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Looking at mass shootings through a public health lens

 January 24, 2023 at 5:21 PM PST

S1: The issue of gun accessibility after three mass shootings in California in one week.

S2: There are more safety regulations around teddy bears than there are for guns.

S1: I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. We'll explore the impact of looking at gun violence through the lens of public health. Plus , take a trip to the untouched shores of San Clemente Island as some native species are removed from the endangered list.

S3: So there are protected species within the shore bombardment area.

S1: And a conversation with the author of a book about abstract football. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Tragedy upon tragedy is how Governor Gavin Newsom characterized gun violence in California after three mass shootings in the state in a week. The incidents underscore the issue as a matter of public health. Joining me now to talk about this are Dr. Michael Rodriguez and Dr. Nina Ponti with the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. Welcome to you both.

S2: Thank you so much.

S3: Thank you so much.

S1: Dr. Ponti , I'll start with you.

S3: And when a tragedy such as what's happened just in the course of the past three days , it's it's about , well , why did this happen ? And you keep going back. Like , why ? Like why ? Is it because of unmet mental health need ? Why ? Because it's job loss. Why ? Because there is no access to health care. Why ? Because there was no access to counseling. So once we start doing that , then we start looking at ways that public health programs and policies can address the pains that our population are feeling that get to this point of resorting to guns. And then , of course , then there's all the ways of making sure that people are safe. And looking at the policies on gun storage , gun access , gun safety.

S1: And to follow up on that , you know , there's no dollar amount you can put on lives lost and impacted by gun violence.

S3: It's the losses of the mental health care services that we have to provide to the bystanders , to the families that are left behind. It's the losses of our public safety for our police , for the criminal justice system. So there's a lot of societal losses that occur because of gun violence.

S1:

S2: That is a major public health impact that then has ripple effect throughout society.

S1: And Dr. Rodriguez , you know , we're talking about this because there's been a mass shooting and that is so public. But in many cases , gun violence is committed in private. Talk about the more hidden aspects of this as a public health concern. Indeed.

S2: Indeed. That's a good point , because we're focused on these large numbers of deaths that happen. But in fact , there's a death toll of over 100 people every day. Nine states were killed related to guns. And we also know that guns in the home put people at greater risk for injury and death. In fact , while we have many folks who feel that guns may make them safer , we know by research that it increases the risk of homicide and suicide in the home. So , in fact , guns make people more , more , more unsafe and at risk for death.

S1:

S2: And and so that's the particular advantage. One of the advantages of the public health approach is that we look at what are the different factors , the factors that Dr. Post pointed out that contribute to the gun violence happening in the first place and then being able to address those factors , prevent them from being there and as a result , prevent the gun violence from happening.

S3: And I'd like to add that public health approach is about surveillance. It's about identifying risk factors for the whole population into segments of the population. And then with this information , it's identifying programs and policies. So the data piece is really important. And the public health approach , which the Center for Health Policy Research has done , is to ask questions about fears of victimization , is to ask questions in population representative surveys on the firearms that are stored in homes and whether they're locked and kept safe. Know is. About having access to a gun within two days. And so by understanding this and understanding also on. On segments of the population that may be most affected , then that helps frame the policies that need to be. Need that need to to happen. And I just want to say , because the last two incidents were about where the Asian-American community is , that in the recent California Health interview survey , more than one in fives over a quarter of Asian adults in California were very worried about being victims of gun violence. So. More than five times the rate of white adults and more than two times the rate of all adults. So. Having this information , having to surveillance information then helps policymakers public health professionals. On the police the attorney general to think about then how to approach this. This horrendous horrendous work in in our society here at night states.

S1:

S2: At one point , California was the place where more of these colorful , cheap , inexpensive , small guns were made. Predominantly in Southern California. And as a result of this public health approach and communities. Not wanting so you know specials in their in their places a number of different communities and cities up and down the state bans on their specials ultimately leading to a statewide law that was signed and ultimately made law to ban sorry , no specials in the state of California. This was one of the successes that was able to result from this movement.

S1: In Dr. Ponce de.

