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Texas Matters: El Paso Remembers And COVID-19 Innovations With Criminal Justice

Carlos Morales | Marfa Public Radio

It was on August 3 of last year that a Walmart in El Paso, Texas was the scene of a mass shooting. Twenty-three people were killed. At least 22 people were injured. Patrick Crusius confessed to police that he drove from the Dallas area to carry out the attack. The FBI labeled the shooting as domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime. The shooters motives were far-right politics, opposition to immigration and white supremacy. 

As El Paso marks the grim first anniversary of the mass shooting, the border city is also coping with the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And then before that there was the toll of a humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrant families arrived at the border seeking asylum.

KTEP’s Angela Kocherga reports, El Paso’s resilience has been tested repeatedly.

To get the latest developments in the El Paso Walmart Mass Shooting KTEP’s Angela Kocherga spoke with KERA’s border correspondent Mallory Falk.

The El Paso community is still trying to process what happened a year ago at the Walmart. Why were they targeted? Will more shooters come in this time of online hate speech and political leaders who fuel conflict and division. This hyper vigilance and worry has a cost for the residents of El Paso.  Anahy Diaz, Victoria Almaguer  and Claudia Hernandez are student journalists at the University of Texas at El Paso. They recently got together on Zoom, to reflect on how they've changed since the shooting.

COVID-19 And Punishment

The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot about our lives – how many of us work, go to school and also how we deal with crime. It turns out that many interactions with the criminal justice system don’t have to happen face to face. But perhaps one day, when we finally emerge from the COVID-19 world, we may not revert back to the old ways. We could look to keep the efficiencies, cost savings and improved outcomes that were developed during the lock-down.

Marc Levin is the Chief of Policy and Innovation with the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime. He wrote the article in The National Interest titled "How America’s Criminal Justice System can benefit from the Coronavirus Crisis."

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi