TWH – In the space of eight days, three mass shootings have taken place. All three crimes were committed by young men bearing military-style weapons, and gear. In two of those shootings, investigators have found the shooters held with white supremacist ideology. Initially, some concerns emerged that at least the Gilroy shooter was associated with some form of Paganism.
None of the shooters appear to have been linked to the Pagan community.
The increase in activity and influence of white supremacy is an issue that affects everyone. Last week we reported on an Odinist who issued threats. Many Heathens, in particular, have worked to remove the elements of racism and white supremacists from their faith.
According to report by the L.A. Times, the 19-year-old Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter was found to have “extremist materials” when officials searched his home. Early reports of his now-deleted Instagram account, also claimed he had made posts reflecting extremist or white supremacist ideology.
The shooting at an El Paso mall has the clearest evidence of shooter ascribing to white supremacist ideology,with the shooter publishing a screed that outlined his belief that Mexicans were “invading” Texas and must be stopped.
Information on the Dayton shooting is still emerging and he has been accused of white supremacist motivations. The Dayton shooter was reportedly wearing ear protection, and body armor eerily similar to what the El Paso shooter wore.
Editorial Update (8/6/2019): Despite the accusation, the Dayton shooter’s motivation seems unrelated to a white supremacists agenda. Current reporting from CNN suggests he had “extreme left views and had an abiding interest in violence”.
The total number of people murdered stands at 34, with dozens of others wounded.
In response to the violence, Cloudflare, website security and network provide, issued a statement that it would no longer provide services for 8Chan, the site where the El Paso shooter posted his racist manifesto. 8chan’s site was down until later today when it was reported they had found another provider, BitMitigate for their site and were back up, but not accessible in some countries.
In July, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that a majority of domestic terrorism cases the bureau has investigated are motivated by white supremacy. Wray assured the panel that the FBI was “aggressively” pursuing domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
The number of cases the FBI is pursuing this year alone that should fall under the heading of “domestic terrorism” number is over 850. Unfortunately, according to new report by NBC, crimes committed that would fit into this classification are hampered by a lack of funding and resources that investigators of other acts of terrorism would have access to.
“There’s no domestic terrorism law — we just treat it as either a hate crime or some other sort of criminal charge,” said Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. But white supremacists “are following an ideology the same way that other violent extremists that the U.S. designates as terrorists follow ideologies.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), extremist related murders rose by 35% and the distribution of white supremacist propaganda tripled in 2017-2018.
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INVERNESS, Scotland – Last month TWH reported on the sale of Aleister Crowley’s former home Boleskine House and the plans to renovate the property. Now those plans are liable to take much longer and require more financial resources.
It was reported last week that the property had sustained major damage due fire. Investigators suspect the fire was likely deliberately set. Police have requested that anyone who might have seen any activity near or around the house prior to the fire on July 31, 2019.
The BBC reported that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service responded to a report of fire late on Wednesday afternoon. Both Boleskine House and its coach house were engulfed in flames.
It has been reported that the roof of the house had collapsed, and whatever historical remnants that remained were completely destroyed by the extensive fire. The Boleskine House Foundation posted on their Facebook page that one wing of the house that had not been terribly damaged by the previous fire in 2015, had intact windows they planned to remove and copy. Those windows are now a complete loss, as well as many other historical features.
In “witch-hunt” news:
- Last week in the village of Bhaktadapara in the Tirpura state of India, a traditional healer, Babulal Gour, 56, was beaten and tortured by villagers who accused him of practicing “witchcraft.” Police, alerted by the Gour’s son, were slow to respond and arrived to find Gour badly beaten and left for dead partially under a market shed. So far two people have been arrested, and another 13 are being sought for inquiry.
- An 84-year-old grandmother was allegedly stabbed and assaulted in front of her grandchildren last week in South African city of East London. Her attacker was only identified as a 34-year-old male who entered her home shouting insults and calling her a “witch.” Reports say he stabbed her in the chest with a screwdriver multiple times, and then continued the assault by kicking her in the face and head when she collapsed on the ground. The woman’s grandchildren who had called for help, were assisted by neighbors in restraining the attacker and calling the police. The victim was transported to Frere Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. The suspect was arrested and charged with 1st-degree murder.
- Eight people convicted of murdering 70-year-old Mudheswari Rabha were given to life sentences last week in Goalpara for “witch-hunting.” Rabha was accused of being a “witch” and brutally attacked on March 3, 2012, which resulted in her death. Rabha was from the settlement of Medhikona in the Dhupdhara district of Assam in India.
In other news:
- Vancouver Pagan Pride Day, in association with the International Pagan Pride Project, a non-profit organization, is scheduled for August 10, 2019 at Trout Lake in John Hendry Park. One of the event coordinators Goldie Lundbeck told Vancouver is Awesome, “It’s a focal point for the various fractions of the community where we can get-together, communicate, celebrate and learn from each other,” she explained. “Because we are bringing the community together we like to give back to the surrounding community. We honour the native land we are on and we ask every participant to bring a donation for the local food bank or animal shelter.” Lundbek characterized the event as, “committed to dispelling myths surrounding Paganism.”
- The Lokean community is celebrating Lokabrenna, the heliacal rising of Sirius (known as “Loki’s Torch”) with two August offerings. Aug. 1: Loki University published Loki’s Torch – A Lokean Collection, available for purchase through MagCloud as print on demand or PDF. This is an anthology of artwork, poetry, fiction, articles, rituals, and recipes. Ky Greene, Amy Marsh, Rose Moon Rouge, and Dagulf Loptson are the production team. Aug. 5-9: LokiFest Online is a free conference on Zoom, taking place from 3-6 PM PSDT Monday-Friday. Dagulf Loptson, Silence Maestas, Ky Greene, Amy Marsh, and Diana Paxson are presenting. Amy Marsh will also facilitate open discussion groups. The conference is free but attendance is limited. You must register in advance for this meeting.
- The Southern Delta Church of Wicca – Aquarian Tabernacle Church in Lake City, Arkansas has started a community garden that will benefit elderly residents on fixed incomes and low-income families. In an interview with ABC affiliate, KAIT, High Priest, Rev. Terry Riley said that despite whatever concerns people might have about Southern Delta Church of Wicca, people will always take the produce offered. “I’ve come to find out over the years, if people are hungry, whoever’s giving them the food, they don’t really care what religion or what background they have,” Riley said. “If they’re hungry, they accept the food.”
- PaganSpace.net, an online social media platform originally launched in 2007, announced last month that it has redesigned and relaunched its platform. The original platform had been more focused on being a marketplace for Pagans to advertise their wares. The new platform appears to be more in line with other social media platforms with a variety of sections that feature discussions, groups, blogs, and other areas of interest like music, and even a library. While the site still is up and running, it seems to be in the process of implementing the new design. TWH will continue to follow their progress and report back.
- Lady Rhea, founder of the Witch Pride Parade, was featured in a segment on Inside Edition Sunday. The 3rd annual Witch Pride Parade in New York City began this year at Union Square Park at 14th Street and traveled down Broadway to Astor Park where it kicked off the start of WitchFest USA, a one-day Pagan street faire organized by Starr Ravenhawk. Lady Rhea is also owner of Lady Rhea’s Enchanted Studio in the Bronx in New York City, and founder of her own coven, as well as helping many other form or hive off from hers.
- In an update to a previous article, Air Force airman, Staff Sgt. Garrett Sopchak was granted his request to maintain a beard as a symbol of his Heathen faith on July 8th. The Air Force noted in a memo that Spochak would be allowed his beard provided it was “neat, conservative beard that presents a professional, well-groomed military appearance.” Sopchak waited nearly a year before he received his waiver. On July 18, 2019, a second beard waiver was granted to Heathen Staff Sgt. William Bailey. The Army was the first to grant such a waiver to a Pagan soldier last year.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: The Herbcrafter’s Tarot, by Latisha Guthrie, artwork by Joanna Powell Colbert, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Comfrey, Ten (10) of Fire
There is the potential to be overwhelmed or overburdened this week. Taking on too much or trying to hold on to something that should be passed off to someone else could lead to frustration and exhaustion. Stepping back, and taking time time to rest is recommended.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone