet,” Thomas says. “This isn’t political. We can’t escape God. Maybe it will be Trump, maybe it will be someone else, but sooner or later God’s will will be brought to America.”

Children and young adults listen to Thomas preaching at Woodland Hills Baptist Church. Photo by Finlay MacKay.

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Magic Johnson Says Rob Pelinka Betrayed Him; Final Straw Was Luke Walton Firing

Magic Johnson speaks to reporters prior to an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. Johnson abruptly quit as the Lakers' president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing his desire to return to the simpler life he enjoyed as a wealthy businessman and beloved former player before taking charge of the franchise just over two years ago. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Magic Johnson named names during an appearance on Monday’s episode of First Take, saying general manager Rob Pelinka betrayed him during his time as Lakers president:

“If you’re going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob. But, again, I had to look inside myself. I had been doing that for months. Because I didn’t like that Tim Harris was too involved in basketball. He’s supposed to run the Laker business, but he was trying to come over to our side. Jeanie’s gotta stop that. You gotta stop people from having those voices.”

Johnson said issues with him and Pelinka began during their first season working together. He said he told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss that, as part of the terms of his employment, he should be allowed to continue running his business outside the Lakers.

According to Johnson, Pelinka began smearing his name behind the scenes for not being at Lakers facilities enough:

“Things got going in the right direction, and then I start hearing, you know, ‘Magic, you’re not working hard enough. Magic’s not in the office.’ So people around the Laker office was telling me Rob was saying things—Rob Pelinka—and I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in office enough and so on and on. So I start getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball. Now not just in the Laker office anymore, now it’s in the media and so on. … And people gotta remember something, being in this business for over 40 years, I got allies, I got friends everywhere.”

Johnson said he had been considering stepping down because of his frustrations with the inner workings of the organization, particularly with Pelinka. However, he said his final decision came after it was clear he would not have full autonomy in choosing the next Lakers coach:

“The straw that broke the camel’s back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton, and we had … three meetings. I showed her the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well. And I said listen, we gotta get a better coach. I like him, he’s great, former Laker, the whole thing. So, the first day, ‘Well, let’s think about it.’ Second day, ‘OK, you can fire him.’ Then the next day, ‘No, we should try to work it out.’ So when we went back and forth like that, and then she brought Tim Harris into the meeting, you know, some of the guys.

“And Tim, you know, wanted me—he wanted to keep him, because he was friends with Luke. Luke’s a great guy, great guy. And so when I looked up and said, ‘Wait a minute, I only really answer to Jeanie Buss.’ Now, I got Tim involved, and I said it’s time for me to go. I got things happening that was being said behind my back, I don’t have the power that I thought I had to make the decisions, and I told them, ‘When it’s not fun for me, when I think that I don’t have the decision-making power that I thought I had, then I gotta step aside.’”

Johnson said Jeanie Buss assured him when he took the job that he would have final say on all personnel decisions. He mentioned multiple times that Buss has too many voices in her ear, including Pelinka, Linda Rambis, Kurt Rambis, Tim Harris, Joey Buss and Phil Jackson, among others. 

None of those people besides Jackson—Johnson included—had any experience running a basketball organization. Jackson’s short stint with the New York Knicks was such a disaster that it makes Magic look like a rousing success by contrast.

Aside from signing LeBron, Johnson’s most high-profile personnel decision was the Anthony Davis trade negotiations at the deadline. He went into detail about how the organization handled those talks, placing the blame on then-Pelicans general manager Dell Demps for talks leaking to the public. 

“I’m not a regretful guy. You’re right, I offered a lot of guys, but you have to do that for an Anthony Davis,” Johnson said. “He’s a special player and the guys that we were going to trade to the Pelicans are special as well. And I told Dell Demps: ‘Let’s just do it in private. What we offer, let’s keep it between us.’ Well, Dell didn’t do that, so that’s how it got out, right.”

He later complimented the Lakers young players for their handling of the situation:

“I would say that I told Brandon [Ingram], Kyle [Kuzma], all the young guys, [Lonzo] Ball: If you’re in the business long enough, your name is going to get mentioned in trades, don’t take it personally. So what happened was, about that first week, they did take it personally and our writers back home wrote a lot of stories. But I give all of them credit. Brandon Ingram put together a 10-game stretch. He was unstoppable. The things I thought he could do, he did them in those 10 games.

“I’m telling you Molly [Qerim], this guy is special. He guarded Kyrie Irving one night, he’s on Kevin Durant another night, so you can play him on different guys. He is special. Now he’s healthy, I’m glad that surgery went well. And then Kyle Kuzma scored 29 points after that debacle in Indianapolis where we just got blown out. Kyle Kuzma went to Boston, 29 [points]. He then came to Philly, had 30 at halftime, finished with I think 40, I couldn’t remember the ending, 46, 40-something. He got himself together and started hooping and started playing basketball, and they all did. So I wouldn’t change anything, because that’s my job is to make the Lakers better.”

