This story will serve as an update for the events, comments and other information that comes into our newsroom on Friday.
8/9 10 p.m. Update
Alamo Donates Proceeds from ANY Movie on Weds or Thurs to El PasoVictims Relief Fund
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo and all of the employees of Triple Tap Ventures were deeply saddened by the events, which occurred in El Paso on Saturday. The tragedy has affected an outpouring of sadness, caring and support for victims of this senseless act and their families.
For anyone who is still looking for ways to help, Alamo Drafthouse is assisting in raising funds for the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s Victims Relief Fund.
Moviegoers in El Paso may choose a ticket price of $5, $7 or $10 to any movie being screened on Wednesday, August 14, and Thursday, August 15, 2019 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo will donate 100 percent of ticket sale proceeds from those two days to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s Victims Relief Fund.
Purchase tickets: drafthouse.com/el-paso or on the Alamo Drafthouse app.
In addition, now through August 25, guests at all Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations across Texas can choose to make $1, $3, or $5 contributions via a donation add-on feature every time they purchase tickets via drafthouse.com or the Alamo Drafthouse app.
All statewide donations will go to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s Victims Relief Fund, which is partnered directly with the City of El Paso.
Alamo Drafthouse stands with our neighbors in the El Paso community in support of the victims and their families during this extremely difficult time.
8/9 5 p.m. Update
Officials with Paso del Norte Community Foundation provide update on Victims’ Fund
Via a Friday afternoon news release, officials with the Paso del Norte Community Foundation shared that donations to their El Paso Victims Relief Fund pushed the total to nearly $2m dollars, with more donations expected.
The outpouring of support has been extraordinary with more than $1.8 million in donations of gifts large and small received to date from more than 3,400 donors, with additional contributions expected over the coming days and weeks.
$100,000 Donation by Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is donating $100,000 to be distributed between the El Paso Community Foundation’s El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund and the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s El Paso Victims Relief Fund. The gift is intended to support the many victims of the mass shooting which recently shook the US-Mexico border region which includes the city of El Paso as well as the surrounding counties in southern New Mexico. Sunland Park, New Mexico borders the city of El Paso, Texas.
“As a part of the greater El Paso area, we feel very connected to this close-knit community,” said Ethan Linder, director of marketing for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. “Many of our employees and most of our visitors live in El Paso, so we’ve all really been impacted by this terrible tragedy. That’s why we didn’t think twice about making this donation that will go to help our friends and neighbors.”
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is also encouraging others to donate as well. “If you’re able, we invite everyone to make a donation, no matter the amount, every little bit helps,” said Linder. “This is a time for everyone in our area to come together and support one another.”
Linder added that in the coming days and weeks, Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino will be announcing plans for a benefit event to help raise additional funds to assist those affected by the shooting which took place in El Paso on Saturday, August 3.
Brave Books organizes our “Frontera Rising Youth Writing Invitational”
Our locally-owned indy bookstore Brave Books is in the process of undertaking a mammoth project reaching out to El Paso’s youth in an effort to bring healing to El Pasoans and Juárenses though the process of writing, reading and sharing.
Ron Charles, who writes about books and publishing for the Washington Post (content re-posted below – courtesy Washington Post Book Club) reached out to us on Wednesday asking if our bookstore had any events or projects scheduled in light of our tragedy last Saturday.
“Brave Books opened in El Paso, just five months ago. Now, as the city tries to recover from the mass shooting on Aug. 3 that killed 22 people and wounded dozens more, that name seems especially inspired.
“We wanted to make a difference,” Jud tells me, “one person at a time.” This week, that meant simply being present. “People were coming and just relaxing,” he says. “I think people just needed to come somewhere where they felt safe and peaceful. It’s almost like comfort food, but it’s more like ‘comfort reading,’ I guess. They came by and just hung around. It was really nice, you know, to have a little community.”
Moving forward, Jud and Laurie are planning a community project called the Frontera Rising Youth Writing Invitational. (“Frontera” is Spanish for “border.”) Middle and high school students in El Paso and its sister city, Juarez, Mexico, will be invited to submit short statements — in English or Spanish — about how they’re feeling.
All the statements will appear on the store’s website, and some of the writers will be invited to read in the store.
“Our goal is to engage our youth on both sides of the border to participate in writing that contributes to their personal growth and healing in light of our tragedy,” Jud says. “Their words, whether positive or negative, as long as they are honest, will reflect to all of us what has gone down in the history of our city.”
Brave Books | 915.204.7074 | 1307 Arizona, El Paso, TX 79902
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday noon – 7 p.m. | Sundays noon – 5 p.m.
Tenet Healthcare Foundation to Present $100k to El Paso Shooting Victim’s Relief Fund
To support the El Paso community, the parent company of The Hospitals of Providence will formally present a $100,000 contribution to the El Paso Shooting Victims’ Relief Fund on Monday, Aug. 12.
In addition to the $100,000 donation from the Tenet Healthcare Foundation to the El Paso Community Foundation, a donation fund for its employees across the country has been established and will match employee contributions up to $50,000. The dollar figure raised so far by hospital employees will also be announced at the news conference.
