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You're listening to Giraffe King's Network. This is the Dan Levatore Show with the Stugatz podcast.


So, Stugatsch, right before the microphones came on here, through soundproof glass, I can hear Jessica's laughter as if she was drunk at a Las Vegas airport on a Monday.


She would never do that.


Because this place can be medicine. I come here, for many of the people listening to this over the last year who know some of the details of my life, I come here more than ever in search of that laughter, in search of the silly, please, dear God, let me talk about just sports because it feels like the world is falling apart. It feels somehow in an America that I never thought I'd see, more unsafe and by extension, less free than it's ever felt because I could go to a parade and die, or I could see football players consoling children at a parade instead of celebrating something that is in our silly playground. Yesterday in Kansas City, you get 22 people hit by gunfire. One fatality, eight life-threatening injuries, nine of those 22 are children. It's the apocalyptic scenario of... It's For the sixth anniversary of Parkland, your neighborhood, 50 miles from here, when we said this is enough, you can't slaughter children. Adults can't be okay with that. A country can't be okay with that. America can't be okay with. We're worse at this than anybody. We can't protect our children because we say that our gun laws are about freedom, and you can't have the freedom to go to a parade and know you're going to come home with your children safe.


I ask you again, as we're laughing laughing, Stugatz, in the sports playpen, when are we going to stop being okay with the slaughtering of kids and not turning it into a political conversation? What's the visual I have to present to you? Football players supposed to be celebrating at a parade, consoling children, doing a great job, incidentally, of consoling children, because how the hell do you explain later in life that's the scarred kids? Yeah, I don't know what those three gunmen were doing. What can possibly be the explanation that would make sense to anybody that it's okay to start shooting at a parade?


Dan, if you're searching for a tipping point, I'm not certain there is a tipping point as to when people are going to take this seriously and actually instigate change rather than speak into microphones and yell about it. Because, Dan, if Sandy Hook wasn't a tipping point, if Stoneman Douglas wasn't a tipping point, I don't know what is.


All right, so I feel helpless with these microphones and this voice in a way that's super unusual because usually I feel like the words in the platform can mean something. I'm just going to read the numbers to you and ask you again, again, wherever it is you sit in the political divide, are you okay with this, what I'm about to read? Are you okay with all of this? Tuesday is the sixth anniversary of the massacre 50 miles from here. Killed 15 people, 14 of them teenagers, injured 17 more. It's been like 2,000 days. Since then, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 3,370 mass shootings in America. That's one and a half a day since Parkland. The past six years since Parkland, guns in America have either killed or injured 5,355 children. Children! Ages 11 and under. Also, 25,000 between the ages of 12 and 17. That's 5,100 kids a year. How is America worse at this than everyone else? 49th mass shooting this year, Stugatz, was yesterday. Lisa Lopez-Galvin was a mother of two, a radio host, a Chiefs fan. Now you've got 21 injured people, and a hospital said it was treating 12 patients, 11 of them children between the ages of 6 and 15.


I have done this show long to see Mike Ryan and Roy and Chris and Billy go from not having kids to having kids and now afraid when they take their kids out. Mike Ryan talking of the horror of when I go to a public place since Las Vegas, basically, I'm looking Where are the exits? How do I shield my child in a free and allegedly free America? How do I get... Before I go to the celebration, let me check the perimeter as a father and make sure I could get my child Out of here. I ask you as somebody who came in here heartbroken when it happened in your neighborhood, and we heard from the parents, Stugatz, that day who had to spend these soul-killing hours of not knowing if their kid was okay. There's a shooting. Social media is fast. It's not this fast. Is my kid still alive? Did I send my child to school? Is my child now coming home? I don't have that certainty anymore. I swear to you, as people get mad, You guys, that again and again this leaks into the stupid playpen of sports. I ask you, am I supposed to ignore this today when it happens at a parade?


Am I supposed to go to the usual laughter and the fun places? Because I know people want to escape here. I know they don't want the gun argument here, too.


This is pretty damning for the United States in that we can't really get anywhere in terms of gun control. This is not a minority opinion in in this country. It happened in a state with some of the looseest gun laws. A Fox News poll found that 87% of Americans support criminal background checks on all gun buyers, 81% support Improving Enforcement of existing gun laws, 80% support requiring mental health checks on gun buyers. There were plenty of good guys with guns at this parade.


