Things That Matter

This Republican’s Campaign Team Created A Meme Attacking Emma Gonzalez’s Cuban Flag Patch

Congressman Steve King has been representing Iowa’s 4th District since 2013. Before that, Rep. King was representing Iowa’s 5th District since 2003. Rep. King has regularly made headlines during his 15 years in national politics and usually for outlandish statements that are meant to offend. For example, he proudly claimed in 2016 that no “subgroup,” aka non-white people, have ever contributed to the United States. So, when a bisexual, Cuban-American started to lead a gun reform movement, it really was only a matter of time before he said something.

Congressman Steve King’s re-election campaign shared this meme directly attacking activist and Parkland survivor Emma González.

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Posted by Steve King on Sunday, March 25, 2018

“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when dictatorship turned Cuban into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” reads the meme.

Let’s go ahead and say that not speaking Spanish has no impact on your Latinidad. You are a Latino, not because of the language you speak, but by the heritage and culture you celebrate. It’s also an interesting development that the same politician who mocks his constituents for speaking Spanish and wants to make English the official language of the U.S. suddenly thinks Latinos should speak Spanish.

The meme has infuriated people who are already tired of the pro-gun narrative trying to silence the teenagers.

CREDIT: Steve King / Facebook

González survived one of the worst school shootings in modern history and is channeling her grief and anger to end the senseless violence.

Rep. King implying that González should speak Spanish to be Cuban is surprising to so many people.

That part of the sentence truly is a mystery.

González’s classmate, David Hogg, called in Sen. Marco Rubio to say something since his family fled from Cuba as well.

Sen. Rubio is facing a lot of pressure from gun reform advocates since the shooting that claimed 17 lives took place in Florida. On the day of the March for Our Lives, Sen. Rubio made it known, via Twitter, that he was not on the protestors’ side but does “commend” their use of the First Amendment.

South Floridians called Rep. King out on trying to say González is Communist for displaying that flag.

Ask any Cuban-American and they will tell you that they are proud of their Cuban heritage. They don’t support Communism and want a new system of government for Cuba that is democratic. Being proud of your country does not mean that you are adhering to the ideology of that country.

And whomever is running the Facebook page clearly doesn’t get how that works.

CREDIT: Steve King / Facebook

How many people are immigrants or children of immigrants because of political turmoil? To suggest that those people would try to replicate what they fled is offensive and a great example of white privilege since so many people don’t know that struggle.

Some people are encouraging the teenagers to keep going.

When you are doing something right, it is bound to make those against it upset. Rep. King’s anger at the leader of the gun reform movement only means she has succeeded in getting his attention.

Iowans are appalled at this display of cyber bullying by a grown man’s political campgain at a teenager.

CREDIT: Steve King / Facebook

Dayum.

His opponents for the Congressional seat are taking full advantage of the meme to boost their own campaigns.

It’s kind of what you hope for when going against an incumbent, tbh.

And it seems like Hogg is out to get Rep. King to lose his seat.

You might remember that a Congressional candidate in Maine was running unopposed and called González a “skinhead Lesbian.” Well, Hogg got someone to announce a run against him and he eventually dropped out of the race. Can lightning strike twice?


READ: Thousands Took To The Streets In Washington And Across The Country To Join The March For Our Lives Revolution

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What Makes a Mass Shooter? New Study Stresses the Need for Prevention

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What Makes a Mass Shooter? New Study Stresses the Need for Prevention

Sandy Hook PSA

After yet another school shooting in Santa Clarita, California, the conversation about gun violence has reached new and troubling heights. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks every mass shooting in the country, 2019 may be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one shooting a day. As of November 17, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S. We all know that there are 365 (well, sometimes 366) calendar days in a year—so when you do the math, you’re quick to realize that 2019 has seen a serious excess of senseless tragedy…and we still have six weeks left.