During the presentation, Ron Rittenmeyer, executive chairman and CEO for Tenet Healthcare, will offer words of gratitude and encouragement to physicians, first responders and hospital providers.
8/9 A.M. Update
Proper Printshop donates $50k earned from sales of memorial shirts to Victims’ Fund
Selling the now-iconic El Paso Strong tee shirts, with the star on the mountain across the front, Proper Print Shop announced they had made the first donation to the El Paso Community Foundation.
Thank you El Paso! We made our first donation today to the El Paso Community Foundation Victims Fund.
We are honored that you have trusted us to help the community share it’s true voice. It’s been an extremely busy week and we will continue working as long as we need to to catch up with all of the demand from the community.
Thank you @viva.la.mocha and @emedesignstudio for your vision and talents.
Thank you @elpasocf for your leadership.
Teacher’s Federal Credit Union announces charity account,will match first $25k
Via an email to members, officials with Teacher’s Federal Credit Union announced their plans for donation to the growing victims’ fund.
Together we can support our community. TFCU will match the first $25,000 donated to the TFCU charity account, where 100% of the proceeds will benefit the El Paso Shooting Victims Fund.
Members of the community can donate at any TFCU branch now through August 31.
We are all #ElPasoStrong.
Haircuts for Donations
This Sunday 8/11 from 11am-5pm at Blessed Barber Studio East El Paso,
We will be cutting hair for Donations and 100% proceeds will be donated to the affected families of the tragedy that occurred 8/03 in El Paso.
915 United to hold benefit cruise Friday evening
Event is scheduled to star at 7:30 in the parking lot of FourWheel Parts (11751 Gateway West Blvd) all information is below.
$30k Donated by Austin Software Co. for Shooting Victims
Platinum Software Labs (PSL) is donating $30,000 to Paso Del Norte Community Foundation to support the victims of the El Paso Walmart mass shooting that occurred on Saturday August 3, 2019.
El Paso is one of three cities in Texas that our engineers and executives call home and have been deeply affected by this heinous event that struck our community and nation.
“We are deeply saddened by the horrific events that occurred this past Saturday in both the Dayton, Ohio and El Paso communities,” said Platinum Software Labs board of directors. “Not only did this event strike the hearts of our communities and nation, but the hearts of us at Platinum Software Labs. We will do our part to ensure that we all heal from this despicable act against humanity. During this tragic time, we will work with the El Paso community leaders and partners to identify opportunities to support the victims of this senseless act of violence.”
COMMENTS / EMAILS from around the world supporting El Paso.
via email from John C. in San Antonio
A Reflection on El Paso
The devastation in El Paso, one in a continuing string of such sick events over many years, prompts this reflection.
I submit that these events have hundreds of causes, but there are (8) root causes which have eased into our culture in the past couple of decades making our society one of the most violent in the world. This is primarily a self-inflicted complex cultural problem where we must avoid the thoughtless tendency of many to cast blame in only one or two directions. That is not helpful.
Let us be honest and face the uncomfortable, unvarnished truth.
I’ll begin with the most fundamental root cause. We have drifted from our faiths and relationship with God. God has been taken out of our schools and much of the public arena. Many of us have deserted Him. There is an outright hostility to God from certain quarters. Church attendance is down. The secularization of America is in full swing.
Cause #2: We do not uniformly respect life. The most recent data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that 53,481 abortions were performed in Texas in 2016. We blithely tolerate these killings because we rationalize them as “choice” and they are not as feverishly reported as the El Paso shootings were reported because the law facilitates them. How can Americans be so impervious to all that killing of unborn persons yet so sensitive to the killing of 22 born persons? The hypocrisy, the double-standard, is extraordinary.
Cause #3: America, like every country in the world, has its fair share of people with emotional, psychological, and mental disabilities or afflictions who can be, and often are, highly susceptible to the constant stream of violent messaging. We can only guess at the anger and frustrations many keep bottled in. Many lack care, medication, and or counseling. And to make the situation worse, family and or friends who know of these disadvantaged folks sometimes do not reach for help for reasons of fear, ignorance, embarrassment, or rationalized tolerance. Mental healthcare must become a higher priority.
Cause #4: The family, as the core institution of our society, is in decline. According to Pew Research the share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017. That trend has been accompanied by a drop in the share of children living with two married parents, down from 85% in 1968 to 65%. The rise in U.S. children living with either cohabiting or solo parents is due in part to long-term declines in marriage, as well as increases in births outside of marriage. Single motherhood has grown so common in America that today 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by single mothers — nearly a third of those live in poverty. Fatherhood is under attack.
Cause #5: W e have come to revel in violent entertainment. You have seen the movies, TV programs, videos, games, action figures, and the toys. The more blasting, blowing up, bombs, fireballs, explosions, stuff flying through the air, and blood the better. Mayhem sells. If we, the market, buy these products someone will continue making them. What are you buying for your children, and what are you letting them buy? What are you, the business owner, putting on your shelves?
