- Two gunmen opened fire at a school in Brazil, killing eight
people ,five of whichwere students.
- The two attackers were former students of the school, but their motive is still unknown.
- Despite high homicide rates, mass shootings are rare in Brazil, and the attack has ignited a debate about whether or not access to guns causes more violence.
Shooting at Raul Brasil
At least ten people are dead after two attackers opened fire at a school near São Paulo, Brazil on Wednesday.
Security camera footage showed two men wearing ski masks entering the Raul Brasil school in
It has been confirmed that the attackers killed at least eight people before killing themselves.
Five of those killed were students, all of whom were around 15-years-old, according to police. Two of the other people that were killed were employees at the school.
Before entering the school, the attackers also shot and killed the owner of a rental car agency and stole a car. It was later discovered that the owner of the agency was the uncle of one of the attackers.
The number of people who were injured is unclear at this time. The New York Times and the Associated Press have reported that nine people were injured, while Voice of America and Vice reported over 23 injuries.
Police arrived at the school about eight minutes after the shooting started, but the men had already killed themselves.
According to police, the assailants brought a handgun, a crossbow, a hatchet, knives, and Molotov cocktails.
Motive Still Unknown
The motive behind the attack is still unknown.
Shortly after the shooting, it was revealed that the men were both former students at the school. They were 17 and 25 years old.
The 17-year-old was said to have been enrolled at Raul Brasil as recently as last
Following the attack, his mother told a Brazilian newspaper that her son had been bullied at school, reportedly saying, “Bullying, they call it. … He stopped going to school … because of this.”
She also said she was surprised he was involved in the shooting and only found out about the attack from the televvision coverage.
Just minutes before the shooting, he posted 26 photos on his Facebook page, including several with a gun.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that police said the attack was inspired by the 1999 attack on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado,
According to an investigator who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, the former students spent more than a year planning their attack which they “Hoped would draw more attention than the Columbine massacre.”
The attack has prompted a broad response from a wide range of Brazilian politicians and political figures.
During a press conference at the school, the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, stated: “This is the saddest thing I have tended to in my whole life. I am very sad that an event such as this one happened in our country and here in São Paulo.”
Doria also reiterated his condolences for the victims and their families in a tweet, and stated that he “decreed official mourning for three days in the State of São Paulo.”
State Secretary of Education, Rossieli Soares, stated: “If only we could have identified the difficulties of these boys. This is a problem in our society.”
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro also offered his condolences to the families in a tweet, describing the shooting as, “A monstrosity and cowardice without size.”
Gun Violence in Brazil
However, many people feel Bolsonaro’s statement is empty.
One of Bolsonaro’s main campaign promises was to crack down on criminals and violence, which he vowed to do in part by expanding public access to guns.
Sure enough, one of the first things he did after he was inaugurated in January was issue a decree that made it easier for Brazilian citizens to buy guns.
Wednesday’s shooting has started a debate among political leaders about gun control. Some people say arming teachers could have prevented the killings, while others have said easier access to guns will only lead to more deaths.
Brazil has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. According to a report from the Brazilian Forum of Public Saftey, Brazil saw over 63,800 violent deaths in 2017, which amounts to about 175 murders per day.
Brazil’s 2017 violent death rate marks the highest number of homicides in the country’s history.
Twenty percent of the deaths in 2017 were caused by the police, which comes out to about 14 police-related deaths per day.
Despite the country’s high homicide rates, mass shootings are rare in Brazil.
The last mass shooting was in 2011 when a 23-year-old man killed 12 teenagers at a school in Rio de Janeiro. That gunman was also a former student of the school in question.
Following yesterday’s shooting, pro-gun politicians were quick to defend looser regulations.
Flávio Bolsonaro, President Bolsonaro’s son, blamed the shooting on gun restriction rules introduced in 2003 that restrict the purchase and possession of guns in a tweet.
