Mississippi man Walter Williams died Thursday, after being pronounced dead and coming back to life only two weeks ago.
“I think he’s gone this time,” Williams’ nephew, Eddie Hester, said.
The 78-year-old was first pronounced dead two weeks ago by Holmes County coroner Dexter Howard on February 26. After completing his paperwork, Howard placed Williams in a body bag and sent him to the funeral home. Once Williams was in the embalming room, his leg began to twitch.
“We noticed his legs beginning to move, like kicking," Howard said. "He also began to do a little breathing."
An ambulance was called and Williams was hooked up to a monitor, which registered a heartbeat. He was taken to Holmes County Hospital and Clinics and released after a few days.
Williams died officially around 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Hester noted that the past two weeks had been a miracle for him and his family, and that they had enjoyed every minute of it.
A Mississippi high school student has been suspended for making what he claims to be an innocuous gesture with his hands during a school photograph. The student, 15-year-old Dontadrian Bruce, was photographed by his biology teacher at Olive Branch High School in Olive Branch, Miss. while standing in front of his group science project. In the photograph, Bruce holds up his thumb, forefinger and middle finger outwards, making a gesture that the school administration believed to be a gang sign affiliated with the Vice Lords.
When Bruce was taken to the assistant principal’s office, he was told that he was going to be suspended for displaying gang signs at school. Bruce protested, claiming he was holding up three fingers to represent his number on the football team.
“I was trying to tell my side, and it was like they didn’t even care,” Bruce said to NBC News.
For the photograph, Bruce received “indefinite suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.”
Bruce’s stepfather Marcus Guy claimed that Bruce’s suspension stemmed from racial issues in the local community. He explained that a white student in a similar situation would have been treated differently.
“I was born and raised here, graduated from Olive Branch, and I’m telling you: they would have done nothing,” Guy said.
Bruce echoed his stepfather’s statements.
“They figured I was a gang member because of my color,” he said.
According to the school, Bruce was suspended from Olive Branch High School because the school has a no tolerance policy regarding gang activity. There is a high presence of gangs, especially Vice Lords, in the surrounding area. Two other students were also punished for making the hand gesture, WMCTV reports.
A 9-month-old baby who was born in a Los Angeles suburban hospital with HIV may have been cured by administering anti-viral drugs just four hours after her birth. A Reuters news story reports that the child is the second such case in the United States. A child in Mississippi was also confirmed to be free of the virus that causes AIDS after similar early treatments over 3 years ago.
The news is promising, says Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, executive director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“This could lead to major changes, for two reasons,” he told the New York Times. “Both for the welfare of the child, and because it is a huge proof of concept that you can cure someone if you can treat them early enough.”
More research will need to be done in light of the new developments, says Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrics specialist with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who is heading up the treatment of the child in California.
"Really the only way we can prove that we have accomplished remission in these kids is by taking them off treatment and that's not without risk," she said. "This is a call to action for us to mobilize and be able to learn from these cases.”
The New York Times article reports that news of the California baby is the third piece of good news in two days regarding HIV treatment. On Tuesday, scientists reported that injections of potent AIDS drugs appeared to have fended off infection in monkeys, and on Wednesday, researchers announced a breakthrough “gene-editing” procedure that may help immune system cells fight the virus.
Dr. Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist at Mattel Children's Hospital in California, has also been involved in the treatment of the child in Los Angeles, according to USA Today. In an effort to keep momentum going for early HIV treatment, she has become a leader of a new federally funded study, just getting underway, to test 60 babies in the United States with the new techniques. She and Persaud are both hopeful that the treatments will keep the children HIV-free.
"These kids obviously will be followed very, very closely" for signs of the virus, Persaud said.
A Mississippi funeral home was about to embalm 78-year-old Walter Williams when he started kicking to get out of the body bag.
Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard checked Williams’ pulse at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and declared he was dead of natural causes.
Workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were preparing to embalm his body early Thursday when Williams began moving.
Howard says he believes Williams’ pace maker stopped working and then started up again.
"I stood there and watched them put him in a body bag and zip it up," Williams' nephew, Eddie Hester, told WAPT. “At 2:30, my cousin called me and said, ‘Not yet.’ I said ‘What do you mean not yet?’ And he said Dad is still here.”
Paramedics rushed Williams to a hospital, where he told family Thursday night he’s happy to be alive.
