The Washington Nationals are ready to erase the 2018 season, start fresh in 2019

The Washington Nationals had a very disappointing 2018 season under first year manager Dave Martinez, finishing with a record of 82-80. They missed out on the postseason a year after firing well-renowned manager Dusty Baker after two early exits in the playoffs.

Martinez’s expectation when arriving to Washington was to take his talented ball club to nothing short of the World Series.

Even though the ultimate goal of a world championship was not achieved in 2018, there were many positive takeaways that can be built upon going into the 2019 season. Rookie phenom, Juan Soto emerged onto the scene in late May as a spark club that the team will rely on for years to come. Bryce Harper once again posted an impressive campaign that is going to send him into free agency, and the two time defending Cy Young Award winner is poised to defend this honor after posting yet another impressive ERA (Earned Run Average).

Now the Nationals are entering free agency with a dilemma to which many major league baseball executives simply do not have the answer: what will come of Bryce Harper? Harper– the face of the franchise and the player who holds the key to the district– has an expiring contract that is exposing him to the open market. Harper is one of the most well known baseball players of his time and is well on his way to the Major League Baseball hall of fame. Many Nationals fans simply do not know whether the team will shell out around 400 million dollars to keep Harper.

If the Nationals are unable to lock up Harper during free agency, they must find another avenue to turn down. They would be moving on from their 2010 number one overall draft pick, who often fills up Nationals Park solely based off of his popularity.

According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, “If the Nationals pay Harper, that affects the other moves they make.” A mega-deal like Harper is requesting a lot of financial commitment from an organization with many other gaps that need be filled.

After moving three time all-star Daniel Murphy, two time world series champion pitcher Ryan Madson and bullpen stalwart Brandon Kintzler at the deadline, the Nationals front office is aware that there are major moves to be made. They have already added two high-leverage relievers, Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal, both of whom have closing experience and can play a major role for the team going into the 2019 season. Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post states, “the primary offseason needs, whether Harper re-signs or not: catcher, second base, two starters and the bullpen. It’s not nothing. But it’s not impossible.”

The team knows that they must immediately turn the page on the 2018 season and start working towards 2019. With Dave Martinez and his whole coaching staff returning, they know they have something to prove to both the fans and the rest of the league. The big question still looms for the team, where will superstar Bryce Harper land?

The Nationals are ready to rev it up and show that they can be a perennial powerhouse in not only the regular season, but the playoffs as well. If the chapter closes on Bryce Harper’s career in the city that drafted him and raised him as a player, they must turn the page quickly.

The Nationals open up the 2019 season at home on March 28 against the New York Mets. Whether the team has a new look or not, their ultimate goal will be to hoist that trophy over their city and bring a championship which has been long awaited.

Seahawks Men’s Basketball Sets Sights on Trip to Randolph

After an underwhelming performance last season, Coach Christopher Harney and the 2018-19 St. Mary’s College of Maryland Men’s Basketball team are ready to start strong this November. In talking to any of the 2018-2019 Seahawks, the atmosphere and excitement about men’s basketball is strikingly obvious. At first, it may seem curious for a team that finished last season a disappointing 2-16 in conference. But these players, this team, is not the same; they aren’t defined by any other edition St. Mary’s men’s basketball.

Despite early season struggles The Seahawks ended last season with promise, losing by only three points on the road against then No. 8th ranked York College. These Seahawks additionally showed promise in mid-season conference victories against Penn State Harrisburg and rival Frostburg State. Still, any player or coach will say that this time around, Men’s Seahawk Basketball is built for more.

This team doesn’t have low expectations or goals either; every member says their primary goal is always to win a championship, conference or otherwise. Certainly, nothing is given, or even expected, but what junior Quentin Twyman describes as a “Strong group of returners” are ready earn success in 2018-2019.

Despite graduating guard Ochae Bynum and other key contributors, the roster is absolutely primed for improvement. Not only did the Seahawks add a whopping 13 freshmen, but forward Spencer Schultz is returning after missing most of the 17-18 due to Injury. Schultz led the Seahawks with 15.8 PPG before he was lost for the season in late 2017.

Staying healthy has to be a priority for the team this year as well. Losing major contributors has crippled the Seahawks numerous times. Keeping practices competitive while minimizing injury risk is crucial to maintaining this roster at full strength through what can be a grueling 26-plus game season.

