Tuesday, May 17, 2022

White supremacy groups are greatest terrorism threat to this country

 The threat is not from beyond our boarders, but from within

Over the past decade, the Anti-Defamation League has counted about 450 U.S. murders committed by political extremists, reported The New York Times.

Of these 450 killings, right-wing extremists committed about 75 percent. Islamic extremists were responsible for about 20 percent, and left-wing extremists were responsible for 4 percent. Nearly half of the murders were specifically tied to white supremacists.

As this data shows, the American political right has a violence problem that has no equivalent on the left. And the 10 victims in Buffalo this past weekend are now part of this toll. “Right-wing extremist violence is our biggest threat,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL, has written. “The numbers don’t lie.”

The pattern extends to violence less severe than murder, like the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. It also extends to the language from some Republican politicians — including Donald Trump — and conservative media figures that treats violence as a legitimate form of political expression. A much larger number of Republican officials do not use this language but also do not denounce it or punish politicians who do use it; Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, is a leading example.

It’s important to emphasize that not all extremist violence comes from the right — and that the precise explanation for any one attack can be murky, involving a mixture of ideology, mental illness, gun access and more. In the immediate aftermath of an attack, people are sometimes too quick to claim a direct cause and effect. But it is also incorrect to pretend that right-wing violence and left-wing violence are equivalent problems.

To read more CLICK HERE

Monday, May 16, 2022

The dubious and dangerous idea of the 'great replacement theory'

The Buffalo supermarket shooter is an adherent of the so-called Great Replacement theory. According to authorities, the killer of 10 felt compelled to drive more than three hours to shoot innocent Black people indiscriminately with a high-powered rifle because white Americans are being “replaced” by people of color, according to an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times.

In many ways, this truly ugly conspiracy theory has some roots right here in the Golden State of the 1990s.

That’s when Republicans, desperate to hold on to political power, were spreading fear and paranoia about millions of Mexican immigrants wanting — how dare them! — resources and rights, and the inevitable decline of the state’s white population.

These were the formative years of Stephen Miller, the Santa Monica native who grew up to become President Trump’s repugnant, immigrant-hating senior advisor.

Of course, the real origin of the “Great Replacement” theory is much older and inextricably linked to antisemitism, in that white supremacists blame Jews for nonwhite immigration. Hence, the chants of “Jews will not replace us” and “You will not replace us” by racists with tiki torches the night before the Unite the Right rally in Virginia in 2017.

The version of the theory making the rounds now posits not just that America is becoming more diverse, which is absolutely true, but that some secret cabal of elite Democrats is conspiring to bring in immigrants in any and every way possible to “replace” white Christian people and reshape American politics into some sort of secular, multicultural liberal image. Like California.

Never mind that Latino voters often sway conservative, as we saw in the 2020 presidential election, when Trump got a bigger share of that demographic’s electorate than he did in 2016.

It never stops.

“Diversity is not a strength,” Gendron wrote, according to snippets of the manifesto that authorities say he uploaded and are now floating around online. “Unity, purpose, trust, traditions, nationalism and racial nationalism is what provides strength.”

We now know from that manifesto that Gendron traveled some 200 miles from his rural hometown to reach that supermarket in Buffalo because it was in a neighborhood with lots of Black people, authorities said.

Alongside racist, anti-immigrant rantings, the manifesto laid out how he planned to kill as many Black people as possible, authorities said. That he would shoot the security guard near the entrance before firing upon Black shoppers. That he had studied the floor plan and knew each aisle. What he would eat for lunch.

The FBI is investigating what happened as a “hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the motive for the mass shooting “pure evil.”

It’s also a widespread, white supremacist ideology that has gone mainstream.

Late last year, a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about a third of American adults believe an effort is afoot to “replace” U.S.-born Americans with immigrants.

In addition, roughly 3 in 10 think additional immigration will cause native, presumably white, Americans to lose their economic, political and cultural influence.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to share these views, according to the poll. One reason is that irresponsible conservative pundits keep touting the “Great Replacement” theory as an explanation for everything from the loss of manufacturing jobs in the Midwest to a spike in deaths from overdoses among white people addicted to painkillers.

As Tucker Carlson said on Fox News last April: “I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually.”

It’s a lie, and it’s ridiculous and it’s dangerous, especially in the era of social media. And yet, it never stops — even here.

To read more CLICK HERE

Mangino appears on Court TV

 Watch my interview with Michael Ayala on Court TV.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Drought-stricken Lake Mead reveals Las Vegas mob secrets

Stories about long-departed Las Vegas organized crime figures are surfacing after a second set of unidentified human remains were revealed as the water level falls on drought-stricken Lake Mead, according to The Associated Press.

The reservoir on the Colorado River is about a 30-minute drive from the mob-founded Las Vegas Strip.

“There’s no telling what we’ll find in Lake Mead,” former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said Monday. “It’s not a bad place to dump a body.”

Goodman was a defense attorney who represented Mafia figures including ill-fated Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro before serving three terms as a martini-toting mayor who made public appearances with a showgirl on each arm.

He declined to speculate about who might turn up in the vast reservoir formed by Hoover Dam between Nevada and Arizona.

 “I’m relatively sure it was not Jimmy Hoffa,” he laughed, referring to the former labor boss who disappeared in 1975. But he added that a lot of his former clients seemed interested in “climate control” — mob speak for keeping the lake level up and bodies down in their watery graves.

Instead, the world now has climate change, and as a result the surface of Lake Mead has dropped more than 170 feet (52 meters) since 1983. The lake that slakes the thirst of 40 million people in cities, farms and tribes across seven Southwestern states is down to about 30% of capacity.

“If the lake goes down much farther, it’s very possible we’re going to have some very interesting things surface,” said Michael Green, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor whose father dealt blackjack for decades at casinos including the Stardust and Showboat.

“I wouldn’t bet the mortgage that we’re going to solve who killed Bugsy Siegel,” Green said, referring to the infamous gangster who opened the Flamingo casino in 1946 on what became the Strip. Siegel was shot dead in 1947 in Beverly Hills, California. His assassin has never been identified.

“But I would be willing to bet there are going to be a few more bodies,” Green said.

Last month. the dropping lake level exposed Las Vegas’ uppermost drinking water intake, forcing the regional water authority to switch to a deep-lake intake it completed in 2020 to continue to supply casinos, suburbs and 2.4 million residents and 40 million tourists per year.

The following weekend, boaters spotted the decomposed body of a man in a rusted barrel stuck in the mud of newly exposed shoreline.

The corpse has not been identified, but Las Vegas police say he had been shot, probably between the mid-1970s and early 1980s, according to the shoes found with him. The death is being investigated as a homicide.

A few days later, a second barrel was found by a KLAS-TV news crew, not far from the first. It was empty.

On Saturday, two sisters from the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson were paddle boarding on the lake near a former marina resort and noticed bones on a newly surfaced sand bar more than 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from the barrels.

Lindsey Melvin, who took photos of their find, said they thought at first it was the skeleton of a bighorn sheep native to the region. A closer look revealed a human jaw with teeth. They called park rangers and the National Park Service confirmed in a statement that the bones were human.

There was no immediate evidence of foul play, Las Vegas police said Monday, and they are not investigating. A homicide probe would be opened if the Clark County coroner determines the death was suspicious, the department said in a statement.

Geoff Schumacher, vice president of The Mob Museum, said he expects “a lot” of whatever bodies lie beneath the lake’s surface will turn out to be drowning victims. But he said it’s clear whoever was in the barrel was a target.

Stuffing a body in a barrel has a “signature of a mob hit,” said Schumacher, whose museum is in a renovated historic downtown Las Vegas post office and federal building. It opened in 2012 as The National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement.

He and Green both cited the death of John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli, a mid-1950s Las Vegas mobster who disappeared in 1976. A few days later his body was found in a steel drum floating off the coast of Miami.

David Kohlmeier, a former police officer who now co-hosts a Las Vegas podcast and fledgling TV show called “The Problem Solver Show,” said Monday that after offering a $5,000 reward last week for qualified divers to find barrels in the lake, he heard from people in San Diego and Florida willing to try.

But National Park Service officials said that’s not allowed and that there are hundreds of barrels in the depths, some dating to the construction of Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

Kohlmeier said he also heard from families of missing people and about cases like a man suspected of killing his mother and brother in 1987, a hotel employee who disappeared in 1992, and a father from Utah who vanished in the 1980s.

Green said the discoveries have people talking not only about mob hits, but about bringing relief and closure to grieving families.

To read more CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the U.S. in 2020

Gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, as gun-related homicides surged by 35 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, according to The New York Times.

“This is a historic increase, with the rate having reached the highest level in over 25 years,” Dr. Debra E. Houry, acting principal deputy director of the C.D.C. and the director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said at a news briefing.

More than 45,000 Americans died in gun-related incidents as the pandemic spread in the United States, the highest number on record, federal data show. The gun homicide rate was the highest reported since 1994.

That represents the largest one-year increase in gun homicides in modern history, according to Ari Davis, a policy adviser at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, which recently released its own analysis of C.D.C. data.

Cities from coast to coast have seen bloody episodes of gun violence since the pandemic began, but the new report is official confirmation of something that many Americans had already sensed: Amid the stress and upheaval, citizens turned to guns in numbers rarely seen.

The new numbers reveal not only startling increases in the rates of gun homicide, but also document “widened disparities” that existed even before the pandemic began, the C.D.C. said.

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Homicides involving firearms were generally highest, and showed the largest increases, in poor communities, and exacted a disproportionate toll on younger Black men in particular. Deaths of Black women, though smaller in number, also increased significantly.

More than half of gun deaths were suicides, however, and that number did not substantially increase from 2019 to 2020. The overall rise in gun deaths therefore was 15 percent in 2020, the C.D.C. said.