Cause #6: We have quite a sophisticated array of available weaponry, amply demonstrated via our entertainment choices. I am a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I am also an NRA member—but, understanding the gravity of the other seven causes, management of the access to arms is overdue and needs work. As a Vietnam combat veteran I’m quite familiar with assault weapons. They have no place in the general population.
Cause #7: Terrorism has been a fact of life for decades. Acts of terror come into our living rooms, our Smartphone, and over the Internet in great detail. Horrific acts from all over the globe serve as models that can easily inspire those with grievances or those harboring perceived wrongs to do the same. Don’t throw up your hands, because we do have the ability to deter terrorism by eliminating it at its source. Support those initiatives.
Cause #8: We have become a coarse society. We see it in a decline of civility. Dispute resolution has evolved from words—to knives or guns. Someone who now “disses” another is asking for trouble. We see it in road rage, we hear it in increased profanity, and we experience it in rude customer service. We now have anger management seminars as the solution of choice.
These eight causes are a toxic mix, a lethal cultural brew whose consequences should not be a surprise to anyone. We are reaping what we have sown.
These events will continue. We’re averaging about five such events a year. Expect more. Don’t expect solutions from government. Culture change is a bottoms-up driven phenomena, not top down. The most effective healing will begin with you, the reader…parents, students, educators, municipalities, mental health providers, business owners, pastors and rabbis. I urge you to rise to the occasion and be a culture change activist in regard to all these causes.
Via email from Al C. in Florida
Enough is Enough- Do Something
There are now over 40,000 gun deaths a year in US. Since 2010 there have been 1712 Mass Shootings with 1189 killed and 3630 wounded. Many were children. We have had mass shootings every week, sometimes several. As the new school year is about to begin, many parents as part of their children’s school supplies are buying bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills are now part of the curriculum at most schools
It is time to end this new normal of Slaughter by Second Amendment with its images of blood flowing from bullet-riddled bodies with gaping wounds, sightless eyes of the dead, screams of the wounded and the wails of the grieving splashed across our TV screens night after night after night. Do Something!
To all of you cowardly Lawmakers- grow a backbone, be courageous and do something about this. Sen. Mitch McConnell do your job. Let the bipartisan bills you are holding hostage go to the Senate floor! In response to all of current and past mass shootings, you and many of your fellow Lawmakers have only offered insincere expressions of somber statements of concern and heartfelt assurances that your thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and their communities. PR Pablum! The blood of these victims are on your hands. Do Something!
Today any crazed idiot or domestic terrorist can go into any gun shop or online or at gun shows and buy whatever weapon and as many as he wants. He can then go into any public place or school and slaughter as many people as he can until the police show up. That could be you or me. Lawmaker’s inaction at the state and federal level is threatening everyone’s security. You have helped create the toxic society we are forced to live in that has 42% of the world’s guns, some of the weakest controls over who can buy a gun and what sorts of guns can be owned, and a president who never misses an opportunity to fan the fires of fear and hatred constantly bullying of people of color, asylum seekers, immigrants, refugees, countries and religions and has signaled to his followers that defending our country by mowing down non-whites and people who do not agree with him is patriotic. President Trump you are partially responsible what happened in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio and many other places because of your rhetoric. Guns kill, people kill and your rhetoric President Trump kills. I hope you are proud of what you helped create President Trump.
Acton is needed now. What is needed is to pass common-sense gun legislation such as enhanced and comprehensive background checks including gun shows, three-day waiting period, raising the age of gun ownership to 21, nationwide gun-free schools, banning assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. Additional funds to expand Mental Health Services to find, help and provide treatment so those who need so this does not happen again. Do Something!
My wish for those lawmakers that continue to support the status quo of empty words and no action, is like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, may you wonder eternally through the hallways of power trying and failing to wash away the blood of the innocent on your hands who you could have saved. May your dreams be filled with the sounds, images and screams of the wounded and dying people you could have save if you had acted. Do Something!
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Dear President Trump:
Please accept these comments as an introduction of who we are as Mexican Americans. I can only speak for myself so I will tell you about me, but please understand that my history is the same as that of millions of others who share the appellation of “Mexican American.”
I was born in the spring of 1942, just as the first streak of light burst past the mountain ridges of central Mexico and into the valley to the west. I was born a mestizo and my birth was not only the beginning of my own personal history, but the continuation of a truly American narrative.
I am a child of the half millennium, the new race created in the New World by the mixing of the Spanish and the indigenous after the Spanish Conquest of Tenotchtitlán I came into this world as part of two people, each with a long trajectory forged by deep, fanatical, religious, political and cultural beliefs that gave birth to a new culture – one that has survived the dramatic cleavages which have characterized the development of the mestizo in the New World.
My birth and my development is a testament to the strength and vitality of this new culture, one forged by the indigenous people whose land was taken away by those who had come with the Cross and the Sword.
It is these people who have forged my destiny, one which is woven into a history that transcends two worlds, two cultures, two religions and two ways of looking at the world. It is a history that lay dormant for centuries, decimated by the European invaders, but one which has survived by the creation of a different type of historical being – the mestizo.
It is a people that have been formed over centuries and in conflict, and one which today seek its legitimate place in the historical development of this land.