This year, Twyman, a forward from Germantown, says that the team additionally has an advantage in dynamics and chemistry. Twyman says he “feels like the team genuinely likes each other; if [a team member] offers constructive criticism, no one takes it personal (sic)” This dynamic offers an enormous advantage over teams that struggle to cooperate. Twyman and the rest of the Seahawks certainly believe it can lift them to new heights.

After returning to official practice in October, Men’s basketball opens their promising season on Friday, November 9th at Randolph College before returning on the 15th for their home opener against Shenandoah. Home rivalry games against Salisbury (December 1), Frostburg (January 5), and York (February 9) highlight the Seahawks 2018-2019 schedule for St. Mary’s students. Student admission to home games is always free.

Women’s Volleyball Finishes off Bounce-back Season

The women’s volleyball team closes out a strong season after losing to the No. 1 seed in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) tournament, the University of Mary Washington. The team finished the year off with a record of 14-18.

Head coach Kelly Martin finished off her third year at the helm of the Seahawks program. Although the ultimate goal of a CAC championship was not accomplished, the Lady Seahawks proved that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. After finishing the 2017 season with a 3-23 record and going 0-9 in conference play, this year gave them something to build off of.

When speaking of the 2018 season, senior captain Hannah Krauss said, “This season was a big improvement from the last, not only record-wise, but culture-wise as well.” She goes on to state, “This year we focused a lot on our team culture and a championship mentality, which I think really elevated our competitiveness.”

After a stellar season, two-time team captain and senior Marissa Dangler was awarded second team All-CAC. This honor comes off the heels of an impressive 2018 campaign for Dangler. She was a steady force for the Seahawks, playing in 30 sets and serving as a veteran leader and a figure for her teammates to look up to.

When reminiscing on her time here on the volleyball team Dangler states, “My experience as a St. Mary’s volleyball player has definitely been a memorable one. I was able to gain an abundant amount of friendships that I will carry on with me after college.” The volleyball team had an obvious bond that they will try to hold together after the loss of five seniors who all were key members of the Seahawk program.

This season, the Seahawks showed a sense of grittiness that was unmatched. They forced their way into a 5th set in 8 matches this season, demonstrating the amount of fight that the team embodied.

Coach Martin was able to motivate her players to compete coming off of a down year.  Krauss had high praise of coach Martin stating, “I owe Kelly Martin a lot as far as who I am as a person and volleyball player. She’s not only a coach, but also a mentor who strives to help her players become strong women…her impact will definitely follow me after college.” Dangler also strongly backed her coach saying, “Coach Martin helped me become a leader that I never knew I had within myself. She not only provided me with the skills needed to play on the court but also wisdom.”

With the Seahawks in the hands of Coach Martin for years to come, they are sure to be headed in the right direction. This season was an example of the stepping stones that the volleyball team is making in their return as a perennial powerhouse in the CAC.

Dangler is grateful for the opportunity she has had here at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and wants to remind her teammates to never take their time on the court for granted. She states, “Never take these four years for granted because you do not want to look back and say, ‘I should have… you want to be able to look back and say, ‘I have accomplished all that I set out to accomplish.’”

The Seahawks are already looking towards the 2019 season with determination to continue building off of this successful season. The team has a lot of success ahead of them and this season was only a preview for all the accomplishments that lie ahead.

Eight St. Mary’s Soccer Players make All-Conference Teams

Both the men’s and women’s soccer squads at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) had very successful 2018 campaigns. As a result, they were rewarded with several selections each to the Capital Athletic Conference’s (CAC) first and second teams. The men’s team, who lost 1-0 to Mary Washington University in the CAC championship game, had five selections. Senior captain Juwan Kearson, juniors Khalid Balogun and Josh McRobie, and sophomore Roshawn Panton all picked up first team honors, while junior Andrew Kalinoski earned the second team award, according to smcmathletics.com.

Kearson ended his collegiate career career with four all-conference selections, including first team for the last three seasons. In his SMCM career, Kearson has started seventy-two out of seventy-six possible games, scored seventeen goals, notched sixteen assists, and scored seven game winning goals.

Balogun’s selection to the first team was also his third straight, as he led the CAC in all major statistical categories. This included twelve goals, seven assists, thirty-one points, and seventy-two shots. He will look to return for an even more impressive senior campaign in 2019.

