A 19-year-old who’d promoted white supremacy fatally shot three people and injured 12 others at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival this week. Police responded within one minute of Santino William Legan opening fire and killed the shooter as festivalgoers at the 100,000-visitor event sought escape routes. A motive wasn’t initially clear, although Legan had urged Instagram followers to read Might Is Right, a novel admired by white supremacists. Legan appears to have gotten into the festival with an AK-47–style rifle by cutting through a fence. He had legally purchased the gun in Nevada less than three weeks earlier, but likely broke California law by bringing it home to the state. The dead include a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and a 2017 college grad. During the attack, someone asked, “Why are you doing this?” Legan replied, “Because I am really angry!”
The Trump administration separated 911 migrant children from their parents over the past year, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union told a federal judge this week, arguing that the actions violate a court order halting Trump’s “zero tolerance” separation policy. Although a judge said in June 2018 that children could still be separated at the U.S.-Mexico border if their parents posed a danger to them, the ACLU claims border officials are exploiting this “loophole” for “unjustified reasons.” In one example, a father was deemed “neglectful” and separated from his sick infant daughter because agents said he did not change the sleeping girl’s wet diaper. Another child was removed because a parent had a 20-year-old misdemeanor conviction. Roughly 20 percent of the new separations affected kids under 5, compared with about 4 percent last year.
Gaming the system
Lake County, Ill.
Dozens of wealthy parents in the Chicago suburbs appear to have given up legal guardianship of their high school–age children to qualify them for college scholarships and financial aid, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. The Department of Education is investigating this legal stratagem, in which parents transfer guardianship to a friend, business partner, or relative while continuing to live with their child. After a court hearing, the children are able to declare themselves financially independent. The Journal found 38 apparent cases of this in the Chicago area last year, mostly involving families living in homes valued around $500,000. One couple with a household income of $250,000 transferred guardianship of their 17-year-old daughter. She subsequently got $20,000 annually in need-based aid to attend a private college, in addition to $27,000 in merit scholarships.
A disgruntled Walmart employee fatally shot two co-workers and wounded a police officer before he was shot and arrested this week. Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, had been suspended from work days earlier after showing a knife to a colleague, leading another co-worker to report him to the police. Abram returned to the Walmart in the early morning and appears to have set a fire in the store before taking aim at a supervisor. He then chased a store manager into the parking lot and killed him. A shoot-out with police followed, with one officer suffering minor injuries after being shot in his bulletproof vest; Southaven police had undergone active-shooter training two weeks earlier. Customer Carlos Odom ran to his car after hearing more than a dozen shots. “The world is crazy nowadays,” he said.
Slurs on tape
Ronald Reagan phoned President Nixon in 1971 to vent about African “monkeys” in the United Nations, as heard on tapes recorded by Nixon and revealed this week. Reagan, then the Republican governor of California, was responding to the Tanzanian delegation dancing after the U.N. voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China instead of the U.S.-backed Taiwan. “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Reagan said, drawing a big laugh from Nixon. Nixon then called Secretary of State William Rogers to recap Reagan’s complaint, saying the governor had a “strong feeling” after watching “these cannibals on television.” Nixon’s presidential library acquired his infamous Oval Office tapes, but Reagan’s slurs were withheld, apparently to protect the 40th president’s privacy. Former Nixon library director Tim Naftali persuaded the National Archives to release them. “It was worse than I expected,” he said.
Trump fundraiser Thomas Barrack sought business financing from Saudi Arabia even as he championed a controversial sale of nuclear technology to the Saudis, the House Oversight Committee reported this week. The administration approved the sale in December 2017, despite fears the technology could be used to build nuclear weapons. Barrack had arranged the deal during Trump’s campaign. Meanwhile, House Democrats say Barrack and a group of former military officers were seeking funding from the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates to purchase the only U.S. manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors—a deal potentially worth tens of billions that failed to materialize. Barrack had received a draft of a Trump energy speech during the campaign and sent it to Saudi and Emirati officials. He then wrote to campaign chairman Paul Manafort to push for changes they requested, saying, “This is probably as close as I can get without crossing a lot of lines.” ■