Category Archives: Mass shootings

A Benicia perspective on outbreak of mass shootings – 20 dead in El Paso today

Hate is a factor, Trump fanning the flames

By Roger Straw, August 3, 2019

So today 20 innocent people were gunned down by a white supremacist in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.  Another 26 were seriously injured, some critically.  Earlier this week, two store workers were killed in a Walmart in Mississippi.  And on Sunday this week, another white supremacist gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California, killing three of us and injuring 15 .

In just this last week, according to MassShootingTracker.com, 43 were killed and 75 injured in mass shootings.  In 2019, 291 mass shootings have taken place so far – that’s 291 mass shootings in 215 days!  In those 291 horrific events, 335 individuals have been murdered and 1,111 others were injured.

In May, a gunman killed 13 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person and injuring three.

This is a crisis.  President Trump’s racist tweets and actions have added momentum to the white supremacist element in the U.S.  (See NY Times, Why Does Trump Fan the Flames of Race-Based Terrorism?)

I have documented this trend on a number of occasions – see previous Benicia Independent gun control stories(Also, note archives on local Benicia gun reporting halfway through this article.)

The most recent shooting in El Paso (below) caught my attention today, and deserves your careful consideration.  What will our leaders DO to stop this!?


Mass Shooting at El Paso Walmart Leaves 20 Dead

The gunman “started shooting everyone, aisle by aisle,” an eyewitness says.
Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

EL PASO—A lone gunman killed at least 20 people inside a crowded Walmart on Saturday morning, according to eyewitnesses and officials.

“A day that would’ve been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas. Lives were taken who should still be with us today. Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives, and more than two dozen more are injured,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at an evening press conference.

At least 22 people were transported to area hospitals, including a 4-month-old girl. At least nine people were in critical condition at Del Sol Medical Center, where three of them were said to be in “life-threatening” condition. The victims there ranged in age from 35 to 82, but no further details were immediately available.

Police have not yet identified those killed, though Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Twitter late Saturday that three Mexican nationals were among the 20 people killed.

Police said one person is in custody and they have ruled out multiple shooters. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Texas, according to a senior law-enforcement source. Authorities are investigating a purported manifesto posted online shortly before the attack.

Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at a press conference. Allen, who stopped short of naming the suspect, said authorities were still working to “validate” that the manifesto was penned by the alleged gunman.

More than a thousand people were inside the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall when the shooting started around 11 a.m. A woman named Karina, who declined to give her last name, said she was driving in the parking lot with her 7-year-old daughter when she saw a white man in his twenties in front of the store’s main entrance, dressed in all black and carrying a long rifle. Karina said she heard what sounded like “balloons popping” and saw the gunman shoot another man at “point-blank” range.

Then the gunman entered the store, as captured by surveillance footage.

Miguel Rodriguez said he was shopping for a toy for his 7-year-old son when he heard gunshots and ducked to the ground. He said a person “started shooting everyone, aisle by aisle, with rage.”

Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

Britney, a 19-year-old who declined to give her last name, said she was with her 16-year-old brother and her mother in the store’s underwear aisle when she heard shooting. The family dropped to the ground. Then Britney said she grabbed her mother and brother’s hands and they ran out of the store.

Dozens of people from inside the mall who were evacuated lined a nearby street. A man carrying a Bible went from group to group, asking people to pray with him.
Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

The El Paso shooting is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on public places. On Monday, a disgruntled employee killed two people in a Walmart store in Mississippi. Last Sunday, a gunman killed three people and injured 15 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California. In May, a gunman killed 12 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite allegedly attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person.

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    The Virginia Beach shooting confirms that gun violence is a national emergency

    By Editorial Board, The Washington Post, June 1 at 2:45 PM

    The Virginia Beach shooting confirms that gun violence is a national emergency

    Mourners pray on Saturday for the victims of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach. (Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)

    THE TWELVE victims killed in the Virginia Beach massacre were the people who knit the sinews of a society together, who plot the course of overhead wires and underground pipes, who set the course of roadways and sidewalks. They were municipal engineers and administrators, account clerks and agents, all of them making sure in some way or another that the essential connections and pathways everyone relies on would keep functioning. One of the victims had come simply to follow the rules, and file for a permit.

    MassShootingTracker.org

    That they were murdered in cold blood at their workplace on Friday afternoon is another sign that our society is not functioning properly in the face of an awful scourge. Mass shootings at schools, newspapers, concerts, nightclubs and factories have become a threat to public health and safety in the United States, an epidemic of violence resulting in hundreds of deaths every year. Would the nation’s politicians be mute and paralyzed if, say, 199 people were killed by food poisoning, a defective toy, or an automobile part malfunction? That is the number who have died in mass shootings so far this year (along with 643 nonfatal gunshot wounds), according to one group that keeps track. Sadly, sensible gun control generates headlines for a few days after each massacre, but then nothing happens.

