Things That Matter

It’s Not Just Us, Brazil’s Loose Gun Laws Have Seen An Uptick In Violence And The Latest Massacre Saw 11 Dead

Brazil is once again rattled by gun violence after gunmen entered a bar and started shooting. Officials confirm that nearly a dozen people have died.

According to news reports, 11 people have been killed in what officials are calling a “massacre.”

Credit: @NH_India / Twitter

Our of the 11 dead, there were six were women and five men. The armed group, whose members were wearing masks to cover their faces, arrived in cars and a motorbike before storming the bar and opening fire.

The shooting took place in the northern city of Belem.

Credit: @ksatnews / Twitter

According to Brazil’s G1 News, those killed were from a low-income and violent part of the city called Guamá, which is considered one of the seven most violent spots in the metropolitan Belem area. Federal troops were just sent in this past March to boost security.

Gun violence continues to be a major issue across Brazil and one that seems to be growing more severe.

Credit: @Bolabee4u / Twitter

In 2017, Brazil had a record 64,000 homicides, 70 percent of which were due to firearms. Much of that violence is either gang or police related.

In January, gangs attacked across the northeastern city of Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill as businesses, buses, and taxis all shutdown.

Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second biggest city, experiences daily shootouts between police and criminals, battles that often result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. According to one group, Fogo Cruzado, that monitors shootings in the Rio metropolitan area, there were 2,300 shootings in Rio during the first 100 days of this year.

And this bar attack comes just two months after a massive school shooting, a rarity in Brazil.

Credit: @JillLanglois / Twitter

The shooting took place in Sao Paulo and resulted in the deaths of eight kids. The gunmen were former students. Even though gun violence is common across the country, even the city’s police chief said he had never seen anything like this.

The school shooting could have been even worse had a brave woman not saved the lives of 50+ students.

Credit: @Brasilmagic / Twitter

According to BBC, a school cafeteria worker helped save the lives of more than 50 kids by protecting them in the school’s kitchen.

Despite the growing gun violence, Brazil’s far-right president has recently made it easier to get a gun.

Credit: @AJEnglish / Twitter

Earlier this year, Brazilian President Jaír Bolsonaro, who ran on a so-called “law-and-order” platform, signed a decree making it easier for people to get guns.

The decree loosens restrictions on gun imports and allows people to carry more ammunition, increasing the limit from 50 cartridges to up to 5,000.

He’s trying to deliver on a campaign promise to overturn gun control regulations in a country suffering from a record wave of gun deaths.

READ: From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Things That Matter

Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Photo via Getty Images

It seems like every new product rollout, Apple gets stingier and stingier with what they include with each purchase. And while Brazil has recently been in the headlines for controversial news, this time, they have the public opinion on their side. Standing up for consumers, Brazil is fining Apple for alleged “false advertising”.

On Friday, a consumer watchdog agency announced that Brazil is fining Apple for $2 million. The reason? Not including a charger with the iPhone 12.

According to Procon, the São Paulo-based consumer protection agency, Apple’s decision not to include a charger with the iPhone 12 amounts to “false advertising”. Procon also accused Apple of selling “defective products”, creating unfair contracts for consumers, and failing to repair products that are still under warranty.

Per Brazilian media, Procon contacted Apple last year to ask them why they were now excluding chargers and earbuds. However, the company “never offered a convincing explanation” to the Brazilian agency.

“Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid laws and institutions for consumer protection,” said Procon executive Fernando Capez, explaining why Brazil is fining Apple. “It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.” 

In October of 2020, Apple announced that it would no longer include chargers or earbuds in their iPhone boxes. The company cited “environmental concerns”.

But savvy consumers couldn’t help but be skeptical of Apple’s explanation. Some people thought that Apple’s “environmental decision” was simply a pretense. In reality, they thought it might be a gimmick to take more money from customers under the pretense of environmentalism.

For one, we fail to see how including chargers and earbuds in an iPhone package would help the environment. Wouldn’t individual boxes for each product simply contribute to more waste? We digress….

In general, consumers across the globe can’t help but…agree with Procon.

Anyone who is an Apple devotee (read: prisoner) knows that you can end up feeling trapped as a customer. You become roped into an endless cycle of buying products that seem to be diminishing in quality every year. Not only that, but every year, the iPhone becomes more expensive while customers get less bang for their buck.

But at some point, you feel like you have to buy Apple products. Because of how Apple designs their products, all of the technology you own (laptops, tablets, chargers, etc.) only works with Apple products.

Starting to buy a different brand would be akin to throwing away hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars you’ve already invested in Apple tech. To be an Apple customer is to be stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hopefully, other governments will follow suit. After all, big tech has been taking advantage of consumers for too long.

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