Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters, and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Two Young Men, Two Very Different Directions

Mar 14, 2012

I am dating myself here, but do you remember the 1983 film Trading Places? Where the comedians Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy played an investment broker and a street hustler, respectively, whose places in life were switched by the owners of Akroyd's fictional firm?

The owners did the switch to settle a bet they had made of whether nature or nurture played a bigger role in determining how someone's life would turn out. Needless to say, hijinks ensue and although Akroyd's character is brought to the brink of despair, he and Murphy team up to get revenge on the men who pulled the scam. The buddies are last seen chilling together on a beach. And yes, Jamie Lee Curtis plays the loveable prostitute with the heart of gold. She gets bank and to chill on the beach too, in the end.

All kidding aside, that film popped into my head this weekend when I was reading the metro section of my local paper, and I could not help but notice two stories that were literally side by side.

One was about an 18-year-old Virginia high school student who was a finalist in this country's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. He's been recognized for original research in physics that he has already published with a co-author.

The other story, right beside it, was about a 28-year-old man who is facing at least 25 years in prison for his role in in a series of shootings that left five people, mostly teenagers, dead. But the shooter, Nathaniel Simms, is lucky — even though he has admitted he was among those who aimed an assault weapon and handguns out of the window of a rented minivan, at a group of kids whom they did not even know, and pulled their triggers, he said, without even looking. Sims is lucky because he'll probably get that 25 year prison sentence. The other five young men on trial with him are facing life.

Why did Simms and the others allegedly do it? It started — I kid you not — over a bracelet that went missing at a party. That led to a shooting ... that led to another shooting ... that led to a final confrontation after the funeral for one of the victims of the previous shooting. On the witness stand, Simms was actually asked his reason for participating in the shootings. He started to sob, and he answered that he didn't really have one — except that as a witness to one of the prior killings, he seems to have felt he had to do something else.

What about the other young man, the physics prodigy? His name is Ari Dychovsky, and it turns out that life for him has not been easy. Dychovsky's father, an executive with whom he shared a love of math, died of a heart attack when Dychovsky was only 9 years old. The article says he lost his enthusiasm for learning until he found a school that matched his interests and two mentors who helped him find appropriate projects and someone to guide him.

As my eyes moved across the page, from the story of a boy whose life is just beginning to group of boys whose lives are, for all intents and purposes, over ... I asked myself: What it would have taken to move those lost boys from column B to column A? What would it have taken for them to have had something to live for other than driving around in a minivan looking for people to shoot? Would it have cost a lot of money? I don't know.

But I do know that Ari is competing for a $100,000 scholarship. He'll find out this week if he gets it. That's about half of what it's going to cost to lock up Nathaniel Simms and his five co-conspirators for one year.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.