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Guns and Crime

The heroes and witnesses of the Mandalay Massacre In Las Vegas

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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

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Culture and Religion

Lesson learned from the #MAGAkids incident

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Lesson learned from the MAGAkids incident

Learning from recent history so we don’t have to repeat it.

Perhaps the best way to assess the situation with the “#MAGA kids” or #Drumgate Is to break it down into lessons we all need to learn. It is unfortunate that these incidents keep on taking place with the consequences becoming more and more dire. It can only get worse from here on out if we are not careful.

1. Learn the Facts first. We live in an age of instant communication. This doesn’t mean that it has to lead to instant outrage.

Until the invention of the telegraph information moved at the speed of the horse or the speed of a marathon runner. It wasn’t until the Internet became ubiquitous with a cell phone in every pocket that the dream of instant communication became realized. The same can be said of the parallel developments in visual communications. Photography came of age in as the telegraph the same century, but it involved wet panes of glass in large cameras with very slow shutter speeds. It wasn’t until the advent of television and satellites that this became instantaneous. These days, everyone has a miniature TV studio in their purse or pocket to instantly broadcast video in real-time.

Someone pasting up a newspaper edition or writing the copy for a news reader had to gather the facts of as story – and dare we say it – the luxury of having the time to get things right before presenting the story to the public. These days anyone and everyone can post a story or video that can become instantly viral, before the facts become known. A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can be properly researched.

Paradoxically speaking, we’ve lost something in having to take our time to disseminate information. It’s impossible to fully comprehend what is taking place with a short segment of out of context video with an accompanying hashtag. As in the present case, our ability to instantly convey outrage can be extremely harmful to the truth and our society at large. One writer over ‘The Atlantic’ conveyed this idea in her story: I Failed the Covington Catholic Test Next time there’s a viral story, I’ll wait for more facts to emerge.  That is a lesson for us all. Take the time to learn both sides of the story, before spouting off about it. This isn’t a game of who can be outraged before anyone else. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake here.

2. It’s racist to convey guilt or innocence merely by skin color or intersectionality.

If it’s wrong to judge people on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, then it would follow that’s also wrong when combining this with other immutable characteristics. Let us be clear, there were those who instantly judged the actors in this morality play merely by these attributes.

Two of the groups were instantly judged to be morally superior to the third group because of their skin color. In addition to this, the one side of the now infamous two-person confrontation is reported to be a Vietnam era veteran while the other happened to have ‘politically incorrect’ headgear.

The one side of the confrontation was deemed to be in the right merely by skin color and intersectionality while the other was deemed wrong for the same reason. Perhaps if everyone had taken the time to learn about sides, they wouldn’t have rushed to judgement, particularly in regards to Mr. Nathan Phillips as reported here and on Glenn Beck.

Does it really have to be stated that these kinds of tactics are divisive in the extreme? That instead of heeding the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we are heading for our own doom on the opposite tack?

3. Leftists don’t deserve to be labelled as Liberal or progressive.

Soon after this story broke, a Democratic Congressman, Rep. John Yarmuth made what he claimed afterward to be a ‘joke’ in wanting to ban the wearing of certain headgear:

I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on. They seem to be poisoning young minds. [1/2]

This is but one example of the assertions made by those on the Left to somehow punish these high school kids for the ‘crime’ of standing around in a public place, waiting for the buses to take them home.

That the Left has become openly hostile to Liberty should be enough to render them to be unworthy of the laudatory moniker of Liberal. It should also be noted that their rejection of modernity with their embrace of postmodernism contravenes their self-labeling as ‘Progressives’.

4. The Left has the predilection for falsehoods and violence.

Projection is one of the nation’s Socialist-Left’s most prevalent psychological failings. Quite often this malady causes them to accuse others of what they are doing. They will complain about ‘fake news’ until the bovines return to the barn while running with at best incomplete data on a story or at worst disinformation. Some media outlets have backtracked on their original stories, but have they explained what truly happened?

Similarly, they revel in accusing the Pro-Liberty Right of fomenting violence, while wholeheartedly engaging in the practice. Witness current events with this story. Even after the facts were finally revealed, they persisted in trying to ‘Dox’ these teenagers to the point of incorrectly targeting others.

Leftists love to talk about ‘gun nuts’ to the point of trying to force unconstitutional and unnecessary gun confiscation SWATing – so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws on everyone. Meanwhile, it is they who stay unhinged in making threats to innocent children.

5. We are headed for trouble if the Left continues to use these tactics. The politics of intersectionality are going to rip this country apart.

Does it really have to be stated outright that pitting various groups against each other will lead down a dead-end? That the racism and intersectionality politics from the Left is inherently divisive?

We can acknowledge that these types of tactics are present on both sides, but it is most prevalent on the socialist-Left. It should be obvious that the Left in particular needs to halt this practice before it causes harm.

The Takeaway.

These types of events have happened in the past, and yet many still have yet to learn from them. Now that the full story has come out, everyone should assess what they did wrong in this situation and learn from their mistakes. Some have already done this, others have already made up their minds, unencumbered by facts. These are the people who need to learn the lessons of this case. Let us hope that they will, or we will be doomed to repeat them with even worse consequences next time around.


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Entertainment and Sports

US singer Chris Brown detained in Paris after rape complaint

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US singer Chris Brown detained in Paris after rape complaint

PARIS (AP) — U.S. singer Chris Brown and two other people are in custody in Paris after a woman filed a rape complaint, French officials said Tuesday.

The Grammy Award-winning singer was detained Monday on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions and remained in custody Tuesday, a judicial official said. Investigators have another two days to decide whether to let him go or file preliminary charges.

Brown’s publicists at Sony Music would not immediately comment on the complaint or say what Brown, 29, was doing in Paris.

Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015, but has continued to have run-ins with police.

The woman who filed the complaint said she met Brown and his friends overnight Jan. 15-16 at the club Le Crystal in the 8th arrondissement near the Champs-Elysees, and then they all went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel near the Concorde Plaza in central Paris, according to the official.

One of Brown’s bodyguards is among the others detained in the Paris investigation, according to the official. Neither official was authorized to be publicly named discussing the investigation.

The detention was originally reported by French gossip magazine Closer.

Brown is best-known for hits in the 2000s such as “Run It” and “Kiss Kiss.” He retains a hard core of fans, including nearly 50 million followers on Instagram. He posted an Instagram photo Monday from Paris appearing to show him at a night club.

He released a new single earlier this month and has a new album coming this year. Six of his albums have gone platinum.

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Guns and Crime

Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

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Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

A man believed by authorities to have committed four murders in Northern Nevada was taken into custody on January 19, possibly bringing to an end a killing streak that has worried residents for the last two weeks.

19-year-old Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman was arrested by Washoe County Sheriff’s department on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and immigration law violations. Martinez-Guzman is an illegal alien with a federal hold. The District Attorney’s office plans to file murder charges against him as well, claiming they have sufficient evidence to convict him.

Murder charges expected against suspect in killings

https://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Murder-charges-expected-against-suspect-in-Northern-NV-murders-504626241.htmlThe first killing took place January 9 or 10, 2019. 56-year-old Connie Koontz was found shot to death at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos. She was found dead by her mother, who also lives in the home and is hard of hearing and disabled.

January 13, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile away, also shot to death.

January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, a former Reno Rodeo President, and his wife, 80-year-old Sharon David, were found dead in their home on La Guardia Lane in south Reno, near Zolezzi. They also had been shot to death.

My Take

If he is proven guilty, this will be another example of American citizens dying at the hands of an illegal immigrant. How many people have to die before Democrats take the border crisis seriously enough to do something about it?


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