Things That Matter

The Border Patrol Just Bought 33 Million Bullets And Brown And Black Bodies Are The Target

The United States-Mexico border has historically been a contradiction. On one hand, it is home of a rich and multifaceted culture that has produced great music, art and food, and where acts of everyday solidarity reveal the best of humanity. On the other hand, la frontera has also sparked fierce political debates, acts of State abuse and cruelty, and government policies that have turned it into a quasi-militarized zone. 

The border is becoming increasingly militarized and the use of new Glocks and the acquisition of 33 million rounds might just be the tip of the iceberg.

During the Trump administration, the Border Patrol has gotten an increasingly free reign over the use of lethal force, and a recent acquisition has raised red flags over the firepower of the government body in charge with dealing with border crossings and undocumented migrants and refugees. 

The total investment in ammunition might reach over $180 million in the next few years.

Credit: Bloomberg News

That is a lot of money that could perhaps be best invested in social programs or some much needed cultural awareness courses for Border Patrol officers. The rounds are sold by Winchester Ammunition Inc. and are special hollow 9mm Luger bullets. Each bullet is priced at 30 cents. 

The bullets are to be used in the Border Patrol’s new Glock G47 handguns.

Credit: The Truth About Guns

The 33 million bullets are meant to be used with the agency’s new Gluck handguns, which were bought in April in an $85 million deal. As reported by the Boston Globe, an extra 300 million bullets could be purchased over the next five years.

In a press release, Border Patrol’s aid Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez said: “This contract provides CBP law enforcement personnel the latest in handgun technology and represents our commitment to providing the highest quality use-of-force tools and equipment to our law enforcement personnel who defend America’s frontline every day”. We don’t know about you, but this certainly sounds like wartime talk. Well, that is probably how some law enforcement agencies see the border, to be honest. 

The bullets are basically enough to wipe out the population of a country like Australia, with a few to spare.

Credit: The Conversation

Just to give you an idea of the amount of ammunition bought by the Border Patrol, there would be a bullet for every person in Australia, with over seven million to spare. The figure is just mind blowing and puts into question the priorities of border policies. It seems that security measures and allocation of budgets echo the Trump administration’s near paranoia regarding undocumented migrants and refugees. This type of expenditures also reinforce the idea that there is a crisis in the border, and that a hoard of bad hombres are threatening the American way of life. 

The number is staggering, but there is a reason behind it that sorta justifies it… just sorta.

Credit: American Security Today

Many of these bullets are used during training sessions in which agents need to fire live ammunition. There are about 50,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees that are authorized to carry a handgun. 

However, there is an increasing number of cases of misconduct among border officers, which raises red flags in relation to the amount of ammunition being made available to them.

Credit: VOA News

As Pete Norman writes in Bloomberg: “However, staff behavior has come under increased scrutiny in recent years amid President Donald Trump’s determination to build a wall on the country’s southern border to thwart illegal aliens and drugs. Criminal misconduct by border officers recently reached a five-year high, an internal government report obtained by Quartz revealed”. So putting this much live ammunition and so many guns in the hands of officers that seem to be increasingly trigger happy does not seem like a very good idea at all. 

The situation in recent years has been so dire, that Senate Democrats have introduced a new bill.

Credit: The Daily Beast

The Homeland Security Improvement Act. One of the promoters of the act, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA),  has said in relation to this: “Since the beginning of this administration, the Department of Homeland Security has been a party to human rights abuses against immigrant children, multiple deaths in U.S. custody, abhorrent conditions in detention centers, and so much more. DHS’s actions have shocked the American people and severely damaged our nation’s standing as a safe haven for those fleeing violence and oppression. We must prevent this in the future. We must require training, oversight, and accountability within DHS to ensure the department respects the basic dignity of every person.”

Things will get interest next year come election time, and we are sure that border security issues will be key for Trump and whoever faces him.

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Apparently Cops Are Playing Music While Being Filmed And It’s For A Very Sinister Reason

Things That Matter

Apparently Cops Are Playing Music While Being Filmed And It’s For A Very Sinister Reason

Over the past few years, cops sure have become increasingly vocal about their disdain of average citizens exercising their constitutional right to record interactions with authorities. It’s almost as if many of them feel they are above the law itself.

Now, some officers appear to be trying to evade videos of them circulating on social media through a crafty — if not exactly airtight — strategy: playing copyrighted music loudly and for long enough to be flagged by automatic censoring software on apps like Instagram.

A report has emerged of police using copyrighted music to trigger social media takedowns.