800 police officers.


Yes. Plenty of good guys with guns. We're living in a country now. This is courtesy of Caven Schraff. This is some of the locations of the most recent mass shootings in this country. This is places where you can't go live your normal, free, and American life. A bar, your home, your office, an airport, a temple, a church, a mosque, a concert, a hospital, a nightclub, a newsroom, a restaurant, a preschool, a synagogue, a yoga studio, a high school, a military base, a bowling alley, a street corner, a movie theater, a political event, middle school, college campus, elementary school. Now you can add a Super Bowl victory rally to the list.


Where didn't he just name?


That's everywhere.


That is not, by the way, the first sports incident. It's the latest shooting. There were shots fired in downtown Denver following the Championship win this summer. Ten were wounded. There were shots fired near the parking lot during the Texas Rangers parade.


But Dan, we do this all the time. No, we should cover these every single time it happens.


But the word- No, we can't do it. Stugats, if it's happening one and a half... Stugats, if it's happening one and a half times per day, then we have to stop programming all the time to mention it. If it's happening one and a half times a day.


The problem is people speaking into microphones is not having enough impact.


But neither is what the people actually want by almost consensus in a divided America.


Yeah, but the politicians don't want that because they're taking money from the NRA, and that's the problem.


But we can't be okay with that infringing on freedoms in America that way. We, the group of people listening to this who are close to consensus on There is no sane explanation for what these three shooters were doing. It doesn't matter what it is that they say. Nobody's going to accept whatever the explanation is. And so it has to be harder for those three shooters shooters to get guns in their hands. Not easier. Not easier because they live in a state where people can just walk around with guns. We are now going to have to do metal detectors at these things. We are going to have to be in America, Stugatz, that feels like it has vastly less freedom because you're going to have to use more surveillance. You're going to have to make sure that the crazy people are not the ones with the guns. This wasn't one shooter, Stugatz. I know. God knows what the explanation for this is going to be, how three people planned and thought this was a good idea to just open fire on a parade. Were they thinking of children? Was there any consideration about the fact that wherever it is that your insanity lies, it can't be the slaughtering of children.


I don't think the gun laws are going to change. To your earlier point, yes, it would take extreme security measures at every single event and every single place where people gather into big groups. Dan, yes, that's what it would- It's not the land of the free. Mike, do we want to protect?


No, but do we want to protect our children?


No, I'm just highlighting that- What other option is there? The Second Amendment is usually about freedoms and protecting a document that was written several generations ago.


For a baanet.


That doesn't sound like freedom, what you're outlining.


It sounds safer.


That's all I'm saying.


No, it's undeniable.


But this is how the freedom gets taken, Stugatz. I was at the airport flying to and from Las Vegas, and I had to, in order to remove the inconvenience, of standing in the line with everybody else. I had to give the government and the airlines all of my information, my retinal scan, so that I can just get an exchange for convenience. Now the government and the airport has all of my information. Giving that over felt like an invasion of freedom because our airports are now allegedly safer because we're checking everybody.


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Let me bring in Manny Oliver, okay? Because I'd like this to be some something that is felt in a human way, because if I feel helpless, I can't imagine how he feels as an activist here locally, Stugatz. He was on television yesterday. He lost his 17-year-old son when Parkland happened six years ago, and he was keeping Joaquin alive and what happened to him alive with his activism, where he goes to Washington and continues to fight for the memory of his son saying, This is not okay. He's live on TV yesterday. While he's live on TV talking about Parkland, the shooting happens. Manny is joining us now. Thank you, Manny. He's local. As I said, Stugants came in here heartbroken, just broken, six years ago because it happened in his neighborhood, and this is even more personal. Manny, thank you for joining us. Thank you for making the time. I'm sorry that this is, again, the reason that somebody is talking to you, but what have the last six years been for you? And you're still out here making sure that you're not helpless, but you must feel so helpless that as you're on TV talking about your late son, another shooting happens in Kansas City.


Thank you for joining us.


