Connect with us

Guns and Crime

The heroes and witnesses of the Mandalay Massacre In Las Vegas

Published

on

The stories of sacrifice and heroism in Las Vegas during the largest mass murder in US history are truly inspiring. There are many out there, but some of them just grab you by the heart and won’t let go. 59 people are dead and 527 are in local hospitals after Stephen Paddock, a 64 year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, shot into a crowd of over 22,000 at a country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay where he was located on the 32nd floor. He had a suite with two rooms and had two stands set up as far as I can tell. He had 12 or 13 weapons at his disposal. A number of them were illegally converted to fully automatic weaponry. They also found explosives and triggers in his car and homes, as well as 18 other guns. The guns were purchased in at least four states over time. This was well-planned and premeditated murder on an epic scale.

Heroes and witnesses

Taylor Benge is one of the survivors of the Mandalay Massacre. He attended the festival with his sister. She threw herself on top of her brother to protect him from the bullets as they rained down on the crowd. “My sister and I, we started running to the left and every time they shot, we took cover,” Benge said. “My sister, being as noble as she is, she actually threw herself on top of me,” he added, “and was saying, ‘I love you Taylor, I love you.’ And I’ll never forget that.” They both escaped the death trap unharmed. Benge was an agnostic, but not anymore… “I was agnostic going into that concert, and I’m a firm believer in God now,” Benge told CNN, “because there’s no way that all of that happened, and that I made it, and I was blessed enough to still be here alive talking to you today.”

Chris Bethel is an Iraq War veteran from Fort Worth, Texas. He helped LVPD track down where the shots were coming from on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. He was in Vegas for an IT conference and was staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He was staying just two floors underneath the killer. Shots rang out at about 10 pm Sunday night and Bethel knew the sound all too well from combat. He called the police immediately. “I could just hear the gun shots. Continuously. Just full automatic. There’s explosions going off. It was like, a bomb just went off man. And then there were more gun shots,” Bethel said, according to KTVT-TV.

The only explosion to go off that night was the police using a device to blast through the killer’s hotel door. Bethel could see hundreds of people below running for their lives. “I kept looking at the windows to see if I could see any kind of muzzle flash to see if I could see where the shooter was. I crouched by my front door. In hopes that I might get the opportunity to see the shooter if he ran by and I could identify him,” Bethel said. Shortly after that, the police arrived on the scene… about ten minutes after Bethel placed his call. LVPD called Bethel and told him they found the shooter who had committed suicide before they could get to him.

Bethel’s call may have saved many more lives as he cut Paddock’s party short, but he still feels he didn’t do enough. “I feel like I couldn’t get a hold of somebody quick enough to let them know. And it felt like it took them too long to get over there, to take him out, to get him. It’s actually eating me up inside,” Bethel told KTVT. In my book, he’s a hero plain and simple.

Mike McGarry is a 53 year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia. He was at the festival with his family when hundreds of shots started ringing out. His first instinct was to protect his children. “It was crazy–I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I‘m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. Reuters reported the back of McGarry’s shirt bore the footmarks of those who had ran over him in the panicked crowd. They all survived and that is the deepest kind of love, being willing to sacrifice yourself for your children.

Sonny Melton with his wife Heather Melton.

Not everyone made it out alive. Sonny Melton, 29, was an emergency room nurse married to a surgeon named Heather Melton. When the shooting began, he ran with his wife, saving her life, but sadly losing his. They were at the festival celebrating their wedding anniversary. “He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back. I want everyone to know what a kindhearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe,” Heather said.

Christopher Roybal was a 29 year-old military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He went to the festival with his mom, Debby Allen. They arrived at different times and were going to meet up. When Debby texted her son, she got no answer. They were on opposite sides of the stage when the gunfire started. “I was trying to run towards wherever I thought he might be,” she said. “This man wouldn’t let me — he kept pulling me away saying, ‘You can’t run towards the gunfire.’” Debby later ran into a firefighter who had been behind her son when he was hit. “He told me my son was shot in the chest — that he said, ‘I was hit, I’m hit’,” Allen said. “They all bent down when the gunfire began and my son just fell back.”

