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Vandals torch statue of Ronald Reagan

The statue of Ronald Reagan at the Friends of Ronald Reagan Sports Park was torched on September 20 in Temecula California (Credit: Ronald Reagan Sports Park) A life-size statue of Ronald Reagan was constructed a year ago at the Ronald Reagan Sports Park in Temecula, California.  Last week, the statue was torched by vandals.  Temecula is not a huge city, with a population of around 100,000.  Its small size makes it an unusual location for violence among today's headlines.

Over the weekend, more than 70 people were killed when a group loyal to al-Qaeda attacked a popular mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a city of more than three million. 

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How long will the world last?

Earth and North America from Space (Credit: Royce Bair via Flickr)At least another 1.75 billion years, according to scientists.  However, be warned that between 1.75 and 3.25 billion years from now, Earth will no longer be habitable—our planet will move so close to the sun that our oceans evaporate.  At that time we should probably move to Mars, since it will remain habitable until the end of the sun's lifetime, six billion years from now.

Of course, other eventualities could shorten our planet's life.  A giant black hole would consume us (though the nearest one is 1,600 light-years away).  A microscopic black hole with the mass of Mount Everest would absorb the Earth.  A bomb with the energy of the sun's weekly output would blow us to pieces.  Firing Mars or Venus at us at 31 miles per second would pulverize our planet, as would a 10-trillion ton asteroid traveling at 90 percent the speed of light.  The odds of any of these actually occurring are astronomically small, however.  It's probably still safe to buy green bananas.

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Are you tired of reading about this?

Aaron Alexis, responsible for the September 16, 2013 shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., is shown in this undated handout photograph (Credit: Reuters/Kristi Suthamtewakul)Five days after the Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis continues to make headlines.  We now know he scratched the words "Better off this way" into the Remington 870 shotgun he used.  We have learned that he apparently suffered from mental illness.  We know that he was arrested in 2004 for shooting out a man's tires and in 2008 for disorderly conduct.  And we know that he recently contacted two Veterans Affairs hospitals, reportedly seeking help for sleep-related issues and because he was "hearing voices."

How long will he stay in the news?  As long as reporters find stories they think we'll want to read.  But he'll soon join the ranks of other mass murderers whose names we seldom remember: Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut, James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado, and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in Littleton, Colorado, for example.  Others were never widely reported in America: Matti Saari murdered 10 college students in Finland; Robert Steinhaeuser killed 16 in Erfurt, Germany; Martin Bryant killed 35 in Tasmania, Australia; Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 in Dunblane, Scotland.

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'Tim Tebow gets KISS of support from rocker Gene Simmons'

Newly-signed New England Patriots quarterback Tebow talks to reporters following practice session during mandatory team mini-camp in Foxborough, Massachusetts, June 11, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Bryan Snyder)I don't know of any human being who generates stranger headlines than Tim Tebow.

You know the story: he led the Broncos to the playoffs, winning in the first round.  Then he was signed by the Jets, where he languished on the bench.  Then he was signed by the Patriots, but released before the season began.  All the while, "Why I Hate Tim Tebow" articles continue to appear.

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Mother forgives son's murderer

Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player, was shot and killed Saturday by a North Carolina police officer when he ran out at the armed officer while seeking help, authorities now believe (Credit: Florida A&M University)Jonathan Ferrell was "one of the most magnificent individuals I ever came in contact with," according to his brother.  The former Florida A&M football player was working two jobs to put himself back in school and was engaged to be married.  Early Saturday morning, he sought help at a woman's home after his car crashed.  Frightened, she called 911.  Officer Randall Kerrick, one of the responding policemen, shot Ferrell 10 times, killing him.  Officer Kerrick has been arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Georgia Ferrell later spoke at a news conference while clutching a Winnie the Pooh bear beloved by her son.  She said, "You caused a great loss to my heart.  You took a piece of my heart that never can be put back, but I do forgive you.  I truly forgive you and wish you the best with your life and turning it over to God."

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