Juana Carrasco Martín | email@example.com
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In Los Angeles, the host city in a few days of the Summit without the Americas, as many have labeled it because of the selective exclusion decreed by President Joseph Biden to three sovereign nations in the region, the price of fuel at a downtown gas station reached more than eight dollars a gallon and prices continued to rise throughout the United States.
Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of crude oil in the European market closed at $117.60, its highest price since March 23, and much had to do with the sanctions imposed on Russian exports due to Washington and NATO’s confrontation with the Kremlin and the war situation in Ukraine.
Crude oil costs account for just over half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the price includes the other components of gasoline, production costs, distribution costs, overhead costs for everyone involved in production, distribution and sales, taxes and California carbon offset fees paid by refineries, City News Service said in releasing the increase that hits Americans’ pocketbooks hard.
The national average price of gasoline rose to a record high of $4.62 dollars, and it is no secret that this increase directly affects the cost of food, and a wide range of goods and services, so it has not been the only product that continues to rise.
The New York Times warned at the beginning of May that “the era of abundant cheap products could be coming to an end”, and went back to the pandemic in search of the causes. This is because, since then, the supply of goods has been severely limited and, consequently, prices have risen, with the aggravating factor that economists warn that this situation could persist, when the COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine affect international trade and inventories are difficult to fill.
Hence, inflation is affecting the global economy, practically without exception, including that of the United States which, moreover, many of whose corporations, in search of higher profits, have taken their industries to foreign territories and now ordinary Americans are paying double the consequences.
This rise in the cost of living is one edge of the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Democrats in the upcoming November elections, though not the only looming threat to that party. Mass shootings must be taken into account. These are much more than a problem of politicians-not public servants since they constitute an ultimatum to American society about its degradation as a nation.
The United States debates, once again and apparently with the same disappointing conclusion, how to reverse the violence that is expressed in the shootings that are leaving a trail of unfortunate deaths and, in just a week, the shootings have skyrocketed.
As of this Saturday, June 4 and so far in 2022, there have been 234 mass shootings in the United States, defined as when four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed. Not a single week has gone by in 2022 without at least four mass shootings, according to Gun Violence Archive records, and at the end of May, they counted 256 people killed and 1010 injured. June began with the same criminal figures.
Saturday, June 4: Centerville, a Texas community is shaken after five members of a Houston-area family were found murdered in the Collins family cabin, a crime described as “unspeakable” that took the lives of three brothers, Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Waylon Collins, 18; their cousin Bryson, 11; and their grandfather Mark Collins, 66.
The killer, Gonzalo Lopez, a member of a Mafia group sentenced to two life sentences for murder in Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder in Webb County, had escaped from prison three weeks earlier. I was unable to find out what weapon was used in the crime.
More of a shock seems to be the emotional status of the U.S. citizenry. On Thursday, June 2, two separate shootings occurred in the Midwest. One in the parking lot of Cornerstone Church in Story County, Iowa, where Jonathan Lee Whitlatch, 33, shot two women in the congregation, Eden Mariah Montang, 22, and Vivian Renee Flores, 21, while a program was in progress inside the church. He then killed himself.
The other occurred in Racine, Wisconsin. Two women were shot at Graceland Cemetery Thursday afternoon during a funeral for a man who was killed by police last month. Residents heard between 20 and 30 gunshots before 2:30 p.m. as loved ones gathered to remember Da’Shontay L. King Sr. a 37-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by police after a foot chase following an attempted traffic stop on May 20, according to the Racine Journal Times. The identity of the attacker, apparently still on the run, was not released.
Gunshots and wails are still heard from the Buffalo supermarket massacres, from Robb’s Elementary School in Uvalde, and from fallen medical personnel at a Tulsa hospital. As America shudders, politicians are shaking in their boots to stand up to gun producers and their blackmailing arm, the National Rifle Association-NRA, or jingle in their pockets.
The President of the United States is waiting for Congress to decide on a proposal that barely promotes raising the age to 21 to legally purchase a gun. Hardly a band-aid for the deadly wounds caused by daily shootings, and possibly not even that will be granted by those who take refuge in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
Shame on Biden’s words in a speech calling for the (unlikely) passage of the scrawny, rickety, flimsy reform: “I respect the culture, tradition and concerns of lawful gun owners,” and as if to cleanse himself, he added: “At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.”
