Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Stuff You Should Know

Michael Brown Shooting Case Settlement

Almost three years ago, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was unarmed. Although Wilson said that he shot Brown because Brown was attacking him, witnesses said that Brown had his hands up at the time of the shooting. Wilson was not charged with any crime for killing Brown. The event set off nationwide protests and contributed to a feeling of distrust between police and the African American community that continues, in many places, to this day.

After the shooting, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated the Ferguson police department and found that it was guilty of violating the civil rights of many of Ferguson’s African American citizens. The federal government placed Ferguson’s police and courts under a consent decree, which means that the Department of Justice can sue the police department if they don’t change their behavior.

In 2015, Michael Brown’s parents–Michael Brown, Sr., and Lezley McSpadden–filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the police chief, and Darren Wilson. Last week, the case was settled and sealed, meaning that it was closed and that the terms of whatever agreement was reached would not be made public. However, it was soon revealed that Michael Brown’s parents received $1.5 million as a settlement. The money will be paid by the city’s insurance company and divided equally between the two parents.

Settling the case benefitted both sides. If the case had gone to trial and the city lost, they would have been forced to pay up to $3 million to Brown’s parents. If the case had gone to trial and the city won, however, Brown’s parents would have lost everything.

Dig Deeper To help organize what you have learned, use Internet resources to create a timeline of important dates in Michael Brown’s case, including the day he was shot, the federal investigation of the Ferguson police department, the wrongful death suit, and finally the recent settlement. Include any other dates that you think might be important. Why do you think Brown’s case continues to receive national attention? Remember to be respectful when stating your opinion.

Recent Story Updates

Change in Saudi Secession The current king of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, has changed the traditional order of secession in Saudi Arabia (that is, who will become the next leader). Up until now, the next leader has been Mohammed bin Nayef, but King Salman has replaced him with his son, Mohammed bin Salman. Mohammed bin Nayef, the current king’s nephew, is a former interior minister and intelligence chief and a more traditional U.S. ally. Mohammed bin Salman, the new crown prince, is 31 years old and is in charge of the Saudi economy and the current war in Yemen. He has also been instrumental in leading the blockade offensive against Qatar and in orchestrating sweeping cultural and economic changes within Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration considers him a strong ally.

The original story can be examined here.

Virginia Primary In the primary race for Virginia governor, Ed Gillespie has won for the Republican party with 43.74% of the vote, and Ralph Northam has won for the Democratic party with 55.92% of the vote. Northam, the Lieutenant Governor, was seen as the more “mainstream” of the two Democratic candidates. Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, was also seen as the most moderate of the three Republican candidates. Gillespie and Northam will face each other for the governor’s seat in November.

The original story can be examined here.

Georgia Special Election In what became the most expensive House race in history (costing roughly 54 million dollars), Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel ultimately defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff by four points, 52% to 48%, last week. While on the surface this is a Republican victory, Democrats point out that the seat Ossoff ran for has not been occupied by a Democrat since the Carter administration, and yet Ossoff still came very close to winning in this traditionally strong Republican district. Despite Ossoff’s defeat, the Georgia special election may point to dramatic advances for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

The original story can be read here.

What Do You Think? Democrat Jon Ossoff lost his bid for representative of Georgia’s 6th District last week, despite the fact that Democrats nationwide poured more than $31 million into his campaign. So why do many Democrats still consider this race a victory?

Ken Gets a Makeover

Though they have been around for almost sixty years, Barbie dolls continue to be immensely popular and still get a lot of attention: from news articles to TV shows, and from movies to an exhibit at the Louvre in France.

But what about Barbie’s male counterpart, Ken?

According to Mattel, the company that manufactures the dolls, people on average own one Ken doll for every seven of their Barbies. But Mattel is hoping to reverse that trend by launching a new line of more diverse Ken dolls last week. The Kens come in seven different skin tones, three body types (including slim, broad, and original), and nine hairstyles (including “man buns” and cornrows). They also feature many different fashion styles, including skinny jeans, trendy eyewear, and garments with ethnic prints and patterns.

Mattel tried the same thing with Barbie last year: updating and diversifying her look in the hopes of improving sales. New Barbies also have a variety of skin tones and hairstyles, and come in three body types: tall, curvy, and petite. This method worked, and the company saw a huge increase in sales. They are hoping the new Ken dolls will follow the same trend.

This is not the first time that Ken has undergone a “makeover.” In fact, there have been many different versions of Ken over the years. One of the most famous (and popular) was “Earring Magic Ken” from 1993. This Ken had pierced ears and highlighted hair, and wore a purple mesh shirt.

What Do You Think? Using Internet resources, find a photograph of an original Ken doll. How has he changed over the years? How can toys – such as Ken and Barbie dolls – show us what values were important to people during different eras of recent American history?

Japanese Children Set Jump-rope World Record

How many times do you think you can you jump rope in one minute? How about 225?

A group of fourteen Japanese children from Fuji Municipal Harada Elementary School have set the new record of 225 jumps in one minute. They accomplished this by having two children turn the rope (one on each end) while the other twelve children ran through in a figure-8 pattern, taking turns jumping the rope. Each child jumped it at least eighteen times. As they jumped, they called “Ay, ay, ay, ay!” to help them keep their rhythm. They students beat the previous jump-rope record, set by their rivals at Hiromi Elementary School in 2013, by only eight jumps.

For most children in the United States, jumping rope is just a playground game. But in Japan, students take the sport very seriously and often have rivalries with other nearby schools. Japanese adults are just as invested in the activity: in the last year alone, a Japanese man broke the record for most skips over a ten-meter rope in thirty seconds, and a Japanese woman broke the record for most Double Dutch skips in thirty seconds.

Not that the Japanese are the only ones trying to set jump-roping records. A quick search for “jump roping” on the Guinness Book of World Records website reveals hundreds of articles and videos, including the most skips by a three-level human pyramid in thirty seconds; the most skips on spring-loaded stilts in one minute; and the most skips by a dog and person in one minute (with a single rope).

Dig Deeper Take a few minutes to search the Guinness Book of World Records’ Web site. What are some of the most bizarre or unusual records you can find? What do you think causes so many people to want to break records?