What’s clear is that the Lakers were an organization in near-constant internal turmoil last season. Whether it was the Pelinka-Johnson power struggle or young players coming to grips with the realities of the NBA as a business, the environment was nothing short of toxic.

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Seahawks HC Pete Carroll Would ‘Kill’ or Decrease Instant Replay to Improve NFL

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll encourages players on the first day of NFL football rookie mini camp, Friday, May 3, 2019, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Pro Football Talk’s Peter King asked 25 people around the NFL to provide suggestions for how to improve the NFL game in his latest column, including Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Carroll’s suggestion? Lessen the impact of instant replay:

“Get rid of—or at least decrease the use of—instant replay. I get all the reasons why we have instant replay, and technology has opened up a new world for us to get to this point. But I miss the human element of trusting the officials to make the calls in the moment and then the rest of us having to live with what they called. It was both fun and frustrating, but I really liked the game better when the officials were just as much a part of the game as the players.”

Other suggestions in King’s column: Former general manager Ron Wolf says there should be fewer penalties called; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr suggests less protection for quarterbacks; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry wants each team to get a guaranteed possession in overtime; The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones says the league should rework its drug policy; and Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead wants two preseason games rather than four.

Interestingly, while Carroll pushed against instant replay, Fox officiating analyst Dean Blandino wants every play to be reviewable:

“I have come full circle on this since I worked in the league, but I now think coaches should be able to challenge anything they want. Don’t increase the number of challenges. Put the onus on the coach to save his challenges. This would simplify the rule because you wouldn’t have to wonder what’s reviewable and what isn’t.

“Now that the league has added pass-interference to reviewable calls, we’re going to see the creep begin. Next year, they’ll add something else. By not opening it up to all things being reviewable, all we are doing is delaying the inevitable.”

Replay remains a divisive issue among fans, players, coaches and the like. On one hand, the ability to get the correct call on key plays in a game is a positive. On the other, replay has opened up a level of uncertainty on a number of topics given how closely each play can be scrutinized, from the always confusing catch rules to what does or doesn’t warrant pass interference.

It’s unlikely the NFL will remove replay, given that fans get to see multiple replay angles during broadcasts and are aware in real time when an official gets a call wrong or misses something. It’s also unlikely replay will ever be a topic everybody agrees on.

The differing stances from Carroll and Blandino are a reminder that replay remains a divisive issue for the NFL to navigate.

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Google’s Huawei Android restrictions: what does it mean for you?

The news that Google has blocked Huawei’s future access to Android updates – for both apps and timely security updates – not only casts doubt over the entire future of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer’s business, it also could have wide-ranging implications for the future of the global smartphone market.

After US President Donald Trump placed Huawei on the ‘entity list’, limiting the business US brands could do with Huawei, Google has been forced to restrict the company’s access to the Google Play Store, which means that in the future users won’t be able to gain access to popular titles, nor to speedy security updates to the Android OS.

In short, Huawei will no longer be able to offer access to crucial Google apps, and will be severely limited in how quickly it can give users access to the latest versions of Android, and the new features and security updates those offer.

What does that mean if I have a Huawei phone?

We’re still fully dissecting the news, but perhaps the most useful piece of information is Google’s first statement that was issued to TechRadar:

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” a spokesperson told us.

However, there is one nugget of good news if you’ve just spent large amounts of money on a Huawei P30 Pro: as alluded to above, current devices from the Chinese brand will continue to get security updates and access to the Google Play Store for the foreseeable future, as Google has promised not to leave those out in the cold.

Huawei has also told us that it will continue to do all it can to support all its phones currently out in the wild, and is looking at other implications of Google’s decision.

The company told us: “Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry.

“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”

That doesn’t mean you can rest easy if you’re a current Huawei owner though – how long this support will last for is, as yet, unclear – and it’s unlikely to continue for years to come.

While most smartphone brands will only honor security updates for two to three years after launch of a new handset, one might expect this to be much shorter in the case of Huawei phones, given these new restrictions from Google.

Will future Huawei phones still use Android?

Image credit: TechRadar

The move from Google means it will no longer work with Huawei directly on issuing updates to its system, and won’t give the company access to the Google Play Store. This is a potentially critical blow to the brand, which only recently spoke out about its plans to be the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.

This means that if Huawei wants to keep using the Android operating system, it will need to use the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP), which is a free platform that any brand can use as an underlying foundation for its products.

However, it along with the Google Play Store it won’t have access to the core Google apps like YouTube, Google Maps and Chrome – these are core elements of Google’s business that it’s not duty bound to make available to anyone.

