President Donald Trump on Monday called the mass shootings in El Paso, Tx., and Dayton, Ohio, “a crime against all of humanity” and announced he is directing “the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.”
In his televised 10-minute statement , the president called the attacks “evil” and “barbaric” and denounced the shooters as “wicked,” he stopped short of supporting broader gun control measures, NBC reports.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”
“Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the DEATH PENALTY – and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay. pic.twitter.com/BDXdpelK7F
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2019
After the president’s comments, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the minority leader, urged Trump to demand that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the majority leader, “put the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks bill up for a vote.”
Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in 2011 by a gunman in a parking lot, released a statement on Twitter: “Words alone without action will not save lives. Today is not the first time this President has stood before the nation in the wake of a mass shooting promising to make the safety of our children and communities a top priority, but so far these promises have been empty.”
Trump had suggested earlier on Twitter that a background check bill could be paired with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system.
But he has yet to say how or why he was connecting the issues. Both shooting suspects were U.S. citizens. Federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive for the El Paso, Texas, massacre.
On Sunday, President Trump said “hate has no place in our country.”
The president went on to say, “I want to extend our condolences to the people of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, incredible people who have been through a lot. It was horrible but it could have been so much worse,” he added, noting the swift response of local law enforcement.
In recent weeks, President Trump has been strongly criticized for tweeting about four women of color who serve in Congress in terms perceived as racist. In rallies he has spoken of an “invasion” at the southern border.
The New York Times published an analysis on Monday saying that the El Paso shooting suspect’s manifesto echoed Trump’s language. The president “has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society.”
Trump also has been criticized for offering a false equivalency when discussing racial violence, such as when he said there were “very fine people, on both sides,” after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of an anti-racism demonstrator.
On gun control, a majority of Americans have consistently said they support stronger laws, but proposals have stalled repeatedly in Congress.
“Nine people were killed and 27 others were injured just as bars were closing at around 1 a.m. Sunday in Dayton’s popular Oregon District,” reported CNN. The motive of the killer, Connor Betts, who was gunned down by police about 30 seconds after he opened fire, may never be known, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, said the news outlet.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in El Paso, Texas, “will seek the death penalty for the man suspected of killing 20 people and injuring more than two dozen others,” in El Paso Saturday, said CBS News. “U.S. Attorney John Bash said they will pursue a criminal investigation, a civil rights hate crime investigation and “domestic terrorism” charges against the suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius,” the news outlet added. The El Paso death toll was raised on Tuesday to 22.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said Crusius purchased his weapon legally.
Earlier, the FBI said it plans to take a closer look at future threats.
“FBI Director Chris Wray has ordered the agency’s offices across the country to conduct a new threat assessment in an effort to thwart future mass attacks,” reported CNN.
Field offices will work to identify threats similar to events that took place in Gilroy, California, and El Paso, and Ohio’s entertainment district, said the outlet. CNN added that the efforts will be overseen by a command group at the FBI’s Washington headquarters.
“The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online,” said the bureau.
A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry.
A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming…
A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming.
Hantaviruses are a family of virus that spread through rodents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Yunnan Province, a man died on his way back to Shandong Province, according to Global Times, an English-language Chinese news outlet.
“He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the news outlet tweeted.
The tweet, sent amid a pandemic caused by a new coronavirus, has been shared more than 15,000 times.
Though countries across the globe are on high alert due to uncertainty around the coronavirus, there is no indication that the hantavirus poses a global public health threat.
According to the CDC, hantavirus cases are rare, and they spread as a result of close contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.
Certain kinds of rats and mice in the United States can carry the virus, which is transmitted when someone breathes in contaminated air.
“The hantaviruses that cause human illness in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another,” the CDC says on its website. Rare cases in Chile and Argentina have seen person-to-person transmission when a person is in close contact with someone sickened by a type of hantavirus called Andes virus, the CDC says.
In the U.S., the virus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems. Coughing and shortness of breath can occur later in the disease as the lungs fill with liquid, the CDC says,
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, found mostly in Europe and Asia, can also occur, which causes pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision, the CDC says. More serious symptoms include acute kidney failure.
Cases in the United States have typically been concentrated in the western and southwestern states.
From 1993 to 2017, there were only 728 confirmed hantavirus cases in the United States, with most being non-fatal, according to CDC data. In comparison, since late January, when the first known coronavirus case was identified in the U.S., there have been 46,805 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
In May 1993, a hantavirus outbreak occurred in an area between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. A 2012 outbreak in Yosemite sickened 10 people. In seven states, 17 people were infected in a 2017 outbreak.
Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home
A former police officer who argued she had a right to use lethal force when she killed an innocent man after mistakenly entering his apartment has been convicted of murder.