It is very difficult to be with God and the Devil… and the voters, 97 percent of whom are in favor of some kind of limit or control on gun violence in their streets, schools, workplaces and homes, are pushing back.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
American cinema, which for more than a hundred years glorified the law of the gun, has been forced to dress up to deal with the massacres that have occurred in the schools of that country. But analysis and warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and not precisely because of artistic ineffectiveness.
Michael Moore sank the scalpel in his memorable documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002), acclaimed all over the world, and which would become a cultural reference for the nation based on shattering evidence: the link between the American people and firearms irremediably engendered acts of irrational violence.
The statistics offered by the filmmaker were shocking: 11,000 fatalities by firearms in one year. Today, when Bowling for Columbine is celebrating its 20th anniversary, one cannot help but be disturbed by the fact that, from the beginning of 2022 until the recent massacre in a school in Texas, five months ago, 17,202 people have died in the United States for the same reasons.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, since January of this year, there have been 213 “mass” shootings and ten “mass murders”.
Michael Moore did not hesitate to warn and predict the future in a documentary film about the 1999 massacre perpetrated by two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, a region where 5,000 employees of the Lockheed arms company lived. “And if fathers make missiles,” the filmmaker brought out his proverbial irony, “it is not strange that sons wield shotguns”. And, unstoppable in his mordacity, he made public that a local bank was awarding an assault rifle to anyone who opened a new account.
Relating the culture of violence to the prevailing culture of fear in his country, Michael Moore embarked on a journey of inquiry that led him to interview actor Charlton Heston, [then] president of the National Rifle Association and symbol par excellence of the praises sung by Hollywood to the use of guns. It was an interview that revealed hypocrisy, especially when Heston was filmed speaking at a gun rally near a town where a six-year-old girl had recently been murdered by a schoolmate.
Numerous films have been made on the subject of killings in schools and other places, highlighting the ease with which murderers have access to high-powered firearms. Among them stand out Elephant (2003), by Gus Van Sant, awarded at Cannes and also inspired -in documentary and fiction key- by the events of Columbine; Let’s talk about Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011) and Rudderless, (William H. Macy, 2014).
There is a long list of films that deal with topics related to the criminal event, such as harassment, racial and religious discrimination, social inequalities, xenophobia, social networks, video games, movies that ponder violence and the possible mental illnesses of the perpetrators, triggered or influenced, not infrequently, by all of the above. (Remember the massacre of 12 people in a Denver movie theater in 2012, during the premiere of a Batman film. When the police arrested the killer, a young man of 24, he identified himself: “I am The Joker”).
Judging by the legitimate expressions of pain, but also of helplessness, heard recently from U.S. leaders regarding the inability to reverse the current situation of many guns in the hands of those who claim the right to own them (as if the guns were toys), it is to be assumed, with horror, that new films about killings will have to continue to be made, or, in other words, art will once again be disqualified in the face of deafness.
Published: Sunday 29 May 2022 | 12:05:15 am.
Juana Carrasco Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Tuesday’s devastating mass shooting in Uvalde – a small Texas town where the victims were 19 students between the ages of seven and 10 and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, where the majority of the student body is Latino and poor like the perpetrator himself – put the spotlight on this weekend’s National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas.
The pro-gun lobbying group’s convention was being held starting Friday some 300 miles from the scene of the tragedy, and that day would feature appearances by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump, all Republicans.
The NRA has successfully “lobbied” Republican members of Congress – to many of whom it contributes juicy donations during their election campaigns, as it does to more than a few Democrats – to reject any bill that would restrict access to guns, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and also to reject a bill that would apply background checks to all gun sales.
Texas is an excellent supporter of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and last year passed a law allowing people to carry handguns without a permit or training in their use.
On Thursday – as the family of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed in Uvalde, announced that the teacher’s husband of 25 years and father of her four children, had died of a heart attack as a result of the tragedy – Senate Republicans blocked the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
The legislation would have created an interagency task force within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to analyze and combat the infiltration of white supremacists into the military and federal law enforcement agencies.
