world on fire.

So, while my baby boy has been a health crisis, it also feels in the past days as if the world is caught up in an awful hateful fire too. And I have to say some things.

Tragedy Strikes

Saturday afternoon, news broke of a white supremacist shooter, who had just turned 21, who drove to El Paso – some 12 hours from his home – to commit mass homicide in a Walmart where he felt that he would harm the most Hispanic victims. In fact, according to witnesses, he allowed people of other races to pass him unharmed deliberately.

He murdered 22 people and injured 24 using an AK-47 type assault rifle.

Among those murdered:

  • The couple whose picture are the cover for this post, Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, aged 68, and Sara Esther Regalado, aged 66, visiting their children and grandchildren from Mexico
  • 90 year old Luis Alfonzo Juarez was killed whilst shopping with his wife of 70 years. She was injured but survived. She is completely broken.
  • Raul and Maria Flores were married for over 60 years – and were gunned down together while shopping in freaking Walmart on a Saturday.
  • Javier Rodriguez was a 15 year old high school student and soccer player. He was the youngest victim. As I type this, my own 15 year old high school student is eating her dinner downstairs and my chest literally hurts. It’s a very visceral reaction I can’t begin to describe. I join Beto O’Rourke in LOUDLY saying, “What the fuck?”

Here are some of the stories of the victims of this attack:

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/06/748527564/stories-of-el-paso-shooting-victims-show-acts-of-self-sacrifice-amid-massacre

Please take a moment to read them. They deserve that.

More Devastation

As we were all processing this news, at 1 AM Sunday morning, there was another mass shooting, this time in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio, where 24 year old Connor Betts, opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 9 and injuring 26 before being shot and killed by police on the scene.

Among those killed were his own sister, 22 year old Megan Betts, with whom he had been having drinks only a couple of hours earlier.

Motives

For the first mass shooter, his motive could not be more clear.

The morning of the shooting, he posted a four page racist rant online, complaining of an imagined “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.

We have all heard this language very recently and very publicly.

This blatant racist attack has terrorized the Hispanic community and is being rightly treated as domestic terrorism.

https://www.texastribune.org/2019/08/05/hispanics-terrorized-after-el-paso-shooting-and-racist-manifesto/

(I’ll return to that in a bit.)

One of the officers who arrested him when he surrendered to police reported that his cold affect was so disconcerting that he had never seen anything like it in his 31 years in law enforcement.

The death penalty is being pursued.

As for Connor Bett’s motive, it remains unclear.

What is apparent is a history of violence, bullying, and reported mental illness.

As a high school student, he kept a list of those he wanted to kill and rape. This led to police involvement and his suspension from school. However, inexplicably, he was allowed to return the following year. Also, because these were juvenile records, they were later expunged, so they didn’t prevent him obtaining a gun as an adult.

Having read multiple articles about his behavior at his high school, I am just appalled.

I would call your attention to the Number Five listing in this article:

Connor Betts’ Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Truly a disturbing picture of a young man intent on frightening people and harming them.

Things certainly didn’t improve as a young adult and a woman he dated this past Spring, Adelia Johnson, reported several alarming things:

  • On their first date, he pulled up video footage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and narrated it “play by play.” She wrote that she associated this behavior with the work they were doing in their social psychology class at the time.
  • In March or April, he called her intoxicated and was rambling about “wanting to hurt a bunch of people.” She stated that she believed at the time that these were just the ramblings of a drunken sad man.
  • Shortly thereafter, he attempted to leave a threatening letter at the home of an ex-girlfriend. At that point, she ended things with him and made his mother aware of the situation. Still, she stated she was shocked when he committed such violence, particularly that he harmed his sister.

For the full text of what she wrote, look here:

https://www.whio.com/news/local/full-statement-from-adelia-johnson-girlfriend-connor-betts/BXD2UsJBYbXTb7Kd8E2RzJ/

Looking For Causes

In the case of the first shooter, I am not going to mince words. Though there were plenty of hate groups before this President – and there will be plenty after – we have JUST heard this bullshit lie about a “Hispanic invasion” from him – when it is just that – a LIE – and, now, it has a body count.

In fact, those seeking asylum are not any sort of “invasion” but simply immigrants fleeing deplorable living conditions and seeking better lives. And this desire to keep them out, cage them, mistreat them? Pure godless racism and bigotry. Plain and simple.

And as for those who would continue to support the man who is the face of this?

You can give whatever reason you like for supporting him – BUT – he has proven himself to be a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe. . . over and over again. So, if you choose to support him and his behavior, you are choosing the same. It really is that simple. No more excuses. Just own it.

In this world, words have REAL consequences – particularly words spoken and written by powerful people – and we are seeing that now.

And Trump’s earlier repeal of laws to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill? That has real consequences as well.

The Big Issue

It should be noted that I am not an anti-gun person. In fact, I was raised to shoot them – though I’m not an enthusiast – and I do have a concealed carry permit.

some perspective.

However, there are some things that do not belong in the hands of private citizens ever. As the police chief of Dayton stated during his press conference, assault rifles do not belong in a civilian population.

It seems that every time we go through some sort of mass shooting tragedy, more and more of us acknowledge this truth – but then we move on with nothing being done about it.

It may well have to do with the NRA’s 55 million dollar lobbying budget in Congress or with Mitch McConnell receiving 1.2 million dollars from them over the course of his career. It’s no wonder he has an A rating from them for his record of stopping all attempts at any sensible gun restrictions.

This is disgusting.

This is despicable.

We now live in a world where it is not safe to go to Walmart or church or to send your children to school at times.

And I don’t want to hear about a “heart problem.” That may be the case – but a “heart problem” with a knife is much easier to contain than a “heart problem” with an AK-47 – so let’s start by taking away the AK-47.

We are the only country in the damn civilized world allowing this to continue.

I am tired of the violence.

I am pissed.

We are better than this.

Enough is enough.

Be well, everybody. Look after yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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