Apr 28, 2019

Hate-fueled attacks continue to be accelerated by online platforms

A peace pole is carried into an interfaith prayer and candlelight vigil at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church after yesterday's attack. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Two appalling attacks, four days apart: The first in Northern California, and yesterday's in my native Southern California — less than 500 miles apart. One mowed down Muslims. One aimed at Jews on the last day of Passover.

Context: It was only six months ago that 11 Jewish worshipers were killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. And of course, it's not just America: It was just six weeks ago that 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand were killed in terrorist attacks on two mosques.

  • This morning, Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrated mass in their homes via TV, as churches across the island nation closed down over fears of militant attacks, a week after Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people, per AP.

Yesterday, worshipers in Poway, California, just north of San Diego, "were nearing the end of Passover, a sacred Jewish celebration steeped in ancient freedom, when a modern terror walked in the door," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

  • "A 60-year-old woman was killed when she jumped in front of the rabbi, whose hands were pierced by gunfire. An 8-year-old girl was hit with shrapnel in the face and leg," according to the L.A. Times.
  • The suspected gunman, 19, was arrested "after fleeing the synagogue amid a hail of bullets from a security guard," per the Union-Tribune.
  • "An anti-Semitic manifesto attributed to him was posted online claiming responsibility for the attack."

On Tuesday, in Sunnyvale, California, in Silicon Valley, a 34-year-old Army veteran of the war in Iraq intentionally careened his car through a crowded intersection, injuring eight pedestrians, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • The former sharpshooter "targeted the victims because he thought some of them were Muslim, police officials said."
  • The FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation.

The debate ahead ... The N.Y. Times' Charlie Warzel writes that online messages "from suspects in shootings at a California synagogue and a New Zealand mosque were similar":

"[I]t’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore how online hatred and message board screeds are bleeding into the physical world — and how social platforms can act as an accelerant for terroristic behavior.
The internet, it seems, has imprinted itself on modern hate crimes, giving its most unstable residents a theater for unspeakable acts — and an amplification system for an ideology of white supremacy that only recently was relegated to the shadows."

The latest from Poway.

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World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 718,685 — Total deaths: 33,881 — Total recoveries: 149,076.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 139,675 — Total deaths: 2,436 — Total recoveries: 2,661.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

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