The World and Everything in It - July 19, 2022
The world changed after a gunman assassinated Japan’s longest-serving prime minister; parents in a Wisconsin school district lost their fight to be informed of their child’s gender dysphoria; and students in the foster system in Wichita get access to special extracurricular activities. Plus: commentary from Janie B. Cheaney, and the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Ten days ago an assassin shot Japan’s former Prime Minister. How will the shocking attack affect the region?
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also a Wisconsin school district adopts a "don't tell parents" policy on transgenderism.
Plus using music to reach students at risk of academic failure.
And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on hope when life looks hopeless.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, July 19th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: It’s time now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Uvalde report » A scathing new report on the police response to the Uvalde school shooting has sparked a fresh investigation into the actions of state police.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will review its officers’ response following a new 80-page report by Texas lawmakers and new video footage of the chaotic scene.
AUDIO: Shots fired! Get inside! Go, go, go!
The report by a Texas House committee called the police response “egregiously poor.”
Recordings showed that even as children placed 911 calls from a classroom, officers waited more than an hour to approach the shooter.
The new report states that a faster response might have saved lives. It blames “systemic failures,” rather than individuals. But Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo has faced strong community pressure to resign.
Cruz sentencing / Gendron arraigned » And in Florida, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the gunman who massacred 17 people at a Parkland High School. Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer told jurors …
SCHERER: Your role will be to determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed for the crime of murder in the first degree.
Prosecutor Mike Satz faced the jury as he detailed the brutality of gunman Nikolas Cruz’s attack.
SATZ: I’m going to speak to you about the unspeakable, about this defendent’s planned, systematic mass murder.
Some families of the victims looked on stoically. Others could not contain their emotion. One mother fled the courtroom, sobbing and holding tissue to her face.
Cruz, now 23, murdered 17 people in 2018.
The jury will decide whether he will be executed or spend life in prison without parole.
Indiana mall shooting » Meantime in suburban Indianapolis, a gunman killed several people in a shopping mall in what could have been a far worse tragedy.
Police Chief Jim Ison explained …
ISON: The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began.
The suspect did manage to shoot five people, three of them fatally, before he was shot and killed.
Police on Monday said 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman began firing at the Greenwood Park Mall shortly before it closed.
One witness described the terror when the shots rang out.
AUDIO: I just looked at my kids and told them come on, let’s go! And we started running, and in the midst of us running, I fell.
Police said the man who shot the attacker was 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken. They called his quick action “nothing short of heroic.”
Although Dicken was legally armed, the mall prohibits people from carrying guns on its property. The mall issued a statement praising Dicken's actions. It did not mention its no-weapons policy.
Zelenskyy fires top officials amid treason probes » Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired two top officials citing hundreds of criminal proceedings into treason and collaboration with Moscow. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Zelenskyy fired his state security chief and prosecutor general. He said “more than 60 people under their charge may have committed treason, working with the Kremlin.
The president said the wide array of alleged crimes raises “very serious questions about their respective leaders.”
Ivan Bakanov led the SBU, that’s the state security service. He is a childhood friend and former business partner of Zelenskyy. Bakanov had come under growing criticism over security breaches since the war began.
Zelenskyy also dismissed Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Russian missiles strike Mykolaiv » Meanwhile, Russian missiles struck industrial facilities in Mykolaiv, a key shipbuilding center in southern Ukraine.
Moscow’s forces have unleashed a steady barrage on the city in recent days to soften Ukrainian defenses.
Russia could deal a crushing blow to Ukraine’s economy by cutting off its Black Sea coast all the way to the Romanian border.
It would also give Russian forces a land bridge to a Russian military base in Moldova's separatist region of Transnistria.
Iran claims ability to make nukes » A top official in Iran says the country now has what it needs to build a nuclear weapon. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: Kamal Kharrazi, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei made the claim to Al Jazeera.
He said Iran has enriched uranium up to 60 percent and could easily enrich it to 90 percent. That blows well past the less than 4 percent cap world leaders have tried to impose on Tehran.
