NEWS AND OPINION:
Organizers for the “March For Our Lives” initially predicted their rally in the nation’s capital would draw, at minimum, 500,000 people. In the aftermath, the well-organized group said 850,000 showed up Saturday. One source claims otherwise.
“More than 200,000 people attended the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington D.C. on Saturday,” according to Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc. (DDIS). The Virginia-based firm uses a proprietary method for calculating crowd size using aerial photos. CBS News, citing the analysis, reported, “The peak crowd size was 202,796 people, with a margin of error of 15 percent, the firm said. The crowd reached its largest size at 1 p.m., according to the company’s estimates. The organizers put the total number of attendees at closer to 800,000.”
Actually, the organizers’ final number was even higher.
“You showed up! More than 850,000 marched with us in DC yesterday. Together, we are so powerful. Together, we will #ThrowThemOut,” the March For Our Lives organization said in postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — also noting that there were some 800 “sibling” marches here and overseas.
Meanwhile, gun violence continues to draw pollsters.
“Nearly six in 10 Americans say that gun ownership increases safety,” says a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which found that 58 percent of the public agreed with the following statement: “Gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.” And the partisan divide: 89 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats also agree.
“These findings represent a reversal from 1999, when a majority — 52 percent — said gun ownership reduces safety. And they come at a time when 47 percent of American adults say they have a firearm in the household, up from 44 percent in 1999,” the poll said.
The survey also found that 38 percent of Americans overall agree that “gun ownership reduces safety by giving too many people access to firearms, increasing the chances for accidental misuse.”
CONFIDENCE IN MR. BOLTON
Incoming National Security Adviser John R. Bolton will arrive at the White House on April 9, and the prospect has elicited squawks of alarm from critics who both typically frame the former U.N. ambassador as a “dangerous” war hawk — or words to that effect.
“John is a very smart, very experienced, very tough guy. He has strong views,” Stephen Hadley — national security adviser to former President George W. Bush — told ABC News on Sunday, calling Mr. Bolton “a very capable fellow,” and suggesting that there’s harmony between President Trump and his new adviser.
“The president knows him, seems to be comfortable with him and I think feels that John is more in line with his views. The president is the person elected by the American people to set foreign policy. He deserves people around him who think the same way,” said Mr. Hadley, adding, “I don’t have real concerns. I think there is an issue in any situation whether a person is the right person for the right job. I think in the national security adviser is someone who is close to the president, needs to have the confidence of the president And John clearly has that.”
One South Carolina Republican also had promising words.
“John Bolton sees North Korea for the threat they are,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News. “When President Trump meets Kim Jong-un, his national security adviser will be with him. And the North Koreans know, without a doubt, that John Bolton sees their nuclear program as a threat to the United States and will strongly advise the president to use military force if he has to — which means it’s less likely we will.”
Mr. Graham added, ” I am very pleased with John Bolton,” noting that his appointment as adviser “is going to make the world safer.”
THE BOLTON PRESS
Headlines reveal much about the media’s attitude toward the aforementioned John R. Bolton. A small sampling of recent examples:
“John Bolton: The anti-McMaster” (Politico); “Trump pick John Bolton has history of clashing with U.S. intelligence community” (PBS); “John R. Bolton and the normalization of fringe conservatism” (The Atlantic); “John Bolton’s plan to be Trump’s ‘enforcer’” (Axios); “Watch out world, John Bolton the superhawk has landed in the White House” (The Globe and Mail); “The hawkish views of Bolton and Pompeo could mark a turning point for Trump” (Washington Post); “Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous” (New York Times).
BEWARE THE FALLING SATELLITE
China’s defunct 9-ton Tiangong-1 space station is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere any day now, with a potential impact site spanning about one-third of the planet.
“If by some truly cosmic coincidence you do find a piece of Tiangong-1 in your neighborhood — or if some debris washes up on a shore near you — here’s some advice on your best course of action: Don’t touch it,” writes Brandon Specktor, senior writer for LiveScience.com.
“There are two reasons why you should not approach and touch a piece of space debris. The first is it is a health risk,” space historian Robert Z. Pearlman said in an interview, specifically citing hazardous and noxious materials from fuel tanks, and sharp edges.
And reason No. 2? Space debris souvenirs are not allowed.
“According to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a country’s spacecraft is their legal property until they say that it’s not their legal property. No matter where it lands — whether it lands in the ocean and sinks to the bottom of the sea, or whether it lands on their own land or some other country’s land — it belongs to that country of origin,” said Mr. Pearlman.
POLL DU JOUR
• 82 percent of Americans know that Vladimir Putin is president of Russia; 15 percent are not sure who is president, 1 percent each said Dmitri Medvedev, Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev as the president.
• 72 percent know Kim Jong-un is supreme leader of North Korea; 17 percent are not sure, 10 percent cited Kim Jong-il, 1 percent each cited Ban Ki-moon and Moon Jae-in.
• 55 percent know Justin Trudeau is prime minister of Canada; 36 percent are not sure, 6 percent cited Pierre Trudeau, 2 percent Stephen Harper and 1 percent Jean Chretien.
• 51 percent know Theresa May is prime minister of the United Kingdom; 36 percent are not sure, 7 percent cited Tony Blair, 5 percent David Cameron and 1 percent Jeremy Corbyn.
• 36 percent know Xi Jinping is current general secretary of the Communist Party of China; 55 percent are not sure, 4 percent cited Deng Xiaoping, 3 percent Mao Zedong and 2 percent Hu Jintao.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted March 18-20; respondents chose from a supplied list of names.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin