By Robert A. Vella
Well, the shit sure is hitting the fan today over the terrible mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The FBI is finally looking into these incidents as acts of domestic terrorism (better late than never, I suppose), and reluctant Republicans (including President Trump) are considering the need to implement universal background checks on gun purchases which Democrats have been demanding for decades. But, even such backpedaling by some in the GOP (which is probably causing handwringing at the NRA right now) won’t assuage the palpable outrage being expressed by Americans all across the nation. Calls for assault weapon bans and other gun control measures are sounding loud and clear from coast to coast.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – a staunch opponent of gun control legislation – has conveniently suffered an injury in his home which will apparently prevent him from calling the Senate back into session from its August recess to deal with this out of control crisis. Considering that “Moscow” Mitch is still smarting from a badly bruised ego over intense public scrutiny of his patriotism for continually blocking vital election security bills, his convalescence is quite understandable.
Here’s a sampling of the uproar:
“It’s outrageous. It’s really sad because I feel like you can’t go anywhere and be safe. I’m 50 years old and I didn’t think I’d be alive to see some of the things that are going on today.” – Terrion Foster, an accountant who lives in Kansas City, Missouri
To President Trump: “This has got to stop! This has got to stop!” – Damon Davenport, who lost two cousins in Dayton
“Do something! Do something! Do something!” – the crowd chanted over and over again at a speech given by Ohio’s Republican governor Mike DeWine.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke blasted the news media for failing to connect the dots between Trump’s hateful rhetoric, which he asserts is inciting violence, and acts of domestic terrorism like the one committed on Saturday by a white supremacist in El Paso.
Update on the Dayton shooter
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, say he was suspended for compiling a ‘‘hit list’’ of those he wanted to kill and a ‘‘rape list’’ of girls he wanted to sexually assault.
The accounts by two former classmates emerged after police said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside a crowded bar. Police on patrol in the entertainment district fatally shot him less than a minute later.
DAYTON, Ohio — On Sunday, Americans woke up to news of a shooting rampage in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, where a man wearing body armor shot and killed nine people, including his own sister.
Theo Gainey, who lived for 10 years down the block from the Bettses and was a year ahead of Connor Betts in school, remembered him as a “bit of an outcast,” ostracized in large part because of threats he made at school that got him into serious trouble.
“He got arrested on the school bus” for the threats, said Mr. Gainey, who added that he was on the bus himself when it happened. He recalled Mr. Betts being a freshman or sophomore at the time. Mr. Gainey, 25, did not remember the specifics of the threats but said that Mr. Betts had to leave school for the rest of that year. When he returned, “the threat thing followed him, and people didn’t want to hang out with him.”
He was charged in May 2016 with operating a vehicle while under the influence in 2015, and a ticket said he had a blood alcohol content of .091, over the legal limit of .08. Mr. Betts pleaded guilty the next year to a lesser charge of having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.
Update on the El Paso shooter
The suspect in the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, “didn’t hold anything back” when he was interviewed by investigators, the city’s police chief said Sunday.
Greg Allen also said “it’s beginning to look more solidly” that the suspected gunman was the author of a manifesto, posted to the website 8chan about an hour and a half before the rampage began, that warns of an “invasion” of Latino immigrants and expresses support for the man who killed worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.
World news briefs
President Trump and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin are coincidentally (or not) advancing their nuclear proliferation plans; although, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that he wouldn’t allow the U.S. to deploy missiles in Australia as a counter to China. The political turmoil in Hong Kong is escalating dangerously with China exerting increasing pressure to suppress the uprising of anti-government protests; meanwhile, Putin has already done the same in Moscow. Tensions are building in the Persian Gulf over the free transport of oil as Iran attempts to assert regional control, India is taking a more hard-line approach to the contested provinces of Kashmir, and a trade war is heating up between Japan and South Korea. U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson is facing controversy over his finance minister’s conduct as an executive for scandal-plagued Deutsche Bank.