When I was born, the world of the people which over two centuries had forged my history had come to an end. I came into a world that was being shaped by novel forces alien to the ones which had shaped my ancestors. My history was being shaped by Americans calling themselves capitalists; Germans calling themselves Nazis, Italians calling themselves Fascists, Russians calling themselves Communists, and Japanese calling themselves Imperialists — all deeming themselves to being children of destiny.
They believed it was they who were destined to shape the new world order and all carried within themselves social and political ideologies designed to push the world of my ancestors into historical anonymity.
My birth came at a time when history had become dysfunctional and whose events impacted the universe, giving the impression my own world no longer served as the moral compass through which my ancestors guided their lives. Yet, I consider my birth to be a resurrection of the Spanish/Mexican history which had shaped the destiny of my ancestors. I was deprived of this history by the Anglo-American conquerors which now controlled my life, and my life is proof that history cannot be departmentalized and that it must be seen in its totality and in its continuity.
I was born a product of the Aztec warriors, of the Spanish Conquistadores, and of the deities of Tlaloc, Huitzilopochtli and Quetzalcoatl, but I also am a product of the Roman Catholic Church, the European Enlightenment, of Martin Luther, of John Locke, of the French Revolution, of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Constitution of the United States.
I am the creation of the Criollo patriots who claimed Mexican independence, and the indigenous people who shed their blood and tears to build the New Spain their conquerors demanded, just as I was forged by manifest destiny, the Louisiana Purchase, and the xenophobia in the Anglo American historical narrative. I am heir to the millions of people who throughout the ages crisscrossed the Rio Grande – immigrants dealing with the life fate had bestowed upon them.
I was born in the spring of 1942 but my history began much earlier than that, and when I die my death will be the end of my personal story but my life will now attach itself to the historical continuum of my family. I believe there is a reason for each of our lives, that they are inter-connected, and that history has a purpose, otherwise each one of our lives would be without reason or rationale, an isolated, meaningless blimp in the all-encompassing transgression of time.
In my death, my history will weave itself into a part of the World Historical Spirit which Hegel, the German philosopher, says gives each one of our lives meaning and provides for the ultimate design of the world. It is a spirit that moves us to be better human beings, to be just and to be happy. I pray that my life will move history in that direction.
Again, Mr.President, this is my story, but it is also that of the millions of others who, like me, are part of the children of the half-millennium. I know that in the end the racist ideology you profess will be nothing more than a meaningless footnote in the World Historical Spirit that guides mankind in our earthly journey.
Fernando Piñón Gaytán is a retired journalist and professor of political science at San Antonio College and Adjunct at UTSA; and an author of several books.
via Facebook from Justin N.
This has been one of the hardest week of my life. El Paso is an amazing town with great people, with most of whom racism is an non-issue and where I have made amazing friends.
Saturday was supposed to be a celebration for a great friend, which in many ways was overshadowed as others I knew may have been in Walmart and good friends were there to end the shooting as officers of the law. While at the party, I spent hours on the phone about how we respond and care for those impacted, all while worrying about what was happening a couple of miles away.
This week quickly turned from packing to move and start a new adventure to providing 70ish hours of crisis treatment to those impacted: those in the store, those who responded, and the city as a whole. For years I have researched, read, profiled, and written about shootings like this, but this is the first that has had a personal impact.
The first to make me cry, to make me question how would I explain what happened to my daughter were she older.
The heartbreaking part is El Paso is a peaceful town. Last year there were 23 murders in El Paso: yes, one more than died in the shooting, in a place with a population of close to a million people. Worse has been what I have seen since the shooting; what has begun to happen here and begun to sweep away the beauty of the people.
A shooter came from Dallas to spread evil hatred here, something relatively foreign. The immediate response was so great and so much kindness; blood banks had to ask people to make appointments, volunteers were asked to not come because there were too many, people were asked to stop bringing supplies because they had so much they couldn’t store them.
I have heard so many stories and what has begun to happen is heart breaking: hatred has begun to grow.
Whites and blacks against Mexicans who don’t speak perfect English. Hispanics spewing hate filled statements fearing the white kid will kill Mexican classmates.
This isn’t El Paso; El Paso is a city of kindness, acceptance, and safety, even poised yards from one of the deadliest cities in the world. What has changed? Fear. Fear based in the hatred of the outside world, racism, blaming, and evil. Not bred from within, but based on the ramblings of politicians who want to see this tragedy as a way to get elected.
El Pasoans are faced with fear and disbelief because the outside invaded and now they are being spurred on by the outside world in a way which didn’t happen before. What is the answer? There only exists one answer and that is solidarity.
You see El Paso is a weird place where you have hundreds of thousands of people and they are more caring and connected in most ways than the town of 2,000 I left to move here. What we need is to understand it isn’t about what started all this, it is about who this town is.
It isn’t about blaming one person, or one side, it is about viewing this as a community problem and embracing that the answer is to draw together, not divide apart. I love this town, it has felt more like home in many ways after 2 years than Kansas did after 40.
I would hate to see the act of one evil boy cause this amazing city to die. I would hate for people from other places, be it the shooter or the politicians on either side, tear apart what El Paso is.