The issue of gun violence is complicated by misguided political and financial interests, but the data behind mass shootings is undeniably clear—it is data, after all. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as “any incident in which four people are shot, including the shooter.” The FBI defines mass murders as “incidents in which at least four people are killed.” While the FBI does not have a formal definition for mass shootings, the Gun Violence Archive investigates both, asserting that of the above mentioned 369 mass shootings, 28 were mass murders.

In total, there have been 34,365 deaths and 25,929 injuries as a result of gun violence in 2019, whether from mass shootings, homicides, suicides, or accidents. So, who is committing these crimes?

credit: CNN.com

Of course, the answer is varied, complex, and incredibly nuanced. But in light of the recent tragedy in California, our attention is once again drawn to one group within the broad population of U.S. gun users: mass shooters. What leads someone to carry out these large-scale acts of violence? And what do mass shooters have in common with each other?

On November 19, a study funded by the Department of Justice—the largest study of mass shooters ever funded by the U.S. government—was released, and it responds directly to these questions. A dataset that stretches back to 1966 (beginning with the University of Texas shooting of that year, chosen by researchers for the massive media attention it received), the study tracks the pattern of large-scale shootings over the course of 53 years, ultimately concluding that mass shooters share four prominent characteristics: childhood trauma, a personal crisis, sources that validate their aggressive feelings, and access to a firearm.

The study was conducted by the Violence Project, a nonpartisan organization that “aims to reduce violence in society and improve related policy and practice through research and analysis.” With a sharp focus on the life histories of more than 171 mass shooters, the study serves as the largest, most comprehensive database of its kind, and it exposes a lot about the mass shooter archetype.

In addition to revealing that 20% of the 167 incidents have occurred in the past five years, the study reveals that shooters are increasingly motivated by a racial, religious, or misogynist impetus—especially those who committed their crimes in that same time frame.

credit: Los Angeles Times

This pattern is best demonstrated by the following metrics: Of the 75 mass shootings that took place between 1966 and 2000,  9% were motivated by racism, 1% by religious hatred, and 7% by sexism and misogyny. Of the 32 mass shootings that have unfolded since 2015, 18% were motivated by racism, 15% by religious hatred, and 21% by misogyny—a jump in numbers that exceeds 200% across the board.

While acknowledging mass shooters’ tendency to target populations that they are prejudiced against, the research team also drew attention to the fact that nearly all mass shooters seemed to be in a state of personal crisis in the time leading up to the actual shooting. This pattern, according to the researchers, demonstrates opportunities for prevention that are all too often missed.

Similarly, the study found that nearly 70% of shooters exhibited suicidal motivations before (or during) the shooting—a finding that the researchers hope will directly influence public policy. We know a lot more about suicide prevention than we do about this issue, and we know what works — things like limiting access to weapons, directly asking the question, connecting people with outside resources, not talking about it in the news,” Dr. Jillian Peterson, co-founder of the Violence Project, told VICE. “This shows us that there are opportunities for intervention—this doesn’t just happen out of the blue.”

Family history, life circumstances, and mental health aside, mass shootings would not be possible without the use of a gun. Roughly half of the perpetrators in the database purchased their weapons legally, while 13% obtained their weapons by theft. Over the last five years, the study notes an increase in mass shooters’ use of assault rifles, which correlates with the increased deadliness of shootings during that period. 

Beyond a desire for tighter firearm regulation, the Violence Project aims to focus on prevention: addressing the patterns surrounding gun violence in order to end it before it begins. This extensive database is definitely a step in the right direction.

