Families blast decision not to punish higher-ranking officers in Niger ambush

WORLD NEWS Families blast decision not to punish higher-ranking officers in Niger ambush  https://linewsradio.com/families-blast-decision-not-to-punish-higher-ranking-officers-in-niger-ambush/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Family members of some of the special operations soldiers killed in a 2017 ambush in Niger reacted angrily Wednesday after being handed a 289-page report by Army officers and learning that no further disciplinary action was required beyond the letters of reprimand that have already been issued.

“I’m angry as hell,” Debra Gannon, the mother of Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Johnson, told ABC News, as she sat inside a popular Fort Bragg bar, next to a photo of her son on a memorial wall.

Arnold Wright, the father of Green Beret Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, said, “I don’t see how people in the direct chain of command are being promoted when it was their decision to override the ground commander (who) was instrumental in my son’s death.”

Four American soldiers, Johnson, Wright and Staff Sgt. Bryan Black and Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, were killed in an ambush by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Niger. Their family members spoke with ABC News on Wednesday in North Carolina and expressed their unhappiness with the Pentagon’s decision not to punish senior commanders for their role in the circumstances that led to the deadly attack.

“I don’t think any of the families feel satisfied with any of it, the way it’s been handled,” said Wright.

On Wednesday, family members of the four soldiers received redacted copies of the original investigation into the ambush that was completed a year ago. A six-page summary of the investigation’s conclusions was made public last May, but the release of the full report was delayed pending decisions about who should be held accountable and who should receive awards for valor.

The decision that two senior officers in the Green Berets’ former chain of command — Col. Brad Moses and Lt. Col. David Painter — would not receive administrative punishments means that they will be eligible for future promotions and commands. Military officials would not explain to the families at the briefing or to ABC News why the two senior commanders did not receive more substantive punishments. Painter, according to multiple sources, received a reprimand, but it wasn’t a career-ending punishment and he is reportedly up for a promotion.

A spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command said Wednesday that neither Moses or Painter would comment on the report. ABC News has been attempting to seek comment from these two officers since last year.

Wright said he was told at the briefing that his son Dustin Wright had been nominated for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, but that it “was downgraded twice” and that he would receive a posthumous Silver Star in a public ceremony.

The families were also told of the recent decision by acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan that no further disciplinary action was required beyond the letters of reprimand for seven Green Berets and Air Force Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks, who headed U.S. Special Operations Command – Africa.

Shanahan’s decision came after a new review of previous investigations — which he had ordered — recommended no additional disciplinary steps.

“They wanted to make out like the team went rogue to cover somebody’s a** up the line, and that’s not what happened,” Wright told ABC News.

Cowanda Johnson, LaDavid Johnson’s aunt, told ABC News that she and his widow Myeshia Johnson got up and walked out in frustration about 20 minutes into the tense meeting with Army officials, which was held with the four families at Fort Bragg on Wednesday.

“The bottom line is, they could have told us the truth within three or four months,” Wright said. “I think the reason it stretched out to 20 months was because they were trying to figure out a way not to tell the truth.”

“They could have spent a couple of dollars and mailed it to us and we would’ve gotten the same thing out of it,” said Debra Gannon, whose son was one of the enablers on the team trained to gather intelligence at enemy sites.

Gannon and her husband Ray, Jeremiah Johnson’s stepfather, left the meeting at Fort Bragg and visited Charlie Mike’s, a Fayetteville, North Carolina tavern that displays photos of every special operations soldier killed in action since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Families were also told about the awarding of medals of valor to nine of the 10 members of the special forces team that was ambushed almost two years ago, including posthumous awards to the four soldiers killed in the attack. Military officials identified the former, most senior non-commissioned officer on Operational Detachment-Alpha 3212 as the only soldier who will not receive a medal for valor, but offered no explanation.

On Oct. 4, 2017, the team of eight Green Berets, two Army special operations enablers and an intelligence contractor — accompanying a platoon of Nigerien soldiers — was ambushed by a large group of about 120 ISIS-affiliated fighters as they left the village of Tongo Tongo, close to the border with Mali.

How the team ended up in Tongo Tongo in the first place, and was left so vulnerable to attack by the ISIS fighters, was a key focus of U.S. Africa Command’s investigation.

A copy of the redacted investigative report, obtained by ABC News, stated that — unbeknownst to senior commanders — junior officers had assigned the team a mission to capture a senior ISIS leader in the town of Tiloa or “if he resisted, to kill him.”