Thank you. Let me tell you something. This is the only reason why people talk to me, so don't feel bad about that. I'm used to get that intro. Sorry for the occasion, but no, this is the occasion, and it's permanent in my case. You just said it. We're overlapping tragedies, okay? I'm in DC with my wife and a group of young people trying to launch a campaign. That was yesterday, honoring the legacy of my son and the other victims from apartment. And then suddenly, I thought that anything could somehow banish my story because the media is always moving with the political changes and electoral and everything that is happening on the political side. But I I never thought, again, me not thinking enough, that another mass shooting could happen and actually move away the story that we were trying to tell for the sixth year in a row. It's incredible. I'm not surprised. I got to tell you, I'm not surprised. It's an American tradition. So this is the thing. We were all watching what we think is the most American tradition, and that was the Super Bowl. And guess what? This is the most American tradition.


And now other people will be suffering what we suffered, and they will honor this day, February 14th, next year in that location. So we're actually fighting for dates in here. I thought February 14th was mine, and I could talk about my kid. This is a reality, guys, and we can talk as long as we want, but it's bad. It's a terrible reality. And No one seems to care enough. Another shooting will happen, and another show will go on, and another guest will be talking to you.


Well, you say no one cares enough, but you do, because the closer this gets to home, the scarier it gets. You have started a platform. It's called the Shotline. It uses AI to recreate the voices of victims who have been lost to gun violence, and you are rattling the cages of lawmakers. Are you having any success? Are you in any way, or do you feel as helpless as everyone else does?


No, I'm not allowed to feel helpless. I lost my son and I'm his dad. I have to be here fighting, and the frustration is not an option. It happens, but not this time. So let me tell you about what we did yesterday. Very often, we get an advice of, Call your representative. If you want things to happen, just call your representative. But we decided to put together Voices of Victims using artificial intelligence, very common today and polemic. And we were putting Voices of Our Loved Ones. So in other words, Joaquin will have the opportunity to call our representatives. And we did the same thing with other victims, of course, with the blessing of the families. Guess what? Yesterday, we had 20,000 calls, close to 20,000 calls. Last time I checked, it was 16,000 and something calling our rep. These guys are receiving calls from Joaquin Oliver today, not from me, not from Patricia. We tried. We went to their office. We had meetings. They ignore us. I was in the oval office with a president in front of me talking about this, and things did not happen. So now it's time to hear the voices of those who are not here anymore.


And I want to reach a thousand voices if possible. The platform allows more people to get involved. And That's a small victory. I cannot say that I have one solution for this, but I have a long fight, a long journey that is going to be packed with a small solution. And at some point, they will need to give up, because freedom is not what we saw yesterday. Freedom is going to a parade and enjoying, not kids being shot randomly, because we want the freedom of owning arms and owning guns. That's not freedom at all. That's a lie. And we are the only nation that is believe in that life.


Manny, I cannot possibly know your pain, obviously. You say you cannot be helpless because hope cannot die. But your son was 17, and he's been dead for six years, and I don't see progress. Do you? I see people like you fighting with their heart, and I feel them getting microphones, but I don't feel that translating into the activism, translating in the action that is meaningful, that changes results.


Because this needs to be constant. Gun violence is hitting us every day. So I'm hoping that the same way that Joaquin would have been with me watching the Super Bowl and celebrating Travis, Kelsi, and everything, the whole party. I'm hoping that Travis gets behind a microphone and becomes constant in this fight, and his girlfriend, too. Why not? This is not something that you can show your face, say a few things, even if you're an influencer, just a powerful voice, which I'm not, but we need those powerful voices out there. If you just show one day, it's not going to work. You cannot wear an orange T-shirt one day and then think that you did something to solve the problem. You did not. It's It's even worse because now you think you did something and you did nothing. So this is about getting out there every single day. It's hitting all of us, okay? It's not a blue or red thing. There's no distinction. It's hitting all of us. It's not the Latino or the American or the Asian. It's hitting all of us in every single space. There is no safe spot in here. What are we going to do?


We're going to arm everyone. We're going to give that gift to the gun manufacturers. Now we need more guns on the parades. No one will go to a parade feeling the same way since yesterday. We all know that. So we need to hit the root of the problem. Travis, the whole team, athletes in general. You know who was a great athlete? My son, Joaquin, very athletic, not like me, just talking here, the old guy. No, very athletic, very into football and everything in general. He will love to see this reaction. So I'm doing my side, and I'm doing my my side after losing my son. And I think, and I suggest, that everyone does their side before losing a loved one. That will be way better than what I'm dealing with.


