Five stories that have North Texas talking: Air travelers (try to) walk through security with loaded guns—especially in Texas, parents of Texas teen jailed for Facebook posts say son is suffering behind bars, Frisco will make you believe a man can fly and more.
More people are trying to sneak loaded guns through airport security, and Texas travelers are among the worst. Texas has two of the top six airports for gun seizures nationwide. According to the Dallas Morning News, last year the Transportation Security Administration found 1,549 firearms on passengers during security screening. That’s a 17 percent jump from the year before. Five Texas airports made the top 12 list. At DFW, 80 guns were found, Bush Intercontinental in Houston had 52 seized, 39 guns were found at Love Field, 35 at Houston Hobby and 33 at Austin-Bergstrom International.
That vast majority of these guns, 85 percent to be exact, were loaded. While TSA officials have said they don’t consider these passengers terrorists, they’re at a loss as to why so many people are trying to board planes with firearms. The most common excuse given to the TSA is “I forgot it was there.” While last year’s numbers were up across the board, things aren’t better in 2013. There was a 30 percent gun seizure increase in the first sixth months of this year compared to the same time last year. In May, the TSA confiscated a record setting 65 guns in one week.
- Behind Bars And Beaten: Parents of the Texas teen who was arrested and jailed for making offensive Facebook comments say he’s been repeatedly beaten up while incarcerated. Justin Carter, now 19, is from Comal County, about an hour northeast of San Antonio. He's been in jail since February on $500,000 bond. "Without getting into the really nasty details, he's had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection," says Carter's father, Jack. Justin was indicted for making a terroristic threat stemming from a Facebook post he published after playing the online game League of Legends. Court documents show he posted the following on a Facebook page: "I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten / And watch the blood of the innocent rain down/ And eat the beating heart of one of them." Carter's father says his son was responding to an insult by being sarcastic, and followed the message with "JK" for just kidding, but that's disputed by police. A change.org petition for Carter’s release has more than 42,000 online signatures. [NPR]
- How Does The Armadillo Cross The Road?: NPR’s Wade Goodwyn describes the Texas Democrat as an armadillo scrambling across a multi-lane highway, trying to dodge Republican 18-wheelers. That being said, as NPR continues to examine Texas and its demographic changes in a new series, Goodwyn reports that things are changing for Texas ‘Dillos, I mean Dems. With more democratic organizers setting up shop in Texas for the long haul and the growing Hispanic population on a long-term upward trend, some experts predict long-red Texas will be a toss up state by 2024 or sooner. But not without a GOP fight. NPR’s Texas 2020 series will take an up-close look at the Texas Republican party this afternoon on All Things Considered.
- Biological Brothers In Arms: In a rare turn of admission, three siblings have been accepted into the same class at West Point. The southeast Texas brothers Noah, Sumner and Cole Ogrydziak all started cadet training this week. Twins Sumner and Cole just turned 18 and older brother Noah is 19. If all goes as planned they’ll graduate as newly commissioned second lieutenants in the Army in 2017. Noah, Sumner and Cole received presidential appointments, which are available for children of career military personnel. Their father, Coast Guard Capt. Randal Ogrydziak, is a deputy sector commander based in Corpus Christi, and their mother, Kristine, served in the Coast Guard for 10 years. [AP via NPR]
- I Believe I Can Fly: Since North Texas is home to the universe’s largest big-screen and is the reason Lady Gaga’s wheelchair had gold plated accents, I guess it’s only fitting that an indoor skydiving facility will open in Frisco later this year. According to the Dallas Business Journal, Austin based iFly features a 14-foot vertical wind tunnel that can generate speeds up to 175 miles per hour. A precise grand opening date hasn’t been released yet, but if you’re antsy to defy gravity, check out some video from the Austin location below.