The report acknowledged that there was information they obtained which conflicted with that claim. The families of the fallen soldiers have been told by others, outside the investigation, that the team carried out a reconnaissance mission after U.S. commanders in the capital Niamey and in Chad ordered them to act on a single piece of new intelligence, related to a cellphone that was possibly connected to an ISIS subcommander.

The report found that the captain in charge of ODA 3212 and some of his Green Berets expressed skepticism — prior to launching the reconnaissance mission — about the new order, noting that the intelligence was thin and that the ISIS subcommander might no longer be near the Mali border, in a village called Tiloa.

When no sign of the ISIS target was found after the team drove to Tiloa, the team carried out a “key leader engagement with a partner force commander.”

After the team left Tiloa, and neared their base in Ouallam, Painter, a commander in Chad, ordered them to participate in a second kill-or-capture mission, targeting the same ISIS leader, Doundoun Cheffou. This mission was at a location new intelligence pinpointed further north, near the border with Mali, numerous military and intelligence officials with direct knowledge of events have said in a year-long ABC News investigation.

Their new mission was to support a second special operations team that was to actually carry out the kill-or-capture raid. But bad weather forced the second team’s contractor helicopters to turn back, leaving the Green Beret team on their own.

Painter ordered ODA 3212 to search an abandoned ISIS campsite for intelligence, according to a dozen sources with direct knowledge. Once again, the Green Beret team leader, Capt. Michael Perozeni, pushed back to Painter that his team was not ready for the new mission. Their partner force had not slept in 24 hours and was out of food and water, the intelligence was still not convincing and the nearest backup, if they encountered a gun fight, were U.S. forces, 10 hours away by vehicle, the sources have told ABC News.

But the military report given to the families on Wednesday disclosed none of that, downplayed the captain’s objections to carrying out the mission stating his “preference was to return to base” and it made no mention of lacking a backup force if anything went wrong.

Military officials with direct knowledge have told ABC News that the captain loudly shouted into a phone that searching the campsite without backup, a reliable partner force and good intelligence was a terrible plan.

But the team leader was ordered to continue with the mission.

Ultimately, that mission did not find the ISIS leader at a recently used campsite, and the team headed to Tongo Tongo to get water for the Nigerien forces. The U.S-Nigerien team was ambushed by the ISIS fighters as they left the village.

Family members have complained that Painter, the officer who allegedly ordered the team to move to the campsite, as well as Moses, the commander of the 3rd Special Forces Group who was briefed on that order, should be accountable for placing the team near ISIS fighters.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who has advocated for the families called the decision to not punish higher-ranking officers “a shirking of responsibility to the memory and families of the deceased.”

“One thing is clear: mistakes were made that cost these men’s lives,” Gallego said in a statement. “Their families – and the American public – deserve clear answers about what happened, who will be held accountable, and what will be done to prevent this from ever happening again.”

“They’ve jerked us around now for 20 months,” Arnold Wright told ABC News. “Honestly I’ve learned more from people not involved in the investigation than from the investigation.”

“We are not done fighting,” said Debra Gannon. “And I told them that in there, I told them that we are not done fighting.”

Family members confirmed that Dustin Wright and LaDavid Johnson would posthumously receive the Silver Star, Jeremiah Johnson and Bryan Black will receive the Bronze Start with “V” device for valor. Silver Stars will also be awarded to other team members who survived the ambush.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Texas passes new law after woman discovers her mom’s fertility doctor is her father

nevodka/iStock(DALLAS) — The Dallas woman featured in a recent 20/20 investigative documentary report that revealed that her mother’s fertility doctor was actually her real biological father, and not the sperm donor her mother said she had selected, finally got the good news she has been lobbying for.

Texas will be the first state to make it a sexual assault crime for a health care provider to knowingly implant sperm, eggs or embryos from a donor that the patient has not expressly consented to use.

Eve Wiley, 31, said it was a leap forward for the assisted reproductive industry and that it will help protect women’s reproductive rights during fertility treatment.

“I feel incredibly validated, empowered and relieved,” Wiley said. “This is a moral statement that this is wrong.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into effect Tuesday, and it will take effect Sept. 1, covering any relevant acts from that day forward.

“Lobbying for this bill was the purpose in my pain,” Wiley said.

Wiley came forward on 20/20 to reveal that commercial at-home DNA testing had proven that the sperm donor whom she had long believed to be her biological father, was actually not biologically related to her at all.