Manny, when you say constant, what can people do on a consistent basis and do constantly to help change, to instigate change here?


Well, number one, and the most important, don't ignore this problem. Don't underestimate this problem. Don't think that you are safe because you are not. It's not about carrying a gun or not. So you're a potential victim, all of us. Everyone in that room is a potential victim. You just don't know when and where. That's it. As long as you're in the United States, you are in danger of being hit by a bullet. And I'm giving you tools. I have specific answers for that. I'm not fighting for peace and love. No, I'm telling Can you go to right now, theshotline. Org, and you can send a message to any representative. It's easy. It's two steps. You put your zip code, and it will tell you who is representing you. By the way, it's also interesting because Some people don't even know who's representing them. So you will put your zip code, you will see these names, and send them a message from Joaquin, from Uzi, from Ubaldi, that beautiful voice of a nine-year-old a kid telling you, Can you please do something about this so no one else go through the same situation that we did?


That's constancy. Leaders and politicians, you know what? They do what they can according to their negotiations and benefits. I'm trying to hope more on the people in general, people like you, shows like yours, and of course, influencers. I want to see those players complaining about this on a daily basis.


Manny, before, and thank you for your time. Before you leave here, I don't know the entirety of your family history. I am just curious, based on your accent, though, if you're someone who thinks or ever thought at any point in his family's past that America would feel like this.


Let me tell you what I thought. I'm surprised that you heard my accent. I thought it was getting better with my English. But let me tell you what I thought 20 years ago. I thought that my kid deserve a better future. We are from Venezuela. I thought that my kid should have chances that I was not seeing in my country. And for that reason, I left everything behind, me and my wife. We came all the way here, start from scratch, from zero. Very low options of job and opportunities for us. But for the kids, we do this for the kids. This is the future. Now you're looking at the future that I was hoping for my kid. He's a legend. He's not here with me. He is a legend that is motivating me to fight against gold violence along with his mom. That was my dream, was not accomplished, but I'm not going to go anywhere. I own that to Joaquin. So I'm here until this gets done.


It has to be so odd to you to flee all sorts of horror, and this is your reality. This could not This had to seem at one time in your life like something that was not possible in America.


No, of course not. It was the land of opportunities. That's the tagline, right? Land of opportunities. The American dream. Well, I'm living an American nightmare. But it's not about me. It's not about how I feel, honestly. I'm being honest with you. I'm not trying to sound like a victim here. I am not a victim. Every time I feel bad, every time I feel sad, that is very often, I try to remember I remember what happened to Joaquin that day, because I know details about that, the suffering, the fear, running away. The way that Joaquin was shot four times with an AR-15, that should be impactful to everybody, not the That pain that we're putting out. That should be impactful. The way that that lady died yesterday during the parade, those kids that we don't even know that will be able to survive right now, that's the pain. So however I feel today, it's irrelevant. I'm here, I'm talking to you, I can breathe, I'm having my coffee, and I'm going to continue doing this.


Manny, thank you for your time. I will tell the audience again, it's a couple of easy steps. If you want to feel slightly less helpless, the shotline. Org is how it is that you can contact your lawmakers. Thank you, Manny. I appreciate the time.


Thank you. You have a great day.


Thank you, Manny.


This show, and I I think Lucy can speak to this because she tried to clear the vibes in the room the other day when an argument broke out because the Super Bowl really was decided. We've got the audio now. We hear the chiefs on the field. It really was decided by a coach, evidently not knowing the rules. Told you. We argued about it Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and argued so much that Lucy arrived and tried to clear the vibes of the room and successfully did with breathing exercises and an assortment of things. Thank you. How do we clear the vibes now to try? Because this is... Stugatz knows this better than anybody. The first couple of minutes of the show, just in terms of temperament, can derail me. I don't want to spend four hours today in the emotional space that I imagine a lot of people will just fast forward through when they get to this later because they don't want this in their face. Why? Who would want this in their face? Who would want chiefs players, drunk chiefs players who were a fun and funny celebration, as they always do. They're going to own those over the decade because of the quarterback they have.