Toddler Nikolette Rivera Was Shot And Killed In Philadelphia While In Her Mother’s Arms In Their Home

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Toddler Nikolette Rivera Was Shot And Killed In Philadelphia While In Her Mother’s Arms In Their Home

ralphnice / Instagram

Philadelphia is mourning the loss of young Nikolette Rivera, 2, in the wake of her tragic death Sunday. At 3:30 p.m., the toddler was in her Puerto Rican mother’s arms in their Kensington home when an unidentified gunman with an AK-47 unleashed seven shots into the home. Nikolette was shot in the back of the head in her living room. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 24-year-old mother, still unidentified, was shot in the back and on the right side of her head. She’s currently hospitalized and in stable condition. A 33-year-old contractor hired to clean carpets took a bullet to his stomach. He remains in critical condition.

Ballistic evidence is pointing to a connection between the Rivera household shooting and another that occurred 8 minutes prior that has left an 11-month old baby a quadriplegic. 

Nikolette was “la luz de la casa,” her recovering mother told Telemundo.

Credit: @MattPetrillo / Twitter

“I am devastated without my daughter, but I have two other children for whom I have to be strong. My Nikolette was a star, the daughter every mother wanted to have, was my doll. She was the light of the house, that of her father and brothers,” Nikolette’s mother told Telemundo. Family members remember Nikolette as a fashionista who aspired to be an actress. Her mother said that Nikolette always stole the spotlight wherever she went–she was that mesmerizing. 

She already had her Halloween costume picked out, never to be worn.

Credit: @DeniseNakanoTV / Twitter

Nikolette was going to be a baby yellow shark for Halloween. Instead, members of the community are saying she’ll be an angel instead.

Nikolette’s abuela and siblings survived the attack.

Screenshot. Digital Video. Telemundo. 22 October 2019.

“They took my granddaugther,” Carmen Ortiz, Nikolette’s grandmother told Telemundo through tears. “Ella murió. Mi princesa, mi única princesa,” Ortiz cried over the death of her princess granddaughter. Carmen was inside the house along with Nikolette’s two siblings. They survived without any physical harm.

The community has rallied behind the Rivera family, bringing pink and white balloons to a vigil at Nikolette’s home.

Credit: @KYWNewsradio / Twitter

Family and friends gathered at the house Nikolette lived and died in to release a hundred pink and white balloons in memory of “la luz de la casa.” Neighbors are calling for an end to the madness. Vecina Leslie Navarro tweeted that she was lost in the Kensington neighborhood at the time Nikolette was killed. “I saw this on the news I cried for her & her family & I pray for this city when you can’t even sit in your HOME  with family & live in fear of a stray bullet!” she tweeted. “My deepest heartfelt condolences to her family! #stopthemadness #NikoletteRivera” Bill Kinkle tweeted “seeing all the pink and white balloons around the neighborhood broke my heart today. #notonemore #nikoletterivera”

Police Captain Jason Smith has verified that the family was targeted.

Screenshot. Digital Video. Telemundo. 22 October 2019.

“We can say that that specific house was the target of the shooting,” Captain Jason Smith said. “The gunman used an assault rifle and detonated the weapon at the entrance door and the windows. We recovered seven bullet casings in front of the residence.” 

Those bullet casings seem to match that of another shooting that occurred seven blocks and five minutes apart from the Rivera shooting. That shooting has left an 11-month-old baby in extremely critical condition. He was shot four times – in the head, chest, and pelvis – while in the backseat of the family car. If the baby survives, doctors expect him to have lost all use of his arms and legs.

Officials are calling on citizens to offer their help to identify the gunman with a $30,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

Credit: @MattDeLucia / Twitter

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenny hosted a press conference after a weekend of gun violence directed at babies. “We had a horrible weekend with all this armed violence,” he said. “We need the help of the people because we cannot do this alone and the federal government to stop the flow of weapons in the city.” Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter added, that “this could not continue happening, the fact that children were impacted by armed violence in a car and in their own home, It breaks the sense of security and we can’t live like this. There has to be someone who saw who committed these acts and we need to stop them.”

Rest in Power, Princesa Nikolette.

READ: ‘Hamilton’ Star Miguel Cervantes And Wife Kelly Cervantes Share Touching Posts About Daughter’s Death