Rachel Martin, Alexei Navalny, Steve Inskeep discussed on Morning Edition
It's a 34. Good morning. I'm Eric Hanson in today for Sandy Alltel's This is morning edition from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin and I'm Steve Inskeep. Alexei Navalny. The imprisoned Russian opposition leader says he's ending Ah hunger strike After 24 days he began as a protest the lack of medical attention he was receiving in prison. He made the announcement of the end of the strike in a social media post published by his supporters. NPR's Lucian Kim has been tracking of all the story for years and is on the line Lucy and welcome Morning. I just want to mention about a month is about as far as most people can survive without food. The man must be close to death. What was his reason for ending the strike now? Well in this quite extraordinary Instagram post, he says. Thanks to pressure from around the world, huge progress has been made in his case, he said. Two months ago, the authorities just smirked at his request for medical attention A month ago, they laughed when he asked for his diagnosis and some medical records and now, he says he's been examined by civilian doctors twice. He also says doctors he trusts appealed to him yesterday to end this hunger strike. Otherwise, in their words, there wouldn't be anyone left for them to treat so quite dramatic. Ah, final factor is that other people in Russia also declared hunger strikes in solidarity with navalny. He says he doesn't want to be responsible for responsible for them, he says. All of that fills his heart. With quote, love and gratitude. He says he's still going to insist on getting outside medical attention for a loss of sensation in his arms and legs. Lucy and this is remarkable, and I suppose we, for the most part have Navalny's version of events here. But he's saying that his conditions have improved, which implies that the Russian government really does feel pressure to take care of him. This is someone who says the Russian government is trying to poison and kill him in the past, and now they seem to have need to keep him alive. Well, the Russian government actually pretends like they have nothing to do with this. Um, the President Vladimir Putin's spokesman actually has no sort of an allergic reaction. Whenever any journalists bring this up. He keeps on saying that the Kremlin is not monitoring Navalny's health, and he's just like Any other prisoner in the Russian prisons system on D. He's basically said any questions about the about Navalny's condition should go to the Russian. Prison service s. Oh, this is really one subject that drives the Kremlin up the wall on day. Want to ignore it involved? You just haven't go away. Okay. Well, what does that tell us, then taken all the facts in taking all the facts in what does that tell us about Navalny's ability to influence events in Vladimir Putin's Russia right now? Well, it's amazing Steve. It shows that he can still set the political agenda, even sitting or lying in a prison hospital outside of Moscow. He keeps on posting to social media. He gets his messages out. Through his supporters and his followers and reaches millions of people so domestically, he can mobilize tens of thousands and tens of thousands of protesters in the farthest corners of Russia. We saw that again on Wednesday when people came out in dozens of cities. Across the country. But the most amazing thing is that he's now also setting the international agenda. You know, world leaders keep on bringing him up when they talk to Vladimir Putin and the Biden administration came out and said Russia would face serious consequences if he dies. Listen, thanks for the update. Thanks, Steve. That's NPR's Lucian Kim. Mm hmm. After a 19 year old killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis last week. Some gun control advocates used it as a way to argue for red flag laws. But Indiana does have a red flag law. It's a measure to remove guns from a person deemed a risk. And it's one of the oldest such laws in the country. And in this case, it didn't work. Jill Sheridan of member station W. F Y I reports It was last year when a mom was so concerned that her son would try to harm himself that she contacted. Authorities that call in his stay at a mental health facility for a few hours led to the seizure of a shotgun owned by 18 Year old Brandon Hole because the family willingly gave up the weapon and no one contested the seizure. A red flag petition was never filed in court, which allowed him to still purchase guns. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mir says he's been outspoken about the laws shortcomings. I think people here red flag and I think it's the pain to see it's all these issues. It's not what it is, is a good start where there's a number of loopholes In the practical application of this law, the office doesn't have much time on Lee 14 days to build inviolate case and a lack of access to mental health records restricts that process. Indiana adopted one of the country's first red flag laws after an Indianapolis police officer was killed by a man whose guns had been returned to him by police after a mental health crisis. Moms demand action founder Shannon Watts says Indiana's law is no longer up to date with other newer versions. It's in perfect It's one of the oldest in the country was passed in 2005. So the modern red flag laws are different. They're more fulsome. You're more comprehensive. 19 States in Washington, D C now have some sort of red flag law. Many of those have been enhanced to allow family members to petition and seizure or close loopholes where people can still purchase guns. Shannon federally teaches at Johns Hopkins University and is a leading researcher on this issue. She says the case in Indiana is a failure of implementation because it never went to court and the judge didn't make a decision whether the gunman was dangerous barring him from purchasing firearms. She says better awareness within the criminal justice system about how to use the law is needed have the support and infrastructure in place to assure that they are used correctly, So implementation is Really key, and that's something that we just don't pay enough attention to the Indian. A legislator strengthen the law in 2019 to add stricter felony charges for someone who sells guns to a person has been deemed a danger to themselves or others. Prosecutor Mir says Ah, better fix would be to allow for more time to build a case based on mental health history, and whether that person truly poses a threat, the statute is to return to firearms, as opposed to having a very thoughtful and careful review of someone's mental health history to determine Whether or not they should possess a firearm. But would it have helped to the FedEx shootings in Indianapolis? The gunman was only 19 and didn't have a documented history of mental health problems before last year. Police in Indianapolis have said the investigation so far indicates the gunman engaged in online white supremacy activity. Four of the eight people killed were from this a community in Indianapolis, which is now calling for a racial investigation. Shannon Watts with moms demand action says red flag laws can work but in the midst of record levels of violence, action is needed. Now we know the pandemic exacerbated gun violence, then violence is essentially an epidemic within a pandemic. In a recent call for executive action, President Biden included the need for comprehensive red flag laws. For NPR News I'm Jill shared in Indianapolis..