They were having a fun and funny celebration. We live at the beginning of a 2024 that's about to get violent and dangerous. Get used to this because it's not like it's going to get better this year. It's not like we're getting less divided. It's not like we're getting less armed. How do I change the mood to just talk about the Miami Heats victory in Philadelphia last night? Because I don't know how to segue or transition into better You're putting a lot on Lucy.


I know. That's a heavy stuff.


How about breathing? Perhaps opening there? You could have just said that.


Not asking.


You could have just been like, Okay, well, now the heat, and now it's my job to just clear this all.


I think I'm making it worse, honestly.


You do your thing.


No easy way to transition.


You do that thing.


That would have been great. That would have been polished.


You think I should have led right here with just Perk thinks the heat aren't getting out of the first round?


There's no easy way to do this, but we will try to move on with our lives. Again, we will put out that information as the show goes on. A little polished.


Stugatz- You've done it before.


During the break, had his head in his hands. Stugatz doesn't feel human things. He's off to the next grift. Life is something that- It's not nice.


Not true.


Stugatz felt something deeply- How can you not?


I'm a human being.


I know, but you're like... Okay.


I got emotional. You're right. I was crying during that segment, and my heart breaks for him and breaks for any family that has gone through this. Of course, it's tough to listen to.


I'll take your word for it that you were crying. I was looking at you. I didn't see tears.


I didn't see tears either. But I think- Or crocodile tears. I think that I think that life, your life, yet maybe you can feel human things, but it is second on the metal stand to, how do I get to the next grift?


You gave him the credit for being emotional, and he's like, oh, shit. He had to lie about it. I cried, Dan.


I was over here. He had to lie about it.


I weeped. I think part of the brutal thing in this country is that occasionally- Jesus, are you lying about my tears. Occasionally, there will be tragedies. My tears.


You didn't cry. No one saw you. My eyes were stinging.


I had I mean, we saw it.


Look- We'll just stop.


Your head was in your hands and you were emotional. You were emotional. You did not cry. It was an unnecessary lie. Continue, Mike. They're my tears.


No, I'm good.




I would just say that occasionally, look, this is a part of everyday American life. I do think that it is perfectly human to not have it emotionally register the same way each time. That's just how life goes. Occasionally, there'll be something be it an elementary school, high school, a place that you see yourself at that registers a little bit differently, I think, especially given Stu's proximity to Marjorie Stoman Douglas, and being that it was the anniversary of that, I can understand how this was triggering and traumatizing and certainly brings out a little bit more emotion than usual. Advocacy is important. When we workshop, how do we do today's show? And you see the guest list and you're like, Yeah, this is a drag. No one wants to do this, really. No one wants to stay there. But with the platform that we have, with the passionate audience that we have, I do think it's important to persist. You can't stop. You can't be fatigued with something like this, especially when the majority of the nation, the vast majority of the nation, wants something done. It can differ what that something is across party lines. I think most people just want something.


If you want more good guys with guns in school, if you think that's the answer, fine. In some way, shape, or form, that's progress. If you think that this is a mental health issue, fine. Let's do something there. If you think it goes far beyond that, fine. See if he can make some inroads there. I just get broken by it, but I do think that what you did in having that gentleman on was important, and we shouldn't stop.


One of the many heartbreaking things about that conversation, Stugatz, because I don't know if you could get a lot more heartbreaking anywhere than losing a child. One day you're not thinking about it at all, and then he doesn't come home. And your American dream, you're spending the next six years advocating because the pain does not leave you because you didn't get a chance for goodbye, you didn't think that would be it. And for him to say, because Stugatz, this feels like something out of the Apocalypse, that he's on television talking about the six-year anniversary and there's another shooting, and he realizes, Now I'm going to have to fight for this date. My son is going to get erased by the that it hit the Super Bowl celebration. Valentine's Day to him is not what it is to anybody else. Valentine's Day is the day he lost his son, his teenage son, a 17-year-old, without expecting that morning that he would ever lose his son. Now he's got to fight for that day on activism because there are more deaths. When Mike Ryan says, Stugat, that you have to keep doing this, I do believe a numbness sets in.