Instead, Wiley followed her DNA trail back to the physician, Dr. Kim McMorries, who had provided fertility treatment to her mother back in the 1980s and who ultimately acknowledged using his own sperm to inseminate Wiley’s mother, Margo Williams.

In an email to Wiley, McMorries told her that he had resorted to adding his own sperm — donated when he had been a medical student — in Margo’s artificial insemination after five previous attempts with sperm from the donor she had selected failed.

“Since I had been a donor while in medical school…I spoke with one of my mentors…and he said they were having better success by mixing samples,” McMorries said. “He suggested first taking the patient’s husband’s [sic] sample and combining it with the donor. … If the husband’s sample was too poor, then combining two donor samples might do better.”

“The thinking at that time was that if the patient got pregnant, there was no way to know which sperm affected the conception,” McMorries continued. “No one ever considered the effect of genetic testing 32 years later. I believe this may have been what happened in your mother’s case.”

On the critical issue of consent, McMorries insisted that after the repeated failures with the donor’s sperm, he had discussed with Wiley’s mother the idea of mixing in an anonymous local donor’s sperm with other selected donor sperm to increase the chances of conception. He said she had agreed to proceed in this fashion. He would never have proceeded, he said, without her consent.

Williams, however, firmly denied that any such conversation ever took place. To the contrary, she recalled telling him explicitly that she did not want to use a local donor, fearing the distant possibility that her child could one day unknowingly date a half-sibling.

“Absolutely not,” Williams told ABC News. “That would never have been a conversation we had. … That just didn’t happen.”

McMorries acknowledged that he never told Williams that the local sperm he was using was his own. He could not tell her, he said, because of the anonymity agreement he signed when he made the donation.

The physician apologized to Wiley “for all the grief this has caused you and your family” but defended himself by stressing that changing attitudes had merely put his past conduct in a new light.

“It is easy to look back and judge protocols/standards used 33 years ago and assume they were wrong in today’s environment,” McMorries wrote. “However, it was not wrong 33 years ago as that was acceptable practice for the times.”

For Wiley, the explanation was not enough and she has been determined to fight for accountability and patient rights going forward.

“I had a duty to inform other potential victims,” Wiley said regarding her focus on legislative change. “I have not made this about [the doctor], I have made it about protecting women’s reproductive rights and the importance of consent.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Watch now: Brad Pitt saves the world in the sci-fi epic ‘Ad Astra’

Entertainment News  Watch now: Brad Pitt saves the world in the sci-fi epic 'Ad Astra' https://linewsradio.com/watch-now-brad-pitt-saves-the-world-in-the-sci-fi-epic-ad-astra/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/


20th Century Fox(LOS ANGELES) — Brad Pitt is tasked with saving the entire planet in the upcoming film Ad Astra, the trailer for which just debuted.

The movie is now being released by ABC News’ parent company Disney, following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Star and co-producer Pitt plays a military man who undertakes a dangerous space mission as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Pitt’s character is tasked with finding out what happened to the crew of a years-old deep space mission led by his father, played Tommy Lee Jones.  He learns that they were working on a secret project — and that they’re not as lost in space as Pitt’s character initially thought.

Originally slated for January, and then bumped to May 24, the movie will now hit theaters September 20.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Trump joins world leaders to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day

WORLD NEWS Trump joins world leaders to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day  https://linewsradio.com/trump-joins-world-leaders-to-commemorate-75th-anniversary-of-d-day/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, on the third day of their U.K. trip, joined Queen Elizabeth II and more than 300 D-Day veterans in Portsmouth on Wednesday for a national ceremony of remembrance on the 75th anniversary of the allied military invasion remembered as a turning point of World War II.

Portsmouth, a major port city in southern England, was the launching point for D-Day landings on June 6 and the home of Southwick House, headquarters for allied commander U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

President Trump, seated next to the queen in the royal box listened to tributes and performances commemorating the 1944 Normandy landings.

After reviewing honor guards from the Royal Navy, Army, Air Force and Welsh Guards, the president took the stage to read the prayer President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered to the nation by radio on the evening of June 6, 1944, addressing the Normandy operation.

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavour, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity,” Trump read in an excerpt.

Veterans of the 1944 invasion sat near the front for the ceremony with ribbons and medals on their chests. In addition to the queen, Trump was joined by Prince Charles, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the special tribute at Southsea Common.

