Things That Matter

Another Texas Shooting Kills 7, Including Teen Who Just Celebrated Her Quince

It started as a minor traffic violation stop in Midland, Texas, when the driver took aim at the citing officer and engaged in a 20 mile-long shooting spree that ended in Odessa, Texas. Today, families are mourning the 7 people killed, and praying for the recovery of 19 people who were injured in Odessa, Texas. Among the dead is Leila Hernandez. She was 15 years old, and had just celebrated her quinceañera. Her brother, Nathan, remains hospitalized, recovering from a surgery to treat his injuries.

Authorities have not released the name of the shooter, but say he was a white man in his 30’s.

Police have not yet confirmed a motive, or the identity of the shooter.

@JamesMelville / Twitter

The shooter was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer on Saturday at 3 p.m. for a minor traffic violation, when he opened fire on the officer. As the gunman fled the scene along I-20 toward Odessa, he embarked on a shooting spree, killing and injuring people along the way. At one point, he abandoned his car to hijack a mail truck, which he drove to nearby movie theater, where he would later die during a shoot-out with police. The rampage has left reports of 19 to 21 people injured, including three police officers.

Of the victims is Mary Granados, a postal service worker who was killed as the suspect hijacked her truck.

Leslie Aide / GoFundMe

Mary was on the phone with her twin sister, Rosie, when the shooter attacked her. “It was very painful. I just wanted to help her and I couldn’t. I thought she had got bite by a dog or something. I tried calling her name and she wouldn’t answer,” Rosie told a reporter.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses. “She was beautiful inside and out, with a great heart and always ready to be a friend, always had a smile on her face!” writes the GoFundMe organizer, Leslie Aide. Granados is survived by her twin sister, Rosie Granados.

Leila Hernandez would have started school tomorrow.

Hernandez played for the Odessa High School basketball team. The superintendent of the school has promised to provide grief counseling services to students, staff and families. “Please help out our family as we had a tragedy today,” pleas the GoFundMe for both Leila and her brother’s medical and funeral expenses. Friends and family are expressing their grief and condolences via social media, on man commenting, “So tragic. Not long ago she was celebrating her (rite) of passage to becoming a beautiful young woman. Rest easy. Prayers for the family.”

Leila had just celebrated her quinceañera in May.

Makeup by Jeremy / Facebook

Leila’s quinceañera make up artist shared that they were “in total shock and disbelief.” In a Facebook post, they said, “I had just did Leila’s makeup and her family’s back in May for her quinceañera. Unfortunately this beautiful sweet soul was victim to the shootings that took place in Odessa today. Prayers to you Joanna Leyva and may God be there for you and your family through this difficult time. 😢 RIP 🙏🏼”

A 17-month-old baby has sustained injuries from bullet shrapnel that have left holes in her lip and tongue.

Haylee Wilkerson / GoFundMe

Her front teeth were knocked out. “Anderson is 17 months old, has shrapnel in her right chest, which thank God is superficial,” writes the medical expense GoFundMe organizer. “She has a hole through her bottom lip and tongue and her front teeth were knocked out. She is alive. When others today are not alive.” Nearly $125,000 have been raised for baby Anderson in just 16 hours.

“This is f—ed up,” Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke told reporters. “Profanity is not the f-bomb. What is profane is a 17 month-old baby being shot in the face.”

@amjoyshow / Twitter

“The rhetoric that we’ve used — the thoughts and prayers that you just referred to — it has done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence. To protect our kids, our families, our fellow Americans in public places. As a Walmart in El Paso Texas, where 22 were killed. In Sutherland Springs, in a church,” O’Rourke told a reporter. “One or two a day all over this country, 100 killed daily in the United States of America. We’re averaging about 300 mass shooting a year. No other country comes close. So yes, this is f—ed up,” he said. “If we don’t call it out for what it is, if we’re not able to speak clearly. If we’re not able to act decisively, then we will continue to have this kind of bloodshed in America, and I cannot accept that.”

Meanwhile, Texas Representative Matt Schaefer responded to the shooting to defend the “God-given” Second Amendment right.

Representative Matt Schaefer / Facebook

Gun reform activist group Newtown Action is imploring Texas voters to “say NO to Rep. Matt Schaefer at the polls,” after he ‘spewed’ NRA rhetoric in response to the shootings. In a Facebook post, Rep. Schaefer listed all the ways he won’t “do something” about the mass shootings, and instead blamed single mother households and a need for prayer as the solution.

Schaefer minimized U.S. mass shootings as “the evil acts of a handful of people.”

@ajeffery24 / Twitter

In a follow up post, Schaefer claimed to understand both the problem and solution to mass shootings. “Godless, depraved hearts,” he posted. “That IS the root of the problem. Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus. May God be near to those suffering in Odessa and Midland, and everywhere that evil has struck a blow.

Hours later, new gun laws went into effect in Texas to loosen existing restrictions.

@GregAbbott_TX. Twitter. 28 October 2015.

A series of bills were passed in June, which will now allow licensed gun owners to leave weapons in cars parked in school parking lots, allow guns in some foster homes, and in places of worship. It also bans landlords from prohibiting firearms from their property, and allows residents to carry handguns while evacuating from a disaster area. Trump maintains that background checks wouldn’t have stopped the shooting.

This Family Threw A Quinceañera For Their Cat’s Fifteenth And Even Got Her A Dress For The Occasion

Culture

This Family Threw A Quinceañera For Their Cat’s Fifteenth And Even Got Her A Dress For The Occasion

The Dodo

Cats are little bundles of love that make the world a happier, fluffier place —even if sometimes they scratch us to death and break everything that stands in their way, we still love them. This mom loves her cat so very much, that she threw a whole quinceañera party for her kitty, on the little one’s fifteenth birthday —dress and all.

This family stopped at nothing to give their precious kitty the celebration she deserved.

Credit: The Dodo

If you’re a Latina, you probably spent a good part of your life dreaming up your perfect quinceañera. From the dress, to the music, to your entourage, to the cake. There are so many things to consider when throwing the most important party a girl can have; her official entry into womanhood. Well, the same thoughtful and careful planning went into this kitty’s quince.

Luna is the family’s pride and joy, they adopted her after finding her struggling on the side of a road.

This little one celebrated her fifteenth year with her family. They adopted her when she was only three weeks old after they found her on the side of the road looking for shelter and struggling to live. They named her Luna, and since that day, she’s been the family’s pride and joy. 

“Luna is an absolute sweetheart, loves curling up with people and loves laying on her back on the floor,” Angel Olavarria, Luna’s brother, told The Dodo. “We have spoiled her with abundant love and she has outlived all of our pets. On her 15th birthday we decided to give our little cheese ball a surprise quinceañera.” 

The family wanted to celebrate the fifteen years they’ve spent with Luna by their side by spoiling her with all the treats.

Fifteen years of prowling on this earth is definitely a huge milestone for a kitty, who by this point has a loving and very deep connection with her family and has chosen her allies and human slaves. So we’re not surprised that the family organized a well-deserved pachanga for their little pet: her very own quinceañera.

And no, we’re not exaggerating by saying that they threw the cat a whole quince party, it was a real Mexican-style fiesta celebrating Luna’s womanhood…or cathood if you will. For those of you who might be living under a rock and are not aware of what a quinceañera party is; well it’s only the most important party a Latina girl can get. Traditionally, when a girl turns fifteen it is believed that she has reached woomanhood and so her family throws a party to say goodbye to the little girl and introduce her to society as a woman.

Mom came up with the idea, and she even ordered a quinceañera dress for the birthday girl.

It was all Olavarria’s mom’s idea. She first came up with the idea on Luna’s fourteenth birthday, and began working on plans for the party a whole week in advance. There would be food, a cake, decorations, a guest list and of course a special dress (and matching crown) for the birthday girl. 

That day, like every other, Luna was the queen of the house, only this time it was evident —note the outfit. “My mom found the dress on Amazon,” Olavarria said. “I totally thought my mom was joking when she said she was going to order a dress for her, but my mom never jokes about our pets.”

Luna was set at the head of the table and enjoyed her own cake.

On the big day, Luna’s family put her in her fancy dress and sat her at the head of the table to celebrate the wonderful fifteen years they’ve spent together. The room was decked out with pink tablecloth, balloons and flower arrangements. The celebration even included a little cake with tiny dolls matching Luna’s outfit. There was a huge feast with special cat treats that she probably only ever gets on very special occasions. 

There was a guestlist, an assortment of treats, lots of decorations and a ‘tres leches’ cake.

There was a total of 12 guests, family members and friends were all in attendance, and the party went on for three hours. They all enjoyed the company with lots of food and a traditional ‘tres leches’ cake. It seems like the kitty really enjoyed her party. She licked her whiskers and ate everything that was set in front of her. Her humans didn’t let any detail slide. “She was such a good sport through the whole thing that we think she actually knew we were celebrating her,” Olavarria said “She loved it even more when we opened up a nice can of tuna for her.” 

All we can hope for is that someday someone will love us as much as this family loves their Luna.

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

Things That Matter

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

milano_alyssa / Instagram

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights