26 Dead in Texas Church, The Russia Ring
Monday, November 6, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 297
The American Cancer: Twenty-six people are dead after a shooting in a Baptist church in tiny Sutherland Springs southeast of San Antonio, Texas. The dead range in age from 5 to 72, including the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter. One woman said her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren were killed. At least 20 other people were wounded.
The gunman, who died at the end of a car chase, has been identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, who had been discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct. Witnesses said he was dressed in black military gear, wearing a bulletproof vest, and carrying a Ruger assault rifle. They said he began firing outside the church, then entered. Twenty-three people died inside the church, two outside and one later at a hospital.
A neighbor of the church exchanged gunshots with the gunman then jumped in a truck with another man and pursued for 11 miles, sometimes hitting 95 mph. Kelley crashed near the county line and was found dead inside his car. It appears that he shot himself.
As he did after the Las Vegas massacre, President Trump said it’s too early to talk about gun control.
The shooting has been described as the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas, the worst in a church, a sad commentary on the statistics of mass shootings. It is by far not the worst mass shooting in US history, but like in baseball, which counts home runs hit in a World Series played on a Tuesday, the statistics of mass shootings are being broken down into particulars to give them meaning.
The Russia Thing: Several news outlets report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has the evidence to indict former national Security Adviser Mike Flynn and possibly his son, Michael, who worked with his father on the Trump campaign and transition.
If they indict the son, prosecutors can be expected to use that as leverage to get the father to cooperate. Investigators are looking at Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents. Like Paul Manafort, he failed to register as the agent of a foreign government.
Flynn was fired after 24 days in the administration, but his indictment would put the Russia inquiry in the halls of the White House. Mueller is focusing on all Trump-related contacts with Russia, and so far at least nine of his associates have been identified as having had contacts with Russians.
In the tangle of affairs involving Russia, The NY Times reports that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a billionaire businessman in private life, has retained his interest in a shipping company with ties to a Russian oligarch who is under US economic sanctions.
Nation: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was injured far worse than originally described after an assault at his home. His injuries were first said to be minor, but he has five broken ribs and it’s unknown when he will return to work. — Former NY congressman Anthony Weiner reports today for his 21-month prison sentence. He goes to a Massachusetts facility that’s also supposed to treat whatever the hell is wrong with him.
The Runner: Massachusetts native Shalane Flanagan yesterday became the first American woman to win the New York marathon since 1977, finishing in 2:26:53. She not only runs, she wrote a best-selling cookbook, “Run Fast. East Slow.”
The Obit Page: Nancy Friday, the author who shocked the world with her 1973 book that said women have sexual fantasies too, has died of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease at age 84.
The book was “My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies.” It shocked with the novel premise that women have erotic thoughts. Friday based her book on hundreds of interviews with women, who also said their thoughts were accompanied by guilt and secrecy. Not much of that anymore.
The Darwin Awards: Paleontologists have found woolly mammoth remains in the most unfortunate places; fallen in a sinkhole, trapped in a mudflow, drowned after falling through thin ice. And most of those accidents have something in common. The victims were male.
“In many species, males tend to do somewhat stupid things that end up getting them killed in silly ways, and it appears that may have been true for mammoths also,” said Love Dalén, an evolutionary biologist from the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
The male mammoths also had a talent for dying in ways that would preserve their remains for thousands of years. Typical.