Onion runs 'No Way To Prevent This, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens' hed yet again.
America is once again going through the cycle of horror, anguish, and ultimately probably not doing anything following yet another mass shooting, this time in San Jose, California, where a public transit employee went on a shooting rampage at a rail yard where he worked, killing nine people and himself. Eight of the victims died at the scene, and a ninth died later.
The killer was identified as Samuel Cassidy. Like many, possibly all, of the victims, he was an employee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which provides bus and light rail service throughout the Bay Area community. The office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner released the names and ages of the nine dead on Wednesday:
Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, 63. Alex Ward Fritch, 49, was the ninth victim who died Wednesday evening.
Cassidy's former wife and a former girlfriend both said he had a history of ragey behavior and of taking his anger out on them. While it's too early to know what the shooter's motives were, we'll just note again that angry misogynists commit a large portion of mass shootings. Mind you, we couldn't just go treating every man who abuses women as a potential mass shooter, because Crom only knows what that would do to the economy? (Easy: We'd get lots of men into therapy and there'd be an expansion of social services, and who can even calculate the potential benefits of greater mental health in this godforsaken Republic?)
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, in a press briefing this morning, said the dead were found in two different buildings at the rail yard, suggesting that Cassidy "went from building to building." Smith said that Cassidy didn't exchange fire with police, but that he apparently shot himself when he became aware they were on the scene. More, from NBC News:
He had two semiautomatic handguns and 11 loaded magazines, according to the sheriff. Investigators are looking into whether Cassidy targeted specific co-workers, but they do know "he was very deliberate, very fast. He knew where employees would be," Smith said. [...]
The early morning attack came at a particularly busy time at the transit hub as overnight workers overlap with, and passed off their duties to, colleagues checking in for early-morning shifts.
Smith praised officers for their quick arrival and action, saying that when deputies and San Jose police ran into buildings at the transit complex, they "saved many lives."
Smith said that possible bomb-making materials were found in a locker believed to be Cassidy's.
In addition to the shootings, Cassidy apparently set fire to his home about 10 miles away. When fire crews arrived, the home was "engulfed in flames."
Authorities believe there was ammunition inside the home and firefighters smelled an accelerant when they arrived, sources said.
Investigators are working on a theory that Cassidy planted an explosive in the home to go off around the same time as the shooting, Smith said Wednesday.
At least no one was hurt in the fire.
A woman who dated the gunman for about six months in 2008 told NBC News she believes he was "not mentally stable." She said that when she told him she didn't want to marry him, he "was so angry, yelling and screaming [...] And then he started making trouble for me."
One day not long after the breakup, she said he stole her brand new car out of her driveway — a 2008 Toyota Camry, which he had the key for. She said she reported it to police, but nothing happened. He returned the car a month later, with a broken bumper and other damage.
In March 2009, he filed a restraining order against her, online court records show. The ex-girlfriend said he made up the claims. She went on to file a restraining order against him.
CNN reports that, in court documents, the woman said Cassidy had violent mood swings that got worse when he was drinking, and that he played "mind games" with her. She also said "Several times during the relationship he became intoxicated, enraged and forced himself on me sexually."
The shooter's former wife told the San Jose Mercury News that Cassidy "had two sides ... When he was in a good mood, he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad." They had been married about a decade before they divorced in 2005, and she said she hadn't seen him in roughly 13 years.
He would frequently come home angry from work, and get angrier as he talked about how badly he felt he was treated at work, and he would sometimes turn his anger on her, his ex-wife said.
When Cassidy was at the VTA during their marriage, he resented what he saw as unfair work assignments, she said, and would rant about his job when he got home. [...]
"He just thought that some people got more easy-going things at work, and he'd get the harder jobs," she said.
Following the shootings yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom sounded a hell of a lot like Barack Obama following the umpteenth mass shooting during his presidency, when Obama lamented,
Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this.
