Things That Matter

Homeless Veteran Violently Attacks Elderly Women At Phoenix IHOP

Police released horrifying surveillance footage of two elderly women at an IHOP in Phoenix being brutally attacked by a man with a coffee pot. The suspect, Joe Ernest Meza, 47, is a veteran with mental illness and a criminal record, left to live on the streets. Meza was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with the intent to cause injury, and a count of theft and of disorderly conduct each. 

The footage is a harrowing has spawned conversations about the need to better assist veterans with mental illnesses when they return from combat.

The surveillance footage shows two women eating at an IHOP, when a man in a red shirt and sunglasses starts beating one woman’s skull with a coffee pot.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

On Sept. 29, a family with an infant and young child, and two women went to the IHOP on 51st Avenue and McDowell in Phoenix, Arizona, expecting a regular day. Prior to Meza entering the scene, it appears as if everyone is having a normal conversation on a Tuesday. Suddenly, Meza grabs the coffee pot from the table pictured above and starts violently beating two elderly women with the pot.

As the woman tries to defend herself, her friend flees for cover.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

The woman tries to cover her head, but he continues to beat her four times over the head. He stops only after she starts kicking him to create distance. CCTV footage shows her friend fleeing to the kitchen where she stands behind a cook until the ordeal is over.

Gripping her head, the victim tries to flee, but Meza continues to target her.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza appears to back away after she attempts to defend herself, but as she gets up to flee, he starts approaching her again. The restaurant is not empty and onlookers watched in shock as the attack occurred.

As the woman tries to flee, Meza picks up another coffee pot as a weapon.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Gripping her head, she starts to walk around the back of the booth and down another aisle. Meza remains focused on her, and picks up another coffee pot, intimidating her as she runs out the store. Meza remains just a few steps behind. CCTV footage shows other families fleeing out the back exit as he moves to the other side of the store.

Later, we see the victim with an apparent head wound, blood streaming down her face.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

It seems as if she’s returned to gather her personal items, and Meza is nowhere in sight. While she’s bending down, reaching for her wallet under the booth, she seems to see Meza reappear and mouths, “Oh, sh**.” Meza appears in the bottom right-hand corner and flings a podium at her. The heavy metal stand narrowly misses her, and when she gets back up, she begins fighting back.

The two begin throwing dishes and other items at each other across two rows of booths.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

She immediately tosses a plate at Meza, as he scurries to take cover behind the barrier between the rows of booths. The woman slips a little as she takes cover while continuing to fling plates in his direction.

The victim pauses at one point to wipe the blood from her head.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

She appears to be pausing to take a breath and picks up a napkin to wipe the blood from her head. Meza picks up another coffee pot and swings it at her. It ricochets off the wall behind her and the shock of it sends the elderly woman into a fall. She stands back up and throws one final object before fleeing out the back door, purse in hand.

Meza immediately goes to her booth and finds the personal item she was looking for and pockets it.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza sweeps the store, sifting through purses and stealing personal items from the terrified customers who fled before being physically attacked, including a family with an infant in a carriage. The mother picked up the baby and fled without her stroller. 

Then, he sets a fire in the kitchen.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza erratically paces the kitchen corridor, burning himself in the process. He turns the flame up on one of the burners and tosses a piece of fabric onto the flame, starting a fire. Police found him fleeing from the IHOP and arrested him in the parking lot. He remains at the Maricopa County Jail.

Watch the full video below.

READ: Here’s The Man Who Was Arrested For Attacking Another Person For Wearing A Russian MAGA Hat

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Things That Matter

This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Photo via Steven Nava

At this point, it’s common knowledge that the pandemic has had a negative financial impact on many Americans. When the pandemic hit, many people lost their jobs. Some people dealt with food and housing insecurity. And this homeless teacher experienced exactly that.

But if there’s one positive thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that there are tons of amazing humans out there who are willing to lend a hand when they see a fellow human suffering.

Recently, a homeless teacher named José Villaruel, received help from a former student who discovered him sleeping in his car.

The former student’s name is Steven Nava and he ran into Villaruel, purely by coincidence. “Every morning/night I’ve always noticed this older man that would stay out in his car constantly at this parking lot near my house, even when the weather was bad,” wrote Nava on Twitter. “He looked familiar…”

Nava ended up approaching the older man. That is when he discovered that the man was him former teacher José Villaruel, whom Nava affectionately calls “Mr. V”.

“Turns out he’s gone homeless since the whole pandemic hit and he’s been struggling getting back to his feet,” wrote Nava. “His car is really old and that’s where he’s been staying for the past year.”

Apparently, the homeless teacher had only one source of income–a monthly social security check. He sent most of the money to his sick wife in Mexico.

Nava gave Mr. V $300 to get a hotel for the night. Meanwhile, he got to work to try and fix the homeless teacher’s situation more permanently. “I had a mission to help the teacher who was going through a difficult time during the pandemic,” Nava told TODAY.

José Villaruel’s former student took to Twitter to inform his followers of Mr. V’s situation and ask for additional help.

“I come to the Twitter community and ask for help in raising money to help him out,” Nava wrote. “I know if we can all pitch in even $1 it will go a long way.” Nava shared a link to a GoFundMe for Mr. V. And to his surprise, the donations began to roll in.

By the end of the fundraising period, Nava had raised over $27,000 for the homeless teacher–far surpassing his original fundraising goal of $15,000.

Donations flooded in both from Villaruel’s former students and from concerned citizens who were happy to help the older gentleman get back on his feet.

“[Mr. Villaruel] was always so sweet when I had him as a sub 🙁 Thank you so much for looking out for him I hope you reach your goal for him!!!” wrote one Twitter user.

As a final gift, Steven Nava planned a surprise party for Mr. Villaruel 77th birthday that happened to be that week.

Former students of Mr. V gathered to pay tribute to the teacher who had touched their lives years before. When Mr. V showed up, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then, Nava gifted a stunned Mr. V with a $27,000 check.

José Villaruel told media outlets that the experience touched him deeply.

“It is an experience of my life that will be kept for the rest of my life. I carry it in my heart,” he said. “I felt that something was going to happen, that things were going to change, and it happened suddenly when I least expected it.

Since then, Steven Nava has continued to fundraise for Mr. V. Altogether, he has raised over $50,000 for his former teacher–and counting. You can visit the GoFundMe page here.

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