04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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Four Portland mothers, all whose sons had died in gun violence, gathered at Bethel A.M.E. church in Northeast Portland, Friday, March 6 to call for an end to violence in the city. Photo by Donovan M. Smith

Emotions were high at a press conference called by the mother of the late Quintrell Holiman, who took his own life during a standoff with Portland Police this month. The message was a simple one, a message of peace.  

Gizelle Holiman, Quintrell’s mom called the press conference on Friday held at Bethel A.M.E church  also to clarify a rumor she says was spreading on social media—that her son was in fact killed by officers on the scene.

“My son made the decision to take his own life.” Holiman stated. The Oregon State Medical Examiner ruled 26-year-old Holiman’s death a suicide a day after he died. Police records said Holiman had fired at officers before fatally turning the gun on himself.

As the rumor got steam, calls for vengeance against the police followed.

 “I’m begging you please leave the police alone,” the elder Holliman pleaded. “If everybody loves my son like they say, put the guns down.”

Holiman’s son was a documented member of the Hoover Criminals gang in Portland and had recently been released from prison. She theorizes the fear of returning to prison and recent familial stress led Quintrell to take his own life.

“He’d decided ‘I’m not going back to jail,’ he’d been having problems with his daughters’ mother, and he couldn’t take it anymore,” she says.

Three mothers who’d lost their sons to gun violence Kimberly Dixon, Lucy Mashia and Josephine Carter-Holmes also joined Holiman in her plea for the violence to cease.

“Instead of putting your arms up to shoot somebody, put your arms up to wrap around somebody." Holiman said.  

The call for peace was unfortunately followed by a string of violence. Around midnight March 9, a fight broke out along the 2700 block of Southeast 125th Avenue that erupted in gunfire. One bullet struck 23-year-old Carlos Antonio Barerra in the stomach—he’s expected to survive.

That same day, Tyrone Allen, 23, was arrested by police. He’s accused of another shooting near Northeast 102nd Avenue and Prescott Street the preceding day. The gunfire yielded no victims but did damage a car in the area.

Perhaps most tragic in the string of the death of Beketel Elbelau Sleeper, affectionally called ‘EJ’ by associates. Sleeper’s friend, 21-year-old Isaiah Horatio Hayes, accidentally fired a round while the two sat in a car—killing him.

A memorial fund for Sleeper’s funeral has been launched by his family and can be found here.

Last year, Portland native James Crittenden Sr., a former gang-member, put out a similar call for peace in a video that showed him embracing a former rival.

That video released in August, 2014 received thousands of shares in a matter of days.

"It takes a real man or a real woman to do this," Crittenden says. "If you can approach someone and let them know, 'I'm sorry about what I did.' Or if they did something, to say:  'I want to let go of what you did. Let's not let this happen again. Let's just live life and be happy.'"

Mayor Charlie Hales issued a statement on Holiman’s death also calling for an end to violence in the city.

“The violence has to stop. It will take a combination of hard work, faith and bravery to stop this destructive cycle. Let us look to the Holiman Family as inspirations for this work.”

Holiman leaves behind two, two-year-old children, a son and daughter.

 

The Office of Youth Violence Prevention offers resources on reducing and eradicating violence in the community. Visit their website at: http://www.portlandonline.com/safeyouth/

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