Without access to the Play Store, Huawei would be forced to work directly with developers to get them to create versions of their wares for its phones. This situation would be similar to that of Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on AOSP but has its own app store, as the retail giant seeks to control the platform its Fire tablets and Echo devices run on.

If Huawei is forced to use AOSP the consequences could be devastating, as access to a fully-stocked app store is crucial to the success of any modern smartphone – Nokia and Microsoft failed to make Windows Phones a viable alternative to Android and Apple’s iOS, even though both brands poured millions into developer tools and enticing the top app creators onto their platform.

However, Huawei has claimed that it’s been developing its own alternative to Android for nearly seven years, calling it a ‘Plan B’ that’s ready to go should it lose access to the services listed above.

In the latest statement to TechRadar, Huawei said: “We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” which sounds like it already wants to generate some positive hype around its alternative OS.

How this would work is currently unclear, as Huawei also said it would rather continue working with brands like Google and Microsoft (whose Windows operating system runs on Huawei laptops) to offer the best experience.

”Huawei has been working hard on developing its own AppGallery and other software assets in a similar manner to its work on chipset solutions.” Ben Woods, Chief of Research at CCS Insight, told TechRadar. ”There is little doubt these efforts are part of its desire to control its own destiny.”

It seems unlikely, however, that the Chinese brand would have developed viable alternatives to all the top Android apps for its next round of smartphones.

If Huawei loses access to the Google Play Store, it would take an enormous amount of investment to attract developers to create app options that would keep users of its smartphones happy – and you have to wonder whether the brand would feel it was worth continuing to make phones at all when faced with that kind of hurdle.

The same would also apply to Honor, the sub-brand of Huawei phones, in the future. Honor might have tried to distance itself from its parent company, but it’s been confirmed that it will be subject to the same sanctions.

However, the launch of that brand’s Honor 20 smartphone is still going ahead as planned – so it’s clear that devices currently created and in the supply chain are still going to be supported in the Android ecosystem.

What about other brands? What does this mean for the wider smartphone world?

iPhone XS

(Image: © TechRadar)

While these sanctions don’t currently affect other brands, the message being sent is clear: global politics can have dramatic implications for the manufacturing and marketing of consumer devices that have become indispensable for billions of people.

While there’s currently no issue with brands headquartered in other parts of the world, a similar sanction could see other smartphone manufacturers forced into a costly rethink.

A few years ago Samsung seriously threatened a breakaway move from Google’s Android operating system, as it felt the search giant had too much control over the operating system on its Galaxy smartphones.

It worked to develop the Tizen OS, which is still used on devices like Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatches, triggering negotiations with Google about allowing more freedom for manufacturers.

(It’s worth noting that while Samsung did release smartphones based on Tizen, they were budget models, and didn’t come anywhere close to the success of its Galaxy phone range).

The big beneficiary here could be Apple – President Trump has long advocated for the brand to move its operations from China to the US, and exempted Apple from the trade tariffs imposed on China so that the brand wouldn’t have to raise its prices.

Huawei has been a thorn in Apple’s side of late, with the rise of the Chinese brand seeing it usurp its Cupertino-based rival in the worldwide rankings and become a serious competitor in the premium smartphone space – and Trump clearly wants to see the US tech giant do more of its business back home.

However, moving its operations from China would be incredibly costly for Apple, and it would still need to source many components from Asia to build future iPhones, so it’s unclear what the effect would be, both on the company and the US economy.

The loss of Huawei as a major player in the global smartphone market could also have a wider impact on the smartphones other vendors are pushing out. The Chinese brand’s aggressive development of new technological capabilities has forced rivals to significantly improve their devices and push out new advancements of their own, and any diminution of its influence would likely slow the rate of development.

Huawei’s smartphone camera prowess has arguably kickstarted a race to offer cameras that deliver ever-better sharpness, color and overall image quality in the last two years – the quality of the pictures it’s possible to take on a premium phone has improved dramatically as the brand’s P series has relentlessly pushed the boundaries of what’s possible.

The company is also in a race with Samsung to bring out the first widely available foldable phone – and the Huawei Mate X’s mere existence surely forced the South Korean brand to speed up its development of a bending handset, meaning consumers will get access to the technology earlier (although Samsung probably would have rather waited to deliver the Galaxy Fold…).

So is it all over for Huawei?

There is a glimmer of hope for Huawei’s continued use of Android and the capabilities that offers. 

The US Commerce Department recently issued a 90-day rollback of the trade restrictions imposed on Huawei, to allow American networks to continue to buy important equipment to maintain infrastructure – in essence admitting that the restrictions would have deep implications for current operations, and would need to be assessed on an ongoing basis.