After transferring in from Frostburg State University, McRobie placed third in the league with eight goals and fourth in the league with twenty points during his first season as a Seahawk. McRobie additionally concluded the year with two game winning goals.

Another first year Seahawk, Panton transferred in from Prince George’s Community College and made an immediate impact. He tied with Balogun for the conference lead in assists, and also finished with six goals, two game winners, and nineteen points.

Kalinoski helped to anchor the Seahawk defense to eleven shutouts and 0.78 goals against average. He also scored the first two goals of his career, and they were both game winners against Southern Virginia University and Salisbury University, respectively.

With four of the five All-CAC selections returning in 2019, SMCM is already well on their way in the hunt for a championship.

 

The SMCM women’s soccer team, who once again made it to the CAC semi-finals, had three all-conference players of their own. Senior Lauren Hall and sophomore Alex Moody both were selected to the first team, and senior Katie Flores was chosen for the second team.

This was Hall’s first time being selected to the all-conference team, as she led the Seahawk defense to seven shutouts and 1.46 goals against average. She also received CAC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 10 after scoring the game winning goal against Stevenson University.

This was also Moody’s first time being named to the All-CAC team. The forward finished with six goals, two game winning goals, and a team high of fourteen points. She was named CAC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 1 after scoring three of the team’s four goals that week.

Flores picked up her second All-CAC second team award as a goalie. She received the same award after her first season at SMCM (2015). That year, Flores was second in the conference with 104 saves and fourth with a .782 save percentage. She also won the CAC Defensive Player of the Week award twice this year, on Oct. 1 and Oct. 29, according to smcmathletics.com.

SMCM Students Assist Candidate in Midterm Elections

The 2018 Midterm Elections took place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, ushering in sweeping changes of the country’s political landscape. On the federal level, Democrats took a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, now holding 225 of 435 seats with votes still being counted in several districts. Republicans have maintained control of the Senate, with an expected 53 of 100 seats in Congress’ upper house.

In Maryland, the Democrats are set to maintain their supermajority in the state legislature, albeit with a Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, who beat Democrat Ben Jealous with 56.2% of the vote, over Jealous’ 42.8%. Members of the College Democrats club assisted Brian Crosby, Democratic delegate-elect, in his campaign to unseat incumbent delegate Deb Rey, a Republican who was first elected to represent southern St. Mary’s County in 2014.

“We honestly did the whole nine yards, we canvassed, or tried to canvass every single Sunday afternoon from 2pm-4pm, if we weren’t canvassing that day that meant we had another event,” Marie Lewis, President of the College Democrats told TPN. The club also met with Brian and his campaign several times, and got invited to a party on behalf of Brian Crosby, where members of the club met Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Steny Hoyer.

Crosby resonated with the club, as his opponent, Rey, “was very far right, and was also very pro-gun, which was something we were not interested in as college students who are living in an actual nightmare,” Lewis explained. “Brian was, I would qualify as center-left, he was very primarily concerned with education, which we loved,” Lewis noted, adding that Crosby also recognized that “in St. Mary’s County there isn’t very much to do,” which leads young people into trouble. Lewis also noted that Crosby’s campaign was helped in right-leaning St. Mary’s county because “Brian was running on very bipartisan issues such as infrastructure in this county, which is something everyone can agree on.”

Rey was endorsed by conservative groups such as the National Rifle Association and Maryland Right to Life, and scored an 85% from the American Conservative Union. Crosby received a “0%” from the National Rifle Association, and was endorsed by the Maryland State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), as well as American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Maryland Council 3. Although St. Mary’s County tends to lean right, House of Delegates District 29B, where Crosby won, was occupied by Democrat John Bohanan before Rey won in 2014. “St. Mary’s County is very purple, is what I would say, it’s only slightly Republican,” Lewis explained.

Regarding the gubernatorial race, Lewis stated that Hogan’s “popularity among even Democrats honestly was very similar to Brian’s campaign, very bipartisan issues, and I think that may be a key factor in winning in Maryland.” Hogan received a “C” ranking from the National Rifle Association this year, and a 50% rating from the Center for Education reform in 2016. Hogan’s approval ratings as Governor have remained high, despite the state’s Democratic-leaning legislature, garnering approval from 65% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 81% of Republicans in a Goucher poll released in April.

