'Start Here': America seeing surge in potential mass shootings

PHOTO: People visit a cross for Christopher Stone at a memorial for the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting, May 21, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas.PlayBrendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Officers engaged in firefight with accused shooter inside school: Police

It's May 22, 2018. Here are some of the stories we're talking about on ABC News' new daily podcast, "Start Here."

1. A deadly trend

This morning in Santa Fe Texas, investigators are still piecing together what drove a 17-year-old to allegedly walk into first period with a shotgun and handgun and shoot his classmates to death.

The father of the suspect says he believes his son was bullied and snapped.

Questions remain over how he got access to his father's guns, which were kept in a locked safe.

But whatever the final evidence yields, this was only the second-deadliest school shooting of the year, and yesterday in Texas, two students at nearby schools allegedly were caught carrying guns on campus.

ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas says authorities are seeing a disturbing copycat trend, and we talk to ABC News' Mark Remillard about a little-known shooting 20 years ago that set the stage for some of the violence we're seeing today.

"Start Here" is a daily ABC News podcast hosted by Brad Mielke featuring original reporting on stories that are driving the national conversation. Listen for FREE on the ABC News app, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio -- or ask Alexa: "Play 'Start Here.'"

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PHOTO: Students hug as a police officer walks past outside of Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., May 21, 1998, after a student opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle in the high school cafeteria. Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard/AP
Students hug as a police officer walks past outside of Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., May 21, 1998, after a student opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle in the high school cafeteria.

2. US calls out 'sham' election

In Venezuela, people are literally starving in the streets, inflation has skyrocketed and riot police are a regular presence. Talk about a "change" election.

And yet, on Sunday, Nicolas Maduro was overwhelmingly re-elected, beating his nearest challenger by more than 40 points.

At least, that's what the Venezuelan government claimed.

But even before the winner had been declared, the U.S. already had declared the election a sham. And on Monday, countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia said they might start scaling back diplomatic relations and pulling lines of credit.

ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman says the country is dealing with one of the greatest economic collapses of all time.

PHOTO: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds the political constitution after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on presidential election, May 20, 2018, in Caracas, Venezuela. Juan Bnarreto/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds the political constitution after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on presidential election, May 20, 2018, in Caracas, Venezuela.

3. A House divided

After the farm bill failed in the House, the conservative Freedom Caucus looks more emboldened than ever to scuttle the agenda of retiring Speaker Paul Ryan, and it has nothing to do with the legislation.

Immigration has divided the Republican Party, and conservatives have been pushing for a vote on a hardline approach. On Friday, they sided with Democrats and voted against the farm bill as a way to pressure leadership.

"It just became a proxy war for the gripes that the Freedom Caucus has with leadership," ABC News Political Director Rick Klein tells us.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan expresses support for the work of the Agriculture Committee in crafting the farm bill at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 16, 2018. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan expresses support for the work of the Agriculture Committee in crafting the farm bill at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 16, 2018.

4. A personal opioid story

There are countless ways to tell the story of West Virginia's opioid epidemic.

When viewed through the eyes of the family members, particularly young family members of those who've become addicted, the problem becomes clear.

For the second year in a row, West Virginia has asked its young people to create their own public-service announcements, explaining the perils of opioids.

We spoke with Hailey Tanner, a middle-schooler in Tyler County whose comic strip tells the story of her family's experience. It became a finalist for the grand prize and right now it's hanging in the West Virginia state house.

PHOTO: White pills and a plastic prescription pill container. STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
White pills and a plastic prescription pill container.

5. Son, move out. Please.

A mother and father in New York state have gone to court to evict their 30-year-old son.

In series of letters filed with the court, Mark and Christina Rotando say their unemployed son, Michael, needs to pack up his stuff and get out.

They even suggested he sell some of his possessions to help him get the ball rolling.

"You need the money and we'll have no place for the stuff," one letter read.