Google has also confirmed that it’s ‘reviewing’ the situation, and the implications of the US sanctions – it doesn’t want to limit the reach of its Android ecosystem, and US brands like Qualcomm are going to be severely impacted by the Huawei restrictions, so will likely lobby to have this decision re-examined.

However, if Google is forced to cut Huawei off from future Android security updates and access to the Play Store, then it could not only make things difficult for Huawei, but may cause consumers to view any Chinese brand with suspicion – and given the proliferation and technological prowess of the latest phones coming out of that country, that would also have a huge impact on the industry.

So while this move seems to only affect Huawei right now, it’s going to have a knock-on effect for the entire industry, and will most likely have implications for the next smartphone you buy – and it could also mean the rise of a new mobile operating system, and potentially a serious challenger to Android.

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Different Angle Shows Arnold Schwarzenegger Barely Moves After Dropkick

A different angle shows the moment a man kicked Arnold Schwarzenegger in the back and reveals that the former Mr Universe barely even moved after the attack. Hard. As. Nails.

In the first video to be shared online, Schwarzenegger is at Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, South Africa when a man, who has since been described as a ‘crazed fan’, comes up from behind and kicks him with both feet. The action hero legend disappears from shot while the man is tackled by security staff.

The second clip, however, shows how unfazed the Terminator star was by the attack. In the video, you can see him posing for selfies with fans and signing autographs before the man runs up and kicks him.

Schwarzenegger is pushed forward slightly and appears to bump into a woman stood in front of him. As the man hits the deck, he can be seen turning around to see what hit him, but otherwise he looks pretty chilled about the whole situation.

Absolutely nails, mate.

His relaxed response, mirrors what he said following the incident.

Taking to Twitter after the video went viral, he wrote: “Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about. I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realised I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you. I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.”

The 71-year-old has since revealed that he won’t be pressing charges against the man, posting to say: “Update: A lot of you have asked, but I’m not pressing charges. I hope this was a wake-up call, and he gets his life on the right track. But I’m moving on and I’d rather focus on the thousands of great athletes I met at @ArnoldSports Africa.”

He’s also urged fans: “Do me a favour: instead of sharing the video of the guy who wants to be famous, watch some of our@ArnoldSports athletes like this young hero proving that fitness is for everyone who deserve to be famous. They’re on my Snapchat.”

Jokingly adding: “And if you have to share the video (I get it), pick a blurry one without whatever he was yelling so he doesn’t get the spotlight. By the way… block or charge?”

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Schwarzenegger

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Columbine Survivor and Addiction Advocate Austin Eubanks Found Dead in His Home

Austin Eubanks, a survivor of the Columbine High School shootings and motivational speaker about opioid abuse and trauma, was found dead in his Colorado home Saturday. He was 37.

Eubanks was 17 at the time of the attack in Colorado, where he was shot in the hand and knee. He witnessed the situation unfold from the library, while he hid under a table, and his friend, Corey Depooter, died next to him. Fifteen people, including the shooters, died during the attacks.

“Corey was my best friend who was under the same table in the library with me that day, and he did not make it out alive,” Eubanks told VICE News last month.

In the months following the massacre, Eubanks said he became addicted to opioid painkillers prescribed for his injuries. In a statement to CNN, his family said Eubanks “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.” The cause of death has not been determined; his autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Eubanks devoted much of his life post-Columbine to speaking about his addiction and ongoing recovery. Apart from his motivational speaking career, Eubanks worked in an addiction treatment center, according to CBS News.

Austin Eubanks, a survivor of the Columbine High School shootings and motivational speaker about opioid abuse and trauma, was found dead in his Colorado home Saturday. He was 37.

Eubanks was 17 at the time of the attack in Colorado, where he was shot in the hand and knee. He witnessed the situation unfold from the library, while he hid under a table, and his friend, Corey Depooter, died next to him. Fifteen people, including the shooters, died during the attacks.

“Corey was my best friend who was under the same table in the library with me that day, and he did not make it out alive,” Eubanks told VICE News last month.

In the months following the massacre, Eubanks said he became addicted to opioid painkillers prescribed for his injuries. In a statement to CNN, his family said Eubanks “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.” The cause of death has not been determined; his autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Eubanks devoted much of his life post-Columbine to speaking about his addiction and ongoing recovery. Apart from his motivational speaking career, Eubanks worked in an addiction treatment center, according to CBS News.

“I was an emotional disaster, and I turned to substances almost immediately in order to cope,” Eubanks said in an interview with VICE News prior to his death.

Prior to Eubanks’ death, the suicides of school shooting survivors reignited conversation about the effects of that trauma and mental health. Two survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, took their own lives this year.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit; to find help. Or, if you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or visit;. for more information.

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