According to VICE News, a well-known LA activist went into the Beverly Hills Police Department to obtain body cam footage from a recent traffic stop. Sennett Devermont, the activist, did what he normally does during his interactions with police and live-streamed the interaction to his more than 300,000 followers on Instagram.

It all started out friendly and chill, however, things got weird when the officer started scrolling through his phone. Shortly after, Sublime’s hit from the 90s, “Santeria”, started playing and the officer stopped talking.

Sir, you’re putting on music while I’m trying to talk to you. Can you turn that off? It’s a little ridiculous,” Devermont can be heard saying, followed by a sizable pause from Sgt. Fair. “I’m just trying to see how many people are watching this. Since you didn’t answer my simple question, I tried to find it myself,” the officer finally replies from behind a Blue Lives Matter face mask, alluding to their discussion from a few moments earlier regarding how many people might be watching the livestream.

A separate encounter with the same officer plays within the same edited clip near what appears to be an active crime scene. “What — why are you playing music?” repeats Devermont, to which Sgt. Fair teasingly asks, “What? I can’t hear you.”

So is it working?

Theoretically, the strategy could make the videos subject to content flagging, or even account suspensions and bans. That said, Instagram’s content monitoring algorithms are inconsistent at best, and every upload of Devermont’s encounters remain on the social media app.

In most cases, filming on-duty police is an American right protected by the First Amendment. Law enforcement is more aware of this than most citizens, so people like Sgt. Fair and others know exactly what they are doing when they start playing music. The question is whether these are the acts of a few industrious police, or a recommended policy handed down from on high.

Take all this as a polite reminder that it is absolutely legal to film cops in situations like the ones in these videos, and you should feel free to do so if inclined. There are even apps to help you do just that, so don’t let Sublime’s “Santeria” — or any other tunes, even ones you hate — dissuade you.

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Mexican Police Officers Arrested In Connection With Migrant Massacre Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Things That Matter

Mexican Police Officers Arrested In Connection With Migrant Massacre Near U.S.-Mexico Border

News of Mexico’s latest bloody massacre shocked the world. Nineteen bodies had been found near the U.S.-Mexico border with gun wounds and they had been burned to try and conceal the crimes.

Quickly it began to become clear that most of the victims were migrants en route to the U.S. from Central America, including many Guatemalan citizens. Now, new evidence shows that state police officers were likely involved in the murders and attempted coverup.

The massacre is the latest chapter in Tamaulipas’ history of police corruption. Most towns and cities in the state saw their municipal police forces dissolved years ago, because officers were often in the pay of the cartels. A more professional state police force was supposed to be the answer, a belief that came crashing down with the arrests announced yesterday.

Officials have arrested 12 police officers in connection to the deadly massacre.

A dozen state police officers were arrested in connection with the killings of 19 people, including Guatemalan migrants, whose bodies were found shot and burned near the U.S. border late last month.

Tamaulipas state Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica announced that all 12 officers were in custody and face charges of homicide, abuse of authority and making false statements.

The victims were found piled up in a charred pickup truck in Camargo, across the Rio Grande from Texas, in an area that has been bloodied for years by turf battles between the remnants of the Gulf cartel and the old Zetas cartel. Another burned vehicle was found at the scene and authorities say it had been seized by immigration officials in a raid that detained 66 migrants on their way to the U.S.

The motive behind the massacre is still unclear.

The attorney general did not say what motive the officers might have had, though corrupt local and state police in Mexico are often in the pay of drug cartels. It’s also common for cartels to charge migrant smugglers for crossing their territory, and kidnap or kill migrants whose smugglers have paid a rival gang.

Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said that immigration agents tied to the case had been fired, though she provided no details on their number or their alleged role.

“These violations of the rights of migrants are absolutely unacceptable,” Sánchez Cordero said. She said no member of the security forces or immigration authority was above the law.

Since many of the victims have been identified as Guatemalan migrants, authorities are trying to find their families.

Credit: JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities have said four of the dead have been identified so far — two Guatemalans and two Mexicans. Of the 19 bodies examined by experts, 16 were found to be males, one was confirmed as female and the two others were so badly burned their gender had not yet been determined.

The forensic results confirmed the fears of families in a rural Indigenous farming community in Guatemala who have said they lost contact with 13 migrants as they traveled toward the United States.

Guatemala’s foreign affairs ministry said late Tuesday that it was working closely with Mexican authorities. In a statement, it asked that “the full weight of law be applied to those responsible for such unfortunate events that have Guatemalan families mourning.”

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