We will heal. Yes, we, as I consider myself more an El Pasoan than a Kansan, but I hope El Paso strong means old El Paso, not just a strong city which is no longer El Paso.
To me that is the core of #ElPasoProud, that El Paso is a proud city, ignored by most of Texas, but proud of its heritage and its melting pot of culture.
I pray it stays the isolated beauty in the desert and doesn’t become like every other, with the only exception being that it is isolated in the desert.
via email from John O.
I would first like to show my great respect and appreciation for the bravery, heroic actions and the remarkable job of all the first responders, doctors and all medical personnel during the heinous act that occurred in my home town, with that being said I was very disappointed with the photo ops with trump meeting with first responders with the fake hand shaking, back slapping and laughing with this person who has besmirch the Hispanic community with his vile and hateful rhetoric. These hateful racist words have caused the deaths of the innocents in your community and he was only in your city to divide you all even further and create even more pain. The photo ops of the medical and law enforcement first responders made me upset and not for any fault of their own (orders are orders) but they should have stood with the citizens who are hurting and scared, who did not want him there in your beautiful city. El Paso has always been a city that is open and accepting, but evil is evil and you cannot make this person into what he is not, kind, caring or sympathetic. This trip was just a ploy, while he was meeting with those in El Paso he was giving the order to his immigration enforcement to raid and eventually arrest 680 individuals in Louisiana, leaving hundreds of children without anyone to take care of them, this shows how he really feels about Hispanics whether migrants or U.S. citizens. To all the great law enforcement officers and first responders of the great state and city be proud but remember you are also part of your friends, family and citizens who look up to you, please stand with them and not with that person who sees himself as president for only some of the people.
via email from Lin Frog W.
Hello El Paso,
I and so many around the country and world are grieving with you. We wish you blessings and love in your healing.
Saturday night my heart was aching. I am a poet, and released the thoughts in words, and wished to share them with you. I just spoke with John, and asked him if the El Paso Herald-Post printed poetry, so I am sending this. You are welcome to print it if you think it is appropriate and may be healing to someone.
The following morning when I woke, I saw the headline, and thought, “9 people passed on in El Paso, not 20.” Then I read it again, and could not believe my eyes. My heart fell again . . . someone once again took a gun to life on Earth. I will print the second poem under the poem composed Saturday night. You are welcome to print the second poem also if you feel it is appropriate.
Peace, Love and many blessings to the wonder of beautiful El Paso
I heard the sound of hate, and there’s pain my heart.
Traveled far to kill . . . At an El Paso Walmart.
. . Try to find a way to express with this pen.
And the words ache as they travel through my soul.
Another mass shooting.
Twenty, and counting . . . The death toll . . .
Just another day in America.
Thoughts and prayers will be soothing
All those who lost a friend
Or family . . . And all who survived.
Healing words many will send
After a shooting, once again, hate inspired.
As most grasp for a reason.
Hold close the ones we love.
Hunting humans in season
All year round, we know of
Another life passing.
Others living with the memories
Of a shooting they survived, and are grasping,
For reasons they lived. Will someone explain please
Why we all come from the Earth,
But some desire a reason to find difference.
Anger and often actions they rehearse,
Until in time they dispense
Gunfire to send their message.
Maybe there are words that could change
Their minds and actions . . . that take them to the edge
Of where life they arrange.
. . . And maybe these are only words.
And maybe they are only actions.
Both praying for hearts to be heard,
But into the darkness a message runs
With no communication in between.
Try to build a bridge that will meet.
Where eyes can be seen
And voices heard to defeat
The darkness . . .where lives change forever.
All life speaks similar thoughts.
With voices praying they never
Are forgotten . . . Is love all that is ever sought?
©️ August 3, 2019 Lin Frog
Go to sleep with the sound of gunfire ringing in our ears.
Blood still spattered all around the site in El Paso.
Wake to the news of another massacre and fears
Of more to come as blood scars Dayton, Ohio.
And it almost seems a dream.
Though all too real.
Hate fills one, but it seems
Love and open hearts are the majority who feel
This pain . . . And guns take priority
In our country, their reign
Fill the pockets of the majority
Of those in power as they stain
The soul of our country, with innocent blood.
Families and friends grieving
Across America, tears flood
For those we have never met . . . Keep believing
Someone will open their eyes.
Or are they too filled with greed?
How do they sleep? To compromise
Life . . . for the money they “need.”
And children go to school each day.
Drills teach of possible ambush.
Recall when they used to play
But now the sounds of killing crush
The air . . . Listen for another tale
Of shooting in the distance.
Pray a troubled mind does not assail
Close to home, and take a stance.
For their “cause,” and spill the blood and dreams
That so many have known.
Simple solutions it seems,
But has the hatred grown
Out of control.
A parasite on our country.
Another shooting to take its toll
In the land of the free
. . . As the sound of gunfire echoes free.
August 5, 2019 ©️ Lin Frog
None of the eight patients being treated at the hospital Trump visited in El Paso wanted to meet with him
On a day when President Trump vowed to tone down his rhetoric and help the country heal following two mass slayings, he did the opposite — lacing his visits Wednesday to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, with a flurry of attacks on local leaders and memorializing his trips with grinning thumbs-up photos.
