El Paso shooting: Hundreds of mothers and students demanding gun control march on White House and the Capitol

gun control

Hundreds of mothers, students and other volunteers demanding action on gun control marched on the White House and the Capitol on the heels of the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas on Saturday. Several other similar protest demonstrations were also held across the U.S.

Members of activists group Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action organized the march.

The protesters in Washington D.C. chanted “Whose house? Our House!” and waved signs critical of passive lawmakers that read “Coward Congress.”

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, said members of her organization, which was created following the massacre in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, were teaming up with their sister activist group Students Demand Action.

Watts told they were demanding the U.S. Senate act on a background check bill for people wanting to buy a gun – legislation, which passed through the House of Representatives earlier this year.

Students Demand Action is an initiative of Everytown for Gun Safety, which is a U.S. non-profit founded and largely funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006.

The protest was one of several demonstrations across the country that day demanding similar action or support for the victims of gun violence.

The mom group’s volunteer leader Amber Gustafson said they had already arranged a national meeting in Washington, D.C.

But they decided to turn their efforts to marching on the White House when they heard about the shooting in El Paso on Saturday morning, which left 20 dead and more than two dozen injured.

Gustafson said the protesters, who were clad in their traditional red t-shirts, often works at state and local levels but stressed that she is seeking a “federal remedy” to gun violence.

The groups’ demonstration took place mere hours before a second mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday morning, which left nine people dead and 26 other people injured.

The gunman in Dayton, who has not been identified by authorities, was shot to death by responding officers. Authorities have not identified a motive.

Dayton shooting: Vigil honors victims

Dayton datelined media reports said:

Nineteen hours after a masked gunman opened fire on revelers enjoying summer nightlife, the blood had been scrubbed from the sidewalk and the crime-scene tape torn down as a somber crowd of hundreds stood in the same street Sunday evening to honor the nine victims killed and 27 left injured in Dayton.

They released doves, repeated the names of the dead and sang “Amazing Grace,” but directed an angrier chorus at Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, interrupting his speech at the vigil with chants of “Make a change” and “Do something!”

Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, said there would be time later for dealing with the policy issues.

She implored the crowd to honor the victims of the second U.S. mass shooting in less than 24 hours, for which no motive has been explained.

Connor Betts, 24, was armed with a .223-calibre rifle with magazines capable of holding at least 100 rounds of ammunition when he fired off dozens of shots in a popular entertainment district, Police Chief Richard Biehl said.

Betts was gunned down within 30 seconds of the start of his rampage, police said. Surveillance video they shared shows officers shot Betts at the doorstep of further destruction, just stopping him from entering a bar where some people took cover when the chaos broke out around 1 a.m. Sunday in the historic Oregon District.

Had he gotten inside Ned Peppers Bar, the result would have been “catastrophic,” Biehl said.

Bullet holes remained visible in the window there as people left flower bouquets in memorial in front of Ned Peppers and other bars. At one store, a few purple flowers were tucked into a bullet hole.

Nikita Papillon, 23, was across the street at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started. She said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside Ned Peppers, a bar she described as the kind of place “where you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place.”

“People my age, we don’t think something like this is going to happen,” Papillon said. “And when it happens, words can’t describe it.”

Two former high school classmates told Betts repeatedly threatened other students and 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 classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24, spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern they might face harassment if their names were disclosed.

The Ohio shooting came hours after a young man opened fire in a crowded El Paso, Texas, shopping area, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured. Just days before, on July 28, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.

Sunday’s shooting in Dayton is the 22nd mass killing of 2019 in the U.S., according to the AP/USA Today/Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks homicides where four or more people were killed – not including the offender. The 20 mass killings in the U.S. in 2019 that preceded this weekend claimed 96 lives.

The shooting in Dayton comes after the area was heavily damaged when tornadoes swept through western Ohio in late May.

CNN‘s Jake Tapper calls out GOP leaders for rejecting interviews after shootings

In the aftermath of two shootings in Texas and Ohio, Republican leaders declined CNN requests to talk on air about the mass slayings that increasingly plague America.

During his Sunday morning “State of the Union” broadcast, host Jake Tapper listed several GOP officials who rejected requests to appear on the program ― Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“We also asked the White House to provide someone to discuss these shootings,” Tapper added. “That request, too, was declined.”

Several Democratic presidential candidates appeared on CNN Sunday to condemn the failure of GOP lawmakers to back stricter gun control measures that regularly are proposed after mass shootings but rarely advance.

The Democrats also decried President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric, which much of the GOP either has been slow to renounce or silent about.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), an El Paso native, has been especially vocal among his party’s White House hopefuls, demanding on Sunday that the public “acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we’re seeing” in light of the violence that unfolded in his state.

“We see it on Fox News, we see it on the internet, but we also see it from our commander in chief,” he told Tapper. “He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he encourages it.”

Presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also rebuked the president’s bigotry, as did South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Elizabeth Warren hammers ‘hate-for-profit’ Fox News

When Elizabeth Warren was asked earlier this year if she would ever attend a Fox News town hall, the Democratic presidential candidate slammed the network as a “hate-for-profit machine” and vowed never to accept an invitation.

In the wake of the two mass shootings Warren doubled down on her stance.

Her jab at Fox News was in response to this tweet from Leah Greenberg, co-founder of the Indivisible Project.