Trump, May, Macron and Trudeau read special tributes to their individual country’s contributions, and the queen delivered an address before a Royal Navy frigate fires a naval salute and 25 historic and U.K. military aircraft fly over the proceedings.

Queen Elizabeth stated when she attended the 60th anniversary of D-Day, many believed it would be the last such commemoration. “But the wartime generation – my generation – is resilient, and I am delighted to be with you in Portsmouth today,” the 93-year-old queen said.

Following the ceremony, the president, first lady, the queen, Prince Charles and Macron met with a dozen D-Day veterans. Some 300 of them were headed to board the Royal British Legion’s ship to depart for Normandy.

Trump and the queen bid each other farewell and taking a photo. “It was a great honor to be with you,” the president said to the queen calling her a “great woman.”

 On Thursday, the president will travel to Normandy to visit the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, observe re-enactments of airborne landings and participate in a Commemoration of D-Day Program alongside veterans who stormed the beaches.

The two days of events are expected to be the last that many surviving World War II veterans are able to attend. From D-Day through Aug. 21 of that year, the Allies landed more than 2 million troops in northern France and suffered more than 226,000 casualties.

“More than one-and-a-half million American service members were stationed right here in England in advance of the landings that summer,” Trump said of Portsmouth during a press conference with May on Tuesday. “The bonds of friendship forged here and sealed in blood on those hallowed beaches will endure forever.”

May said the event aims to “reaffirm the enduring importance of the Western alliance and the shared values that underpin it.”

After the Portsmouth celebration, the Trumps were headed to Shannon, Ireland, for a meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before heading to Normandy.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

‘Stuck in a nightmare,’ says relative of US couple who mysteriously died in Fiji

WORLD NEWS 'Stuck in a nightmare,' says relative of US couple who mysteriously died in Fiji  https://linewsradio.com/stuck-in-a-nightmare-says-relative-of-us-couple-who-mysteriously-died-in-fiji/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Handout via WFAA-TV(NEW YORK) — A mystery illness that killed a Texas couple on a dream vacation to Fiji continued to baffle doctors Wednesday as authorities in the South Pacific island nation said they have ruled out one possible cause for their demise — influenza.

David Paul, 37, and his wife, Michelle Paul, 35, died two days apart after coming down with a violent illness that caused vomiting, diarrhea, hand numbness and shortness of breath, their relatives said.

“I’m stuck in a nightmare,” Rebecca Ward, the sister of David Paul, said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “You think you’re going to have an answer today and you get a call that they don’t know.”

The Health Ministry in Fiji said an investigation into the causes of death is ongoing and that they still have no definitive answers on what killed the seemingly healthy couple.

“Influenza has been ruled out, and at this stage, we do not believe there is a risk to the public,” the Fiji Ministry of Health said in a statement released Tuesday night. “It would be premature to speculate further on the cause of death until the investigation is complete.”

A small number of people, including health workers who came in close contact with the couple, are being monitored as a precaution. They are all “currently well,” the Health Ministry’s statement reads.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are assisting in the investigation.

Michelle Paul’s father, Mark Calanag of Las Vegas, told ABC News that autopsies on the couple have been completed in Fiji and specimens from post mortem examination are being sent to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta to be analyzed.

David and Michelle Paul arrived in the South Pacific archipelago of more than 300 islands on May 22 and checked into the Sheraton Denarau Villas.

“After reporting feeling unwell, the guests were treated at the local medical facility, where they subsequently passed away,” the resort said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the deceased. As always, the well-being of our guests and associates remains our highest priority. We are working closely with the authorities as they investigate the matter.”

Michelle Paul died on May 25 after telling her father in a WhatsApp text that both she and her husband had contracted a violent illness and that both of them had symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and profound weakness. Calanag said his daughter also complained of numbness in her hands.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, said on GMA Wednesday that authorities may have to wait for toxicological reports to come back before they get any definitive answers on why their illnesses to took a deadly twist.

“I spoke to a top infectious disease specialist … who said there is almost no infection that out of the blue can kill two healthy people this quickly,” Ashton said. “So, again, their symptoms may be a clue. We need a post mortem autopsy and toxicology because when you see two people young and healthy die suddenly, that is really, really suspicious.”

Rebecca Ward said the couple had been in contact with family members during their health crisis.

She said the couple was taken to a clinic but released and went back to their hotel to try to get rest.