A traditional role for presidents has been to offer comfort and solace to all Americans at times of national tragedy, but the day provided a fresh testament to Trump’s limitations in striking notes of unity and empathy.
When Trump swooped into the grieving border city of El Paso to offer condolences following the massacre of Latinos allegedly by a white supremacist, some of the city’s elected leaders and thousands of its citizens declared the president unwelcome.
In his only public remarks during the trip, Trump lashed out at Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both Democrats, over their characterization of his visit with hospital patients in Dayton.
“We had an amazing day,” Trump said in El Paso as he concluded his visit. “As you know, we left Ohio. The love, the respect for the office of the presidency.”
Trump also praised El Paso police officers and other first responders and shook their hands, telling one female officer, “I saw you on television the other day and you were fantastic.”
None of the eight patients still being treated at University Medical Center in El Paso agreed to meet with Trump when he visited the hospital, UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke said. Two victims who already had been discharged returned to the hospital with family members to meet with the president.
“This is a very sensitive time in their lives,” Mielke said. “Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president. Some of them didn’t want any visitors.”
Before Trump’s visit Wednesday, however, some of the hospitalized victims accepted visits from a number of city and county elected officials, as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso and Jesús “Chuy” García, D-Illinois.
This has thrust Trump into the center of a roiling political and societal debate, with some Democratic leaders saying the president has emboldened white supremacy and is a threat to the nation.
Former vice president Joe Biden, who is running to unseat Trump in 2020, said in a speech Wednesday, “We have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism and division.”
Both in Dayton and El Paso, Trump kept almost entirely out of public view, a marked break with tradition, as presidents visiting grieving communities typically offer public condolences.
Trump avoided the Oregon district where the shooting in Dayton took place, and just a short drive from Miami Valley Hospital, which he did visit. Whaley said he would not have been welcome in the Oregon District, where scores of demonstrators congregated, holding anti-Trump signs and chanting “Do something!” in a call for stricter gun laws.
Brown and Whaley described the visit by the president and first lady in favorable terms.
“They were hurting. He was comforting. He did the right things. Melania did the right things,” Brown told reporters. “And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms.”
Whaley added: “I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton.”
Both Brown and Whaley, however, were also sharply critical of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and Republican resistance to gun-control legislation.
Whaley later responded to Trump’s comments about her and Brown by calling him “a bully and a coward.” She said on CNN, “It’s fine that he wants to bully me and Sen. Brown. We’re okay. We can take it.”
The traveling press corps was not allowed to observe Trump’s visit with three victims who remained hospitalized. It fell therefore to White House aide Dan Scavino to proclaim in a tweet that Trump “was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital.”
Trump and the first lady also met with police officers, fire officials, trauma surgeons and nurses at the facility, which treated 23 victims of the shooting. The hospital invited victims who had already been released to come back and meet with the president and the first lady.
“It was an authentic visit,” hospital president Mike Uhl said, praising Trump as “attentive, present and extremely accommodating.”
Trump offered his own affirmation on Twitter: “It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love.”
Grisham said journalists were kept out of the hospital visit because staff did not want it to devolve into “a photo op” and overwhelm the victims with media.
The White House, however, distributed its own photos of Trump smiling for pictures with first responders, along with a slickly produced video, helping make the president the center of attention.
Trump’s reception in El Paso was less hospitable, and not only because so many local leaders have said they believe his rhetoric inspired Saturday’s slayings at a shopping center near the U.S.-Mexico border. Although he won the state of Texas in the 2016 election, Trump captured just 25.7 percent of the vote in El Paso County, the worst performance recorded here by a major-party presidential candidate in at least two decades.
An ever-growing makeshift memorial has sprouted near the shooting scene that features piles of colorful flowers, a row of white crosses, a line of prayer candles, as well as messages to the president. “Mr. T, Respect our sorrow and grief. Do not ‘invade’ our city,” reads one note, a reference to Trump’s repeated warnings of a migrant “invasion” at the border.
Just before Trump arrived in El Paso — where he and the first lady met with law enforcement personnel at an emergency operations center following their hospital visit — several hundred people gathered in opposition to his trip .
Congregating under the hot midday sun in a baseball field for an “El Paso Strong” event, some held homemade signs. “Go home! You are NOT welcome here!” read one. “This was Trump-inspired terrorism,” read another. “Trump repent,” read a third.
At one point, the crowd chanted, “Send him back!” — a nod to the incendiary “Send her back!” chant about Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) at one of Trump’s campaign rallies last month.
“We feel like right now we should be in mourning, and we feel like we should be collecting our thoughts, we should be doing vigils and we should be gathering together as a community. We believe it is an insult that the president is coming here,” said one of the organizers, Jaime Candelaria, a 37-year-old singer and songwriter.
Escobar said onstage, “In this moment, someone is visiting … I felt it was important that we come together and not focus on the visitor, but focus on El Paso.” She added, “We will not stop resisting the hate! Resisting the bigotry! Resisting the racism!”