    The reason for this inaction is no mystery: Politicians are intimidated by a gun rights movement, led by the National Rifle Association, that has for too long stood in the way of action. There are promising signs that this year’s crowded field for the Democratic presidential nomination might generate some long-overdue commitment to gun control, and some Democrats in Congress are devoting fresh attention to the crisis, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested is a national emergency. But the hour is late. The answers are not rocket science: universal background checks for gun purchases; banning semiautomatic assault rifles, which are weapons of war; putting limits on high-capacity magazines, which allow mass shooters to take more and more lives (these magazines were used by the Virginia Beach shooter) and other measures.

    The authorities in Virginia Beach announced they would say the shooter’s name only once. No doubt, many mass shooters may have been motivated by the perverse attraction of media notoriety, and so it will be interesting to see if this well-intentioned move has any impact, given today’s relentless and intense news and social media environment.

    But something greater must be done. The Virginia Beach shooter put a sound suppressor on his .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol so that the death shots were muffled, perhaps denying others the warning that would have allowed them to escape. It is long past time to remove the silencer that seems to suppress action on gun-control legislation, to treat mass shooting as the epidemic it is, and do everything possible to save lives.

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      Must watch video: Fareed Zakaria on CNN: Global Lessons on Guns

      Repost from Youtube

      CNN: Global Lessons on Guns – A Fareed Zakaria GPS Special

      Breaking CNN News Today Nov 25, 2018

      An incredibly important and informative analysis of gun violence in the U.S. and in various countries around the world.  Zakaria has been following this deadly issue for years, and presents here a carefully researched study with alarming results.  [NOTE: as of August 2019, the VIDEO that was previously viewable on Youtube can no longer be found anywhere on the internet.  If you can stand the obnoxious ads at the beginning of this audio, you can listen to Zakaria’s excellent analysis.]

      NO LONGER AVAILABLE (saved here in case it returns somehow…)

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        Desmond Tutu awards peace prize to Parkland shooting survivors

        Repost from NBC News

        “I am in awe of these children,” Tutu said at the ceremony on Tuesday.

        Image: March For Our Lives
        Emma Gonzalez and other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students conclude the March For Our Lives in Washington on March 24. Shawn Thew / EPA file
        By Associated Press, Nov. 20, 2018 / 9:56 AM PST

        FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Parkland students who created an international movement to raise awareness for gun violence after a deadly school shooting were awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize on Tuesday.

        During a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu presented the award, calling the student organization March For Our Lives one of the most significant youth-led mass movements in living memory and its founders “true change-makers.”

        “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can — no, must — improve their own futures,” Tutu said.

        In the moments after 17 of their classmates and teachers were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Delaney Tarr, Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin and more than a dozen others sprang to action, doing countless media interviews, grilling lawmakers about gun reform during town halls, and sparking massive walkouts and peaceful protests at schools across the country.

        Matt Deitsch, a Parkland alumnus whose two younger siblings were students at the time of the shooting, immediately left college to help form March For Our Lives.

        Hogg, Gonzalez, Corin and the Deitsch brothers were in South Africa to accept the award. Gonzalez said the award “serves as a major reminder that the universe is on the side of justice and that we will win because our cause is one of peace.”

        Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed, also spoke during the ceremony. The group was joined by two students from Chicago Strong, a youth-led initiative to end gun violence in their hometown, who have worked closely with their cause.

        Cameron Kasky
        Cameron Kasky, center, speaks at a news conference on June 4, 2018, in Parkland, Florida, where a group of school shooting survivors announced a multi-state bus tour to “get young people educated, registered and motivated to vote.” Wilfredo Lee / AP

        Since the Valentine’s Day massacre, the students have gained international attention, raised millions of dollars from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney for their grassroots movement and made a slew of television appearances.

        Hundreds of thousands attended their Washington, D.C., march this spring to raise awareness about gun violence and advocate for safer schools. Many of the students have called for a ban on assault rifles and universal background checks. The organization says more than 25 states have passed legislation consistent with their cause, including Florida.

        Over the summer, the students hit the road, visiting 80 communities in 24 states to help register young voters and spread their message about gun violence. Their tireless efforts even landed them on the cover of Time magazine.

        Marc Dullaert, founder of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, said the students “transformed a local community protest into a truly global youth-led and peaceful protest-movement.”

        In Parkland on Tuesday, a charity group pledged $1 million to create artworks to help the community heal.

        Bloomberg Philanthropies said it’s making the grant to Parkland and Coral Springs for their project, “Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: The Power of Art.” Five artists and teams will create temporary projects for public display. Community workshops and talks will discuss using art for emotional healing.

        Most of the 17 victims were from the cities.

        The charity was founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who started the news agency bearing his surname. He has been an outspoken supporter of groups with the goal of decreasing gun violence.

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