S3: Know people who may have unmet mental health need or may be in homes where there's violence and then they or somebody close to them has a gun. It's that deadly combination that we're seeing , the tragedies that we're seeing lately. And that happens as as Dr. Rodriguez said , it happens every day. There's actually lots of tragedies happening that's beyond the headlines. I think the public health approach is that you address. All levels of intervention. So again , from the prevention piece of public health to and the data piece to inform the programs and preventions , but then also to to all the the safety and regulation on access to guns. So it's something that we're actually going to be speaking of in a forthcoming seminar where we are bringing in people in the public safety field , people in the public health field , researchers , community activists that will have to get together. And in fighting this this epidemic. You know , of gun violence.

S2: I just wanted to add that what Dr. Ponce is saying is so important. You know , for right now , guns are one of the leading causes of death for children and has been for the last several years. And yet there are more safety policies and regulations around teddy bears than there are for guns and keeping them safe in the home. And so we need to sort of look at guns as a consumer product that's dangerous. And when there's access to guns , then there's the risk that we're. That someone will be injured , if not killed by that gun.

S1: And when you say that , you know , I hear this as an issue of the availability of guns. So let's talk more about that. Dr. Rodriguez.

S2: When you have access to a gun , you're more likely to use it. And. And even though you think it is being brought into a home for safety , you don't take into account what happens during emotional times when people may be angry or and and then they're not thinking clearly. The gun is accessible and all and all of a sudden the gun is used. Most people who bring in a gun , particularly handgun , into the home , they don't lock it up and put it away in the safe. They keep it. Available. And unfortunately , that availability only increases the risk. For them and everybody in the household.

S1: That's a point there.

S2: And so you can shoot the guns many more times before having to reload are things that only increase the risk. And that's a challenge because you have every state with different laws and different regulations. And so and you have easy movement between states and so easy , easy movement from these for these guns. That becomes complicated when we're trying to deal with a national crisis and yet having all these differences by state.

S1:

S3: I can say , though , that the availability really increases the risk. And one in six Californians are reasons to be live with a gun at home. So one in six live with a gun at home. And then it's much higher for some other segments of the population , veterans , adults living in rural areas , young adults. So the availability is that opportunity , you know , for violence to happen. In terms of safety. There are California gun owners that use a cable lock three and four use a cable lock or lock container. One in five use a trigger lock and but only like one in 13 use both a trigger lock and a cable lock or a locked container. So there are Californians out there that are are practicing gun safety storage. But but that availability , you know , doesn't get the risk at zero. So all that availability is that opportunity for violence to happen.

S2: Indeed , if if if safe means no risk for death , then there is no safety with guns. There's just safer things that we can do to reduce the risk.

S1: And this question is for both of you. I mean , guns are such a highly politicized issue in America.

S2: So that's the important thing. There's a perception sometimes that that that most people don't. But most people do want the same laws that make them safer. It is just that the polarization politically that makes it that those facts are inaccessible. I think it makes it very difficult also to pass laws to make people safer in the United States. And that's where the challenges are in some states like California , where there's a greater number of of of elected officials who support laws that are common sense and make people safer. We have stronger laws and others states they put the guns in front of the people.

S3: I firmly believe that the politicization of this issue has has hidden a lot of the the evidence and objective data for many , many years. And that it's the surveillance piece is the data piece that then will help with getting over any politicized issues to just be very objective and say , look , one in six Californians have a gun at home. And a lot of them , you know , 113 reported having a firearm at home that was loaded and unlocked. So you do the math that there is a risk the and there's a need for policy action to ensure that , you know , access to guns then has to be reduced.

S1: I've been speaking with Dr. Nina , as Ponce say , and Dr. Michael Rodriguez with the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. Thank you both for joining us.

S3: Thank you.

S2: Thank you. You.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed four plants and a bird unique to San Clemente Island from protected status. KPBS military reporter Andrew Dwyer has this report.

S4: Recently , the Navy invited members of the media for a tour of San Clemente Island , 70 miles west of San Diego. It's the southernmost of California's Channel Islands. But unlike its well-known neighbor to the north , Catalina San Clemente is not accessible by the public. That's because it's home to a Navy SEAL training facility and serves as a key training ground for Marine expeditionary units. It's also the site of the Navy's only ship to shore bombardment range. The island's isolation also led to the evolution of unique plants and animals not found anywhere else on Earth.

S5: On this island alone , there are 17 plant species found nowhere else in the world.

S4: That's Brian Munson , the botany program manager at Naval Base Coronado.