For more information on the midterm election, see Kimberly Boenig’s article in World.

Smoking, Alcohol Policies Discussed Years Ago

The St. Mary’s Public Safety Advisory Council (PSAC) was a group of students on campus that worked with Public Safety to discuss on-campus issues about policies that directly affected student life. The group has since been dissolved as many of the students that were involved graduated from the College following the Spring 2017 semester.

In an email interview, Tressa Setlak, Director of Public Safety at the College, explained why PSAC no longer met, saying “The students disbanded [PSAC] and told me that they thought that PS was moving in the right direction and they were comfortable no longer meeting as a group.”

But Grayson McNew, a senior and former member of PSAC described his experience with the ending of the group in a different way, saying “After the 2017 school year ended and I returned in the fall, I never received notifications about the committee meeting again. I have been made aware that they were supposedly meeting under a new name, ‘COPS’ but never received further notification about it.”

Setlak described the policies that Public Safety and PSAC discussed as “pretty much anything that was going on including alcohol, smoking, parking, traditions, cameras and lighting.” McNew went into detail explaining what policies PSAC worked with Public Safety on: “the campus ‘ban’ on cigarettes, a ‘ban’ on hard liquor, and the idea was floated of a new social host policy;” McNew also mentioned that the group “also discussed the implementation of security cameras in parking lots eventually phasing into buildings but nothing conclusive came of these talks.”

PSAC and Public Safety discussed solutions like “creating ‘designated smoking places’ around campus. These would be covered areas where students, faculty, and staff would be allowed to smoke. But McNew noted that students and staff/faculty on campus “took issue with this as we were concerned about punishment and enforcement of these policies.”

There was also confusion as to how a ban on smoking would be enforced, according to McNew, whose “primary concern was that we continue to compare ourselves to other colleges in Maryland.” He compared the College to “[University of Maryland], where they do have this in place, students can simply walk across the road and be ‘off-campus’ in downtown College Park. We do not have that luxury here and thus a ‘cigarette ban’ here at St. Mary’s would effectively equate to an administration mandate for students to stop smoking period.”

PSAC also discussed a campus ban on hard liquor. McNew said that “The premise was to ban all liquor on campus above a certain proof with the intent to decrease the number of hospital trips due to over-consumption.” But there were also questions about enforcement of the ban, which “seemed almost impossible without Public Safety being able to inspect drinks – even unmarked closed containers – and it would restrict those who legally could purchase alcohol.”

There was also the same issue with the ban of smoking and the proximity of off-campus locations with the ban of liquor, “Students at every other college have the opportunity to walk to bars in the area – where these policies do not apply – or to go off campus. Here we have only one option and you must drive. We worried that by doing this we may push those above the age of 21 to drive off campus greatly increasing the risk to students.”

The last policy that PSAC and Public Safety discussed was the social host policy, which also had problems with enforcement and campus proximity to alternative options, “While we all agreed that the idea of holding those who threw parties which resulted in damage to either school or personal property was a good one, we debated how to enforce such a policy. Again we stressed the uniqueness of our situation here and that at most other colleges this appeared to be geared directly toward fraternity parties; which we do not have on campus. Would we have every student who wanted friends over register this as an event with Public Safety?”

McNew also mentioned that “These policies were put into place this year without any further discussion on the matter, and with the disbanding of the PSAC we no longer have a voice in new policies. These are students lives we are talking about here and thus these issues need to be considered with the utmost diligence.”

When asked if PSAC should be reinstated, McNew enthusiastically responded with “an unequivocal yes!” he explained the importance of the committee,  “This committee may be the most important one that existed during my time in SGA. It helped coordinate Hallowgreens safety procedures; we instituted the police checkpoints at the college entrances, we helped procure the large lights behind the Greens, and helped provide our guidance to Public Safety on the protocol for the evening. This committee gave students a voice in their own safety, it gave students a way to check new policies before they were implemented and I believe generally aided in relations between public safety and the community. ”

Setlak said that she “certainly would not mind bringing it back.  One thing that I got out of it was staying current on what students are interested in and concerned about.  I think there is potential to use this group to make positive changes on the campus and build the student/Public Safety relationship.”

