fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tim Wilkins

Thoughts And Prayers Are Not Enough

Our hearts are broken by this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. In a matter of seconds – separated by a few hours and 1,600 miles – twenty-nine lives were stolen, and many more injured, by two angry, young white men with automatic weapons. As shocking as these murders are, they are just the latest of our nation’s self-inflicted wounds. There have been more mass shootings so far this year – 251 – than days. And the most recent – last weekend’s in Gilmore, California, was by another angry, young white man who also evoked the racist, anti-immigrant tropes of President Trump. "How do you stop these people?” Trump said as he egged on Florida rallygoers in May, after demanding an end to what he called the “invasion” of our country by Latino immigrants. “Shoot them!” said an anonymous voice in the crowd, to applause and cheers. Trump’s response? A shrug and a smile. This is a moment when we, as a nation, must transcend our differences and come together. It remains to be seen of any of our lawmakers will rise to the mandate of history and take meaningful action to end this national crisis. Because it will take more than a shrug and a smile to keep white nationalists with unlimited access to firearms from taking more lives. Thoughts and prayers are not enough.

Back-To-Back Burst Of Gun Violence Stun Country

Back-to-back outbreaks of gun violence in El Paso and Dayton stun country. NYT: "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. Hours earlier, a 21-year-old with a rifle entered a Walmart in El Paso and killed 20 people. In a country that has become nearly numb to men with guns opening fire in schools, at concerts and in churches, the back-to-back bursts of gun violence in less than 24 hours were enough to leave the public stunned and shaken. The shootings ground the 2020 presidential campaign to a halt, reignited a debate on gun control and called into question the increasingly angry words directed at immigrants on the southern border in recent weeks by right-wing pundits and President Trump. 'It’s outrageous,' said Terrion Foster, who works in accounting and lives in Kansas City, Mo., where he was out shopping at a farmer’s market near downtown on Sunday afternoon. '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.'"

Trump's Role In Inspiring Shootings

After El Paso, we can no longer ignore Trump’s role in inspiring mass shootings. The Intercept: "By all accounts, the 21-year-old alleged El Paso shooter is a fan of President Donald Trump and his policies. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a “Twitter account bearing the suspect’s name contains liked tweets that include a ‘BuildTheWall’ hashtag, a photo using guns to spell out 'Trump,' and more. Incredibly, the nation woke up to more grim news on Sunday, with reports that a man suited up in body armor and bearing a rifle with high-capacity magazines had carried out a rampage in Dayton, Ohio, killing at least nine people and injuring 26. A four-page manifesto authorities believe was written by Crusius and posted shortly before the El Paso attack is full of the kind of hateful rhetoric and ideas that have flourished under Trump. The manifesto declares the imminent attack 'a response to the Hispanic invasion,' accuses Democrats of ;pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc,' rails against 'traitors,' and condemns 'race mixing' and 'interracial unions.' 'Yet another reason to send them back,' it says. Sound familiar? The president of the United States — who condemned the El Paso attack on Twitter — has repeatedly referred to an “invasion” at the southern border; condemned Mexican immigrants as 'rapists' and Syrian refugees as 'snakes'; accused his critics of treason on at least two dozen occasions; and told four elected women of color to 'go back' to the 'crime infested places from which they came.'"

GOP Senate Stalls Gun Legislation

Sen. Sherrod Brown calls on Mitch McConnell to have Monday vote on gun background check legislation. "Sen. Sherrod Brown wants U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call for an emergency vote during Congress’s August recess to try and pass a bipartisan firearms background check bill in the wake of two mass shooting in less than 24 hours, including one in Dayton. Brown made his plea to McConnell on CNN’s 'State of the Union' program Sunday morning. He came onto the program shortly after host Jake Tapper noted that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, declined to appear. Brown, a Democrat from Cleveland, said that while he is saddened by the wave of deadly violence across the U.S. in less than a 24-hour span, he is also angered that 'Congress still doesn’t do its job.' In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would expand background checks for gun sales, including purchases at gun shows and over the Internet. The bill has not been taken up for a vote by the Senate."

Kavanaugh Wants SCOTUS To Allow More Deadly Guns

Brett Kavanaugh wants to make it even easier for gunmen to obtain assault rifles. ThinkProgress: "if President Donald Trump’s most recent appointment to the Supreme Court gets his way, both assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will soon enjoy special constitutional protection. It is likely, moreover, that Justice Brett Kavanaugh has the five votes he needs to make this happen. In 2008, not long after the Supreme Court struck down its much stronger gun regulations, the District of Columbia passed an emergency law that, among other things, banned assault rifles and high-capacity magazines within the District. The law was challenged, and the challenge eventually reached a panel of three Republican appointees on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Two of those judges upheld the law. The third judge was Kavanaugh. In his dissent, Kavanaugh called for a sweeping expansion of the Second Amendment, beyond even what his two Republican colleagues were willing to endorse. Regarding assault rifles, the future Trump appointee argued that these weapons should enjoy the same nearly unassailable level of level of constitutional protection the Supreme Court afforded to handguns in its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller."

8Chan Hate Forum Shut Down Insider: "8chan, the online message board thought to be used by the El Paso, Texas, mass shooter to telegraph his attack, is offline after its security-services provider withdrew support for the website. Cloudflare, the Silicon Valley company that protected 8chan from cyberattacks, announced it had terminated its relationship with 8chan, describing it as a 'cesspool of hate.' Cloudflare withdrew its services at midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, and moments later 8chan was forced offline. The message board did warn users this would happen, tweeting that it expected some downtime. It said it was working to resolve the matter."

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