The shooting in El Paso was a terrorist attack targeting Latinx people. It was spurred by the same white nationalist ideology that is promoted by the President of the United States and mainstreamed by Fox News.

Before her Fox tweet, Warren joined a chorus of voices calling for action.

She wrote: “We’re waking up to the second mass shooting in as many days. I’m heartsick for the 29 people killed this weekend in El Paso and Dayton — and all the other lives we lose every day due to senseless gun violence. We need to take urgent action to end the gun violence epidemic.”

Meanwhile, President Trump kept a mostly low profile, spending the first hours after the killings at his New Jersey golf course, according to the Associated Press. He eventually appeared before cameras Sunday afternoon with the first lady.

“Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it,” he said before boarding Air Force One.

Cloudfare terminates 8chan, an online meeting place for ‘extremist hate’

The online message board 8chan, which has been linked to three mass shootings in 2019, will be terminated, Cloudfare announced late Sunday night, just hours after the site’s founder called for its end.

Cloudfare will cut off services for 8chan at midnight PDT, CEO Matthew Prince said in a statement, though he noted that another network provider could bring 8chan back online. That’s what happened in 2017, when Cloudfare booted The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi message board.

“The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths,” Prince said. “Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.”

During media interviews earlier Sunday, 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan called for the image board’s end.

“Shut the site down,” Brennan told the New York Times on Sunday. “It’s not doing the world any good. It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.”

Founded as an alternative to the more well-known 4chan message board, 8chan, or “Infinite Chan,” has nearly 20,000 public boards. The website’s welcome is, “Welcome to 8chan, the Darkest Reaches of the Internet.”

Many of the posts that could be quickly accessed prior to the website’s termination included offensive images and language.

In March, a New Zealand man posted a lengthy manifesto to Twitter and to 8chan before killing 50 and injuring dozens in a rampage that was live-streamed on Facebook and Twitter.

In April, a shooter posted a manifesto to 8chan before killing one woman and injuring three others at a California synagogue.

The New York Times reported 8chan, “remained on the fringes until 2014, when some supporters of GamerGate — a loose reactionary collection of anti-feminist video gamers — flocked to 8chan after being kicked off 4chan.

By Sunday evening, the shooter’s alleged manifesto was still circulating on 8chan.

A ‘venomous’ website for ‘extremist hate’

In interviews with the Washington Post and the New York Times, Brennan said 8chan needs to be shut down. He gave up control of the website to Army veteran Jim Watkins in 2015, both newspapers reported.

“The board is a receptive audience for domestic terrorists,” Brennan told the Post.

The Washington Post called the website “one of the Web’s most venomous refuges for extremist hate.”

One anonymous 8chan user, for example, praised the El Paso shooting in a thread, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a news release.

“The motive and the manifesto have not been named the entire day. There weren’t even speculations. They are f—— SCARED.”

‘But this isn’t the end’

In a message at the top of its website, 8chan states, “only content that violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or other United States laws is deleted,” from the imageboard and warns users that posts and boards are user-created and “do not represent the opinions of the 8chan administration.”

Brennan told the Post that 8chan is a “vanity project” for Watkins that doesn’t make much money. He also told the newspaper the website’s servers are distributed around the world, which makes it difficult to take down.

It has also been protected from web-based attacks by Cloudflare, according to the Post.

Cloudflare lawyer Douglas Kramer told the Post he worried dropping 8chan’s protection would encourage “cyber vigilantism.”

In its termination statement, Cloudfare said it feels uncomfortable “playing the role of content arbitrator” but called on technology companies to work with lawmakers on dealing with hate-filled sites.

“There comes a time when enough is enough,” Prince said in a tweet with the termination statement. “But this isn’t the end. We need to have a broader conversation about addressing the root causes of hate online.”

El Paso shooting: Mexico exploring legal action against the U.S.

The Mexican government is looking into taking legal action against the U.S. after six Mexican nationals were killed and seven others were injured in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, said Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

During a press conference in Mexico City Sunday, Ebrard called the shooting an act of terrorism against Mexicans in the U.S.

The minister said the Mexican government would look into whether there is enough evidence to solicit the extradition of the gunman to face charges in Mexico.

Authorities are investigating a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe the suspect posted on the online message board 8chan before the shooting.

The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” is filled with white supremacist language and racist hatred aimed at immigrants and Latinos. It blames immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.

In a video posted to his official Twitter page, Ebrard said what happened in El Paso was “unacceptable” and that “the first judicial actions” the government will take will be in accordance with international law.

“Mexico would like to express its utmost profound condemnation and rejection of this barbaric act where innocent Mexican men and women were killed,” Ebrard said. “We are outraged. We do not support the culture of hate.”

Ebrard also said Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador instructed him to take swift legal action in order to first protect the families who were affected and then “so that Mexico can demand that the United States protect the Mexican community in the United States.”

López Obrador confirmed earlier Sunday in a televised statement that six Mexican nationals were killed and seven were injured in the shooting at an El Paso shopping center that left a total of 20 people dead and 26 injured.

Ebrard urged the US to establish a “strong position against hate crimes” following the shooting. He also drew attention to gun control as a “crucial issue.” and announced that Mexico is investigating who is responsible behind the sale of “these assault weapons.”

Ebrard said the number of Mexicans who were injured in the attack has risen to nine.



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