Adrian Murfitt was a 35 year-old commercial fisherman. He visited Las Vegas from his home in Anchorage, Alaska to vacation. Murfitt “was happy to pay some things off and had made some really good money,” his sister, Shannon Gothard, told the AP. He “decided to go out and celebrate and go to the concert and treat himself to something nice and fun.” It would be the last thing he ever did. A friend was with Murfitt as he was gunned down and later notified his family.

Sandy Casey also came from Manhattan Beach, CA. She was a special education teacher and a country music lover. She went to the festival with her fiance and some friends. They were near the stage when she was shot in her lower back. Her fiance tried carrying her to safety, dodging gunfire, but it was too late. “This is unbelievably sad and tragic,” said the district superintendent, Mike Matthews, according NBC Los Angeles. “We lost a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students.”

Carrie Barnette was a 30 year-old longtime worker from Disneyland. She went to Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday. “She was always generous and helping everybody in every way,” her mother, Mavis Barnette said. “She loved her nieces and nephews and her sister and brother.” Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed that Barnette had died on Twitter. “A senseless, horrific, act, and a terrible loss for so many,” he wrote. “We mourn a wonderful member of the Disney family: Carrie Barnette. Tragic.”

Quinton Robbins was only 20 years-old. He took his girlfriend on a date to the festival and would never go on another. She saw him clutch his chest and she thought that since he was a diabetic, it was low blood sugar. She couldn’t have known at that point he had been shot in the chest. He was the oldest of three children and was a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, my alma mater.

Angie Gomez was also 20 years-old. She graduated high school just two short years ago and her whole life was ahead of her. She had landed a job as a certified nursing assistant and was celebrating at the festival. She was shot three times… once in the shoulder and twice in the arm. She passed away before her longtime boyfriend could get her to a hospital. School officials in Riverside, California, described her on Monday as a determined, but convivial student who loved theater and choir. “We are shaken and saddened by this news,” the district said in a statement. “Angie was a loyal friend who loved her family and will be forever missed by all who knew her.”

Neysa Tonks worked for a southern California-based technology company and had three children. Her employer was Technologent and they confirmed her death yesterday. On a fundraising page, friends recalled her humor and posted photos of her wrapped in toilet paper or flashing a goofy grin for the camera. “Neysa was always down to be silly,” one friend wrote. “More memories than I can count are of her laughing and she had the BEST laugh!! She will be GREATLY and DEEPLY missed!!!”

Susan Smith was 53 and an elementary school office manager and district fixture in Simi Valley, California. She always had a smile for people and never missed a dance recital. “It’s numbing,” a family friend, Suzanne Smith, told NBC Los Angeles. “It doesn’t seem real.” She was at the festival with friends when she was shot down.

The Takeaway

There are a lot of stories out there and many are inspiring. Many more are tragic. I spent a lot of time crying over this yesterday… it breaks my heart. I’d like to leave you with the message my friend Councilwoman Michele Fiore put out yesterday:

Pray and Give

As we wake up this morning the sunrises over the greatest tragedy to visit our city since the MGM Grand fire, it is heartbreaking to hear the casualty numbers get higher and higher. It is just hard to wrap your head around this kind of evil existing in the world.

But we are not only Americans we are Las Vegans. We take care of our own. So let’s start by doing a few simple things.

Give blood today with me. There is an urgent need for all types. The donation locations are listed below.

Reach out to any friends or families of the victims you may know and offer your help any way they need it; a ride to the hospital, sitting with them in the waiting room, looking after a child or just being there to listen and letting them know they are loved.

Check in on your friends and family that were there and not injured. They may need a person to talk to.

Take a moment when you see a first responder to thank them for their service.