Migrant Caravan Makes Its Way to U.S/Mexican Border Fleeing Unstable Countries

Migrants hailing from several Central American countries including Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are travelling in large groups to the U.S.-Mexico border and seeking asylum from extreme poverty, gang violence, and terror that is rampant in their home countries. A group of 160 people left the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras on Oct. 12, 2018 and by the early hours of the next day’s travel, the group had gained over 1,000 members also committed to make the journey.

Two other groups have since formed and are taking a similar path to the border as the first caravan. These groups decide to travel in large numbers due to the unsafe nature, especially for women and children due to the possibility of facing danger along the trip. The size of the group acts to deter possible threats but other challenges, such as severe sunburn from relentless sun exposure, constant dehydration and lack of proper footwear make the journey grueling.

For a majority of migrants, this journey offers a rare chance to escape several hardships, and yet the treatment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has been less than welcoming. The journey leading up to the border threatens danger through human trafficking and robbery, although organizations aware of the caravans have come together to provide the migrants with necessary food and shelter. At the U.S.-Mexico border, many migrants have pleaded for access to transportation by buses after making much of the journey on foot, with 200 individuals marching to a U.N. office to petition for support.

President Donald Trump made several comments regarding the migrant caravan which have caused controversy, with Trump mentioning “tent cities” that would be built to hold those seeking asylum. Trump also warned what he called the “invasion” of migrants by stating they would be greeted at the border by the United States military and on Oct. 29, a statement announced that 5,200 troops would be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border. These remarks are under close watch, as Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 featured promises to curb illegal immigration. Comments made by previous U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned from his job on Nov. 7 2018, surrounding the credibility of migrants fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence got media attention, along with Session’s emphasis of his “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration into the United States.

 

World Demands Answer After Prominent Journalist’s Mysterious Death

A Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, critic of the Saudi government and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

The order to kill the journalist came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government, according to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, and he called for the “puppet-masters” to be revealed. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, Erdogan said he did not believe “for a second” that King Salman was behind “the hit” on Khashoggi, restraining from accusing the crown prince directly.

One of Erdogan’s advisers bluntly said that the crown prince had “blood on his hands” over the murder, reported CNBC. Initially, the Saudi government insisted Khashoggi had left the consulate, however, they later said he died in an unplanned “rogue operation”. The kingdom’s public prosecutor, Saud Al Mojeb, said the murder was premeditated.

According to Irfan Fidan, the chief Istanbul prosecutor, Khashoggi, was strangled as soon as he went into the consulate. In the first official confirmation, he stated, “in accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was choked to death immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on Oct.October 2. The victim’s body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation – again, in line with advance plans.”

On Nov. 4, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to hold accountable those responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, while also maintaining the important “strategic relationship” between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. However, he says it could be several weeks before the U.S. formally responds to Khashoggi’s death as the administration is still in the process of gathering evidence, Reuters reports.

According to a list confirmed by Turkish officials, 15 Saudis flew to Istanbul on the morning of Oct. 2, and taking part of the operation, then quickly left the country.

At least 12 members of that team are connected to Saudi security services, and several have links to Crown Prince himself, according to passport records, social media and local media reports, as well as other material, reported The Washington Post.

Khashoggi’s sons have made a plaintiff appeal for the return of his body, saying he should be buried in his native Saudi city in a cemetery alongside his relatives. Without their father’s body, the brothers say their family is unable to grieve or find closure. “All [that we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina (Saudi Arabia) with the rest of his family,” Salah said in a quote for The Washington Post.

Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi called their father “courageous, generous and very brave,” saying they have endured weeks of uncertainty following their father’s disappearance and death.

“I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,” Abdullah Khashoggi told CNN during a sit-down interview in Washington.

Two Shot Dead in Kentucky Grocery Store in Suspected Hate Crime

On Wednesday Oct. 24, a gunman entered the Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and shot dead Vickie Lee Jones and Maurice E. Stallard, two African American shoppers. The gunman, Gregory Bush, who is white, had attempted to enter a predominantly black church right before the shooting, and is said to have made racist remarks during the shooting, leading to the killings being investigated as a hate crime.

The regularly quiet town was reeling after the killings, with Mayor Bill Dieruf defiantly stating that the shooting “will not define us.” Dieruf went on to say that “We are kindred spirits no matter our walk of life or how we worship or what we look like. We take pride in that,” as well as extending his thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims.