Newsom told reporters near the scene of yesterday's shooting,
There's a numbness ... there's a sameness to this. [...] Anywhere, USA. It feels like this happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
In a statement released by the White House before the ninth victim's death had been announced, President Joe Biden called again for Congress to take action on guns, as if even the easiest, most broadly-supported measures to curb firearms violence might be achievable this time. He noted that many details remain to be seen, but that some things are certain.
There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. There are children, parents, and spouses who are waiting to hear whether someone they love is ever going to come home. There are union brothers and sisters – good, honest, hardworking people – who are mourning their own.
Biden too noted how common these horrors have become:
I have the solemn duty of yet again of ordering the flag to be lowered at half-staff, just weeks after doing so following the mass shootings at spas in and around Atlanta; in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina; and at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more.
And now it's on to the next stages of the national ritual: the thoughts and prayers, the grief, the profiles of the victims, the gun humpers showing up to carefully explain that anyone saying "automatic" instead of "semi-automatic" isn't allowed to have an opinion, and the reflection that if the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High didn't lead to action, we'll all go through this again, forever and amen.
Jesus fucking Christ, we need to end this.
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Here’s Why That Pasta Salad That Sat In The Sun For Hours Made Everyone Sick. Tabs, Thurs., May 27, 2021
Come and get some more Tabs!
Eight people were killed and several others wounded in yet another mass shooting Wednesday. The latest sacrifice at the altar of the gun lobby occurred at a light-rail facility in San Jose, California. (CBS News)
Toxic masculinity is a common trait found among mass shooters in the United States. (Mother Jones)
Manhattan prosecutors pursuing a criminal case against Donald Trump’s corrupt enterprises has told at least one witness to prepare to chat with a grand jury. I want a Trump family perp walk. No, I deserve a Trump family perp walk. (CNN)
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay, Angela Davis, Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, and other individuals more impressive than Andrew Sullivan have signed a letter of support for New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who conservatives are treating like Galileo because she pointed out that slavery was a thing that happened in America. (The Root)
Not to be too nit picky but who writes the headlines in the New York Times? https://t.co/SM4AntRE7F— Manisha Sinha (@Manisha Sinha)1622049906.0
A chilling passage from this New York Times article about the Tulsa race massacre:
On May 31 and June 1, 1921, white mobs descended on the Greenwood district in Tulsa, Okla., shooting and pillaging their way through a vibrant and prosperous Black enclave, reducing it to rubble.
Low-flying airplanes dropped burning turpentine balls, leaving an entire block in what one eyewitness described as "a mass of flame." An all-white local contingent of the National Guard turned a machine gun on the Mount Zion Baptist Church, systematically raking the walls with heavy fire until the stalwart building gave way in a cascade of shattered glass and tumbling bricks.
The one up side, I suppose, to white America mostly forgetting the Tulsa race massacre ever happened is that repulsive people like Marjorie Taylor Greene won't compare the horrific event to someone having to wear a mask inside Trader Joe's. (The Daily Beast)
Howard University is renaming its College of Fine Arts after the late (damn!) actor Chadwick Boseman, who graduated from the school in 2000 with a degree in directing. I still miss him. (Washington Post)
Central Park Karen Amy Cooper is suing her former employer, Franklin Templeton, for discrimination because the company described her as “racist” when it shitcanned her last year. This seems consistent with her demonstrated character. (Bloomberg)
Dr. Mia Brett had a great piece in the Post about the long historical legacy of entitled white women like Cooper.
The mating call of the Brood X cicadas has residents of Union County, Georgia, calling 911. I had a neighbor in New York with a similar problem. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Montana is getting in on the voter suppression law action, as well. Its newest ballot law could disenfranchise Native populations. As is generally the case in states that do everything possible to keep ballots out of people’s hands, Montana’s gun safety laws are atrocious. (NPR)
Chicago attorney Tiffany Cunningham is set to become the first Black judge to sit on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC. I expected Senator Tom Cotton to grill Cunningham during her confirmation about whether she believes Mookie should’ve been prosecuted for throwing a trash can through the window of Sal’s Pizzeria in Do the Right Thing, but the hearing was short and non-controversial. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Japan is attempting to erase inconvenient facts about its history. American conservatives would be proud. (The Nation)
It’s almost 25 years since I graduated college. Here’s to the summer of 1996!