S5: So these conditions are different. So when a seed or something from the mainland comes out here , it encounters new conditions and it'll evolve into something new. And that's that's what's happened. Numbers of times on this island.

S4: Sheba raised her until the 1930s when the Navy took over the island. Then wild , invasive goats devastated the plants that native birds used for nesting. When the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973 , the Navy launched a program to remove the goats. And by the early nineties , they were gone. But the damage was done and several native plant and animal species found themselves threatened or endangered. The island has been recovering ever since. Wildlife biologist from the Navy , together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , began a decades long program to recover those species. The Island Night lizard was removed from protected status in 2006 and now four plant species and one bird are being removed.

S5: The de-listing of these species is huge and the entire history of the Endangered Species Act. Only ten plants have been delisted due to recovery.

S4: The San Clemente Island Paintbrush , Lotus , Larkspur and Bush Mallow are the four plants being delisted under the Endangered Species Act. The San Clemente Island Belle Sparrow , a small brown bird with a fluffy white breast , is also being removed from protected status.

S5: The San Juan de Island Paintbrush. At the time of listing , there are only about a thousand individuals , and the only way that that plant survived was existing on extreme cliff faces like you can see behind me. These extreme cliff faces were not accessible by the goats because the goats virtually ate everything that wasn't on one of those cliff faces.

S4: Experts say the successful recovery of these species shows that with proper management , the habitat can withstand the military's activities , including being shelled by warships. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. So there are protected species within the short bombardment area.

S4: Melissa Booker is the island's wildlife biologist. She works for the Navy and says that while it might be counterintuitive to shoot at an endangered habitat , those species are doing.

S3: Well and the species actually thrive in these areas. The area of actual bombardment , things that actually target and hit the islands is relatively small. So about 9% of the island and then the remainder of the area behind me is a large buffer.

S4: That buffer zone on the south end of the island known as Shoma for shore bombardment area is home to the now delisted island Belle Sparrow. Booker says even the areas in the direct line of fire from Navy ships show signs of wildlife.

S3: We have everything from foxes to shrike to Bill Sparrows moving in and out of those areas and utilizing those areas successfully.

S4: With Wednesday's delisting , these species lose protection under the Endangered Species Act. But Navy scientists say their efforts will now pivot to preventing them from being relisted.

S1: That story from KPBS military reporter Andrew Dyer , and he joins me now to open his Reporter's Notebook. Andrew , welcome.

S4: Hi , thanks for having me.

S1: So this is your first story for KPBS , but you're not new to San Diego. Our listeners may recognize you from the many interviews you've done with us here on Midday Edition and your reporting for the Union-Tribune. And you also have a military background. Tell us about that. Sure.

S4: Sure. So , you know , I joined the Navy in 2001 , right after 911. I was an enlisted sailor who started out at E-1. I was stationed in Japan on a I'm an aircraft carrier and made my way to San Diego a few years later , again stationed on a different aircraft carrier and got out after about ten years as an F five or second class petty officer and , you know , went back to school and got into journalism. So I've spent a lot of time at sea. I spent a lot of time doing the dirty work that any ship's company sailor might be familiar with and. Yeah , I find it really kind of helps in the way I approach writing about the military.

S1: So you say it helps with your reporting.

S4: You know , those stories are in a way , if not my story , they all could have been my story in one way or another. So it helps when you talk to people that you can relate on , on a level if you've kind of been there and done that before. Even when I talked to Marines , I wasn't in the Marines. But , you know , Marines and Navy , there's a lot of crossover. You know , we went to our first like it's called a school. We went to , you know , half of my school class was Marines. So you spent a lot of time with Marines in the Navy. And there's always that common ground you can find with the people you're talking to for stories. And it sometimes people are a little more comfortable to open up to you whenever you know , you can meet them where they're at.

S1: Well , we're glad to have you and your experience here on board at KPBS. Let's talk more about your story. You traveled to San Clemente Island , which isn't open to the public.

S4: And when you get to San Clemente Island , it is just astonishing to look out. And it's I won't say it's barren because there is a lot of life , but there's not , you know , towering palm trees or anything like that. This is a a very wild shrub land. The east end of the island is this it's from this thrust fault that with these sheer cliffs and canyons on on the edge and then the west end of the island are these huge Marine terraces that are , I'm told , some of the best examples in the world of a marine terrace. And then that that west side , there's just incredible surf breaks and rock formations. It's all volcanic rock. So it's it just feels very wild. I will say it feels untouched. It's not untouched. There's a lot of stuff going on there with the Navy and other armed forces. But you do get this feeling a closer approximation of what things are like before. Before we started messing around. And.