“I don't know how long he's going to be here, but I know he's back right now. That's all that matters," Hester said.
Mississippi man Walter “Snowball” Williams was pronounced dead Wednesday night, only to shock his family when he began moving again at the coroner’s office.
“They pronounced him dead and put him in a plastic bag, zipped him up and took him, put him in the hearse and they left," Eddie Hester, Williams' nephew, said.
Two hours later, after the family had retired from an emotional day, they received a call from Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard.
Howard reported that after arriving at the coroner’s office, Williams’ leg had begun moving.
“It was not my daddy’s time,” Martha Lewis, Williams’ daughter, said. “I don’t know how much longer he’s going to grace us and bless us with his presence, but hallelujah, we thank Him right now!”
The coroner could offer no medical explanation for the event, calling it nothing but a miracle.
Do rights have limits? The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, however, it is almost universally accepted that speech urging others to commit crimes—specifically violent crimes against an individual or group—is justly illegal. While technically limiting expression, the law serves to protect those who may be unwittingly harmed from expression that has malicious intent.
This mirrors the debate around controversial “Religious Freedoms” laws being consider in states in the U.S. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a passed law on Wednesday that would have allowed business owners to deny service to LGBT customers based on their religious beliefs. A similar bill passed in Mississippi, only its anti-LGBT application is much more subtle.
SB 2681 is called “The Religious Freedom Act” and a quick read of the language of the bill would lead one to believe that this is one of those ceremonial laws because all it does is add “In God We Trust” to the State Seal. However it is the first line of the bill where the trouble lies, reading “…to provide that state action or an action by an person based on state action shall not burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion.”
Again, on the surface this would seem to simply reaffirm one of America’s most universal freedoms, one already protected by the First Amendment. However, what exactly constitutes a burden from the State? Well, one such burden might be law preventing discrimination against LGBT citizens.
Although, Sen. David Blount, a Democrat from Jackson, Miss., has said that he’s urging his colleagues to remove or redraft the language of the bill to ensure that it does not encourage discrimination. In the Miss. House, however, the Chariman of the Judiciary Committee is not wholly sold on the idea that the bill needs to be redone, telling the Associated Press, saying there are “questions” and that they “just need to study it.”
A Mississippi woman was surprised to hear that she’d be having quadruplets instead of the triplets that she had been expecting. The woman received this news while she was in labor, after she had already delivered the initial three babies. The news was given by the woman’s doctor, who said, simply, “There are more feet.”
The woman, 42-year-old Kimberly Fugate, gave birth to her children almost 13-weeks prior to their due date. Despite the premature birth, the babies are reportedly doing well in the neonatal intensive care unit of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. According to ABC News, a shortened gestation time is typical for multiple births. Many triplets are born earlier than expected, and the fact that a fourth baby was involved may have something to do with the premature birth.
All four of the Fugate babies are identical females. According to the Daily Mail, the chances of having identical quadruplets is “almost incalculable” — or around 13 million to one.
Fugate had been undergoing the normal preparations prior to giving birth, including receiving regular ultrasounds. Somehow, however, the fourth child remained undetected by the ultrasound equipment.
Although Fugate claims she was worried when the doctor informed her that a fourth baby was on its way, she described the arrival of the quadruplets as a “blessing.” She also claimed that she wont be able to take them out of observation in the intensive care unit until their original due date in May.
“I haven’t been able to hold them yet. It will be very exciting to get to take them home and love them,” Fugate said.
Fugate and her husband, Craig, already have a 10-year-old daughter together.
With the Winter Olympics in full swing in Sochi, Russia, there has been a lot of ink (traditional and digital) devoted to discussing Russia’s troubling policies regarding homosexuals in their country. The primary offense is their “Propaganda” law which criminalizes promoting “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. In effect, this law stands as a way to criminalize speech for individuals and non-governmental organizations that advocate for gay Russian citizens.
What’s surprising is a blog post from The Washington Post which details how “[e]ight states limit speech about homosexuality in ways similar to, though not as far-reaching as,” Russia’s law. Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and 2002 host of the Winter Olympics Utah all have what Yale law professors call “no pro homo” laws.
While none of these laws call for the arrest of gay actors or writers or even advocates, they also cite “the children” in promoting worldviews that are more homophobic than not. Both Alabama and Texas, according to The Post, “mandate that sex-education classes emphasize that homosexuality is ‘not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.’” Arizona “prohibits portrayals of homosexuality as a ‘positive alternative life-style,’” and refuses to admit that any homosexual sex is “safe.”