In the crowd at the El Paso Strong event was Shawn Nixon, 20, a Walmart employee who was at work restocking the school supplies area when the gunman opened fire Saturday morning. At the sound of the shots, Nixon said he fell to the ground, pulling with him a young child who had been shopping with his mother.
All I’m just asking for Donald Trump, for the president, to do is to say ‘sorry,’ ” Nixon said. “He created this crime. He created it because of his words. Every time that he’s on TV, that’s what he’s doing.”
During his flight home from El Paso, Trump attacked Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, the twin brother of presidential candidate Julián Castro, tweeting that he “makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth.” The congressman has come under scrutiny for publicizing a list of San Antonio donors who have contributed to Trump and accusing them of “fueling a campaign of hate.”
On Saturday in El Paso, authorities said, a man opened fire inside the Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring two dozen others. At 1:05 a.m. Sunday, a gunman killed nine people and injured 27 others outside a bar in Dayton, police said.
All week, Trump has zigzagged between two competing instincts: unite and divide.
In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, Trump remained cloistered at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., issuing only short statements on Twitter. Back at the White House on Monday, the president delivered a scripted speech in which he preached harmony.
“Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love,” Trump said, reading from teleprompters.
The president did not heed his own advice, however. Late Tuesday night, he took to Twitter to attack Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman running for president who has said Trump bears some responsibility for the shooting there because of his demonization of Latino immigrants.
Trump tweeted: “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement — & be quiet!”
Then, as he departed the White House on Wednesday morning en route to Ohio, Trump told reporters he would refrain from attacking his adversaries during the trip.
“I would like to stay out of the political fray,” the president said. Asked about his rhetoric, he said he thinks it “brings people together” and added, “I think we have toned it down.”
That detente lasted only a few minutes. Answering a reporter’s question about Biden, Trump pounced. “Joe is a pretty incompetent guy,” the president said. “Joe Biden has truly lost his fastball, that I can tell you.”
By the time the president had left Dayton, he was back on Twitter and sniping at Democrats, a tirade triggered by his consumption of cable television news aboard Air Force One.
“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring! The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy,” the president wrote.
Then he lashed out at Brown and Whaley, falsely accusing them of “totally misrepresenting” the reception he received at Miami Valley Hospital. He alleged that their news conference immediately after the president’s visit “was a fraud.”
But neither Brown nor Whaley said Trump received a poor reception at the hospital.
When Whaley first saw Trump’s tweets criticizing her and Brown, she paused for a moment to read them on a cellphone and said, “I don’t — I mean, I’m really confused. We said he was treated, like, very well. So, I don’t know why they’re talking about ‘misrepresenting.’
“Oh, well, you know,” the mayor added with a shrug. “He lives in his world of Twitter.”
Parker and Johnson reported from El Paso, and Rucker and Sonmez reported from Washington. Arelis R. Hernández in Dayton, Robert Moore in El Paso, and Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner in Washington contributed to this report.
Authors: ASHLEY PARKER, FELICIA SONMEZ, JENNA JOHNSON AND PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST
More than 20 people were killed in an Aug. 3, 2019, shooting rampage at a Walmart in El Paso. The gunman was arrested and charged with capital murder for the shooting in El Paso, which is recoveringfrom what federal law enforcement has classified as an act of domestic terrorism.
Wednesday the city of El Paso braced for President Trump’s arrival. As the day went on the temperature rose – as did tensions.
In Washington Park, leaders from the Border Network for Human Rights and the Women’s March of El Paso led an anti-Trump rally. Hundreds showed up, ready to send Trump away.
The crowd chanted “El Paso Strong,” as well as “pay us back,” a reference to the unpaid bills of Trump’s last El Paso visit.
There was no shortage of harsh words for the president — or love for El Paso. Among the speakers were former El Paso Representative and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke and Representative Veronica Escobar.
Local organizer Adri Perez spoke to the crowd about their own connection to the community – and their love for El Paso and Juarez. They also cautioned that the white supremacy that motivated the shooter didn’t start with Trump – and won’t end, they said, when Trump leaves office.
Prior to the rally, a community letter against Trump circulated through the city.
The letter read, in part: “this shooter was inspired by your words and your attitudes… your constant reliance on sowing hatred and fear, your embrace of racism and white supremacy, all of this over these past years has brought us to this place of pain. Given this history of hate on your part, we ask that you stay away.”
Just a few blocks away, a crowd gathered outside of UMC. While rumors of the presidents visit swirled, a contingent of Trump fans waited. Their signs and red hats a sharp contrast to the protest just down the road.
When the Washington Park rally ended, many individuals made their way to the hospital. Fearing a confrontation, police in riot helmets — many with face shields — kept the crowd off of the street.
While shouting did occur, the crowd remained peaceful. At one point, Trump’s supporters broke into a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, followed by many choruses of Amazing Grace.
Meanwhile, hundreds gathered outside of Walmart. The gathering was impromptu – it wasn’t organized by the city or any organization. “This is just El Paso,” said one mourner at the scene.
Volunteers passed out water in the 100-degree heat. A man passed out free paletas. Some at the memorial offered free hugs, others prayer.