It was an attempt to respond to an earlier shooting, just ten days before the one in Texas, at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that left ten people dead, most of them Black, and was perpetrated by a young white, racist, right-wing extremist, tragic event that was described by President Joe Biden as an act of terrorism that should no longer be allowed.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader, New York lawmaker Charles Schumer, said before the vote, “The bill is so important because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We have to call it what it is, domestic terrorism. It was terrorism that fed on the poison of conspiracy theories like the white replacement theory,” and he saw it as an opportunity to curb gun violence, but his call for Republican support to begin debate failed.
A clear political dividing line put those of the political parties above the interest of safeguarding a society. Not a single Republican said yes to the measure, arguing that it would open a door to inappropriate oversight of political groups and create a double standard for groups on the extreme right and left of the political spectrum.
Some of those men, supposedly public servants, called it an “insult” to police officers, and labeled it a plan by Democrats to “name our police as white supremacists and neo-Nazis.”
It is obvious to recall the degree of impunity that police brutality has generally enjoyed, one of the most serious, enduring and controversial human rights violations in the United States as confirmed by human rights organizations, a national and institutionalized problem, expressed in unjustified shootings, severe beatings, lethal chokeholds during arrests, and other unnecessarily harsh physical treatment, where the victims are generally Blacks and Latinos.
Club Pulse in Orlando, Florida, this morning. Photo: Twitter
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A man with an assault rifle and a pistol took hostages and shot at close range in a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 50 people and wounding 53 before being shot fatally by police commandos, the mayor reported on Sunday.
“There is blood everywhere,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer at a press conference.
Earlier, U.S. Representative Alan Grayson identified the assailant as Mateen Omar Port St. Lucie, Florida, based on what police sources said.
Police Chief John Mina said the attacker was also carrying some kind of “suspicious device”. He explained that the individual engaged in a shootout with a police officer who was inside the club at about 2 AM and then took hostages.
At about 5 AM, the authorities dispatched a SWAT team to rescue the hostages and the assailant was killed in a firefight with those agents. Mina had initially said said police did not determine the exact death toll, but were “about 20”.
Police commander Danny Banks said at a news conference that authorities are investigating the hypothesis that it could have been an act of domestic or international terrorism, but also that the assailant may have acted on his own. Orange County Police Chief, Jerry Demings, added: “From my point of view, this is an incident of domestic terrorism.”
FBI Special Agent Ron Hopper said that there was no additional threats in Orlando or surrounding areas. When asked if the attacker had any connection with Islamic terrorism, Hopper said, “we have evidence that this individual had leanings towards that.”
Police had earlier reported on Twitter that a “controlled explosion” had taken place, in the Club Pulse, Orlando, a popular nightclub among gays when the event happened. Mina said that it was an explosion detonated by police on purpose to distract the attacker.
A woman, Mina Justice, was outside the club Sunday morning trying to find her son Eddie, 30 years old, who had sent her a text message telling what happened and imploring him to call the police. He told her that he had locked himself in a bathroom with other people and then wrote “Here it comes”.
Justice said: “The last message he wrote was: ‘We have corralled, is in here with us.’ That was the last communication. “
Dozens of police vehicles, including vans of SWAT teams, rushed to the place urgently. At least two police vans were carrying what appeared to be those killed at the event to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
The nightclub, Pulse Orlando, published shortly after 2 am a note on its website saying: “Get out of the Pulse and run”. Just before 6 it made another posting in which it said: “As soon as we get the information we do get. Please keep them all in your prayers as we work in this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and your love. “
Police said the local, state and federal authorities are investigating the incident.
Research on the events involved local, state and federal agencies, police said.
The incident occurred after the death Saturday of a 33 year-old singer, Christina Grimmie, who was shot after a concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old from Florida who later committed suicide. Grimmie was a star on YouTube and had participated in the TV show “The Voice”.
Jon Alamo said it was in the back of one of the rooms of the nightclub when a man with a gun entered the front.
“I heard 20, 40, 50 shots,” Alamo said. “The music stopped.”
Another of those present at the disco, Rob Rick, said the incident took place around 2 am, shortly before closing time.
It is believed inside the club there were more than 100 people when the shots were heard. Those present crouched and crawled into the cab of a DJ. They tore down a separation between the area reserved for disco and workers and people could escape through the back of the living area.
(With information from agencies)
12 junio 2016
Club Pulse, en Orlando, Florida, esta madrugada. Foto: Twitter
Un hombre con un fusil de asalto y una pistola tomó rehenes y disparó a mansalva en un abarrotado club nocturno de Orlando, Florida, matando a unas 50 personas e hiriendo a 53 antes de ser abatido fatalmente por comandos policiales, informó el alcalde de la ciudad el domingo.