Khazzari claims that while his country can make a nuclear weapon, it has not yet decided whether it will do so.
Israel has threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to deter it from developing the weapons.
The Biden administration is still working to reforge the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the death and legacy of Japan’s prime minister.
Plus, using music to reach students at risk of academic failure.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 19th of July, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: the death of Shinzo Abe.
Two weeks ago, a gunman shot the former prime minister of Japan at a campaign rally. He died later that day from the wounds he suffered. What does the assassination mean for Japan—and the region?
WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has our story.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, Reporter: On Friday, July 8, 2022, the world changed. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, stepped down a few years ago for health reasons. But he remained active in Japanese politics. That’s why he was on the streets of Nara, a city in Western Japan, that day. He was delivering a campaign speech on behalf of some of his fellow party members ahead of national elections for the upper house of parliament.
AUDIO: [First gunshot]
While he was speaking, a gunman snuck up behind the former prime minister. He fired one shot.
Shinzo Abe turned towards the gunman.
That’s when the gunman fired his second—and last—shot.
AUDIO: [Second shot]
Shinzo Abe fell back against a nearby traffic barrier while a member of his personal security detail tackled the gunman.
Photos from the incident showed Shinzo Abe’s white shirt stained with blood. It looked eerily like the Japanese flag.
Not that long after, in the offices of Tokyo Baptist Church a senior pastor burst into Muyami Matshushita’s office. She works as an administrative assistant there.
“Did you hear Shinzo Abe was shot?” the pastor asked.
MUYAMI: And I said, “no way,” and I searched the news. And I found out that it was true.
It was late in the morning—somewhere between 10 a.m. and noon. Muyami and her coworkers at Tokyo Baptist, started praying for Abe to live—and for encouragement and peace for those around him.
Muyami had met Shinzo Abe before, back toward the beginning of his second stint as prime minister, in the early 2010s. She’d served as an interpreter for his wife at an event.
She remembers Abe being passionate and energetic—charismatic, as well.
The shooting shocked her—and the rest of Japan. For two reasons, especially.
One: the attacker used a gun. And in Japan guns are prohibited, Muyami says.
MUYAMI: So that kind of incident almost never happens in Japan. So it was kind of surreal.
Two: this was a prominent person. How couldn’t this have been prevented? she wondered.
MAYUMI: I was hoping that did he have a vest to protect himself? Or you know, I hope it was bad nightmare and that he will be saved.
Muyami and her coworkers kept praying for Abe throughout the day. When news of the attack first came in, they’d just heard that he’d been shot and that his heart had stopped. They didn’t know much else.
At about 8pm that night, they found out that he’d died. The bullets had severely damaged his heart and punched two holes in his neck, damaging an artery.
Grief followed, but so did fear, Muyami says. Politicians may think they could be at greater risk, but so will ordinary people.
MAYUMI: Like rest of us will think that anyone can have that kind of gun in their bag. And that can happen, you know, so many people, or some say that there will be imitators if they see that kind of news. So I think the safety will, like sense of safety will be threatened because of this.
As for the election that weekend, the public outpouring of grief for Abe may have contributed significantly to his party winning 63 of the 125 seats up for election in the 248-seat upper house. That gives its coalition 170 seats—more than enough votes to implement one of Shinzo Abe’s visions for Japan.
Here’s Cleo Paskal from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. She explains that Shinzo Abe wanted Japan to be a military force for good in the region.
PASKAL: The unstated thing is Japan's constitution limits its ability, or can be perceived as limiting its ability, to become a normal military power. And everybody knows, Abe wanted that to change.
Fumio Kishida, Japan’s current prime minister, has declared that he intends to use the LDP’s new parliamentary majority to amend the nation’s constitution.
Paskal explains that this, if it happens, would just be one more permanent change to the region that Abe will leave behind. The others include the creation of a security pact known as “the Quad,” with the United States, Australia and India. And Japan’s relationship with Taiwan.