Amber Guyger faces a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found her guilty of the murder of Botham Jean in Dallas on 6 September last year – a verdict Jean family attorneys hailed as a significant moment in the battle to hold police accountable.
Guyger is white. Jean was black.
Standing in a packed hallway outside the courtroom in Dallas, attorney Lee Merritt told reporters the ruling was “a huge victory not only for the family of Botham Jean, but as his mother, Allison, told us a moment ago, this is a victory for black people in America”.
He said: “It is a signal that the tide is going to change here, [that] police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions.”
Merritt said the community should not have had to wait “on pins and needles” for the conviction of someone who killed a man who was “completely non-aggressive, sitting at home eating a bowl of ice cream and someone barged into his home and shot him to death.”
He added: “This should have been automatic, anticipated, expected, but it is extremely rare. From this day forward we are pushing so that it’s not rare.”
The jury began deliberating on Monday afternoon and reached a verdict on Tuesday morning, with sentencing to follow. Guyger pleaded not guilty. In Texas, murder usually carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison but judge Tammy Kemp had allowed the jury to consider convicting the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Jurors, however, decided that Guyger had committed murder.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Jean family, told NBC local news, said: “Thank God, finally America saw the humanity of an unarmed black man who was killed in an unjustifiable way and they returned a verdict that is befitting the criminal, cowardly act of this woman, killing Botham Jean in his own apartment.”
Crump added in a press conference: “This is a precedent now that will go forth across America for equal justice for everybody.”
He said the incident underscores the need for better police training and that the verdict was for “so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America” who died in interactions with police.
Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, had settled down on his couch to watch television and eat some vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his home. She claimed she mistakenly believed it was hers and thought he was an intruder.
Kemp controversially allowed the jury to consider whether Guyger’s conduct could be justified under Texas’s so-called “castle doctrine”. Expanded in 2007, it is comparable to “stand your ground” laws in other states and allows a civilian to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes … [it] is immediately necessary” in certain circumstances, such as during a burglary.
Though Jean was on his own property and Guyger the intruder, seemingly inverting the intent of the law, her attorneys argued she made a “mistake of fact” when she went to the wrong home, making her subsequent conduct reasonable. They said she was tired after a long day and many other residents had found themselves at the wrong unit in the past because signage was unclear and floors looked similar.
“She made a series of horrible mistakes,” Toby Shook, one of her attorneys, said. “The law recognises that mistakes can be made.”
Prosecutors said it was “absurd” to believe the 31-year-old’s “commando-style” behaviour was reasonable, especially given her training as a police officer and status as a more than four-year veteran of the department.
They noted that Guyger failed to retreat and call for back-up, questioned the veracity of her claim to have given Jean verbal commands before firing, and pointed out that after calling 911 she appeared to provide only limited medical assistance as Jean, who was from St Lucia, lay dying from a chest wound.
Rather than feeling tired, prosecutors alleged, she was distracted because she had been “sexting” a colleague. Jean had a bright red mat in front of his door that ought to have been impossible to miss.
Guyger – who was fired by Dallas police – wept while testifying.
“I was scared this person inside my apartment was going to kill me,” she said. “I ask God for forgiveness and I hate myself every single day. I feel like a piece of crap.”
In closing statements, Jason Fine, a prosecutor, called most of her testimony “garbage”. Fine said Jean did not act in a threatening manner, but started to stand up “like a normal reasonable person who has somebody busting into his home, and before he can even get up he is shot dead in his own home.
“Killing this man was unnecessary and unreasonable from start to finish.”
Special security measures were put in place during the trial. Jean’s death sparked protests and demands for justice from activists who cited it as one of a long line of racially charged shootings by a police department that lacks accountability. Though she was off duty, Guyger was still in uniform and used her service weapon when she encountered Jean.
Critics of the department have also claimed Guyger was given preferential treatment. It emerged during the trial that the head of the Dallas Police Association told another officer to shut off an audio-visual recording system inside a patrol car so that he could have a private conversation with Guyger soon after the shooting.
She still faces a civil lawsuit brought by Jean’s family.
Man Dies After Contracting Vibrio from Eating Oysters at North Carolina Coast
A man is dead after contracting a harmful bacteria from eating oysters on the North Carolina coast, according to family friends.
They say David Argay contracted vibrio in Wilmington, but died Thursday at the hospital.
Argay is from Cary, North Carolina.
Vibrio is a bacteria that lives in saltwater. There are 200 recognized species of marine vibrios but only a few can cause significant problems.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, vibrio infections are associated with eating raw or under-cooked shellfish such as oysters, clams, shrimp and scallops.
The health department did not release details about when exactly Argay ate the oysters or which restaurant served them to him.
Health officials said these types of infections can be prevented by thoroughly cooking seafood or shellfish especially oysters and not exposing open wounds to seawater.
Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer.
The CDC reports vibrio causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths a year in the United States.
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