Sound bites: Multiple shootings in the U.S. and Canada took over headlines over the weekend • protests in Hong Kong show no sign of slowing down • Cesar Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On Saturday morning, a shooter walked into a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 22 people. 27 others were injured. The suspect, a 21-year-old man, is in custody and police are treating the event as domestic terrorism. The suspect posted a racist statement online 20 minutes before the shooting, saying America is overrun by immigrants. The manifesto was posted on a messaging board called 8chan that describes itself as “the darkest reaches of the Internet.” Cloudflare, the security company that keeps 8chan protected, dropped its protections for the site, calling it a “cesspool of hate.” In a speech addressing the shooting, President Trump condemned racism and white supremacy and blamed gun violence on mental illness and video games, not gun control.
Early Sunday morning, a gunman fired 41 shots in 30 seconds at civilians in Dayton, Ohio’s popular Oregon District. Nine people were killed, including the shooter's sister. Police officers were on the scene and shot down the suspect within a minute. But within that minute, the man was able to kill multiple people with a .223-caliber rifle with 100-round drum magazines. Why he had such a powerful assault weapon is the big question. So far, in 2019, there have been more than 250 mass shootings in the U.S.
Canada is not immune. Over the long weekend, 16 people suffered gunshot wounds across 11 different incidents, including a nightclub shooting at District 45 lounge. The Toronto area was host to a number of big events over the weekend – Caribbean Carnival, OVO Fest, and Veld – and although Toronto police chief Mark Saunders didn’t blame the festivals, he did say that the extra people in the city, from all over the world, may have contributed to the increased violence.
There’s no end in sight for the protests in Hong Kong. Yesterday, a general strike shut down the city, blocking commuters from getting to work, closing shops, and cancelling over 100 flights. As expected, tourism and the economy have taken a big hit since the demonstrations started over a month ago.
A controversial new law was proposed in June intended to extradite (transfer) people from Hong Kong to be put on trial in China. Protesters argue the bill goes against the two-systems, one-country policy – which basically says that Hong Kong can operate under its own political, social, and legal system. On July 8th, Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, finally gave in and killed the deal. But it wasn’t good enough. Protesters want the government to drop all charges against protesters, dissolve the government, and get rid of Lam.
Will she resign?
She hasn’t budged yet. And she has unwavering support from China, who likely won’t even talk about policy changes until protesters settle down. The huge and sometimes violent protests have included fires, broken windows, and eggs. TBD what China’s going to do to stop the unrest, but the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in China is expected to make an announcement today.
The man who sent homemade pipe bombs to prominent Democratic figures last year was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Reminder: Cesar Sayoc, a former amateur bodybuilder, sent 16 pipe bombs to President Trump’s most high-profile critics: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, actor Robert De Niro, and others. None of the bombs detonated, but all were real. During his sentencing yesterday, Sayoc expressed regret for his actions and sobbed when the judge gave him 20 years. He was facing a life sentence but his defence successfully argued that Sayoc didn’t really want to hurt anyone because he intentionally designed the bombs so they would not explode.
A&W Canada recently became the first food chain in North America to say ‘sayonara’ to the plastic straw. And they announced it in style. The fast-food restaurant will be keeping an estimated 82 million plastic straws out of the environment by switching over to biodegradable paper. To mark the decision, the company that makes your fave Mama burger decided to take their remaining 140,000 plastic straws and turn them into — what else — a sculpture! The straws were stacked outside of Toronto’s Union Station earlier this year and spelt out “Change is good.” We couldn’t agree more.
Realizing it's a short week...