S1: And. Well , so I heard you mention Marine Terrace , and I'm trying to visualize what that is.

S4: And then it's a slow slope , very gradual on the west side. So the east and west are very different where the east is just the sheer cliffs , the west kind of gently slopes back to the sea. And along these slopes , there are all of these , you know , a lot of cactus. A lot of these low ground level shrubs. And it's in these , you know , ground level plants where these threatened and endangered birds like to nest. And that's the habitat that had previously been just devastated by it by invasive species.

S1: And this is the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. So remind us what that law does to protect plants and animals from extinction and why it's important.

S4: So , yeah , the Endangered Species Act was signed into law in December of 1973. So this is kind of the beginning of the 50th anniversary year. And it's a really powerful law. And the whole impact of it is that custodians and so the Navy doesn't own San Clemente Island , but they do you know , they're like the manager of it. That law is so powerful that , you know , if species are listed as endangered , protected , you know , these these custodial being part of the government , they have to do whatever they can to both protect the species , recover the species , and then , you know , monitor them to ensure that that they're protected. And so as soon as that law was was signed , the Navy had to do something about San Clemente Island , because at the time , in the 1970s , it was a very different place. Interesting.

S1: Interesting. You know , in your story , you spoke to Navy botanist Brian Munson , who told you that when a seed makes its way to San Clemente Island , it evolves into something new.

S4: So it's it's a little bit cooler. There's no source of fresh water on the island. And the. The conditions are similar to what we have here , but they're just different enough that the species that migrated there , however many you know , millions of years ago , there was enough time for them to to adapt to the conditions specific to that that habitat. And , you know , over millions of years , they differentiate themselves enough from wherever they came on the mainland to be their own their own species.

S1: And the focus on for this piece was on four plants and a bird that are being removed from the endangered species list. This is because of the work of Navy wildlife biologist. Tell us about the work that they do.

S4: You know , it's really incredible. And , you know , when we a lot of times we talked about San Clemente Island , we're talking about Marines training there. We're talking about Navy SEALs. It's also the only ship to shore bombardment range for the Navy. So , you know , Navy warships , you know , they put these big targets on the southern tip of the island and these ships out at sea will just shoot their guns at it. And I mean , these are the big guns , the the big warship guns. So. That's usually what we're talking about when it comes to this island. But it's it's so much more. And when we visited , you know , we we barely saw any military. We were completely on with all of the researchers and the scientists who who work on that island. But this has been , you know , 50 years of work. When the Endangered Species Act became law , the island was was overrun by goats. And those goats , you know , their grazers , and they had completely , almost denuded the island of all of the plants. So it really was a barren place at the time. And it took about 20 years for the Navy to get rid of all of the goats and , you know , domestic cats or wildcats that had been brought out there that had also decimated the bird population. And so since the nineties , the early nineties , it's been all recovery. And now with this coinciding with the 50th anniversary of of that law , we're seeing a lot of these species recovered enough to where they are not just , you know recovered but as these scientists said , you know , they're now thriving on that island and in that environment.

S1:

S4: Sailors would leave goats on the islands as they were traveling. That way , when the ship came back , they could go and they would have a source of food for their return , part of their their cruises. So , you know , this is a you know , it's part of the California Channel Islands. It's right there along the coast. So , you know , ships travelling up and down. You know , there was goats there. And before the goats had taken over the island , it had been used as a as a like a. Agriculturally for for raising sheep. So the island had kind of been mismanaged for four decades before , before the Navy took control. And then once the Endangered Species Act became law , they really had to to to turn it around. Wow.

S1: Wow. So this really is a celebration of an achievement , recovering these species once on the endangered list.

S4: Yes , it is. And when you talk to the scientists on the island , it's incredible because , you know , they are just so excited about what what has happened there. And it's taken you know , this is you know , for some of them , this is kind of their life's work was recovering these species. And because of the nature of of climate change and all the threats to the environment and the ecosystem , there aren't a lot of wins in environmental work. So even though this is just one island and , you know , and one place in the world , any time conservationists can can claim a win , you know , it's a big deal.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS , military reporter Andrew Dyer. Andrew , thanks and welcome to KPBS. We're looking forward to your reporting.

S4: Thank you so much.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. The history of San Diego State football is the focus of a book from a local professor. The 500 page book features a treasure trove of images capturing the highs and lows of a century of Aztec football , as well as the tales behind those historic teams. Seth Marlowe is professor of anthropology at San Diego State University and author of 100 Years of Aztec Football. Spoke with Midday Edition producer Andrew Bracken about the book.

S6: In your introduction , you describe football as being a part of the very fabric of American culture , but that wasn't always the case.

S7: And back in the early 1900s , when San Diego State football started , the top sports in America by far were baseball , boxing and horse racing. Football was not on the radar at all. And when you look back to early football , it was highly controversial because there were worries about its safety. In fact , President Teddy Roosevelt tried to outlaw it and encourages schools to switch to rugby. And many schools , including Cal at Stanford , did so that early San Diego State team , they they were a very small team. It was the San Diego normal school at the time , and it was mostly women. So the school was mostly women at the time. And to find 11 players to play , they had to combined male students and male faculty. In fact , the first San Diego State touchdown was scored by a biology professor , Arthur Greeley.

S6: And you focused previous books and research on other aspects of SDSU history.

S7: So those two things went together nicely. But at the same time , I love coming at American history through different lines of evidence , through different angles. I've we've looked at it through artifacts. We've looked at it through live popular music , and now seemed like a good time to try looking at it through football.

S6: And your book goes through pretty much every team in San Diego State history.

S7: I think that the first one that really stands out is that the 1925 team. That team stands out for a couple of reasons. First is they were so good that the conference asked them to leave , has the first time in San Diego State history that they were dominating in such a fashion that their opponents didn't want to play them. Secondly , that same team after a win over Whittier. Eyewitness accounts claimed that there was a ghost playing on the San Diego State team. They were certain that a additional member appeared and then disappeared on the San Diego State team. And again , you have to think like people were thinking in the 1920s in terms of the supernatural being all around us. And so the school had some fun with it , and they invited all of the local media , not the media , but all the people who who could see the supernatural to the game. And even the coach got into it saying that he welcomed the Phantasm on his team , but he wouldn't count on him to stop the run. In addition , you could pick just about any of the teams from the Don Coryell years in the sixties and early seventies. My favorite , I think would be the 1969 team , because that was when San Diego State , coming off of multiple national championships in the college division , made the move to the big university division. Today's Division one and all the critics were certain that San Diego State was going to take a beating. The 1969 would be the year we came crashing back down to earth. And even though I knew what happened when I was writing the book , the joy in doing this research to see the team go undefeated , to see Dennis Shaw have one of the best seasons of all time for a college quarterback to see them go 11 and zero and win a Bowl victory when they were playing the top competition in the nation was especially gratifying. So all those teams jump out. But you're exactly right. We went through every single one. We went through 100 seasons. We went through thousand and 54 games , and we chronicled every single one of them.

S6: And obviously , you know , a lot of research went into this book.

S7: That's that the archaeologist in me is always worried about empty holes in the ground. This was just the opposite. Not only did we have incredible newspaper records , both on the student side and the San Diego Sun , the San Diego Union , the San Diego Tribune. We had all these records , but we also went through the opposing newspapers , the teams that were in other cities. We went through those. Those papers. But best of all , and the thing I can't emphasize enough that makes this book special is that Kathy Anderson donated to us 74,000 photos from her husband's photography collection that he took , Ernie Anderson took as the San Diego State football photographer over many , many decades. In fact , Ernie got his start as the daily Aztec photographer. And so suddenly we had just an overwhelming number of amazing photos , and that the problem that I ran into was wanting to use so many for each game and knowing , Hey , I can only use one for each game.

S6: And looking through the book I was struck by , though football is at the core of it , the world outside of football plays a role here as well and even overshadows the sport at certain times in history. I'm wondering how much you thought about what was happening off the field while writing this book.

