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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

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An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

José Flores Velázquez / Facebook

In cities across the US, people continue to die due to senseless gun violence. Los Angeles is no stranger to shootouts and, unfortunately, three more people fell victim to gun fire on Wednesday – leaving two of them dead and their friends and family in mourning. 

The shooting spree took place in South Los Angeles and one of the victims has been identified as a talented scholar full of big dreams. 

Gun violence has struck again in Los Angeles, killing two and injuring a third.

Two men were killed and another injured  in a drive-by shooting into a vehicle in South LA.

When police arrived at the scene, they found two men with multiple gunshot wounds. One of the men was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A third man, suffering from a single gunshot wound, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Investigators said the two deceased victims were standing outside of a parked car when the suspect’s vehicle drove up and a passenger opened fire, striking both men. The suspect shot the third victim a short distance away as the suspects fled the scene. 

Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.

One of the victims was Jose Flores Velazquez who was working towards his doctorate at UC Irvine.

Distraught family members who arrived at the scene told KTLA the man who died there was Jose Flores. He and the second man killed, Alfredo Carrera, grew up together six houses apart on the street where they were shot.

Carrera, meanwhile, was about to become a first-time father with his girlfriend, his aunt Michelle Garcia said.

The baby shower was set for Saturday, Garcia added.

Family said Carrera had been shot at least once in his back.

Investigators have yet to release information on the suspects and declined to release a description of the vehicle involved. The relatives say they have no idea who would want to target the men.

Police say the men were victims of a drive by shooting.

A 911 caller told officials a vehicle drove up and the passenger pulled out a handgun. An argument ensued, then shots rang out, said Lt. Derrick Alfred.

It appears that they had driven up and were saying goodbye outside the car to each other when the car drove up (and) some words were exchanged,” Rubenstein said. “Somebody from inside the suspect vehicle fired multiple rounds, striking both the men.”

Velazquez was a nationally recognized scholar who eventually wanted to work for NASA.

Flores was a physics doctoral student at UC Irvine and had his sights set on a job at NASA, a family member told KTLA.

“He was one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” said a former sister-in-law at the scene who asked not to be named.

Many took to social media to share their shock and died about the loss of such an accomplished young man who was full of dreams.

While fellow grad students shared in their disbelief.

People who knew Velazquez have been sharing memories and talking about what a kind and caring person he was. They also talk about his many talents, skills, and dreams – of which, he had many.

If you’d like to support Velazquez’ family during this time, they have a GoFundMe page setup here

Here’s How Julián Castro Is Going To Take On The Gun Violence Health Crisis And The Deadly Rise Of Unchecked White Supremacy

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Here’s How Julián Castro Is Going To Take On The Gun Violence Health Crisis And The Deadly Rise Of Unchecked White Supremacy

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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has unveiled a plan to combat white supremacy and gun violence as the country grapples with recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. His policy proposal, called “People First Plan to Disarm Hate”, was released last Friday, Castro says it will try to “disarm hate” and would take on “white supremacist terrorism” by combating it with a “coordinated federal response.” The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor says he would also sign executive orders on his first day in office “to end the gun violence epidemic.”

“Now is our moment to decide what kind of country we want to be,” Castro’s seven-page plan says. “We can be paralyzed by fear of extremism and cower before the corporate gun lobby, or we can combat white supremacist terrorism directly and end the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our nation for too long.”

JuliánCastro has been one of the vocal advocates for stronger gun control since the terrible mass shootings over a week ago. The gunman of the El Paso shooting confessed that he was looking to kill “Mexicans,” a point that Castro has referred to when discussing his policy.

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Being the sole Latino candidate in the 2020 presidential race, Castro has voiced and echoed much of what the Latino community in El Paso and around the country have said about the recent shootings. Whether it’s been the heightened fear of a future attack or the call for stricter gun laws, Castro wants to address and calm the worries of the Latino community. 

“As a candidate for president, this issue is not only political, it’s personal. My wife Erica, an educator, and I are raising a daughter and son who both have brown skin. We worry for them and their friends,” Castro said. “They should be able to grow up free from fear of hate and safe from gun violence. Their safety is our foremost responsibility.”

The 2020 contender has also proposed an initiative to renew a permanent assault weapons ban and require gun users to have a license in order to purchase such firearms. His plan will also seek to establish education opportunities to “bridge racial and cultural divides” in this country.

“We can prevent it by making sure that these weapons of war are not on the street. We can also ensure that we have better tools to investigate something once it happens. I think when we’re talking about changing the hearts and the minds of people that are headed down the road of white nationalism, that means that we have to be better about ensuring that people are exposed to different ideas and different types of people in our country.”

Among other details in his proposed plan, Castro says his initiative would get at least $100 million in federal funds every year to coordinate anti-hate programs across five federal departments.

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Castro joins a handful of Democratic presidential candidates that have unveiled plans to combat white supremacy and gun violence in the wake of the recent mass shootings. But his plan is going to in a slightly different route compared to other candidates as Castro wants to attack the root of the problem: hate. 

“My plan to disarm hate starts with comprehensively identifying the threat of white supremacist terrorism and combatting it directly with a coordinated federal response,” Castro said.” We’ll also invest in programs to fight radicalization and educational opportunities to bridge racial and cultural divides and lead a global coalition to defeat this rising tide of white nationalism.

Castro says combating white supremacy would entail convening a yearly summit for the cause hosted by the president and require state, local and tribal governments reporting hate crime statistics. He is also looking to sign an order directing the FBI to deny gun purchases to an individual with a pending arrest warrant, which would be a rebuke of a change in rules by President Trump.

There has been growing support for Castro in recent weeks due to strong performances at the Democratic Debates. This latest policy proposal has already won over some people. 

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Growing support has already been seen with this latest policy reveal and people on Twitter are taking notice of Castro. He has already previously rolled out proposals on important issues including immigration, education, housing, and police reform.

“Folks need to keep @JulianCastro on their radar! I’m invested in those who are willing to speak up, take action where it’s most needed—push against & undo white supremacy ideology, foundation of systemic oppression in US.” one user said on Twitter.

The gun reform plan is Castro’s latest policy rollout and his latest attempt to separate himself in a crowded field of candidates where he’s gained media momentum. But as of now, Castro is still polling around 1 percent and will need to gain more support if he is to continue his campaign.

READ: Julián Castro: The One Presidential Candidate Taking A Strong Stand For Migrants At The Border

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