“And then when my brother woke up, Michelle was just clammy and sweating and he was too weak to take her to the hospital himself,” Ward said on GMA.

She said that when the couple returned to the hospital it was too late for Michelle Paul.

“They couldn’t get her an IV, couldn’t revive her, and that’s when she passed away,” Ward said. “Not long after that, my brother ended up at the hotel, then later on that day he went back to the hospital. He got released again and we thought he would be able to come home.”

She said her brother messaged their mother on Facebook saying he was OK.

“We were hoping to see him in the next few days. Then the next thing we hear he was back in the hospital with shortness of breath and that was the last time we actually talked to him,” she said.

Rebecca Ward said her brother and sister-in-law are survived by four young children, a 1-year-old boy they had together, and three children from previous relationships who are now in the custody of relatives in the United States.

“Nobody thinks that two healthy people will go on this nice vacation and then all of the family back home is left with questions and trying to figure out even what the next step to move on is,” she said. “It puts life … in perspective, definitely.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Alec Baldwin will be the next honoree/victim of the Comedy Central Roast

Entertainment News  Alec Baldwin will be the next honoree/victim of the Comedy Central Roast https://linewsradio.com/alec-baldwin-will-be-the-next-honoree-victim-of-the-comedy-central-roast/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/


ABC(NEW YORK) — Movie and TV star, game show host and Emmy-winning President Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin will be on the hot seat this summer, as the next celeb to be “honored” with a Comedy Central Roast.

In the announcement, Baldwin noted sarcastically, “Getting roasted will be the greatest honor of my lifetime besides being a father, a husband, hosting Saturday Night Live 17 times, receiving Golden Globes, Emmys, and working with Martin Scorsese.”

The special will be filmed in New York City in the near future, and will air on Comedy Central on a later date.

“Alec Baldwin has done so many great things, it will be a unique treat to spend a night focusing on everything he’d rather forget,” said Comedy Central exec Jonas Larsen in a statement.

Previous roastees included Justin Bieber, Rob Lowe, William Shatner, and a pre-presidential Donald Trump. 

Last year’s honoree was Bruce Willis, who was flamed by Roastmaster General Jeff Ross, Edward Norton, Dennis Rodman, Lil Rel Howery, Willis’ ex-wife Demi Moore, and his former Moonlighting co-star Cybil Shepherd, among others.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Robert Downey Jr. launches climate change coalition to clean up the world with tech

WORLD NEWS Robert Downey Jr. launches climate change coalition to clean up the world with tech  https://linewsradio.com/robert-downey-jr-launches-climate-change-coalition-to-clean-up-the-world-with-tech/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Disney(LAS VEGAS) —  Talk about life imitating art.

If you’re a Marvel and Iron Man fan, you know that Robert Downey Jr.’s character Tony Stark is a genius who’s hell-bent on using technology to save the world.

Well, Downey took the stage Tuesday at Amazon’s re:MARS artificial intelligence conference to announce his real-life plan to do just that.

Downey posted some short clips and pics from the Las Vegas event on Instagram, writing, “What a #night @amazon #amazon #remars #thankyou #articleone #footprintcoalition #2020 #lasvegas.”

In one of the clips, his introduction is purposely botched as they announce an Oscar-nominated actor, writer and humanitarian, and then say … Matt Damon.

When Downey finally comes out, he says, “I didn’t come all the way to Las Vegas to be humiliated,” as the audience laughs.

Downey’s new venture, called the Footprint Coalition, will launch in April 2020.

“Between robotics and nanotechnology, we could clean up the planet significantly, if not totally, in 10 years,” Downey said, according to the many new outlets in attendance, including Forbes and Variety.

It’s a lofty goal, but one that had fans celebrating Downey’s character — both on screen and off.

“Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark and you can’t change my mind,” one fan posted online.



In his presentation Downey said that, like many others, he has a “quiet sense of crisis” regarding the earth.

And yes — Damon, a fellow actor who’s also concerned about the planet, later joined via video.



A Footprint Coalition website is now live for supporters to sign up for updates and alerts.

“Thanks for your interest in the Footprint Coalition, and for caring about Mother Earth. Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll be the first to know about our next steps on this environmental journey,” the site reads.



Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of a report from the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration that has a dire warning about climate change.

The paper, published by the Australian think tank last week, says that the accelerating climate-change impacts, if left unchecked, could result in “large negative consequences, which will be irreversible, resulting in major reductions in global and national population, mass species extinction, economic disruption and social chaos.”