And finally, take the time to hug your children and loved ones a little tighter. To let the people in your life know you love them. Eat a meal tonight as a family. Truly appreciate the people in your life. They are your true blessings.

We are not only strong; we are Vegas Strong. We will get through this together.

As Elder Ellis said yesterday, “The world is dangerous, and the Lord has commanded his people to not act out of a spirit of fear. The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith”.

You can give blood at UMC Hospital, Delta Point 901 Rancho Lane, Las Vegas as well as the following locations through Nevada.

All my love,

Michele

Conspiracy Theory

If Keith Ellison wins his election, #MeToo has officially jumped the shark

Published

on

If Keith Ellison wins his election MeToo has officially jumped the shark

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) should be a prime target for the #MeToo movement. He’s a powerful man who allegedly abused his ex-girlfriend. She has corroboration and evidence to back her claims. She’s a fellow Democrat, so she’s not a political plant by his opposition. She’s a woman with a story of abuse that, by #MeToo movement standards, should be believed.

The problem is Ellison is a powerful Democrat, a Muslim, a minority, and is in the middle of a tight election. Therefore, he’s protected from the people who would have sunk Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation despite no evidence or corroboration.

The hypocrisy of it all is stunning. The message being sent by the #MeToo movement based on their unwillingness to confront Ellison and call for his removal from offices, current and future, is that women are to be believed if they’re accusing the right people. Keith Ellison isn’t the right person. He’s an ally to the #MeToo movement because he’s a Democrat, a Muslim, a minority, and someone who’s in the middle of an important election in Minnesota.

Despite the #MeToo movement looking away, it seems that voters in Minnesota are starting to look closer.

Domestic abuse charges diminishing Ellison’s lead

https://onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2018/10/16/domestic-abuse-charges-diminishing-ellisons-leadRep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) lead in the polls – to become Minnesota’s newest attorney general in the midterm elections – has continued to vanish after his ex-girlfriend’s domestic abuse allegations.

Before the Karen Monahan’s charges were made public, the Democratic Muslim candidate was believed to be a shoe-in in the contest to become the deep-blue state’s top cop, but since then, polls show that his once long-shot Republican competitor, Doug Wardlow, has closed in on him – big time.

Misogyny and abuse of power are real problems in America. This is why the initial iteration of the #MeToo movement was so powerful. It worked. That cannot be denied. But what it has become is a shadow of its original self.

The highest ranking law enforcement official n the state of Minnesota may be a many accused by his ex-girlfriend of physical and mental abuse. Unfortunately, #MeToo doesn’t believe her.

#MeToo will only go after people like Keith Ellison if there’s incontrovertible evidence against them. They’ll go after Brett Kavanaugh no matter what. #MeToo is not the women’s empowerment movement they claim to be. It’s a political activist front.

Continue Reading

Guns and Crime

Why isn’t Katie Brennan’s #MeToo accusation getting national attention?

Published

on

It’s the type of story that should have received national attention immediately. It was sourced by a respected major news outlet, the Wall Street Journal. Both the accuser and the accused are high-ranking public official in New Jersey’s government. The accused stepped down two weeks ago when approached by WSJ for comment. Katie Brennan’s story is a major newsworthy scandal.

As of Monday morning, a day after the story officially broke and four days after it was leaked to other major news outlets, both mainstream media and the #MeToo movement are essentially silent.

That will change soon, possibly today. Brennan, a prominent volunteer for Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign and current Chief of Staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, released this statement:

On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017 I learned that the system is broken.

I have pursued every form of justice available. But it has become clear that this system is not built for survivors.

The details of the assault portrayed in reporter Kate King’s Wall Street Journal report published today are accurate. But to date, I have received no justice.

I decided to come forward because I know that Al Alvarez, and all perpetrators, must be held accountable, must never rape again, and the justice system needs a complete change with regard to sexual violence.

New Jersey residents are only given a two-year window to file a civil suit. After spending an entire year pursuing a criminal case before hitting a dead end, I am left with less than one year to pursue civil action.

