Things That Matter

A Country Is On Edge As White Men Threaten To “Shoot Up” Walmart’s From Texas To Florida

In the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, threats of copycat attacks are emerging across the United States, causing patrons, particularly Latinos, fear to even shop at the low-cost retail corporation.

On the morning of August 3, a white supremacist terrorist walked into the Walmart Supercenter in east El Paso with a semi-automatic, opening fire at a sea of shoppers. Twenty people were killed and 24 others were injured, most of them Latinos. The shooting is the second-deadliest attack directed at Latinos in recent history, following the 2016 mass killing at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, which claimed the lives of 49 people, 90 percent of them gay Latinos.

Many fear that copycat gunmen are emboldened after the El Paso attack.

The gunman, a pro-Trump white man who was arrested and is facing capital murder charges, has a documented history of being a far-right white nationalist, with multiple anti-Latinx and anti-immigrant posts on his social networks. In one, he says he was inspired by the Christchurch mosque shooting, was concerned about a “Hispanic invasion” and was “defending his country.”

Since the El Paso Massacre, at least eight Walmart’s have faced threats across the country.

In the days that have followed the El Paso attack, the deadliest mass assault in 2019, officers have arrested several white supremacist men inspired by Crusius who have made threats about carrying out killings at Walmarts near them.

Walmart shoppers in Texas were threatened at least two times since El Paso.

In Texas, two more warnings of attacks at the retail store have shaken the state. On Wednesday, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for making terroristic threatening remarks that led to the evacuation of a Walmart. Also, over the weekend, a man was arrested for posting an “imminent threat” on a social media site that was supposed to occur at a store in Harlington at a planned date. He was placed under arrest for a “terroristic threat.”

In Missouri, 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko walked into a Walmart store on Thursday wearing body armor and carrying a rifle and a handgun.

The man didn’t fire his weapons, but his menacing presence still sent shoppers to flee. Andreychenko, who recorded the entire incident, said he was testing if “Walmart honored the second amendment.” The state does not require a permit to openly or conceal carry a firearm for people who are 19 years or older. Andreychenkom, who was arrested by an off-duty firefighter, faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of the felony charge of making a terrorist threat in the second degree.

A Florida Walmart was evacuated after a man called in threatening to “shoot up” the place.

A day after the shooting in El Paso, a Florida man called and threatened to “shoot up” a Tampa-area Walmart where his mother is employed. Shortly after the call, officers directed shoppers out of the store and into the parking lot. While law enforcement later determined the threat was not credible and soon reopened the store, the man, 31-year-old Wayne Lee Padgett, was arrested and charged for making a false report of using a firearm in a violent manner, which is a felony offense in the state.

Also in the Sunshine State, a man in Central Florida warned on Facebook that his followers shouldn’t go to Walmart this week.

Apparently, the man was expecting to receive his semi-automatic. According to law enforcement, the 26-year-old subscribes to white supremacist ideology and has a history of creating fake accounts to make menacing posts. He has been charged with writing threats to kill or do bodily harm.

The growing violence directed at Latinos, including a massive immigration raid in Mississippi that rounded up 680 mostly Latino workers, has many fearful of running errands or speaking Spanish outside of their homes. For them, being brown, speaking accented English or conversing in Spanish marks them for death in the current political and social climate.

On Twitter, many Latinos are voicing their concern.

“I, a Latino and immigrant who works at Walmart, fear for my life every time I go in to put produce on shelf because I could be shot,” tweeted one user on Tuesday.

Others have made the decision to stop shopping at the retail store altogether.

“Dear @Walmart, my exchange student from Colombia arrives next week. No way in hell will I take this young Latino woman school shopping in one of your stores. I fear for her safety and mine,” wrote another Twitter user on Wednesday. 

For those living in areas with vast populations of Latinos like Los Angeles, New York, Texas, Chicago and Florida as well as in locales where they are a minority, the fear is all the same. In a country where 18 percent of the population is Latino and so much of the national history, language, culture and economy is shaped by Latinos, we, and all we encompass, have become targets of violence by a growing group of homicidal white supremacist men.

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Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

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Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

Jaslyn Adams was only 7 years old. Her age and innocence should have kept her shielded from the brutalities of her life and yet, even something as special as her father-daughter date to McDonald’s could not protect her.

