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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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Things That Matter

More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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A Brazilian Photographer Is Documenting Indigenous Tribes In The Amazon

Culture

A Brazilian Photographer Is Documenting Indigenous Tribes In The Amazon

ricardostuckert / Instagram

Indigenous tribes are the most important connection between man and nature. These tribes have lived off the land before modern society and many have never interacted with modern society. Ricardo Stuckert is going through and documenting the indigenous Amazonian tribes in Brazil.

Ricardo Stuckert is photographing indigenous tribespeople in the Brazilian Amazon.

The indigenous community is something sacred that most people agrees should be protected. They are more connected to the land than we are. Their customs and traditions are more ingrained in this world than ours are and it is so important to protect them.

The indigenous community of Brazil has been subjected to horrible attacks and conditions from the Brazilian government.

One of the most widespread attacks against the indigenous Brazilians living in the Amazon has been for the land. President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to take land away from the indigenous communities to allow for logging and mining. A bill he sent to the congress sought to exploit the land for commercial purposes, even legalizing some of the attacks we have seen on indigenous people since President Bolsonaro took power.

Stuckert wants to preserve the indigenous culture and customs through photos.

“I think it is important to disseminate Brazilian culture and show the way that native peoples live today,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “In 1997, I started to photograph the Amazon and had my first contact with the native people of Brazil. Since then, I have tried to show the diversity and plurality of indigenous culture, as well as emphasize the importance of the Indians as guardians of the forest. There are young people who are being born who have never seen or will see an Indian in their lives.”

The photographer believes that using photography is the best way to share culture.

“I think that photography has this power to transpose a culture like this to thousands of people,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “The importance of documentary photojournalism is to undo stigmas and propagate a culture that is being lost. We need to show the importance of indigenous people to the world, for the protection of our forests.”

You can see all of Stuckert’s photos on his Instagram.

Stuckert’s work to documented the indigenous community is giving people an insight into a life many never see. Brazil is home to about 210 million people with around 1 million having indigenous heritage. The diverse indigenous community of Brazil is something important to showcase and that’s what Stuckert is doing.

READ: Indigenous Photographer Diego Huerta’s Photos Of Oaxaca’s Indigenous People Celebrates Their Beauty

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