Americans are heading into the July 4 holiday after a beleaguering few weeks of news from the border and beyond.

This week in OtherWords, Fizz Perkal argues that ICE was established to make people safe, but has turned instead to terrorizing vulnerable people who pose no threat. The growing calls to abolish the agency, Fizz says, are rational, not radical. George Goehl, meanwhile, points out that the administration’s broader agenda won’t just hurt kids on the border, but in every state.

Other tough news? Another mass shooting, this time at a Maryland newspaper. In a valuable piece this week, Norah Vawter — herself a gun violence survivor — digs into serious research and concludes that guns are bad news for public and private safety alike. Take a look!

Also this week, Sarah Anderson tells the story of her union organizer ancestor in Pittsburgh to show that unions have survived tough times before, so they can bounce back from a bad Supreme Court ruling today. Ebony Slaughter-Johnson digs into data from a UN report on poverty in America. And Khalil Bendib quips darkly on outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s legacy.

Finally, I get it: Most of this news is a drag. It’s a hard thing to process day after day. This week, Jill Richardson has some advice about when it’s a good idea to tune out for a bit, even when you care deeply about the news. I might take her up on it for today.

Happy Fourth from all of us at OtherWords.

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Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

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