Sen. Major Olímpio, who is a member of Bolsonaro’s party and a well-known supporter of loosening gun legislation, also reiterated his stance on gun control in a tweet criticizing the “disarmament policy farce.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not Wednesday’s attack will affect gun policy in Brazil.
Editors Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murderers, or suspected mass murderers, to avoid giving these individuals the attention they may have wanted.
American Influencer Kristen Gray To Be Deported From Bali
- In a viral Twitter thread, influencer Kristen Gray encouraged people to move to Bali like she did while promoting her eBook and other resources on how to do so amid COVID-19 restrictions.
- Many criticized her for encouraging an influx of travelers during the pandemic. She also sparked conversations about gentrification and was slammed for falsely characterizing Indonesia as queer-friendly.
- The local government promised to deport her Tuesday, arguing that selling her book and offering paid consultations on traveling to Bali violated the purpose of her visitor stay permit. They also say she was “spreading information that could unsettle the public.”
- “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my visa. I have not made money in Indonesian rupiah in Indonesia,” Gray told reporters. “I put out a statement about LGBT and I am being deported because of LGBT.”
Kristen Gray Goes Viral
Officials in Indonesia said Tuesday that they will deport Kristen Gray, an American influencer who has caused international outrage in the last week.
Gray moved to Bali with her girlfriend in 2019 with plans to stay for six months. In reality, the couple ended up staying much longer because of the coronavirus pandemic, and in a viral Twitter thread, Gray shared how positive their experience has been.
Gray pointed to several benefits of moving to Bali in her posts, like its safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, as well as its queer-friendly and Black communities.
She also encouraged others to make the same move and promoted their $30 eBook “Our Bali Life Is Yours” for tips on how to do it. “We include direct links to our visa agents and how to go about getting to Indonesia during COVID,” she even wrote in one post.
The thread sparked outrage for encouraging an influx of travelers to a country that has closed its borders over the worsening pandemic. On top of that, it sparked conversations about the gentrification of neighborhoods there.
Bali is a major tourist destination for Americans, Europeans, and Australians in particular, and like areas all over the world, it has suffered from the loss in visitors this year.
However, many online noted that locals have been steadily priced out of certain areas of the island as foreigners open businesses to cater to tourists. Others argue that poorly regulated development is also destroying industries that Balinese people have historically relied on.
Aside from those criticisms, many people also took issue with Gray characterizing Bali as a queer-friendly when the reality for locals is far different.
“It well may be the case for you. However, please recognize that it is because a) you’re a foreigner and b) you have economic leverage since the Indonesian local community is financially dependent on keeping you happy so they don’t mess with you,” a user named Kai Mata said in a viral TikTok.
“Please realize for the rest of us Indonesians on the island, this is not a queer-friendly place. Our gay communities are often shut down and raided by authorities and Indonesia at large has tried to mandate conversion therapy for us the LGBTQ+ Community.“
The local government responded to the public outrage over Gray’s thread Tuesday. In a statement, it said selling her book and also offering paid consultations on traveling to Bali violated the purpose of her visitor stay permit, which was valid until January 24.
Gray was also accused of “spreading information that could unsettle the public” by saying Bali is queer-friendly and suggesting foreigners travel there during the pandemic.
According to Reuters, she was being held at an immigration detention facility Tuesday and was to be deported as soon as a flight was available.
In a brief statement to the Balinese press, Gray defended herself. “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my visa. I have not made money in Indonesian rupiah in Indonesia. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am being deported because of LGBT,” she explained.
Many of her fans believe her and also argue that she is seeing this level of criticism because she is a Black woman.
See what others are saying: (New York Times) (Reuters) (Vulture)
Petition Calls for Ban on Sexualized Fanfiction in South Korea
- A petition circulating across South Korea calls for sexualized fanfiction depicting K-pop stars and other real people to be outlawed and classified as sex crimes.