“Hay sangre por doquier”, expresó el alcalde Buddy Dyer en conferencia de prensa.
Poco antes, el representante Alan Grayson identificó al agresor como Omar Mateen de Port St. Lucie, Florida, con base en lo que le dijeron fuentes policiales.
El jefe policial John Mina dijo que el atacante también portaba algún tipo de “artefacto sospechoso”. Explicó que el individuo se entabló en una balacera con un policía que estaba dentro del club a eso de las 2 de la madrugada y luego se adentró y tomó rehenes.
A eso de las 5 de la mañana las autoridades despacharon un equipo SWAT para rescatar a los rehenes y el agresor murió en una balacera con esos agentes. Mina inicialmente había dicho dijo que la policía no determinó la cifra exacta de muertos, pero que fueron “aproximadamente 20″.
El comandante policial Danny Banks dijo en conferencia de prensa que las autoridades indagan la hipótesis de que pudo haberse tratado de un acto de terrorismo interno o internacional, pero también de que el agresor pudo haber actuado por su cuenta. El jefe policial del condado de Orange, Jerry Demings, agregó: “Desde mi punto de vista, esto se trata de un incidente de terrorismo interno”.
El agente especial del FBI Ron Hopper dijo que ya no había amenazas adicionales en Orlando o sus alrededores. Cuando se le preguntó si el atacante tenía conexión con el terrorismo islámico, Hopper contestó: “tenemos indicios de que ese individuo tenía inclinaciones hacia eso”.
La policía anteriormente había informado en Twitter que había ocurrido “una explosión controlada” en el lugar, el club Pulse Orlando, un centro nocturno popular entre los gays. Mina dijo que ese fue un estallido detonado a propósito por policías para distraer al atacante.
Una mujer, Mina Justice, estaba afuera del club la mañana del domingo tratando de encontrar a su hijo Eddie, de 30 años de edad, quien le había enviado un mensaje de texto narrando lo que sucedía e implorándole que llamara a la policía. Le dijo a ella que se había encerrado en un baño con otras personas y que luego escribió “Ahí viene”.
Justice afirmó: “El último mensaje que escribió fue: ‘Nos tiene acorralados, está aquí adentro con nosotros’. Esa fue la última comunicación”.
Decenas de vehículos policiales, entre ellos camionetas de equipos SWAT, acudieron con urgencia al lugar. Por lo menos dos camionetas de la policía se estaban llevando lo que parecían ser víctimas fatales del suceso al Orlando Regional Medical Center.
La discoteca, Pulse Orlando, publicó poco después de las 2 de la madrugada una nota en su página diciendo: “Salgan de Pulse y corran”. Justo antes de las 6 realizó otra publicación en la que decía: “Tan pronto como tengamos información se las vamos a hacer llegar. Por favor, mantengan a todos en sus oraciones mientras trabajamos en este trágico suceso. Gracias por sus pensamientos y su amor”.
La policía dijo que las autoridades locales, estatales y federales están investigando el incidente.
En la investigación sobre lo sucedido participan agencias locales, estatales y federales, dijo la policía.
El incidente ocurrió después de la muerte el sábado de una cantante de 22 años, Christina Grimmie, que fue baleada tras un concierto en Orlando por un hombre de 27 años de edad de Florida que más tarde se suicidó. Grimmie era una estrella en YouTube y había participado en el programa de televisión “The Voice”.
Jon Alamo dijo que estaba en la parte de atrás de una de las salas del club nocturno cuando un hombre con un arma entró en la parte de delante.
“Escuché 20, 40, 50 tiros”, dijo Alamo. “La música se detuvo”.
Otro de los presentes en la discoteca, Rob Rick, dijo que el incidente tuvo lugar alrededor de las 2 de la madrugada, poco antes de la hora de cierre.
Se cree en el interior del club había más de 100 personas cuando se escucharon los disparos. Los presentes se agacharon y se arrastraron hacia la cabina de un DJ. Derribaron una separación entre la zona de discoteca y un área reservada a trabajadores y la gente pudo escapar por la parte de atrás de la sala.
(Con información de agencias)