I do believe we react to these differently each time. The more they happen, the less the outrage is because the outrage isn't creating any difference in the result. If it's happening one and a half times a day, like this one happened at a Super Bowl celebration, but if it had happened in a mall somewhere in Des Moines, or, hell, Lucy got attacked the other day because it happened in Iowa, and she's just like, This is not okay. How can we be okay with this? But the outrage nationally wasn't for Iowa, the same that it is now for Kansas City, because it happens at a celebration, and we were all like, Wait a minute, this was a party. How can this be America?


The numbers are going in a direction that at some point everyone's lives are going to be touched by this. Hell, our previous studio, the Clevelander, there was a shooting at where panicked hotel visitors ran into our studio by the dozens seeking refuge. This is now part of everyday American life where you put yourself in the shoes of the victims and understand that the reason why it hasn't happened to you is now feeling more like a luck of the draw rather than anything else.


We won't do this every day, Dan. We won't. We won't do this in an hour. We won't do it in three hours. In another day, something else is going to happen elsewhere, and we'll forget about the one that just happened yesterday. That's the cycle. That's the rinse and repeat cycle. Manny will be there doing it every single day. Dan, I'm sorry. I'm not being critical of you. I'm just talking about the media in general. We do this, we react to it, and then we move on with our date. Manny will be there tomorrow.


We won't. So, Stugant, the part of this that I'm having some difficulty with for obvious reasons, okay? This year is going to be whatever side you're on politically, and there are nothing but taken sides now. This year is going to have more danger and volatility in it than any we've seen. In the divisions, you've got more and more people armed and more and more people arguing about people being armed.


Further radicalized and set in their beliefs.


Okay, but for the radicalized, three of them were at a parade yesterday thinking differently than everyone else at that parade. The radicalized, willing to give up whatever remains of their freedom to try and run away from 800 police officers because they thought They were doing something yesterday because that radicalization in whatever the echo chambers are, whoever was reaching them was reaching them enough. I think we can say this without knowing what these madmen were doing. I think we can say this. Whatever news and information they were getting wasn't pulling them back to be less radicalized. They made a choice to give up their lives yesterday for whatever it is they were fighting on behalf of, which is much different than the echo chamber I'm in. It makes me feel unsafe as I'm running away drive from these people and people are running into our studio at the Clevelander. I'm paying $1,000 a day for security because I'm scared. Because how can I not be scared? Because I'm having conversations for the first time with my wife of, Well, what happens? Do I need to get like, rubber What's in a gun? What am I going to do if I run up against somebody trying to take my life and I don't believe in guns?


I don't want to live in America where I have to have a gun to feel safer. I prefer to just feel safe. I don't want to have the politics argument with you about gun control. I don't want to talk to you about whether or not most of gun deaths are actually suicides instead of Chicago.


Yeah, I got exhausted by the politicization. Politicization. Yeah, it's a tough one. I apologize. I get exhausted by that because ultimately, I just want more done. I don't think that that's a stupid retort when someone asks you, Well, how do you solve it? Do more. More. What What do you want done? What do you think the solution is? Cool. Let's do some of that. Let's just do more. Do more. But in a two-party system in this country, as Sugats highlighted earlier, right now, you're incentivized to promise that something will happen, whether now that's something that's going to happen, may be good or bad, and may bring about change or may not. And I think you know where the candidates stand on that. I am team Do more with this, and I'm not on a losing team I'm not getting the results. But the process says 80% of this country is with me in do more.


But 80% of this country, do you understand that this is the part about America that is really confounding to me as somebody who has believed in whatever the utopian ideals of America are supposed to be?


It doesn't matter what the 80% wants.


Well, no, it's not just that. It's that the 80%-One of the problems. It is one of the problems, but it's not- Look at abortion statistics, too. It's not just that, though. Yes, of course, the leadership isn't doing what the people want, and that is wrong. But the next step on that that mortifies me is that those 80% of people that have gotten to the point where they're saying, Yeah, slaughtering of children, that's not okay with me, is that 80% of those people feel unsafe in America and should That's not 75% of those people feel unsafe. All of those people are seeing children slaughtered in school. The result of that is, can my child be slaughtered at school? The answer is yes. The answer is yes. In America, more than any any other country, more than any other country, you risk sending your kid to school and bloody photos. And six years later, you're in Washington creating AI of your son's voice because you want a lawmaker to keep his voice alive because his voice has to remain alive.


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