Americans have long proven that they are willing to allow a little First Amendment infringement in the order of “protecting” society, specifically the children. Similar sentiments were behind Tipper Gore’s crusade to protect children from music deemed too offensive for minors, which lead to the Parental Advisory sticker on cassette tapes and compact discs that, if anything, made the “bad” music seem all the more cool. Recently, Pittsburgh rappers were sentenced to jail time for mentioning real police officers’ names in a song that contained violent lyrics.
Children are often far more savvy than these political movements are willing to admit. In the age of the internet the forbidden doesn’t stay secret for long. The danger of laws like these is that it prevents teachers from correcting misunderstandings about the real world. Laws like these ensure that all children know about sex will be learned on the school bus and over hushed whispers in the lunchroom.
Without much resistance, the Mississippi Senate voted to add the phrase “In God We Trust” to its state seal.
The addition of the phrase was requested by Gov. Phil Bryant. The bill, Senate Bill 2681, was sponsored by Republican Sen. Phillip Gandy, who also works as a minister of Liberty Baptist Church.
If the bill passes the House of Representatives, Mississippi will join Florida as the only other state to include “In God We Trust” on its seal. The phrase was signed into law as an official motto of the United States by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
Although the phrase is already connected to American politics, legislators in Mississippi understandably debated its religious implications. According to SF Gate, the bill is being referred to as the “Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” and it also includes provisions that aim to reduce the government’s interference in an individual’s right to practice any religion.
Sen. Gandy claims that the bill was introduced because some Christians throughout the state perceived that the government had put a “burden” on them practicing their religion.
“Times are changing, and Christians are afraid of a lot of different things, and some of that is reality, possibly, and some is perception. But we want to do what we can,” Gandy said.
During the Senate proceedings regarding the bill, Sen. Hob Bryan (D-Armory) voiced his concern that the bill would allow Muslims to stop work to pray or other religious practices from occurring. Bryan himself is a Baptist.
“This bill applies to all religions, including Islam, Buddhism and New Age religions. We need to think carefully about the implications of it,” Bryan said.
Apparently the implications were straightened out prior to the vote. Apart from four missing Senators, the Senate passed the bill 48-0, the Sun Herald reports.
The bill now moves on to the House of Representatives.
11The Dichotomy of the Gun: Proposed Georgia, Mississippi State Laws Miss Central Point of Gun Debate
One of the fundamental problems in the gun control/gun rights argument is that the central item in the discussion, i.e. the gun, is seen as two completely different things from either side. For those who find themselves on the side of the spectrum that wants guns controlled (or banned outright) the gun is a terrifying death machine that ordinary citizens should not possess. For those on the side of the spectrum who prefers easy access to firearms (or mandatory ownership) the gun is the only real “protection” they trust.
Georgia lawmakers have recently introduced a bill that would essentially protect Georgians from any future federal laws that would “nullify certain federal laws…which attempts to govern firearms manufactured” in Georgia. Democratic State Senator Vincent Fort, who last year tried to pass an assault weapons ban, believes the new law is dangerous. He told CL Atlanta, “it’s unfortunate that this right-wing crowd [is] making these kind of extremist, ideological statements,” rather than focusing on the poor or the economy.
The ideological opposite of this bill is the recent "bullet control" proposal in the Mississippi State Legislature calling for individuals purchasing ammunition to provide personal details such as their name, Driver’s License, and Social Security Number. Law enforcement and government officials wouldn’t be the only people to have access to this information, but the records would be also open to the public.
No two individual laws better embody the central disconnect between the two sides of this argument. For gun control advocates, the idea that the entire state of Georgia would ignore federal laws seems to validate their position that there is no such thing as a “responsible” gun advocate. For those in favor of gun rights, the idea that purchasing some rounds means that the public has access to their personal information seems to validate their belief that the system is stacked against them.
What is difficult to address in legislation or even legislative discussion is the dichotomy of the gun. The thing these two laws have in common is that both come from a view of guns that the other side not only doesn’t share but doesn’t understand. A victim of gun crime wouldn’t see these weapons as protection from predators (human and animal), a way to put food on the table, or harmless sport and vice versa. Until this is addressed, any attempts to either protect gun-owners’ rights or responsibly limit everyone else’s risk will be doomed to fail on the national level.