- The petition particularly focuses on the way male stars are depicted in same-sex relationships and argues that they often feature people who are minors.
- A similar petition was submitted last week to President Moon Jae-in; however, it focused on deep fakes. Because both petitions have over 200,000 signatures, they will need to be addressed by President Moon.
K-Pop Fanfiction Causes Chaos
A petition began circulating across South Korea this week demanding that “real person slash” fanfiction works be outlawed and charged as sex crimes.
“Real person slash” refers to a specific form of fanfiction that most often features sexualized versions of K-pop stars and other real people.
In particular, the petition focuses on the way male stars are depicted in same-sex relationships and the age of some of the people being portrayed. The petition notes, “due to the nature of the profession of idols, whose average age is young, many of the victims are still minors or children.”
The petition was submitted to the Blue House, South Korea’s version of the White House, and currently has over 200,000 signatures. It received a big boost in attention after K-pop star Nancy, from the group Momoland, was secretly filmed by a member of her agency while she was changing backstage. This person then doctored some of the images and uploaded them online.
While Nancy’s case isn’t hand-drawn fanfic, it did fuel outrage at what’s seen as an ineffective approach towards sex crimes in the country. Signers of this petition believe that these fanfics fall into the same category of likely illegality as deep fakes.
Deep Fakes Also Being Targeted
Additionally, just last week deep fakes – which often feature k-pop stars – had its own petition submitted to the president last week with over 300,000 signatures.
Because both petitions have over 200,000 signatures, they will need to be addressed by President Moon Jae-in
For years South Korea has struggled with secret cameras, deep fakes, revenge porn, and more violent sex crimes, such as the infamous Nth Room case that saw certain stars filming themselves having sex with women against their consent.
See What Others Are Saying: (CNA) (The Korea Herald) (South China Morning Post)
Italy Begins Largest Mob Trial in Decades
- Italian prosecutors have started their trial against more than 320 defendants linked to the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.
- The charges range from murder and drug trafficking to extortion and money laundering.
- The case is so large, high-profile, and potentially dangerous that the government built a bunker for the event in Calabria, the home territory of the ‘Ndrangheta.
- Details uncovered could deliver a massive blow to organized crime in Italy and potentially across the world as the ‘Ndrangheta has major dealings in Europe, Australia, and the Americas.
Hundreds of ‘Ndranghetisti Facing Charges
A major mob trial kicked off in Italy Wednesday involving more than 320 defendants who are part of or associated with the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.
In addition to these defendants going on trial, 90 others have elected for a fast-tracked trial elsewhere in Calabria.
While this is a massive affair, it’s still not the country’s largest mob-related trial in history. That happened in the ’80s against the Cosa Nostra from Sicily.
The trial is so high-profile and potentially dangerous that the government built a bunker for the event in Calabria, close to the home territory of the ‘Ndrangheta.
The court is looking at many charges against the defendants, including extortion, drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and Mafia association – a term used in Italy’s penal code for members of organized crime.
Breaking Into the Family
Investigators hope that the trial will show just how entrenched organized crime is in the territory, as it’s believed that the ‘Ndrangheta has dealings with local politicians and businessmen. These dealings are believed to not only stem from their illicit activities but also from their legitimate businesses that were initially funded via crime-related funds. Either way, the trial is seen as a major blow for the group.
The organization is made up of multiple groups of tight-knight families that are all interconnected. For years investigators have tried to get more information on the group but following the arrest and prosecution of Luigi Mancuso, a boss in the ‘Ndrangheta, investigators finally had a way to look more closely at 12 families who make up part of the ‘Ndrangheta.
During their investigation police and prosecutors managed to turn some members of those families and use them as informants. They are expected to take the stand as witnesses during the trial. In total, prosecutors hope to put bring out over 900 witnesses.
If successful, this could be a massive blow to organized crime in Italy and potentially across the world as the ‘Ndrangheta has major dealing in Europe, Australia, and the Americas.