Weekly Review — August 6, 2019, 3:18 pm

Weekly Review

The mass-shootings in El Paso and Dayton; Ronald Reagan’s racist remark to then-president Richard Nixon was made public

A white gunman drove approximately 660 miles from his home in Allen, Texas, to a Walmart in El Paso and fatally shot 22 shoppers, including a 24-year-old mother and 23-year-old father, who were shielding their two-month-old son; at least 26 more were injured, including a four-month-old baby, a two-year-old, and a nine-year-old.1 2 Less than a day later, a white gunman opened fire outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio, and, in the 30 seconds before police arrived and shot him dead, killed nine people, including his sister; it was the third mass shooting of the week and the 251st of the year.3 4 The FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell and the Allen Police Department said that they would investigate the provenance of a manifesto said to be written by the El Paso shooter that was published, minutes before the attack, on 8chan, the same internet forum on which gunmen in the Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Poway synagogue shootings posted their manifestos; all three manifestos espouse the “great replacement” theory, which argues that nonwhite immigrants are being paid by Jews and other elites to replace white Western citizens.5 6 7 When asked what could be done to prevent mass shootings, Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has signed all 10 N.R.A.-supported bills passed by the Texas Legislature in 2019, and Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, who spoke at the Texas State Rifle Association luncheon last year, argued, respectively, that mental health resources be improved and that the federal government should take action against the video game industry.8 9 10 11 12 Shouts of “Do something!” drowned out Ohio governor Mike DeWine, who was endorsed by the N.R.A. last year, as he spoke at a vigil for the Dayton victims.13 14 In an address at the White House, Donald Trump, who once said that Nigerian U.S.-visa recipients would never “go back to their huts” after seeing the United States, decried hate, racism, bigotry, mental illness, and violent video games, announced that he would direct the Department of Justice to give mass shooters the death penalty, and misidentified Dayton as Toledo; earlier that morning, the president had suggested combining legislation that would enhance background checks on guns “with desperately needed immigration reform.”15 16 17 

The Trump reelection campaign raised $460,000 from selling plastic straws.18 Tapes of a phone call between then-President Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were made public; in the conversation, Reagan said, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”19 Representatives from 54 African nations met to discuss a pan-continental free trade zone; Ethiopia set a new record by planting 350 million trees in one day; and Malawi reinstated a ban on plastic bags.20 21 22 Eleven billion tons of Greenland’s ice sheet melted in one day, and the ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s released “Bernie’s Back,” a limited-edition flavor dedicated to Bernie Sanders, the second flavor named for the candidate.23 24 It was reported that Jeffrey Epstein, who is in prison awaiting trial for the sex trafficking of minors, wanted his head and penis to be cryogenically frozen, perhaps as part of his plan to seed the human race with his DNA, and the National Academy of Sciences published a study that found CEOs and CFOs who use the extramarital-affair website Ashley Madison are more than twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct.25 26 Wells Fargo said that financial regulations had required the company to spend more on technology contractors this year, and asked those contractors to voluntarily return some of the money.27 “You will be disappointed with the amount you receive,” wrote the credit-monitoring agency Equifax in a letter to people whose information had been stolen in a 2017 data breach, after Equifax underestimated how many people would sign up to receive cash compensation.28

A black teenage girl was sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter when an undercover police officer shot and killed her boyfriend while the pair were attempting a robbery.29 In Australia, documents revealed that police have been instructed to film suspects when they are being strip-searched, and three of the Labor Party’s most senior officials argued against creating a new anti-corruption agency because, one said, it would “make it very hard to govern.”30 31 After experiencing jaw discomfort since the age of three, a seven-year-old boy in India had 526 teeth removed.32 A Michigan man was convicted of poisoning his wife’s coffee after she filed for divorce and was sentenced to spend weekends in prison for 60 days.33 An Austrian triathlete was kidnapped and then released after she complimented her kidnapper’s orchids.34 A bee that was suspected of having been inadvertently transported to Britain from Turkey escaped the house it was first seen in, was sentenced to death by the U.K. government, defended by a Turkish newspaper, and then was spared when Britain’s Natural History Museum declared that its nests were “too untidy” to be foreign.35 Astronomers announced that they had discovered a potentially habitable “super-Earth” just 31 light-years away.36Cameron French

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