By Robert A. Vella
Go ahead, tell me this is all “normal.” This weekend saw over 80 casualties from just the two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. So far in 2019 over a span of 216 days, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. That’s an average of 1.16 mass shootings per day. When I grew up in this country, such incidents were so rare that the expression “mass shooting” was not part of the cultural lexicon. No, this isn’t normal by any stretch of the imagination; but, young people are growing up today in a toxic dysfunctional environment where it is becoming a new normal. And, the hate-filled rhetoric of a madman president in the White House is leading the way.
Something else is not normal too, and it is even more terrifying. This one, however, is affecting the entire world not just a single nation. Every year the disturbing realities of climate change become clearer and clearer. A few years ago, I warned that the continuing growth of the human population was running headlong into a global food shortage caused by climatic impacts to modern agriculture. Now, the IPCC is publicly acknowledging the problem with a report to be released this week stating that a catastrophe to civilization cannot be avoided unless we immediately transition to a more sustainable way of feeding ourselves.
If you are philosophically or ideologically inclined to welcome such news, then I submit that such attitudes are at least partly to blame for these problems for it conveys a lack of compassion towards our shared humanity which emboldens leaders like Trump who fuel the fires of hate and who deny the existential dangers of climate. Furthermore, if you refuse to see how the myriad crises facing us are all linked to a single cause (i.e. our own human failings), then I submit that such a view is blinded to the lessons of history and to the painful realities unfolding all around us.
In a second mass shooting in less than 14 hours, at least nine people are dead and more than two dozen were wounded early on Sunday after someone opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio, according to police.
The suspected shooter was shot and killed by responding officers “in less than a minute” after opening fire, Mayor Nan Whaley said at a Sunday morning press conference. Police said they were only aware of one shooter.
Twenty people were killed and 26 people were injured when the gunman, identified by three sources as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Texas, began shooting just after 10:30 a.m.
About 20 minutes earlier, a post on the online message board 8chan believed to be from the suspect laid out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants. The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” was attached to a post that said, “I’m probably going to die today.”
The writing is filled with white nationalist language and racist hatred toward immigrants and Latinos, blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.
On Saturday, the writer cited a fear that an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a “Democratic stronghold,” though he said “the Republican Party is also terrible,” because the GOP is in his mind pro-corporation, which can lead to more immigration.
EL PASO — A gunman wielding an assault-style rifle killed 20 people and wounded 26 more Saturday at a busy Walmart and shopping center not far from the Mexican border, authorities said, in the latest mass shooting to shatter a community and shake the country.
Two law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, identified the suspect as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old man from Allen, Tex., a suburb near Dallas. He surrendered to police near the shooting scene, authorities said.
One avenue of inquiry is a manifesto that includes remarks attacking immigrants and is sympathetic to a man charged with killing 51 people this year at two mosques in New Zealand, according to the two officials.
Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.
A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.
Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s ice-free surface to feed, clothe and support Earth’s growing population, the report warns. At the same time, agriculture, forestry and other land use produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, about half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields, while deforestation and the removal of peat lands cause further significant levels of carbon emissions. The impact of intensive agriculture – which has helped the world’s population soar from 1.9 billion a century ago to 7.7 billion – has also increased soil erosion and reduced amounts of organic material in the ground.