The gunman had attempted to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown nearby, failing to gain entrance as the doors were locked. The church leader, Billy Williams, said he was thankful that only a small amount of people were present since the church service had ended an hour before, and that the security they had in place was effective.

An armed bystander confronted Bush, and shot at him as he attempted to flee the scene. CNN reports that the police are also looking into accounts that the gunman said “Whites don’t shoot whites,” or “Whites don’t kill whites” to another bystander who was in his way.

If those comments prove true, along with Bush’s attempts to get into a primarily black church, the prosecutors office would have sufficient evidence that the shooting was racially-motivated. A spokeswoman for police, Chief Sam Rogers, confirmed that his office agrees with hate crime charges and that the shooting “appears to be motivated by hate.” The office also made it clear that the hate crime charges would be federal charges, which would be seperate from Kentucky state charges. Mayor Dieruf echoed this assessment of the killings.

The attempts to gain entrance into a predominantly black church are reminiscent of the attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015, where Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, murdered nine people after praying with them. Roof, a white domestic terrorist, picked the church as the congregation was majority-black, and he had hopes of starting a race war. All nine of his victims were black.

Bush is said to not have had any personal connections to his victims, leading to the assumption that the killings were not personally targeted, but because of his attempts to get into the church, motivated by racial hatred.

Bush also has a history of domestic violence, and had been previously banned from possessing a firearm after a domestic incident. This is not surprising, as there is a connection between domestic abusers and mass-murderers, though the incident does not qualify as a mass-murder, which is generally defined by the FBI as an incident in which three or more people are killed. Still, the link between domestic abuse and propensity to commit acts of murder are ever present, with “Everytown for Gun Safety” enumerating the fact that 54% of mass shootings between 2009-2016 were related to domestic or family violence.

Police Chief Rogers also stated that Bush had a history of mental illness. This shooting came two days before a man opened fire in a synagogue, shouting anti-Semitic slurs, killing 11 worshipers and injuring 6 others at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, as a result of which the gunman faces hate crime charges as well.

Multiple Incidents Make 2018 the Second Deadliest Year for Shootings

13 people were killed in a shooting that occurred Wednesday night, Nov. 7 at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousands Oaks, CA. The incident began at around 11:20 pm when Ian David Long opened fire with a Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun.

Approximately 30 shots had been fired when police arrived on the scene, beginning a confrontation that would leave sheriff’s sergeant Ron Helus, one of the first responders on the scene, dead after being shot multiple times by Long. A popular college bar, Borderline, was hosting College country night that evening. According to people present when the shooting began, over 200 people were present when Long first opened fire. Several of the victims were college students or recent graduates, in some cases still living at home with their parents. 28-year-old Long was a Marine veteran, having served in the Marine Corp from August 2008 to March 2013 with 8 months spent serving in Afghanistan in 2011.

A frequenter of the bar, authorities believe Long posted a message on his Facebook before the incidents saying “I hope people call me insane… wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah… I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”

After opening fire and killing 12 people it is believed Long shot himself, making him the 13th fatality of the night. The following afternoon, the FBI released a statement saying that it is “too premature to speculate on the motivation” of the shooting.

The shooting is the second in only two weeks, following the Pittsburg shooting on at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27. This shooting in a Jewish synagogue left 11 dead and 6 injured, with two officers and two SWAT members among the injured, and is being investigated by authorities as a hate crime.

46-year-old Robert Bowers was arrested on the scenes and has been charged with 44 federal charges including 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence among others. Given the charges, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Bowers could be looking at the death penalty.

With the two shootings occurring during the shift to a Democratic Congress, gun issues have been launched into politics and the media. Former President Obama tweeted on Oct. 27, “we have to stop making it so easy for those who want to harm the innocent to get their hands on a gun”  and several newly elected Democratic representatives have vowed to focus on stricter gun control.

On social media, the NRA have begun a social media war with doctors while students from Parkland, a school which saw 17 people die in the February shooting, have launched a social media campaign in support of stricter gun control. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 307 mass shootings have occurred in this year alone, though the term “mass shooting” is a broad term that does not have an official definition. In these shootings, 328 people have been killed and another 1,251 injured. This makes 2018 the second deadliest year for U.S. mass shootings in United States history.