Things That Matter

Not Third-World Countries, these are Border Towns in Texas

No running water, no electricity, no sewage system, small shacks as homes and dirt roads all seem to describe a third world country town, but this actually describes colonias in the border towns of Texas.

People have lived like this for decades. And although some legislation and money has been pumped into colonias, there are still places like La Presa and Santa Teresita that have not seen any change.

READ: People Who Cross the Border: See Their Faces and Hear Their Voices

Such is the case of Victorio Ramirez, who’s now 75, and has lived in La Presa since 1980. At the time, he bought three acres of land for $12,000 for his family and built his homes…that look more like shacks. His family travels to get clean water from the dam. When it rains, the roads flood and no one can leave or enter the colonias, not even school buses.

What’s worse is that some of these colonias are breeding Hepatitis A because of the lack of a drainage system. A study from 1998 (no recent study is available) said that children of the colonias have a 37 percent risk of contracting Hepatitis A.

Even with all the hardship, some refuse to leave the colonias and those who have want to return.

“Even if I had more money I’d stay here,” Rosio, Ramirez’ 27-year-old daughter said. “We got tired of the city life…here we get to live in the open air.”

Read more about the struggling border towns in Texas here.

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Military Suspect In Vanessa Guillen’s Disappearance Commits Suicide

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Military Suspect In Vanessa Guillen’s Disappearance Commits Suicide

Anthony Smith / Getty Images

The search for Vanessa Guillen has ended after human remains were identified as the missing soldier. An investigation into the crime has led to suspects being identified and arrested. Here’s what we know so far.

A soldier, who was a suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s death, committed suicide Wednesday.

Human remains were discovered Tuesday and identified as Vanessa Guillen on Wednesday. The suspects in Guillen’s death have not been named but one of the suspects committed suicide on Wednesday morning. The military suspect shot himself while law enforcement was searching for him.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas Equusearch, told the Houston Chronicle that he believes the military suspect killed himself at 1:30 a.m. local time. The military suspect, who was in Killeen, Texas, committed suicide shortly after human remains were discovered near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas.

Guillen’s family have expressed their grief at press conferences since the body was identified.

The family is demanding justice. One civilian suspect is currently in jail after being arrested in connection with Guillen’s death. One of Guillen’s sisters recognized the military suspect. Mayra Guillen told the press that she met the military suspect who committed suicide.

“At approximately 1:29 a.m., officers located the suspect in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue,” reads the statement from the Killeen Police Department website. “As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect displayed a weapon and discharged it towards himself.  The suspect succumbed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The suspects have not been identified, however, we do have descriptions of the suspects.

“The person who took his own life earlier today in Killeen after being sought by Killeen police and federal marshals was a soldier from Fort Hood and had fled the base earlier in the day,” reads a statement by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. “A civilian has been arrested in connection with Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance. The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood Soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities.”

The case has captivated the nation as some people hurt for the family.

The investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s death is still ongoing. There are no answers yet but her family alleges that Guillen was coming forward with sexual assault and harassment allegations. The family’s recounting of Guillen’s sexual assault allegations is renewing the conversation of sexual assault in the military.

The family is calling out Fort Hood and the military’s response to the disappearance of Guillen. According to the family, they have been pleading with Fort Hood and the U.S. Army to conduct an investigation but saw nothing happening.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood Likely Vanessa Guillen’s

#TheWorldReopenedAnd Is Highlighting All The Ways We Are Failing In Our Response To COVID-19

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#TheWorldReopenedAnd Is Highlighting All The Ways We Are Failing In Our Response To COVID-19

Kevin Dietsch-Pool / Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading across the U.S. with several states seeing significant spikes. Globally, some regions and countries have had to reinstitute lockdowns and travel bans to tamp down outbreaks. After almost four months of isolating and staying home, people are being allowed back out with restrictions and it isn’t going super great.

Twitter users let their feelings be known about the recent reopings using #TheWorldReopenedAnd.

There is a big debate raging in the U.S. about the use of facial masks. At some point, the facial mask was politicized leading to people on the right claiming that the mask violates their rights. Meanwhile, health experts around the world have stated that wearing facial masks is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There are a lot of people on social media who just don’t trust the general public right now.

With some states and cities reopening, the cases have started to once again spike in the U.S. California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Florida has seen spikes great enough to start rolling back some of the reopenings that have happened in their states. The most common places reclosed are bars and nightclubs. Bars and nightclubs are considered as dangerous for COVID-19 spread as gyms.

The numbers are all trending poorly for a majority of states.

According to The New York Times, new coronavirus cases are increasing in 35 states. Some of the worst spikes are coming from states that have rushed reopenings ahead of their previous plans. The U.S. recorded more than 45,000 new cases on June 26 and more than 39,000 on June 30.

As the country reevaluates its reopening, without a national plan in place, Americans favor science leading the charge.

According to a poll by The New York Times, a majority of voters trust medical experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over President Donald Trump when it comes to the coronavirus. Eighty-four percent of all voters surveyed by The New York Times said they trust medical experts when it comes to information on COVID-19. Alternately, 26 percent of voters trust President Trump for information. The numbers show an overlap in those who trust both medical experts and President Trump. Support for President ran on part lines as 66 percent of Republican voters trusted President Trump while 4 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents trust President Trump.

On a different note, some people are convinced that the end of the quarantine released an eager populations of Karens loose.

As the lockdowns have eased, there have been more social media videos of people acting out. How are you feeling about the current reopenings?

READ: Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers