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.

Mexico’s Newest Growing Cartel Ambushed Mexican Police Killing 14 And Injuring 9

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Mexico’s Newest Growing Cartel Ambushed Mexican Police Killing 14 And Injuring 9

lopezobrador / Instagram

Minutes after Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador told reporters that his new approach to curb cartel violence is working, Mexico’s fast-growing threat, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), killed 14 police officers and set their cars on fire during a deadly ambush. The police convoy was passing through El Aguaje, a small town in the state of Michoacan, to serve a warrant when 20 armed vehicles ambushed the officers. Fourteen officers were declared dead and another nine were injured.

“You can’t fight fire with fire. You can’t fight violence with violence … you have to fight evil by doing good.” Obrador said at a news conference on Monday morning. While Obrador, a year into his term, continued to speak about how his new policy is affecting change, police officers were calling for backup. “I’m dying,” one officer barely blurted on his radio, according to audio recordings of police scanners at the time.

As first responders arrived on the scene, they found handwritten messages, signed “CJNG.”

Credit: @AlertaGDL / Twitter

Families of the victims are angry that their loved ones weren’t more heavily armed to defend themselves against the thirty gunmen who attacked the police convoy from behind. One day after the attack, a memorial service became a town hall of sorts. Grieving family members shouted at Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles, “Like sheep to the slaughter!” 

Five families refused to allow the coffins of their loved ones to be present in the company of those they feel were responsible for the deaths: the officials who didn’t adequately arm the police to defend themselves. 

Obrador’s strategy to end cartel violence is two-fold: end corruption and provide resources to poverty-stricken regions.

Credit: lopezobrador / Instagram

“We are going to continue with our strategy,” López Obrador later said. “For us it is very important for there to be well-being, that peace with justice can be achieved … and also avoiding that authorities mix with crime.” Experts think Obrador’s strategy is smart for long-term success in stabilizing Mexico. Still, in the short-term, murders have only increased in Mexico. Last year, a record number of 29,000 murders were recorded, and 2019 may just break that record.

Falko Ernst, a Mexican analyst for the International Crisis Group, says Michoacán will continue to be “deep narco-war territory” until the state develops a strategy to de-signify the land.

Credit: @falko_ernst / Twitter

In a Twitter thread, Ernst recalled the decades-long history of cartel conflict in a small, rural village called El Aguaje. It “sits on a key overland road connecting the Hot Land region with the Sierra Madre, and was once a stronghold of the Milenio Cartel, big-time coke runners in the ’90s/early 2000s,” Ernst tweeted. At the time, a young Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, who would later become “El Mencho” and the boss of CJNG, was a member of the Milenio cartel. 

Ernst was there in 2011 when Milenio drug lords were dragged out of their mansions and executed. “La Familia” then took over the town, until it split into two conflicting gangs. That’s when El Mencho broke away to form the Jalisco (or CJNG) cartel.

Now, El Mencho, personally ousted by La Familia, is warring for their territory, leaving civilians in the crossfire.

Credit: lopezobrador / Instagram

El Mencho lived in the U.S. at one point, without papers, and served three years in prison for selling drugs stateside. As soon as he was released in 1997, he was deported to Mexico, where he went on to serve on the Jalisco state police force. For some reason, he left the force to join the Milenio cartel. El Mencho was born just a few miles away from El Aguaje. Now, he’s leading CJNG to reclaim what they think belongs to them–la puebla del Aguaje. 

The DEA has dubbed El Mencho one of their “most wanted,” and has offered a $10 million bounty for his arrest.

“El Chapo was violent, but El Mencho has taken it to a new level,” the lead DEA agent told Univision.

Credit: @KonnieMoments1 / Twitter

“Decapitations, dissolving bodies in acid, public executions, ripping out the heart, killing women and children, bombings against people. It happens almost every day,” DEA agent Kyle Mori told Univision. “El Chapo was violent, but El Mencho has taken it to a new level.” 

In August, CJNG hung nine bodies from a bridge in Uruapan, Michoacán, and hung up a large banner that read, “Lovely people. Carry on with your day.” Ten other bodies were dumped on the road nearby.

READ: Mexico Is Reeling After A Massive Gun Battle Over The Capture Of El Chapo’s Son

This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

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This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Chesa Boudin is running for district attorney in San Francisco. At a forum hosted by Project Rebound, Boudin was asked about the growing white supremacy in the U.S. and his plans to combat it. The candidate did not shy away from the question and attacked it head-on in English and Spanish to be inclusive. Here’s what he had to say.

