Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

The gunman who killed 22 people in El Paso specifically targeted Latinos in a city that's nearly 80% Hispanic. A deep fear among some El Pasoans has cast a chilling shadow over their defiant shows of strength and unity. For others, the tragedy offers opportunities to elicit bittersweet smiles, express their love for each other and confront this nation's darkest truths.


Thousands of students in El Paso are returning to school on Monday. It’s the first day of classes for the city’s largest district, El Paso ISD. Many are still struggling to make sense of the mass shooting that claimed 22 lives there, less than one week ago, in an attack targeting Mexican people.

El Paso Shooting Suspect Said He Targeted Mexicans, Police Say

Aug 9, 2019
Courtesy of Armando Morales

The man accused of carrying out last weekend's deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso confessed to officers while he was surrendering and later explained he had been targeting Mexicans, authorities say.

Joy Diaz / Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A reverse mortgage allows older homeowners to borrow money against their home’s equity. It’s a legitimate financial option that provides cash, helping homeowners remain in their home as they age. The flip side is that thousands of homeowners have also lost the home they love after acquiring a reverse mortgage.

Fellowship Baptist/YouTube

Retired Pastor Al Meredith has become a specialist of sorts on the impacts of mass shootings and the long road ahead for victims' families and survivors.

Twenty years ago in September, a gunman walked into Meredith's Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He targeted attendees of a youth rally – killing seven and injuring seven more.

In the decades since, Meredith has received calls for advice after many mass shootings.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who represents San Antonio, is being criticized by Republican politicians after tweeting a list of San Antonio-based donors to President Trump’s reelection campaign.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo were expecting houseguests for a barbecue last Saturday. It was supposed to be a triple celebration. Andre had just finished building their new home, the couple was celebrating their first wedding anniversary and their daughter was turning 6.

Before the barbecue, they dropped by Walmart to grab school supplies and food for the party. But all of their plans and celebrations shattered in an instant of violence.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited El Paso Wednesday afternoon to meet with first responders and survivors of Saturday’s mass shooting.

Those who greeted the president include Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and others.

Residents, however, turned out in force to protest the visit.

Gov. Greg Abbott surrounded by lawmakers and press
Jesus Rosales for The Texas Tribune

Days after a white gunman murdered 22 people in El Paso in a shooting fueled by racism, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said that he will hold another series of roundtable discussions to consider legislative proposals to address the tragedy.

Did 8chan Radicalize Mass Shooters?

Aug 7, 2019
a computer keyboard
Pexels

Before the mass shootings in El Paso, the Christchurch mosque in New Zealand and the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, the alleged shooters each posted racist manifestos on the same online forum – 8chan.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump visited survivors of the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday before heading to El Paso, Texas, the site of the weekend's other deadly violence. Trump remained out of public view during the Dayton stop.

On the ground in El Paso, Trump said, "We had an amazing day."

"The love, the respect, for the office of the presidency, it was — I wish you could have been in there to see it," he told reporters.

El Paso is a border town with a predominately Hispanic population and a culture linked to both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. And now the community feels like it is being targeted because of that.

Anette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

President Donald Trump spoke this morning after 29 people were killed this weekend in mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Authorities say both shooters obtained their assault-style weapons legally, which has reinvigorated calls for federal action on gun control. 

Earlier this morning in a tweet, Trump called on Congress to pass legislation expanding background checks for firearms, but also suggested any reform be tied to "desperately needed immigration reform." 

About 20 minutes before the shooting started at an El Paso Walmart, a rambling screed was posted to an online message board saying the massacre was in response to an "invasion" of Hispanics coming across the southern border.

Beto O'Rourke
Michael Minasi for KUT

As authorities investigate a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left 20 people dead and more than two dozen others injured Saturday, police say the 21-year-old North Texas man arrested may have written a manifesto revealing that the crime was racially motivated.

Sandy Heath was at a funeral service Saturday morning when she got a phone alert about an active shooter. That prompted her church to go on lockdown.

Then came the text messages from friends and family making sure Heath, 75, was ok. And, could she help?

Updated Sunday at 11 a.m. ET

Twenty people are dead and 26 wounded after a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning, according to state and local authorities.

Speaking at a news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott said that what should have been a leisurely day of shopping "turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas."

"We pray that God will be with those who've been harmed in any way," he added.

The Church of the Visitation before fire destroyed it on Monday.
Courtesy of the Catholic Diocese of Austin

From Texas Standard:

In tiny Zabcikville, some 90 minutes north of Austin, you’re bound to run into Green’s Sausage House. The popular spot has been around since the late 1940s.

Puerto Rican flag
Oscar Rohena/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Liliana Diaz lives in El Paso, but the rest of her family – her parents, even her daughter – live in Puerto Rico.

A Texas Department of Public Safety seal
Jacob Villanueva

A top official at the Texas Department of Public Safety has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, according to Travis County court records. He was fired the same day.

Vote signs outside early voting locations in Austin on Feb. 23, 2014.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Just as they do every year, hundreds of county officials from all over Texas are packing a hotel ballroom in Austin this week for three days of all things elections.

cow
Susanne Nilsson/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Presidio County is one of 22 in the state that still abides by open-range laws that allow cattle to roam, more or less, where they want. That means it’s perfectly legal for cattle to wander onto any unfenced property. But a 1980 “estray law,” which applies statewide, allows sheriffs to collect unidentifiable cattle. But that conflicts with the open-range laws in those counties. Now, Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez has asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to settle the dispute.

Photo courtesy of Albert Prieto-Márquez, Miquel Crusafont Catalonian Institute of Paleontology

From Texas Standard:

A dinosaur fossil has stumped scientists ever since they found it in Big Bend National Park in the early 1980s. Now, 30 years later, paleontologists report that new data helped them determine that the fossil actually belongs to a whole new dinosaur species.

Gabriel C. Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A recently-published health study indicates expectant mothers living near extensive oil and gas development run a higher risk of having children with birth defects.

CletusDitto/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

For people who experience psychosis, getting care early on helps them better manage symptoms and lead productive lives. But for those living in rural Texas, care is often impossible to find. And without it, those living with psychosis can struggle to stay employed, maintain relationships or simply move through the world.

Image via Social Media

Federal authorities have released an 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen who had been detained in immigration custody for more than three weeks after being stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint, according to multiple reports.

TSilver Falls is often dry and overgrown with vegetation.
Leaflet /Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Ogallala Aquifer is a massive store of groundwater that quenches the thirst of people, crops and livestock throughout the Great Plains. The aquifer extends, roughly, from Midland, Texas, through the Texas Panhandle and all the way to South Dakota. In fact, it's the aquifer that makes the current way of life on the Plains possible. So what happens if it becomes depleted? 

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Drug Enforcement Administration/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

After sentencing Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán to life in prison plus 30 years, the United States ordered a forfeiture of $12.6 billion worth of his assets. But Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, says the money should be put to use in Mexico, where many of his crimes were committed. 

One of NASA's first employees, key to creating the U.S. space program, has died at 95. Chris Kraft was the agency's first flight director and managed all of the Mercury missions, as well some of the Gemini flights. He was a senior planner during the Apollo lunar program. Later he led the Johnson Space Center in Houston and oversaw development of the space shuttle.

From Texas Standard:

In the fall, Texas A&M University will start a new program to better serve Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Aggie ACHIEVE will gives these students access to a full university experience – something not often available to them. They’ll reside on campus, attend classes alongside fellow Aggies, and will have a personalized education plan geared toward future employment. 

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