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And his dumbass NRA ad could use a spellcheck.
Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, the Oxford-educated Roscoe P. Coltrane cosplayer, has teamed up with the National Rifle Organization to embarrass himself. He didn't need any help, as he normally does just fine by himself. The gun-pushing group fired off a bizarre tweet Monday declaring that Kennedy's “new message would trigger the libs." The NRA has opposed child access prevention laws, which would help keep guns out of the hands of small children, so it makes sense that a small child presumably gained access to the NRA's Twitter account.
Very normal video of a sitting US Senator suggesting Americans shoot people they don’t “love” while a soundtrack fr… https://t.co/R7hj55gggH— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1621895048.0
The 12-second ad, which feels like 12 minutes, features Kennedy cleaning a firearm while what someone at the NRA believes is “sexy" music plays. Kennedy declares:
Folks, I believe love is the answer, but you oughta own a handgun just in case.
Just in case of what, exactly? Handguns and other killing machines don't belong in any true message of love. Kennedy represents (poorly) a state with a horrific record on gun violence.
From the New York Times:
A higher share of murders has been committed via firearm in Louisiana compared with the national average every year since at least 1985, with a firearm being the weapon used in 84 percent of murders in Louisiana in 2019 (compared with 74 percent nationally). Louisiana also has the highest rate of firearms recovered and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (A.T.F.), suggesting a high rate of illegal or stolen weapons in the state.
We should also note that the NRA is bankrupt and apparently can't afford proofreaders for the captions in its videos. The copy contains an obvious typo — “belive" instead of “believe." Any form of the word “live" wouldn't otherwise fit into an NRA ad.
Conservatives, including professional Twitter troll Ted Cruz, have complained about supposed “woke" ads for the CIA and US Army, but those ads didn't set out to “trigger" conservatives for yucks, like emotionally stunted bullies. Conservatives just couldn't cope with the mere existence of people who don't fit their restrictive definition of “normal," one that somehow includes Ted Cruz. But Kennedy isn't just stroking his gun to sex line music because he likes it. The NRA gleefully thinks this will cause us emotional distress.
The NRA released this nonsense on the same day the Republican-dominated legislature in Texas approved a Yosemite Sam measure that would allow people to carry a handgun without a license, a background check, or training. That's bonkers but Republicans, including Cruz, claimed it was a victory for “law-abiding Second Amendment-loving Texans." It's easy to obey gun laws when your state has none.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he'll sign the measure, despite the objections of law enforcement groups who claim it will endanger the public and police. But it's the broke-ass NRA calling the shots here, not the cops.
"A right requiring you to pay a tax or obtain a government permission slip is not a right at all," said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
The Second Amendment directly refers to a well-regulated militia, you idiots. Meanwhile, Texas has gone all in on protecting citizens from mass voting incidents. The GOP's latest voter suppression bill would drastically reduce polling places in largely Democratic parts of major Texas counties such as Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis. Every congressional district currently held by a Republican would either see a gain in polling places or no change at all. Yes, this is overtly corrupt.
A country with easier access to guns than to the ballot box is not a functioning democracy, and that's something we should all find “triggering."
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He’s still better than a Republican, but ... damn.
Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia is obsessed with bipartisanship. He probably can't name anything good or helpful for the American people that bipartisanship has produced during his entire Senate career, which admittedly isn't that long or distinguished. When he won the special election to replace the late Robert Byrd in 2010, Amy Klobuchar was already in the Senate. Patty Murray has represented Washington since Nirvana was releasing records but she doesn't share Manchin's curious devotion to the filibuster or, as it's known in practice, the "Democrat Face Puncher 9000."
The Senate is currently debating the For the People Act, which is in essence a “Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill. Even really dumb Republicans such as Ron Johnson and Marsha Blackburn, who can barely find their couch in their living room, aren't dumb enough to support a "Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill. This is why the bill is DOA as long as Republicans have the "Democrat Face Puncher 9000" handy.
But Manchin is convinced there's a bipartisan solution. He's the one who deserves the nickname "Sleepy Joe"; he obviously hasn't been awake for the past decade. Manchin favors more “measured voting reform," so presumably a “Stop Republicans From Cheating Too Much" bill. He said he'd support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is more “narrowly tailored" legislation. It would specifically restore elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the Supreme Court gutted because Chief Justice John Roberts thought racism was over. (He'd probably just fallen asleep while watching The Help.) We should definitely pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but it's already died once in committee because Republicans won't willingly stop cheating. They have to do it. It's part of their lifestyle.
Here's what Manchin told ABC News's Rachel Scott:
I believe Democrats and Republicans feel very strongly about protecting the ballot boxes, allowing people to protect the right to vote, making it accessible, making it fair and making it secure and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, if we apply that to all 50 states and territories, it's something that can be done — it should be done. It could be done bipartisan to start getting confidence back in our system.
I'm not sure I agree 100 percent with his police work there. I've seen no evidence that Republicans "feel very strongly" about "allowing people to protect the right to vote." They keep passing "Help Republicans Cheat More" bills, which seems like a hint and half for Manchin's ass. But Manchin thinks we need “more measured voting reform" to regain confidence in the system from the very people who lie about election fraud so they can suppress the vote. Manchin also supports “more measured gun safety laws," by which we mean none. He opposes the House's gun safety bill and is still pushing the compromise hack job he put together with Senator Pat Toomey. Their so-called “Gun Sense" bill stalled in the Senate, even after children were massacred at Sandy Hook, because Republicans wipe their asses with bipartisanship.
Republicans uniformly oppose the For the People Act, calling it a “partisan power grab." When people freely vote, Democrats sometimes win, and Republicans won't stand for it. Senator Ted Cruz called the bill “Jim Crow 2.0" because he's gross enough to think that's appropriate rhetoric from a political party with three Black members in its entire congressional caucus. He also won re-election with only 10 percent of the Black vote. Black people don't like Ted Cruz. It's what we have most in common with white people.
Cruz and other Republicans have wasted everyone's time with proposed amendments to the For the People Act, and Maine Senator Angus King cut through the crap Tuesday and asked Cruz if he'd even vote for the bill if the amendments passed.
Cruz responded that the answer is essentially no:
"To be candid, it is difficult to imagine a set of amendments being adopted that would cause me to vote for this bill — it would have to be a fundamentally different bill."
"That being said, each of these amendments is a designed to strike out egregious aspects of this bill, so if some of these amendments were adopted, it might conceivably convince some Republicans to support it, if it ceased being a partisan power grab."
Republicans pulled the same scam with Biden's COVID-19 relief package. They successfully added amendments but still voted against the final bill. That didn't keep them from later going out and taking credit for all the good stuff, which only passed with Democratic votes. They are just that shameless. However, they have nothing to gain politically from a "Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill, no matter how bowdlerized. The same applies for the John Lewis Voting Act. The Supreme Court's hit job on the VRA likely helped the one-term loser win the Electoral College in 2016. It was easier to buy a gun than it was to vote in most red states, and five years later, Republicans are still talking about the “purity of the ballot box." You don't need a ring from Little Orphan Annie to decipher that code.
Black people are only three percent of West Virginia's population, which is within the margin of error, so maybe defending our voting rights isn't a big priority for the real "Sleepy Joe." He's probably not actively opposed, but he doesn't want to abandon “bipartisanship." Not that it will matter either way when he's up for re-election in 2024. This is West Virginia, a state that the twice-impeached thug carried last year by almost 40 points. A lot's changed since 2012 when Manchin won his first full term with 61 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2018 with just under 50 percent of the vote and will likely lose his seat in 2024 with no percent of the vote. He might as well do the right thing while he still has a chance, but with today's GOP, the right thing is rarely bipartisan.
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