The rise in gun violence has afflicted cities large and small, in both blue and red states, leaving law enforcement scrambling for answers. In many places, like Los Angeles and Denver, the increases have persisted in 2021, and trends this year so far show no sign of a reversal.

 “We have two things together: the trauma of the past two years, and the mental health crisis that came out of this pandemic,” Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles said earlier this year at an event to discuss crime. “Those things have caused us to see more violence.”

Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor in the department of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said he was not surprised by the C.D.C.’s analysis but was worried by what it might augur in the coming summer, when there are typically more gun homicides.

“June, July, August are always the biggest shooting months,” he said, adding that most large American cities see about a 30 percent uptick in shootings and homicides in the summer.

Federal officials and outside experts were not certain what caused the surge in gun deaths.

“One possible explanation is stressors associated with the Covid pandemic that could have played a role, including changes and disruption to services and education, social isolation, housing instability and difficulty covering daily expenses,” said Thomas R. Simon, associate director for science at the C.D.C.’s division of violence prevention.

The rise also corresponded to accelerated sales of firearms as the pandemic spread and lockdowns became the norm, the C.D.C. analysis noted. Americans went on a gun-buying spree in 2020 that continued into 2021, when in a single week the F.B.I. reported a record 1.2 million background checks.

The primary reason people give for purchasing a handgun is self-protection. But research published in the 1990s established that simply having a gun in the home increases the risk of a gun homicide by a factor of three, and increases the risk of a suicide by a factor of five.

Today, gun buying has largely returned to prepandemic levels, but there remain roughly 15 million more guns in circulation than there would be without the pandemic, according to Garen J. Wintemute, a gun violence researcher at the University of California, Davis.

But gun homicide has many roots. Federal researchers also cited disruptions in routine health care; protests over police use of lethal force; a rise in domestic violence; inequitable access to health care; and longstanding systemic racism that has contributed to poor housing conditions, limited educational opportunities and high poverty rates.

Law enforcement officials and criminologists pointed not just to the pandemic, but also to the divisive presidential election in 2020, as gun buying tends to increase at times of deep political polarization.

And there is a sense, harder to quantify, that psyches are frayed — that citizens may be quicker to turn to violence when provoked.

“Something has happened to the American people during this two years that has taken violence to a new level,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that studies law enforcement policy.

“We don’t know what it is, but if you talk to police chiefs they will tell you that what used to be some small altercation now becomes a shooting and a homicide.”

Black Americans remained disproportionately affected by gun violence in 2020. Firearm homicide rates increased by 39.5 percent among Black people from 2019 to 2020, to 11,904. The victims were overwhelmingly young men.

The Johns Hopkins analysis found that Black men ages 15 to 34 accounted for 38 percent of all gun homicide victims in 2020, though this group represented just 2 percent of the U.S. population.

Black men ages 15 to 34 were more than 20 times more likely to be killed with a gun than white men of the same age. The number of Black women killed by guns also increased by almost 50 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, Mr. Davis said.

Rising rates of gun-related homicides were seen in all racial and ethnic groups, except among Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, who saw a small decrease.

Gun-related suicides have long been more common among older white men. But in 2020, rates rose mostly sharply among Native Americans and Alaska Native groups, although the numbers were still small compared with those among white men.

“We’re going to need to develop different types of solutions to deal with different types of gun violence,” Mr. Davis said.

The last time homicide rates involving firearms peaked was during the crack epidemic of 1993-94, said Andrew Morral, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation and the director of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research. Rates declined until 2015, but have been inching up ever since.

“It’s pretty alarming,” Mr. Morral said. “It’s a bigger jump than I would have expected.”

But there is no solid explanation for the decline or the rise, he added: “In a sense it’s a mystery. It’s the big question everyone wants the answer to. Everyone has a theory, but it’s very hard to test the theories.”

Even if the pandemic is part of the answer, “that doesn’t explain why rates have been rising since 2016,” he said.

The C.D.C. is currently funding 18 research projects aimed at identifying causes of gun violence and developing solutions. The research spans a broad range of interventions: One experiment relies on outreach workers to mediate potentially lethal conflicts in a community, while another provides services to teens and young adults who have been hospitalized with gun injuries.

Others involve distribution of free lockboxes for storing firearms safely in the home.

Projects like these were frozen under the 1996 Dickey Amendment, named after Representative Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas, which barred the C.D.C. from spending money to advocate or promote gun control.

Congress has restored $25 million in funding for firearm injury prevention research, which is split between the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health.

To read more CLICK HERE

Friday, May 13, 2022

Mangino a guest on 'Who Killed . . ." podcast with Bill Huffman

 Listen to my conversation with Bill Huffman on the podcast "Who killed . . ." discussing my career and my book The Executioner's Toll, 2010.

To listen CLICK HERE

Mangino discusses the U.S. Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade on WFMJ-TV21

Watch my interview about the U.S. Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade with Lindsay McCoy on WFMJ-TV21 Weekend Today.

To watch the interview CLICK HERE