S7: It's funny , when I take on a project , I always try and focus on the primary object , but I'm always very aware of the context. And it's this dance back and forth between that primary subject and what else is going on. And there are times when I realized the context was the most important thing. When you get to see the headline in 1937 about the Aztecs winning their second straight title , you see the headlines under the main headline are all about the buildup to World War two. You see what's going on with the Russian Serbs. You see a pact between Germany and Japan. You see the civil war in Spain. It is intriguing to see all of these developments. And we've gone through this when we were studying popular music at State. We've gone through this when we were studying the student murals at state. And football is no different. There is action that takes place in that center , you know , on the on the gridiron. But there's so much more that's going on for these student athletes , for these families and for the community. That is a huge part of this , is that the game itself is a rallying point for the community. And you can't talk about football without looking at the local landscape in terms of the growth of the military , in terms of multiple stadiums and in terms of all of the politics that get involved with sport and entertainment in San Diego.

S6:

S7: First and foremost , this was one of the most difficult books to write in terms of the amount of material. It's a 500 page book , and you may think it was hard to come up with 500 pages of material. My initial draft was a thousand pages of single spaced text , and so just getting it into the size it needed to be was so difficult. So I hope people appreciate the amount of work and that every single page has one of those eye popping photos. Secondly , what I'm hoping for is that appreciation of where we've gotten to with San Diego State football. When you read through the years in the book , what you see is that many of our early opponents no longer play football. It's funny , when you look across the college landscape , it's easy to say or it's easy to think that this was an inevitability , that San Diego State would be such a big time team. But when you look at the past schedules that are full of Whittier and Caltech , Cal Poly , Pomona and Pacific , you see how it key points. Each of these programs dropped their football team. And and what led to San Diego State being successful was the combination of brilliant innovation by individuals , incredible student athletes and public support. So I think that's the second point , is that it was not a foregone conclusion that we would get to 100 seasons. And we are very unique in that.

S6: And you'll be having a book signing event later today at Warwick.

S7: But one of the really fun things about it is a bunch of former football players are going to be there from San Diego State , including in Parma , who was the quarterback at San Diego State in 49 and 50 , and one of his receivers , Chick Embry , and they are both in their nineties sharp as a tack. And I was able to interview Leon extensively for the book. And so we're going to see a lot of different players from different generations , including a lot of San Diego State fans and reporters from the years. So it's going to be a fun party that celebrates all aspects of this book.

S6: I also get the sense that , you know , this story is a little bit more than just a research project for you , that you have a true passion for San Diego State football.

S7: It actually starts at an early age. My father and I shared a love of football and he. He often used football as analogies for life lessons and one of his very own. So he was from West Lafayette , Indiana. He went to Purdue and he used to always talk about not being overconfident. And his favorite story to tell was when Chicago would play Purdue. And back in the day , Chicago was far better than Purdue. They had multiple national championships. They had a legendary coach named Amos Alonzo Stagg. And so whenever my dad thought I was getting a little too big for my britches , he would always remind me of the headlines. Stagg fears Purdue. And that was his lesson of saying even though Amos Alonzo Stagg knew that Chicago would would beat the tar out of Purdue , he would always tell the media how worried he was about playing the Boilermakers. And it brought me great joy when I saw that Amos Alonzo Stags last game was actually when he coached at Pacific , and it was against San Diego State in 1958.

S6: And lastly , in his forward for the book , current SDSU head football coach Brady Hoke starts by imagining SDSU fans from different eras arguing about which team was the best. I'm going to put you on the spot here a little bit.

S7: That's going to get me in a lot of hot water with folks. I do like the 1937 team because they only gave up 16 points the entire season. I also like the team from 2021 because they set the record for victories with 12. But if you were to say your absolute favorite team , it would be 1966. And the reason for this is this was the first team to have a perfect season. When you go through this book and when we were working on this book , there were so many close calls in 62 , 64 , 65 , and you had this feeling like there's always going to be some some war on the season and there's going to be some problem that causes us to drop a game or have a tie , have something to go wrong. And 66 is when they all pull it together in perfection for the first time. So even though it's going to make a lot of lot of enemies past and present , 66 is my favorite team.

S1: That was KPBS Midday Edition producer Andrew Bracken , speaking with Seth Melius , author of the book 100 Years of Aztec Football. He'll be signing copies of his book at Warwick's in La Hoya at 730 this evening.

After multiple mass shootings in California, some researchers want to reframe the issue of gun violence as a public health issue. Then, on the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service removed four plants and a bird unique to San Clemente Island from protected status. And, the long and storied history of Aztec football is the subject of a new book featuring a treasure trove of images capturing the highs and lows over a century.