It is clear that leadership from the Murphy administration is needed to create meaningful policy change on several levels to make sure future victims do not have to endure what I have. I urge Gov. Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office to eliminate the statute of limitations on civil action related to sexual assault, and to direct prosecutors to be more aggressive in taking on these criminal cases. Further, the Murphy administration and the General Assembly should pursue legislation to ensure New Jersey’s police and other first responders are better trained to handle sexual assault victims.

Finally, sexual predators like Al Alvarez are only able to stay in power when those around them do nothing. Several senior level members of the Murphy administration were aware of my assault and failed to take meaningful action. Al Alvarez remained employed at a senior level in the Murphy administration until just a few weeks ago, when he knew the Wall Street Journal article was coming out and opted to resign. The failure of members of Gov. Murphy’s staff to respond in an aggressive, proactive fashion is unacceptable.

To other sexual assault survivors in New Jersey, I urge you to join me in coming forward if you are able. I will stand with you, because when we stand together, we are safer and stronger. Our voice is our power. Together, we can finally receive the justice we all deserve.

Murphy has not commented other than saying Alvarez should not have been hired. He was made aware of a “sensitive matter” that needed to be discussed by Brennan in June and claimed his staff would set up a meeting. That was the last Brennan heard from Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of aide sex assault allegation questioned

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/governor/2018/10/14/murphys-handling-sexual-assault-allegation-called-into-question/1642517002/His accuser, Katie Brennan, was a Murphy campaign volunteer who said she spent more than a year seeking action against Alvarez for the alleged sexual assault before directly emailing Phil and Tammy Murphy in June. Phil Murphy responded within the hour, according to the Journal.

“Hang in,” he wrote. “We are on it.”

But Alvarez remained in his $140,000-a-year position until October. The alleged assault happened in April 2017.

Standards set by the #MeToo movement dictate that credible accusations should be believed. Brennan appears to be extremely credible, having reported her rape immediately after it allegedly occurred. Alvarez offered a $15,000 settlement that would have been attached to a non-disclosure agreement, which Brennan refused.

Where is MSNBC? Where is CNN? Where is Alyssa Milano?

Social media is starting to take notice. In particular, they’re going after Murphy and his wife for speaking out in support of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Katie Brennan

My Take

I am a strong proponent for what the #MeToo movement once promoted and how it started. The original intent was to embolden women who had experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of men in power over them. The goal was to give courage to those who were in very tough situations.

Recently, the #MeToo movement has been weaponized. I’m not going to draw comparisons between accusations against Kavanaugh and Alvarez. That would be unfair to Ford since Brennan’s accusations against Alvarez are much more recent and have the benefit of an immediate report to the authorities. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that as of now, either the story hasn’t reached the right people or the right people have chosen to ignore it.

We can’t let them.

It’s not as if this is a political hit job against Democrats. Brennan’s image was used in Murphy’s campaign handouts and she was outspoken as a “Young Democrat of the Week” in New Jersey as a result.

Katie Brennan NJ Democrat

I don’t like when something as heinous as rape gets politicized, but silence from mainstream media and the #MeToo movement is deafening. Would they be avoiding the story if Brennan had accused a Republican?

Continue Reading

Guns and Crime

Infographic: Opioid overdose deaths in the United States

Published

on

Infographic Opioid overdose deaths in the United States

The use of opioids in the United States has dramatically risen in recent years, prompting calls for action from both sides of the political aisle. It’s not like the old drug wars on the streets of New York or the suburbs of Dallas. This drug epidemic is affecting all races, economic conditions, and ages.

In this infographic from Visual Capitalist, they examine the death rates county by county. Of note is West Virginia, where in some areas the opioid death rate is approaching the cancer death rates.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Continue Reading
Advertisement Donate to NOQ Report
Advertisement

Facebook

Twitter

Trending

Copyright © 2018 NOQ Report