Things That Matter

An Armed Trump Supporter Was Lurking Outside A Migrant Shelter With Knife And Gun But Police Let Him Go

Would it surprise you to hear, mere days after the massacre in directed at Latinos, that an armed Trump supporter was briefly detained in front of a migrant community center in El Paso? On the one hand, it’s shocking to hear that someone would be callous enough to pull a stunt like that. On the other hand, with today’s political climate … how surprising is it, really?

So, what happened?

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Basically, a 21-year-old man drove his pickup from Houston, in anticipation of the President’s visit to El Paso last Wednesday. The man was parked outside the center when police discovered that he was armed with both a gun and a knife, and detained him. Authorities also found that the man had plastered his vehicle with an almost Rambo-like image of Trump carrying a large weapon, in addition to draping a campaign poster for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the back window. What. A. Scene.

While this scenario clearly raised a few alarms for the local authorities, while the man was briefly detained, he was eventually let go – along with his weaponry. Apparently his justification for carrying the gun and knife was that ‘he has rights.’ And sure, that’s not incorrect. Under the current Texan state law, both concealed and open carry is legally allowed. That being said, there is a caveat to such laws, in that permit is required for carrying a handgun. So, even though the detainee had committed a shocking, and highly inappropriate, act – it wasn’t illegal. Great

Why are we even entertaining the fact that all is fine, simply because it was legal?

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It’s time to be realistic. This happened only a few days after 22 people were shot to death at an El Paso Walmart. Most of the two dozen or so who were injured are still recovering from the attack. Approaching an event that was apparently designed to commemorate the memory of those who died, and honor those living, while armed with a gun and a knife is, at the least, wholly callous and disrespectful. And at the most … well, it could imply something much more sinister at work, with the intention of targeting a very vulnerable community.

Texas has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country.

Instagram / @nbcnews

The fact that Texas is a state that maintains open and concealed carry laws means that even if the shooter was caught before going on a murdering rampage, there wouldn’t have been much that authorities could have legally done to prevent the shooting. The fact that nothing has been done to reconsider these laws in light of the exponential number of mass shootings – and especially in respect to the El Paso shooting – is even more chilling. Whatever about good guys who can step in with guns, it would make much more sense if the bad guys didn’t have guns to use in the first place.

What about the people of El Paso?

Twitter / @WajahatAli

The other thing to consider is that El Paso is a ripe target for racially-motivated shootings due to its considerable Hispanic population – even with recent increases in security around the area. “The stakes are even higher now,” said Marisa Limon of the Hope Institute in a recent interview. “I don’t want to say that this will never happen again because the conditions are there … it’s open season against Latinos and immigrants.”

Many feel that it’s “open season” against Latinos and immigrants.

Twitter / @raortman

The reality is that, with divisive rhetoric such as ‘go back to where you came from’ coming from the President himself, it is difficult to conceive of ways to stem the tide of online and news media that echoes those same sentiments – and influences people to drive hours to El Paso while armed with a gun. “I want to believe we’ll go back to normal, but I don’t know that we ever will, if you’re Mexican American. We’re all on edge,” said Claudia Olivares, an El Paso local, in an interview this week.

But, it would be too easy to sit back, fold our arms, and say that there’s nothing to be done – or that this toxic environment will inevitably last forever. After all, the beauty of living in a democracy is knowing that an election can change everything. 2020 can’t come soon enough.

Young Mexican Boy, 11, Shoots And Kills Teacher And Injures 5 Classmates Before Killing Himself

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Young Mexican Boy, 11, Shoots And Kills Teacher And Injures 5 Classmates Before Killing Himself

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A school shooting in Mexico is shaking the country. An 11-year-old boy entered his private school in Torreón with two handguns and killed a teacher, injured 5 classmates, and killed himself. Authorities believe that a videogame is to blame for the violence.

Mexican authorities are blaming an online video game for the school shooting this morning in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico.

Credit: @AnnaDay03449248 / Twitter

Authorities believe that the boy was influenced by the online game Natural Selection. According to reports, the boy went to school and told some of his pupils that “today is the day.” According to Daily Mail, the student asked to go to the bathroom to change his pants. When he didn’t return in 15 minutes, the teacher went looking for him. That is when she found him in the hallway hold two handguns. He shot and killed the teacher and injured 5 classmates and a male P.E. teacher before killing himself.

The conversation of gun control touched Mexico after the deadly shooting of 31 people in El Paso, Texas. The 21-year-old gunman of the El Paso shooting reportedly chose a powerful AK-style rifle to commit what is being called “the deadliest attack targeting Latinos in recent U.S. history.” However, these types of weapons have also made their way across the U.S.-Mexico border where many are being brought there illegally by mostly American citizens.

In 2018, the homicide rate in Mexico hit a record high of 35,964, which is up 12 percent from the year before, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Of those killings, at least 20,005 were gun-related deaths.

Credit: @bejaminnorton / Twitter

As the number of homicides has risen in Mexico due to gun violence there is a growing sense of urgency from Mexican officials to see something get done. The AK-47 has been known to be the gun of choice for cartel groups and is being used to kill countless Mexican citizens, every week. 

As these powerful assault rifles make their way illegally from the U.S. into Mexico, they are being used in cartel-related violence and drug trafficking efforts. The overwhelming majority of guns used by drug cartels in the country’s deadly turf come illegally from the U.S., since the Mexican army is the only legal seller in the country.

According to the San Diego Union- Tribune, the illegal trafficking of these powerful weapons has fueled the already increasingly dangerous and deadly conditions in the country. The underground market for the weapons is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and will only keep rising. 

Jack Riley, a retired DEA agent, told the Union-Tribune that these cartel groups are choosing these U.S.-made weapons for two primary reasons: their efficiency and because the weapons are a status symbol. He also says that the majority of these funneled weapons are passing through Mexican ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, which includes on the busiest, the San Ysidro-Tijuana port.

“It is really important to these criminal organizations, who stay in business by the threat of violence and through the use of violence; and the tools that they prefer to do that with are American-made guns,” Riley told the Union-Tribune. “There is a tremendous market for them and unfortunately there’s a ton of people in the United States willing to do business with some of the cartels.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is now urging the United States to “control the indiscriminate sale of weapons” after recent mass shootings.

Credit: @jennfranconews / Twitter

The shooting in El Paso, Texas has prompted President Lopez Obrador to put pressure on the U.S. to curb the gun proliferation that is now taking the lives of Mexican citizens. He has also mentioned that the Mexican government was looking into the possibility of accusing the El Paso shooter of “terrorism” and requesting his extradition to face charges in Mexico.

“We are very respectful of what other governments decide, but we think that these unfortunate events, which occurred in the U.S., should lead to reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Mexico City last Monday.

Similar to the U.S., citizens in Mexico have the same right to bear arms but when it comes to the sale of weapons, the country has tighter restrictions. Most citizens are only able to purchase lighter handguns or nothing more powerful than a .38 caliber gun as assault weapons are banned. Also, the sale of weapons from one citizen to another is prohibited.

The numbers show that the gun problem in America had crossed over across the border as 70 percent of guns seized across all of Mexico have U.S. origins, According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Credit: @frankluntz / Twitter

Mexico is in the midst of turbulent times as the number of people murdered hit more than 33,000 people last year, a record high. This was especially the case for Tijuana, where the popular tourist city that saw more than 2,500 homicides just last year. This gave the city the unwanted distinction and title of “the most violent city in the world,” where almost every single gun that was seized by police since 2016 came from the U.S., according to the city’s chief of police.

There is an “importance of going after both of these things, not just immigration, narcotics, the flow of illegal money, but the tools with which these criminal organizations rely,” Riley told the Tribune. “And for far too long there hasn’t been enough emphasis both by the Mexicans and to a certain extent by us, for a variety of political reasons, to really go after the gun smugglers.”

Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

READ: This Heartbreaking Interview With An 11-Year-Old Girl Sees Her Pleading For Her Parents To Not Be Deported

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

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Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

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Chicago, Illinois, is one of the mayor American cities that faces big challenges when it comes to fighting violent crime. Historically, the city has been renowned for the role that organized crime has had on politics and also because deep social inequality often leads to marginalization. Even though the city experiences high levels of criminality that need to be tackled, there are some promising signs as 2020 begins. And the newly elected mayor Lori Lightfoot might have a lot to do with it, and has some thoughts on why the city has experienced a double-digit fall on violent crime indexes. 

Lori Lightfoot, a queer Black woman, has had a great inaugural year in office.

Credit: Chicago Tonight / WTTW

Lightfoot is part of an important shift in local governments that has seen the number of female incumbents increase more than ever before. As NFINCE reported in its end of year recap of good things that happened in 2019, “with the April election of Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, a record number of black women (eight) served as mayors in the 100 largest cities in the United States.”

Lightfoot has been strong from day one, making masterful political moves such as firing a senior police officer that many had not dared to touch. As the Chicago Sun Times reports: “… she fired the retiring police superintendent she had celebrated one month earlier after accusing Eddie Johnson “lying” to her and to the public about the circumstances surrounding an embarrassing drinking-and-driving incident in mid-October. From a practical standpoint, Lightfoot’s decision simply means Johnson is gone a month earlier than the Dec. 31 retirement date he announced in October. But, from a political standpoint, it’s a sea change”. So yes, while in power she has made sure that the establishment knows that she has the upper hand. 

While cities like Baltimore experienced a spike in crime during 2019, Chicago’s went down by up to 10%!

As the non for profit The Crime Report points out: “Crime in Chicago is down. Though it hasn’t returned to 2014 levels, compared to late November of last year, reported crimes are down by 10 percent. That decrease is driven partly by significant declines in property crime. Violent crime has fallen by 11 percent”. This is great news for the Windy City, which has often been singled out by Republicans as evidence of Democrat failure in government. Let’s not forget that mamy Obama aides and Obama himself learnt to do politics in the tough Chicago scene and the city is a somewhat safe Democratic bastion.

In a televised interview, Lightfoot outlined what she thinks are the reasons behind this positive drop in violent crimes.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

The Chicago Mayor told CNN that one of the reasons for the drop is the alignment of the different government departments in the city to guarantee public safety. But above all, she stated, was the work with what she called “community partners” while being “on the ground”. This is a very similar approach that the Obama-school of Chicago politics advocates for. She also credits the support that the city government has been giving to victims of crime. Lightfoot also singled out the use of complex technology that alerts police when there is a shooting so they can act faster. Technology is being deployed in the most violent areas of the city. There is a constant flow of information that can be sent to the field to track cars, victims and shooters. 

But there is still a lot to do and the situation in Chicago remains less than ideal, so come structural changes are being put in motion.

Credit: WBEZ

As The Crime Report sums up: “Chicago is on track to record fewer than 500 homicides this year, a 35 percent decrease from 2016. Even if Chicago returned to its 2014 murder rate, that would still be three times higher than the national rate”. There are other challenges faced by the Chicago police, such as the low number of solved homicides in the city. 

One of the most significant changes to law enforcement structures enacted in 2019 was a considerable increase in the number of detectives in the city. As the Associated Press reports, the Chicago Police Department “is beefing up its detective ranks and spreading them around the city in the hope that it can catch up to departments in other major cities that solve a far higher percentage of homicide and other violent crime cases”. Authorities are optimistic about this change, as the AP further reports: “Police officials said will get detectives to crime scenes more quickly and give them a better chance of finding witnesses to interview” and “the move will foster public trust in communities, particularly those with high crime rates , and will allow residents to regularly see the same detectives”.

Violent crimes are down, yes, but other offenses that affect communities are up, as reported by The Wall Street Journal: “A rise in carjacking across Chicago has spooked residents even as police celebrate a drop in violent crimes such as shootings and homicides”. So there is still a lot of work to do.