Among the crowd outside the memorial, reactions on Trump’s visit were mixed.
One individual mused that Trump would be blamed if he came or if he didn’t. Another wondered why Trump came at all — wishing he could have just set Melania.
Yet another mourner chimed in, saying Trump wasn’t welcome in this town.
Photos by the Author+ Chief Photographer Andres Acosta – El Paso Herald Post and as otherwise noted in each photo.
Sunday night, thousands of El Pasoans from all walks of life made their way to a baseball diamond in a park less than a mile from Saturday’s mass shooting, to remember the victims and to honor those who helped during the incident.
In the summer dusk, the crowd gathered, prayed, sung and heard stories from those who were there and those who helped.
Our very own Andres Acosta was at the ceremony and we bring you his view of the even in this gallery.
One of the first serious conversations I remember having with my mother as a young child followed the question, “What country did we come from?”
She provided a very brief explanation of the political situation in Ireland that turned deadly for my grandfather’s family. They had to leave or be killed. A complete lack of records as to how they came into the country suggests that they may have come here illegally.
Regardless, they became members of their local community, worked HARD, and started what became a very successful business. Many of their descendants have fought for this country in multiple wars and are the kind of people who do their very best to make it one of love and acceptance of others.
I see so much of my own family in the people of El Paso. There’s no way to know how or when people came to be in this country (and, quite frankly, I don’t ask or care), but I see them working hard every day and growing and contributing to our culture and society and economy.
I see families and communities that absolutely love this country and one another.
And let me tell you – no one does the Fourth of July like the people of El Paso. Never have my husband or I seen so many displays of American patriotism leading up to and well after holiday.
On our first 4th here, we sat on our rooftop and watched the unbelievable fireworks display hosted privately by neighbors in every direction. There were fireworks as far as we could see everywhere we turned and it nearly brought us both to tears – to witness so much love and enthusiasm for our country.
Our country was an continues to be built on the dreams and sweat of immigrants. The people of El Paso, however long they’ve individually been here (and let’s be real – many have been here as long if not longer than my own family), are an incredible example of the American Dream done right.
Last year, we left our families and familiar coastlines and moved halfway across the country to this new duty station in El Paso – to a place and environment we’d never had the pleasure of visiting, let alone living in.
Even as a long-time military family, it was initially a little daunting for the both of us. But the people here welcomed our family and made us feel immediately at home in a way we have never experienced.
When strangers kindly smiled, initiated conversation, and found out that we were new, they would stand and talk with us at length about the city and where we could find the best places to eat or go for date nights and where to steer clear from. They’d ask us how we were settling in, how we were doing with the move, and how the kids were handling it.
Local moms who had never met me took time out of their busy days to send me small booklets-worth of information over text about resources and events for myself and children. Neighbors brought over big plates of Texas BBQ and sides as we struggled to unpack in a fixer-upper with two small children.
My father died shortly after we moved to the area and the first (and perhaps only person outside of my husband) to see me really lose it was an unsuspecting employee of a local gas station – she gave me the BIGGEST hug and just let me be human.
Another time, my husband was deployed and every single of one of my children and I were sick and completely exhausted. They really started losing it in the pharmacy line and I just didn’t have the hands or energy to contain them both.
Then, an older couple behind us offered to help. The gentleman picked up my youngest son and played with him – snotty nose and all. His wife and I spoke in broken English and broken Spanish about our families and her grown daughters and how they’d always wanted a son.
That day – when I was totally alone and felt like death and had two hysterical children who felt awful too, they saved my sanity and gave me their empathy.
These are just a couple of the multitude of examples of kindness we experience every day in this city. I could go on and on and on about the kind of people the people of El Paso are.
To me, they’re everything you hope to find in an American community and truly embody the American dream.
What happened is absolutely gutting: to see this amazing group of Americans and immigrants who so thoroughly embody everything it is to BE American and HOPE for the American dream attacked so senselessly – it’s not something that will ever make sense.
It speaks to a horrific level of ignorance some people have about this incredible border town, about how deranged and insecure some people in this country still are about the “other,” and the hard work we have yet to do.
But I’m not sitting here writing to convey some poli-cultural message: I started writing to tell anyone who would listen about how amazing the people of this city are and wanted to finish with a final note to the people of El Paso:
I love you. My family loves you. We are so grateful for you and your culture and your kindness and the way you made us feel so welcome in a place so far from what we once considered home.
Because of you, we have a different and better idea now of what that means. YOU are a testimony of what makes this country great. I’ve seen you and how you embody the spirit of the American Dream.
For generations upon generations, you have and continue to achieve the same thing my family came to this country for: hope, hard work, and success.
And somehow, in that process, you have built the most loving and kind community of people my family has ever been lucky enough to know.
No one ever deserved to be attacked like you were attacked (especially not you), but I know if there’s a people in this country who can come back better and stronger – it’s you.
The child-man who did this speaks only for a small group of very sick, deranged people who have no concept of what being an American means.
His voice will not be the voice that has the last word.
Your hope, love, and resiliency will.
We are with you.
An Army Wife in El Paso