New York: Multiple shooting, devices found in subway station. Mexico sues US gunmakers for $10 billion over violence. More ethnic violence in Israel.
New York: Multiple shooting, devices found in subway station
A gunman shot multiple people in a subway station in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. The attack took place around 8:30am local time, the height of morning rush hour. At least 10 commuters were wounded, 5 of them seriously. At least 13 people were taken to hospital with unspecified injuries. Police say none of the injuries are life threatening.
It appears the incident began on an N train as it pulled into the station and then continued on the station’s platform. Some wounded people immediately got onto another train to escape to the next station.
Witnesses say the assailant was a black male, 5’7″, 170 lbs. He was wearing a gas mask and what appeared to be a reflective vest sometimes worn by Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) employees. Statements from witnesses suggest the shooter may have escaped by jumping down onto the tracks and running into the tunnels. As of 1:30pm local time, the suspect was still at large.
Police say the assailant tossed what may have been a smoke canister before shooting randomly into the crowd of commuters. Police also found other undetonated devices at the scene.
Sunset Park is a diverse middle-class neighborhood that doesn’t have a reputation for violent street crime. Police say this appears to have been a pre-planned attack and that the gunman likely acted alone.
Mexico sues US gunmakers for $10 billion over violence
Mexico has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Massachusetts seeking $10 billion in damages from major US gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt, Glock and Ruger. The suit alleges that the gun manufacturers’ irresponsible sales and marketing tactics are directly contributing to Mexico’s gun violence problem.
Mexican drug cartels massively outgun police and even the country’s military. Officials say the vast majority of these weapons (over 500,000 a year) enter Mexico illegally from the US. The suit alleges that this “flood” of illegal weapons “is the foreseeable result of the defendants’ deliberate actions and business practices”.
Mexico’s attorneys argue that the US manufacturers sell weapons decorated to appeal to the tastes of cartel gangsters and those who want to emulate them. For example, the sellers offer gold-plated AK-47s or weapons engraved with images of famous ‘Narco Saints’. These weapons are status symbols for cartel members.
A similar argument recently forced Remington to pay out $73 million to the families of Sandy Hook victims. The families argued that Remington marketed its AR-15-style assault rifle to insecure young men, with advertising slogans like “Consider your Man Card reissued”.
Equally to blame are lax gun laws in the US. Buyers can legally purchase weapons at gun shows in Texas and Arizona without a background check and then smuggle them into Mexico. By contrast, Mexico has only one gun store. There, buyers can only purchase certain types and calibers of weapon and must fill out loads of paperwork.
More violence in Israel with ethnic tensions escalating
Today, an Israeli police officer fatally shot a Palestinian man who stabbed him with a kitchen knife. The officer was questioning the man who he said had aroused his suspicions. This is the latest in a spate of attacks since late March which has left 14 people dead. Israeli police and military personnel have also killed 15 Palestinians over that time.
This month, Christian Easter, Jewish Passover and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincide, a rare occurrence. Many of the recent attacks have occurred in parts of the occupied West Bank where heavily guarded Israelis live alongside Palestinians. In recent months, ethnic tensions have risen as Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has pursued policies that further marginalize both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
Some of the attackers have been linked to ISIS, which is unusual in Israel. Most appear to have no discernable affiliation with the group. In response to the recent attacks, Bennett has encouraged Israeli police and military personnel to crack down hard on any unrest, including peaceful protests.
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