PASKAL: the vision that he created of an Indo Pacific and putting the Indo in the Indo Pacific and creating the Quad, he did that… he changed the world.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: parents sidelined by schools.
Parents in Wisconsin lost their fight to be informed of their child’s gender dysphoria by the child’s school.
A divided state Supreme Court recently turned down a court challenge to a “don’t tell parents” policy of the school.
NICK EICHER, HOST: The lawsuit centers on a school district in Madison, Wisconsin. District policy requires school teachers and administrators to refer to students by their preferred name and pronouns and when they do, to leave parents in the dark.
Here now to fill us in on what this means in Wisconsin and to the battle over parental rights around the country is Steve West. He’s an attorney and writes about religious liberty issues for WORLD Digital.
REICHARD: Steve, good morning!
STEVE WEST, REPORTER: Good morning, Mary.
REICHARD: Well Steve, first of all, this school policy. What’s it say, and how does it cut parents out of the process?
WEST: The school district policy requires teachers and administrators to refer to students by their preferred name and pronouns regardless of whether parents have given permission. That’s one thing. Yet the part that particularly incensed parents is that it also bars school employees from disclosing students’ chosen pronouns and gender identity to parents. It’s a “don’t say transgender” policy. Basically, the school district is doing everything possible to assist students in socially transitioning to another gender—and parents are not in the picture.
REICHARD: How did this lawsuit come about and what did lower courts decide?
WEST: The case hasn’t really gotten to the real substance of the issues. That is, whether the district can leave parents out of the matter of what pronouns a child selects at school. A lower court did enter a temporary order barring school district employees from lying to parents, but it still has no obligation to tell parents about their child’s request for pronouns that do not match their sex.
Of course, the children aren’t identified by name, but what makes this case more unusual is that the parents are also proceeding with the dispute with pseudonyms. That, due to concerns about harassment by the LGBTQ community, even job loss. The lower court ruled that names had to be provided to school district attorneys and the court, but not to the public.
REICHARD: Steve, talk about the decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court and what that means going forward.
WEST: The court agreed with the school by a narrow, 4-3 majority as to the use of pseudonyms. But attorneys for the parents view this ruling as positive for two reasons. Three dissenters were clearly on the side of the parents. Justice Patience Roggensack said both the Wisconsin Constitution and U.S. Constitution guard the fundamental right of parents to make decisions about their children’s education. She said social transitioning is a health care decision for parents to make. The other positive is that the other four justices expressed no opinion on the main issue in the case. Parents will win on appeal if only one of the four go with them.
REICHARD: Well, Steve, we know that this case is part of a broader battle between LGBT accommodations and parental rights. What other legal battles have we seen in this arena?
WEST: In May, a federal court in Alabama ruled that parents, not the state, are the proper decision-makers for transgender medical interventions their child may receive. In this case parents of transgender children who support medical procedures to help their children transition challenged a new state law banning certain procedures used for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors. The state argues that its compelling interest overrides that of parents. Parents in Virginia are also challenging the teaching of critical race theory concepts. And in Florida, a new law allows parents to contest school library books and reading lists. There’s definitely an uptick in claims of parental rights. Some say that with many kids at home during the pandemic, some parents became aware, for the first time, of what was going on at school—and they don’t like it.
REICHARD: Steve West writes about religious liberties for WORLD Digital. You can read his work at WNG.org. You can also subscribe to his free weekly newsletter on First Amendment issues, called Liberties. Steve, always good to have you on. Thank you!
WEST: My pleasure.
NICK EICHER, HOST: I think we’ve all seen the signs around our neighborhoods: lost pet!
That’s kind of a helpless feeling when you’ve lost a pet. But suppose you lost a beloved animal in a busy international airport?
That’s what happened to the Sahli family after a flight from Germany to Boston. Their black cat, named “Rowdy,” escaped her kennel. Living up to her name!
Patti Salhi told television station WBZ:
SALHI: We got told that, yeah, she got out, and she’s just in the cargo area. So we thought, okay, they’ll find her. She’s running around in an enclosed space.
But hours turned to days and then days turned to weeks. Still, no sign of Rowdy.
Until three weeks later, airport workers corralled the kitty, and she’s back home safe and sound.
How did Rowdy pass the time for three weeks? Patty gave NBC her best guess.
SALHI: Put a dent in the mouse population at the airport … that's what I want to say
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, July 19th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are!
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up: Serving students at risk of academic failure.
We know that music lessons benefit students in creative and academic ways. Several studies have shown that.
Some students who learn to play an instrument or participate in choir may even experience less stress than those who do not.
But not everyone has access to extracurricular activities like music classes. That’s why a nonprofit organization in Wichita, Kansas, focuses on young people in the foster care system. WORLD’s Lauren Dunn has our story.
PRICE: Show me in your hands, ready and go: crescendo decrescendo…[music exercise]
LAUREN DUNN, REPORTER: Thirteen students ages 11-18 are warming up for choir. Like young people in every class, these students all have different stories. Most live in residential group homes. At least one lives with a foster family.
They go to different schools—some, due to behavioral needs, attend online school —but all are making music together at Juniper Arts Academy.
CLASS: Big thumbs up if you know who your buddy is right now. That's a good job. Okay, so we are going to stick with our buddy groups. Yeah. And we're gonna hang out, and we're gonna have a really fun time with them.
Lisa Paine is Juniper’s executive director. She started the nonprofit last year with the goal of providing fine arts education for youth in the local foster care and juvenile justice systems.
PAINE: If you look up the juniper tree, it actually is one of the only trees that can grow in areas where you wouldn't expect there to be greenery or anything like that. Like you could be walking in a desert and see a large flourishing juniper tree…People don't expect much from the kids in regards to what kind of youth they are, right, we hear like, oh, they might just be bad kids. They're not. They're incredible kids, and they are thriving.
The academy started in September 2021 with one general music class. Their first students were 14 boys from the Youth Horizons Kinloch Price Boys Ranch in Valley Center, Kan. James Bazil is the assistant director of residential programs at the ranch.
BAZIL: I've got a young man on the spectrum that you know, he can be difficult to to work with in some settings, but when you send him to Juniper Arts, he's just ready to work, he's ready to learn. He's just engaged. He loves it…Anything that we can get that encourages kids to have pro social behavior in public settings, that's what we're all about.
In its second term, the group expanded Juniper’s offerings to include a choir class and smaller group ukulele classes.
AUDIO: [Ukulele tuning]
On choir mornings, volunteers called student advocates stay with their buddies to model how to participate. Paine says this structure also provides consistency: students stay with the same student advocate for the entire term.
PAINE: I love it when our student comes in, and the first thing they ask is, where's my buddy? Or where's my teacher?...It just shows they know that someone's going to be there for them.
Eileen Price is a choral director at a local middle school. She volunteered during Juniper’s first term, then began teaching the choir class.
PRICE: You have to work together in order to get a choral sound, and it's not necessarily individual based.
Price starts with a vocal warm-up, cycling through several familiar warm-ups every few weeks. Next the students work on new material from songs they’re learning, before playing a group game. Price moves quickly around the room as she teaches, starting at the piano and then moving closer to the students before going back to the piano.
Price says the students aren’t the only ones benefiting from these choir classes.
PRICE: Juniper really, honestly saved my career this past year, because I was looking to leave the profession…It made me realize like, oh, no, I actually love this. I'm actually very good at this. And I can't walk away from these students.
Though things don’t always go smoothly. Visitation schedules, transportation issues, and group home staffing needs can all affect who shows up to class. Often academy staff and volunteers aren’t sure how many students will come until they arrive.
Sometimes students are having a bad day before they even walk in the door, and they don’t always want to participate. This is where student advocates come in. Chris Loucks started volunteering last year.
LOUCKS: I use a lot of humor. So it's a lot of joking, kind of back and forth, as well as kind of seeing if they'll step out of their comfort zone by me being okay breaking the ice, like me being the goofy one first, and then them being okay. It's like, oh, it actually was kind of funny. I want to be part of that.
Student advocates keep showing up even when their assigned buddies are less than enthusiastic. Loucks says it pays off.
LOUCKS: One of my buddies now, they are now very involved, they’re a role model for you know, the other students that are newer to the class. But the first term when they started getting here, they're the ones like sitting in the back of the room, didn't want to participate. And, yeah, so just seeing the persistence, what it can bring to those students I think is very exciting.
A local music store provides ukuleles at cost. Paine's alma mater and a local church both allow the group to use classroom space for free.
As more members of the community volunteer or attend events where students perform, Paine hopes they will see that Juniper students are in many ways just like students everywhere.
PAINE: They’re some of the best kids I've ever met who have been through some of the worst things that I've ever heard of. And they're just – they're very sweet. That's the general word I would use for it. They're sweet kids who want to learn and love.
The academy added keyboard and piano lessons this summer. Paine says they plan to eventually add visual arts such as painting, crochet, or pottery. All ways to encourage their students to be creative and try something new. And to keep coming back.
AUDIO: Thank you for coming! I’ll see you next week.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Lauren Dunn in Wichita, Kansas.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, July 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney now with a reminder that God is still at work in America–and in the church.
Even if it may not seem like it.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Frederick Douglass, the former slave turned ardent abolitionist, was not easily shut down. But despair sometimes got the better of him. At an anti-slavery event in the 1850s, Douglass was so pessimistic about his country’s gravest evil, he feared armed conflict—a shooting war with horrible consequences.
At that point, he was interrupted. Sojourner Truth, another former slave turned abolitionist, stood almost 6 feet tall and had a voice like a foghorn. “Frederick,” she boomed, “is God dead?” Douglass’ speaking gifts were legendary and heckler-proof, but the question left him speechless.
As we know, the dreadful armed conflict occurred, and the cost was high–but the institution of slavery ended. Later in American history, Martin Luther King’s battle against segregation cost him his life but shocked the national conscience. And the rise of Nazi Germany seemed unstoppable to millions of Jews herded toward gas chambers. But it was stopped. Through all the horrors of history, God was not dead, and He isn’t dead now.
Obvious, but easy to overlook in today’s political squabbles, especially among Christians. Aaron Renn, formerly a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is now cofounder of American Reformer, an online journal of Protestant political thought. His article “Welcome to the Negative World” paints a grim picture of a political culture drifting—or speeding—to outright hostility.
His scan of recent history sees a generally positive view of Christianity up to the mid-1990s, in spite of culture-war rhetoric. Then, a shift toward “Neutral,” or seeing Christians seen as quaint, perhaps, but harmless. This inspired a strategy of winsome cultural engagement, exemplified by Tim Keller and Hillsong.
Now Renn sees the church struggling to define itself in “Negative World” where, in some circles, being a Christian could harm one’s reputation rather than enhance it.
The stakes seem to be higher, too, among Christians. In fact, the way my pro- and anti-Trump Christian friends talk about each other is more discouraging than the way the left talks about all of us.
In the early 1970s I remember my delight at finding two fellow believers (one left-leaning hippie and one black lay pastor) on a bus trip between Dallas and Abilene. Even then, the church already seemed like a desert island in a hostile culture. But maybe the fact that three of us could disagree respectfully about politics was a more positive sign than I realized.
I miss that respectful disagreement.
Yet God lives. He’s alive in the world, but even more so in us. That’s why we should relate to the world as Jesus does: with compassion for harassed and helpless sheep. Can we do any less for our brothers and sisters, whether they’re banging the drum for rightwing politics or looking on with disdain? If the US is falling apart, God is still at work. If our own house falls apart, we’ll have to answer for it.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: President Biden’s trip to the Middle East. What did it accomplish? We’ll talk about it.
And, helping all creatures, great and small. We’ll meet a biomedical engineer.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians: …you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. (Eph 4:17-18 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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