Also on Tuesday, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced a $5 trillion climate proposal as part of his campaign.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Ava DuVernay explains why she doesn’t want fans to call her “Auntie”

Entertainment News  Ava DuVernay explains why she doesn't want fans to call her "Auntie" https://linewsradio.com/ava-duvernay-explains-why-she-doesnt-want-fans-to-call-her-auntie/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/


Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix(NEW YORK) — You can call accomplished filmmaker Ava DuVernay a director, producer, and visionary — but when it comes to giving her a title of respect, please don’t call her auntie.

“First of all, I have a real issue with…recently I’ve been getting called on Twitter ‘Auntie Ava,'” DuVernay, 46, told Van Lathan‘s podcast The Red Pill. “Why?! Why?! Am I that old? Because I don’t feel that old.”

Lathan explained the term “auntie” was used because of the “weight that she brings– the importance,” in which DuVernay responded, “I appreciate that.”

However, DuVernay later admitted, “I’ve been feeling some kinda way about it.”

After the interview, the term “auntie” began trending on Twitter, with DuVernay presenting her fans with some approved options for her title.

“For the record, I happily respond to: ‘Hello, Ms. DuVernay,’ ‘Hello, Sis,’ ‘Hello, Queen,’ ‘Hello, Family,’ ‘Hello, Ava’ (safest bet),” she tweeted. “Ms. Ava is fine if you’re under 18.”

She continued, “Thanks for showing me respect regardless, Van. Had fun talking to you. Wishing you all good things.”

 Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 05 Jun 2019

Trauma, anxiety and PTSD: How mass shootings affect mental health

martin-dm/iStock(NEW YORK) — Multiple shootings in recent days have renewed attention on gun violence in the United States as at least 10 people in Chicago and 12 in Virginia Beach were killed and dozens more were injured.

The shootings may have ended, but the effects of the violence on the friends and families affected, the communities and even the public at large might linger for far longer.

“Every time we have a gun violence episode, we accumulate more and more trauma,” Dr. Alauna Curry, a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist who specializes in psychological trauma, told ABC News.

Trauma is the emotional shock people have following emotionally disturbing experiences, whether they are mass shootings, automobile accidents, or even a natural disaster.

These experiences often elicit anxiousness and fear that can sometimes last for decades and even cause a person to develop mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Sometimes, it can take just one experience and other times, it’s multiple events that build these emotional issues over time.

Curry said that trauma from gun violence can affect anyone, from family and friends who are directly affected to the news media covering the shooting to the general public who learn about it. She said that trauma erodes trust, making us become more distrustful of others.

Some people, Curry said, may even develop biases toward others who resemble the shooter. To remedy this, she said it’s important to get to know each other before making assumptions.

Several areas of the brain are affected by trauma, including the amygdala, the area of the brain that processes emotions, Curry said. “Understanding our biological responses and feelings is a key component of mental wellness that is sorely missing in our society,” she said.

It’s important, however, to differentiate between issues related to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when discussing gun violence and its impact on people, Dr. David Austern, a psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, told ABC News.

People who have experienced trauma are often diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms of which include recurrent thoughts of the traumatic event, feeling continuously on edge with increased irritability, nightmares and flashbacks and avoiding previously enjoyable activities.

People with anxiety, meanwhile, often have a worried response to normal day-to-day activities. There are a variety of anxiety disorders, and a licensed mental health provider is able to conduct a thorough medical interview to make the correct diagnosis.

Although they are different, both mental illnesses also have similarities, including the avoidance of once-enjoyable activities, feeling keyed up and on edge, problems sleeping and restlessness.

People who are wounded during a shooting incident and those who are at the scene of one are most likely to develop PTSD, Austern said. But others who may be affected include those who were nearby when the shooting took place as well as those who had a “near miss” — maybe they didn’t go to work or school on that day, he said. There’s also what’s known as “survivor’s guilt,” when a person feels as if they’ve done something wrong because they survived while others died.

Austern said people who experience these issues and recognize that they’ve begun to interfere with their daily lives should seek therapy, and recommended trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, which will help them deal with their mood problems — including depression and anxiety — as well as the altered perceptions of reality that result from their trauma.

For more information regarding the effects of this kind of trauma, or if you are concerned about a loved one, visit the websites for the National Center for PTSD and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America where you’ll find helpful resources.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.