While on a drive with her 29-year-old father, Adams was shot at and killed this past Sunday.

Adams was shot multiple times and pronounced dead.

According to reports, employees at the McDonald’s employee saw two men jump out of another car and ambush the Adams family car. The men fired into the car multiple times, striking Jaslyn multiple times in the body and her father in the torso.

A police vehicle at the scene rushed Jaslyn to a nearby hospital. She was pronounced dead at the hospital while her father is still being hospitalized and in serious condition.

No suspects have been arrested.

“It’s really emotional now for my family,”  Tawny McMullen, the victim’s aunt told WBBM. “She was just … sweet and outgoing. Really talkative, really lovable.” McMullen went onto lament how an average regular father-daughter trip to McDonald’s could end in such tragedy. “Y’all, please put the guns down,” McMullen went on to say “My 8-year-old baby says she doesn’t want to go out and play because she is scared that she is going to be shot.”

In response to the shooting, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot underlined how heartbroken she was.

“Our kids want to play. My kids can’t even go out the door because of this violence. Please put the guns down,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented. “This unthinkable act of violence has no place here. The epidemic of gun violence cutting our children’s lives short cannot go on.” 

Jaslyn’s death coincides with the recent murder of 13-year-old Adam Toledo who was also a child.

https://twitter.com/search?q=adam%20toledo&src=typed_query&f=image

Toledo was killed on March 29 by a Chicago police officer. Bodycam footage of Toledo’s murders shows “less than a second passed between when the boy is seen holding a handgun” and he was shot by the officer.

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The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

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The Colombian City Where Body Parts Wash Up On The Shore So Often It’s Become Normal

Colombia has made incredible progress since the 1990’s when the country was a hotbed for international drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare. Today, modern bustling cities are home to shopping centers, museums, and hordes of international visitors.

However, despite the advancements, the country is still in a delicate peace deal with the main guerrilla oppossition – Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – and there are many other paramilitary groups that still operate across the country, including in the main port city of Buenavista.

The city of Buenavista is seeing an uptick in body parts washing up along its shores.

In mid-January, an arm washed up on the city’s shore. It was quickly assumed, by local media reports, that the arm belonged to one of three local fisherman who had most likely been rounded up, killed, and dismembered. The arm had a tattoo on it, connecting it to one of the missing men, Armando Valencia.

And it wasn’t the first time this has happened. According to residents, body parts washing up on beaches is a tragically familiar occurrence. “There were some reports of body parts washing up at La Bocana [a nearby tourist spot]. A head, a leg, an arm,” said María Miyela Riascos, a social leader from Buenaventura, in a statement to VICE News. “Also, they found a man and a woman dismembered in the rural area of Bajo Calima.”

Violence has been rampant in Buenaventura for decades. The city has some of the highest rates of forced displacement and homicide in the country. But seldom has it been confronted by the levels of brutality experienced in the past year.

Criminal groups have long terrorized the city but things seem to be out of control.

So many different criminal groups have terrorized the slums of Colombia’s main Pacific port that residents rarely bother to learn the name of the latest clan in control. They simply call the warring gangs los malos or the bad guys.

Three people have been killed or disappeared daily, and conflict between organized crime has displaced as many as 6,000 people. Videos on Twitter show people fleeing their homes and young men and women patrolling with assault weapons. #SOSbuenaventura has been trending.

Community leaders see darker interests behind the violence, saying the areas where most crimes occur are the same where plans have been laid for a waterfront project, an airport and seaport terminals. “I see the violence as a means of pressure to get us off this area so they can build their projects,” Armando Valencia told The Guardian.

Criminals use “chop houses” to dismember their victims.

Colombian navy special forces on patrol among stilted waterfront shacks in Buenaventura
Credit: Fernando Vergara / Getty Images

The criminals recruit children, extort businesses, force people from their homes and dismember live victims, scattering their remains in the bay or surrounding jungle. Dozens of wooden huts balanced precariously on stilts over the bay have been abandoned by terrorized citizens and taken over by the gangs for use as casas de pique, or chop houses, where they torture and murder their victims.

The chop houses are the most gruesome consequence of a deeply flawed attempt to dismantle rightwing militias, which originally emerged to combat leftwing guerrillas in collusion with state security forces and drug traffickers.

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