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Morning Update: Trump Wrote A Reminder To Himself To Say "I Hear You" To Grieving Families

Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Feb. 22.

Posted on February 22, 2018, at 7:19 a.m. ET

The Florida shooting could signal a pivotal moment in gun control conversations

First, an obvious observation: It has been uncommon in the last year or so for one story to remain the story for a whole week. Many of us have adjusted to the whiplash pace of news as the new normal. But this week is different.

Last Wednesday, a shooter opened fire inside a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. The attack has forced a renewed focus and urgency on gun control conversations.

Listening session: Yesterday, families of the Parkland shooting victims — as well as families of students who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — begged President Trump in person to take action. Trump held a “listening session” with the families in the White House.

A moving speech: One father who lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting delivered a powerful, emotional speech: “There should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I'm pissed. Because my daughter — I'm not going to see her again. She's not here.” Watch the video of his speech — it’s incredibly moving.

How you remind me: Trump wrote a reminder to himself to say “I hear you” to the people who attended the listening session. A photographer snapped a picture of Trump’s notes to self. The second one was “What can we do to make you feel safe?” The fifth was “I hear you.”

Information war: Although usually the pro-Trump media is very effective at creating and spreading misinformation, Charlie Warzel writes that in going after the Parkland survivors, the trolls have met their match: a generation so internet-adept and innately capable of waging an information war.

Is this time different? Although the administration’s proposals are unclear at this point, and the chances of significant gun control policy passing Congress are low, Trump is promising this moment won’t just pass. He said, “It’s not going to be talk like it has been in the past.” But Trump’s calls for quick action don’t always last long. Tarini Parti looks at whether anything will change.


In Syria’s Ghouta, “death is the master”

Eastern Ghouta is a rebel-held enclave, east of the Syrian capital. Over the last few days, Bashar al-Assad’s regime has intensified its aerial attacks of the besieged area — on Monday alone, Assad’s forces, and Russian war planes and helicopters, fired as many as 200 missiles and rockets.

A human rights monitoring network said at least 100 people died Monday, calling it the biggest single-day death toll since 2015. We spoke to people living in Ghouta right now about what it’s like trying to survive.


Billy Graham, the internationally known Christian evangelist preacher, has died at 99

Graham rose to fame as a TV preacher and religious adviser to US presidents. He became known for his large-scale preaching tours, and was nicknamed “America’s pastor.” The preacher hosted religious events attended by thousands, known as the "Billy Graham Crusades," around the world.

In a statement, George W. Bush said Graham “touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man.”

Barack Obama tweeted that Graham “gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”

President Trump added, “There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”


Quick catch-up

Harvey Weinstein: The disgraced Hollywood mogul is asking a judge to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit filed against him by six women because, he argues, even if what they allege did happen, none of it would be considered a sex act under the law.

Vox Media layoffs: The digital media company will lay off around 50 people. The company’s Racked, Curbed, and SB Nation brands will bear the brunt of the job cuts, along with its video services teams. Vox Media will also wind down its focus on native social video.

Frozen musical: Thomas Schumacher, one of the most influential men on Broadway and the producer behind the Disney’s Frozen musical, is accused of years of inappropriate comments and behavior. Frozen opens in previews Thursday night on Broadway.

Wendy Williams: The talk show host is taking a break from her show after being diagnosed with Graves’ disease. Williams said she will be taking a three-week hiatus per her doctor's orders, and also acknowledged that some viewers had spotted the signs.

Hedley: SiriusXM will not be playing any of the Vancouver band’s songs on its Canadian satellite radio stations. The company joins a growing boycott of Hedley by radio stations across Canada in the wake of allegations that the band preyed on young female fans, some as young as 14.


The KKK is losing out to the alt-right

Hate just ain’t what it used to be. The Ku Klux Klan appears to be losing ground to the more loosely organized and more online-savvy alt-right movement, according to researchers. A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found the number of KKK groups decreased from 130 to 72 last year. During the same period, the number of neo-Nazi groups grew from 99 to 121, an increase of 22%.

The SPLC also added two "men's supremacy" groups — Return of Kings and A Voice for Men — to its list of hate groups. Dig deeper into the report’s findings here.


The men of Black Panther are black women’s thirst dreams come true

Wakanda thirst is this?! Sylvia Obell’s deep dive into the widespread thirst outbreak in response to Black Panther is excellent, not just for noting that “there are no ugly men in Wakanda,” but for this: “The best part of the thirst reactions is that the demographic having the most fun are black women. Not to say that black women deserve to thirst more than any other group, but it’s an experience many people of color don’t get to enjoy nearly as often as we should at the movies.”

Obell samples some of the best thirst tweets, and I may need to go to church after this.

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