Yesterday, President Trump addressed this past weekend's mass shootingsand called on the gov to take action.
Before we get into that, are there any updates?
Yes, sadly. Two more victims in the El Paso shooting died – bringing the total death toll from the two shootings over the weekend to 31.
This is heartbreaking. What did Trump say?
He called on Americans to condemn "racism, bigotry, and white supremacy." He suggested that mental illness and violent video games contribute to the issue. He's calling on the Justice Department to make it so that those found guilty of hate crimes and mass murders will face the death penalty. And said he supports so-called red-flag laws (where people who are mentally ill could have their weapons taken from them). These laws currently exist in 17 states (plus DC), and lawmakers are already trying to get other states to adopt them too.
I'm not hearing a lot about gun reform.
He didn't go into that too much. But earlier in the day, he tweeted that lawmakers on both sides should work on background checks legislation, and potentially tie that in with immigration reform.
Will the government actually do anything about all this?
It's possible. Earlier this year, the Trump admin started implementing its ban on bump stocks, which are attachments used to make semi-automatic weapons fire continuously (think: like a machine gun). This was after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, where the suspect used them. And earlier this year, the House passed bills that would require background checks on everyone buying a gun, and extend the review period for them. The Senate still hasn't taken those up. Dems are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to do so. Now.
Is gun violence this bad everywhere?
Not as bad as it is in the US. And other countries are noticing. Uruguay and Venezuela have issued travel alerts for citizens going to the US. And Mexico, which had at least eight citizens killed in the El Paso shooting, promised to take legal action against the US for failing to protect its citizens.
Whether there's been a Democratic or Republican president, the government hasn't taken major action to curb gun control. That's partly because of the NRA, Second Amendment rights, and different opinions about the root of the problem. But a new generation of voters is calling for change. So, expect this issue to come up a lot on the 2020 campaign trail.
Skimm This: Our latest podcast ep explains what domestic terrorism is and how people are reacting to the mass shootings.
What's bickering more than usual…
China and the US. The trade war might be headed down a new path: a currency war. We'll explain. Last week, President Trump said he'll hit China with a 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products starting in September. And unlike the previous tariffs – which focused on industrial goods – these will target consumer products. That means pretty much all Chinese imports will face tariffs. Yesterday, in response to the trade war, China allowed its currency to weaken to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a decade. The US responded by designating China as a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. Meaning: It's accusing China of doing this to get an advantage in trade. The whole situation made US stocks have their worst day of the year.
A win for China: A weaker Chinese currency could make US-made products more expensive for Chinese consumers while making made-in-China products more attractive. Some are wondering whether this means the US will weaken the dollar. Like we said, currency war.
$: What's money got to do with it? Here's how political drama can affect your wallet.
What's making a statement…
India. Yesterday, it said it wants to take away Kashmir's autonomy. That's the region in the Himalayas that shares borders with both India and Pakistan. For some background: in 1947, India gained independence from Britain and was separated into two countries, mostly-Hindu India and mostly-Muslim Pakistan. But fighting broke out as masses of Muslims and Hindus started migrating in between the two new countries...and Kashmir was caught in the middle. The two have been fighting for control over Kashmir ever since because both claim the region as their own. Earlier this year, tensions were heightened after a Pakistan-based terror group killed 40 Indian troops in the area that India controls. Now, India is saying 'we're calling the shots' by revoking Article 370, which gave Kashmir some autonomy. And is doing so with the hopes of integrating the region with India. Pakistan condemned the move.
On edge: Knowing that this move might cause some backlash, India pre-emptively sent thousands of extra troops to Kashmir, evacuated tourists and pilgrims, closed schools, and cut off internet services. Some are concerned that all this could turn violent.
Thing To Know: Article 370. A constitutional provision that's been in place since 1949. It gives Kashmir the power to have its own constitution, flag, and other things except for foreign affairs and defense.
What's working on its breathing techniques to deal with the added pressure...
Venezuela. Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets. Reminder: Venezuela has two people calling themselves 'Mr. President.' On one side there's opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who invoked the constitution to become interim president. On the other side, there's Nicolás Maduro, who won another term in an election that has been called a sham. Many – including the US and most Latin American countries – gave Guaidó their support. But Maduro has refused to step down. Now, the Trump admin is upping the ante by imposing a total economic embargo against the government of Venezuela. Something the US has reportedly only done for places like North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Cuba. So...kind of a big deal.
Who's spending time behind bars...
The man who sent pipe bombs to prominent Dems. Yesterday, a federal judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to mailing explosive devices to people he considered enemies of Trump (think: former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton). Prosecutors wanted a life sentence but a judge concluded that the bombs weren't designed to explode.
When you hear "The OA" is canceled…
Tom Brady isn't.