Terrorism or criminal act?
Notes and shirts sit outside Woolwich Barracks on May 23 – after a Muslim extremist killed an off-duty soldier who was wearing a "Help for Heroes" shirt when he was killed.
May 30th, 2013
09:03 AM ET

Terrorism or criminal act?

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Remi Brulin loves tracking the way America thinks about and talks about terrorism. He’s been doing it for years. He’s a visiting scholar at NYU’s Journalism Institute.

[1:47] Most people sort of agree on what terrorism should be. There’s violence of course, or the threat of violence. There’s the political aspect of it – and then there’s the issue of the target. Most people would agree the targets have to be civilians or non-combatants. There is a sort of agreement – until you start applying it to particular cases.

Then, Brulin says, all bets are off.

One reason is, no one can quite agree on a definition. A corollary of that is: it’s hard to keep politics out of it.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who’s director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, remembers following the media coverage when Chechen terrorists laid siege to a school in Russia in 2004.

[3:34] All of the newspapers went out of their way to avoid using the word ‘terrorists’ and to call them fighters, militants, separatists. And I thought to myself, Gosh, if a bunch of armed people taking over a school with children – forcing children and their parents and their relatives and their teachers to live in horrible conditions for days on end, threatening them with death – I mean, if that’s not terrorism, what is? And yet, almost no newspaper of record or major media would call them terrorists.

That’s because the Chechens were fighting Russia – and at the time, Russia was no friend of the U.S.

Now, Hoffman says, terrorism has become a subjective term. He thinks there’s almost a fear of using the word and triggering a reaction – that’s a legacy of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

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Filed under: Crime • International • Justice • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
A mother's daily fear in the land of opportunity
Undocumented immigrants with US-born children worry that deportations will break up their families.
May 17th, 2013
12:18 PM ET

A mother's daily fear in the land of opportunity

By Jim Roope, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @JimroopeCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - A quarter of the estimated 11-million illegal immigrants in the U.S. live in California. That's according to a recent study from the University of Southern California. The study also shows that in some parts of Los Angeles, one in three people have no legal right to be there.

[1:10] “When you are so poor and you don’t even have three meals a day, the only thing you think about is going to a place where you’ll be able to feed your kid. You don’t even realize that there is a border to cross. You don’t know that.”

Isabel Medina crossed into the U.S. from Mexico illegally in 1996, with her husband Felipe and then 1-year-old child. Since arriving 17 years ago, she’s had two other children who are lawfully U.S. citizens. Her family receives no government subsidies; no welfare, no food stamps, nothing. They do take advantage of the public school system. She lives with the daily fear of her family being broken up. FULL POST

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Illegal immigrants should apologize says priest
Father Gary Graf of Chicago's Saint Gall Catholic Church wants illegal immigrant to aplogize to Americans.
May 4th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Illegal immigrants should apologize says priest

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @Nova_Safo

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - A Chicago priest is making headlines for having done something that likely no other American has experienced: he crossed into Mexico – and then crossed back into the U.S. illegally. He says he did it to understand what many in his mostly Latino congregation have gone through. And he has a message for them: apologize if you’ve come here illegally.

Father Gary Graf of Chicago’s Saint Gall Catholic church on the city's south side serves a predominantly Latino and immigrant part of town. He’s a charismatic figure, in his 50’s and in good shape. He used to be a boxer and he’s got a deep, dark tan. The tan is the result of his walk through the desert at the U-S-Mexico border, where he crossed back into the U-S illegally.

[1:25] “I’ve lived in Mexico, know language, culture. Lived among them here in the states. But have never experienced getting here the way they got here – the vast majority of them,” he says.

The experience, he says, has resulted in a simple message to illegal immigrants:

[4:40] “Sorry. Thank you. I need your help.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Behavior • Crime • Faith • International • Justice • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
March 25th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Proposition 8 and the road to the Supreme Court

By Jim Roope, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Los Angeles (CNN) - This week the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments over the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage; otherwise known as Proposition 8.

Robin Tyler and her wife Diane Olson became the first same-sex couple in California to legally marry there. Tyler calls Prop 8 the shot heard ‘round the world:

[0:31] “Because for the first time in American history they took people out of a Constitution.”

It all started with the passage of law in California in 2000 that restricted marriage only to opposite-sex couples. But in 2004, then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, citing the equal protection clause of the U-S Constitution, ignored the new law and began marrying same-sex couples on Valentine’s Day:

[1:59] “I wanna stop discrimination," Newsom said at the time. FULL POST

March 21st, 2013
10:47 AM ET

Tracking homicides case by case

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @libbylewiscnn

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Chicago has the highest homicide rate in the nation with over 500 reported murders last year. Such murders are about to get easier for Chicagoans to track. In about a week, the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper will roll out its version of Homicide Watch. The paper’s licensed the software of the award-winning website, Homicide Watch D.C., one that tracks every single homicide case in the city.

Craig Newman, the Sun-Times’ managing editor, said the paper wants to deal differently with what he calls a public health epidemic in Chicago:

[5:26] "We have too many young people killing young people and disenfranchised communities all over the city. The idea behind Homicide Watch is that it’s reporting these crimes, but not casting any judgment. Whether it’s a gang crime, or a crime of passion or a run-of-the-mill homicide, it’s a place where all the facts are laid bare.
And people can have a place to have a community, and the survivors can talk to each other and people can interact."


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