San Francisco DA candidate Chesa Boudin is on a mission to tackle the growing issue of white supremacy in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

The candidate was asked directly how he would combat white supremacy if he was the district attorney of San Francisco. To that end, Boudin sharted his answer with the audience in English and Spanish so everyone could be included in the discussion.

Before anything, Boudin started by discussing the history of the U.S. and the ingrained racism in the country.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“We need to start with a history that goes way back before this country,” Boudin told the audience. “We need to recognize that in this country, the United States, racism has very deep roots. Very deep.”

Boudin added: “So when you talk about white supremacy, that’s not a joke. That’s what’s happening today in the White House.”

Boudin told the audience that we can’t ignore racism and white supremacy, which is everywhere.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“That’s why I’ve committed toa whole series of policies that are on my website, to fight back against white supremacy and against racism,” Boudin said.

Boudin also committed to creating an immigration unit within the DA’s office to counter the issues facing the community.

His impassioned speech caught people’s attention across the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Project Rebound, the organization that hosted the forum, is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people to reenter society. Project Rebound helps people who were incarcerated by enrolling them in classes at the San Francisco State University and supports them on their journey. The organization strives to reduce recidivism rates through education and career building.

Boudin is the child of incarcerated parents. His mother and father were getaway drivers at the Brink’s robbery in Nanuet, New York in 1981. It was an armed robbery that led to the death of one Brink’s guard and two Nyack police officers. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life while his father was sentenced to 75 years in connection to the crime. They were both members of the Weather Underground, a left militant organization.

Some people are celebrating Boudin’s unapologetic approach to discussing white supremacy and racism in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin ended his conversation about white supremacy and racism with a simple sentence.

“If we can’t name it, how are we ever going to beat it,” Boudin said.

Boudin has laid out how he plans to tackle racial disparities while in office.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Here are four points Boudin has committed to in his fight against racial disparity, according to his website.

  • Commit to transparent decision-making.  The criminal justice system can’t be fair if it isn’t also transparent.  And right now, it’s anything but. The office will publish data about the demographics of people stopped, arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to increase the transparency and accountability of every agency involved in the system.  There is no excuse for obscuring this information from public view, and by forcing us to grapple more seriously with the racist outcomes the system produces, we will be better equipped to change them.
  • Require a racial impact statement in every case.  The racist outcomes produced by our criminal justice system will be less tolerable when decision-makers are regularly forced to confront them.  Accordingly, prosecutors will be required to state on the record–in open court and before the judge–the racial bias statistics relevant to the stage of the case being addressed.  For example, before asking that an African American defendant be detained prior to trial, a prosecutor must state on the record the percentage of African Americans in jail on pretrial detention and the percentage of African Americans who reside in San Francisco.  Before making a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor must state the disparity in sentences among Black and White defendants.
  • Implement race-blind charging and plea bargaining.  We should do everything we can to make sure that neither explicit nor implicit biases impact decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office.  Prosecutors will not know the demographic information of people before filing charges. The office will explore applying the same process for plea bargains, having a second prosecutor review a file, blind to demographic information, before making an initial plea offer.
  • No more prosecuting racist gang enhancements. When a person is convicted of a felony, they may be sentenced to time in prison.  Under Penal Code § 186.22, part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act), prosecutors can seek additional prison time beyond that received for the underlying felony when the person accused of the crime is found to be gang-involved.  But here’s the thing: This mechanism, known as a “gang enhancement,” is racist, ineffective, and unnecessary. 

You can read Boudin’s full racial disparity plan here.

For Boudin, the integrity of the entire judicial system is questioned when racism prevails.

“When our criminal justice system treats people differently based on the color of their skin, the integrity of the entire system is undermined,” reads Boudin’s website. “Individuals and entire communities come to distrust law enforcement, making our city not only less just, but also less safe. Eradicating racism from our society is a long project, and one we need to take on much more seriously than we have. The criminal justice system, capable of producing incalculable harm, is an important place to start.”

Some people are thankful for someone who is willing to move the conversation forward using inclusivity.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin’s plan is bold and has voters excited as the Nov. 5 election for the San Francisco district attorney fast approaches.

You can watch the full video below and see what Boudin has planned.

White Supremacy?

(sound on) We were at a candidate forum organized by Project Rebound and Professor Jose B Cuellar, wearing a Brown Beret t-shirt asked a question about white-supremacy. Here is how I break it down – in English and Spanish. #antiracist #LanguageAccess #Boudin4DA #TeamBoudin video by @Natasha Florentino

Posted by Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney on Friday, October 4, 2019

What do you think about Boudin’s plan to tackle white supremacy and racism?

READ: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Is Literally Out Here Trying To Deny White Supremacy After The El Paso Shooting