Tag Archives: El Paso

Just Some of the Ways Donald Trump has Victimized El Paso


Suspect I refuse to name with what appears to be a WASR-10

As I write this, El Paso, Texas, the 22nd largest city in the United States, is mourning, in shock, and attempting to return to a sense of normalcy. It’s going to be a long haul. Yes, Ursula and I are fine. We were grocery shopping at a westside El Paso Albertson’s when the word spread of this apparent right-wing terrorist attack.

EPPD SWAT responds to Cielo Vista Mall

Well get back to this terrorist attack later, but for now I’d like to list just some of the ways this wonderful city have been victimized since the elevation to the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Let us begin:

Victimization 1:

The ‘alternative fact’ that El Paso was an unsafe city known for rampant crime before a border wall was erected here in 2008-2009

But let’s get something out of the way first. The alternative to a fact is fiction. And a fiction presented as fact is a lie. The crime rate in El Paso peaked in 1993, some sixteen years before a border barrier was completed. The El Paso Times compiled the statistics, and this is a chart derived from those numbers:

Reported violent crimes by year. Source: El Paso Times.

You’ll note that violent crime in El Paso bottomed out in 2006, and actually went up slightly following completion of the wall in mid-2009. So, the president, trying desperately to rationalize a monument to himself along the southern border, chose to disparage El Paso as a den of violent crime, when in fact El Paso is routinely listed as one of the safest cities in the U.S., and has been since the late 1990s.

Victimization 2:

The Trump Campaign stiffs the taxpayers of El Paso for $470,417.05

On February 11 of this year, the Trump Campaign held one of Donald Trump’s notoriously raucous and frequently racist MAGA rallies in El Paso. The itemized bill for the campaign’s expenses for that rally are presented below:

Trump Rally Invoice

Note the invoice date, March 27, and the due date of April 26. In mid May, the city sent the Trump Campaign a dunning letter giving the already delinquent deadbeats thirty days to pay up or suffer the consequences of a 21% collection fee. That collection fee is now in effect, and the total now owed the city of El Paso is an astounding $569,204.63.

City officials still await so much as an acknowledgement that the money is owed.

Victimization 3:

Hundreds of detained migrants released onto the streets of El Paso with zero advanced notice. Two days before Christmas. Another 180 more released on Christmas Day:

On December 23 of last year, with no warning to civic leaders or local charities, 214 asylum seekers were dumped by the Trump Administration onto the streets of El Paso. And while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claimed this was but an oversight, we all know better. No such ‘oversight’ would have occurred in, say, a battleground state such as Florida, Nevada, or Arizona. This was a political decision to stick it to a largely Democrat supporting area. Similar releases occurred in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area, in a state that was won by Hillary Clinton with an 8.2% margin. Coincidence? I think not.

Victimization 4:

Inspiring racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, and Neo-Nazis to the point where El Paso has now endured the 8th worst mass shooting attack in U.S. history.

Yesterday, August 2, the Walmart Supercenter located adjacent the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso came under terrorist attack. The person arrested for the shooting claimed that a Romanian WASR-10 was the weapon he planned to use, and video footage seems to bear out that an AK-47-type weapon, which would include the WASR-10, was indeed used.

Scene outside the Cielo Vista Walmart Supercenter

The suspect appears to have traveled from his residence in Allen, Texas. That’s a 650-mile/1,046-kilometer trip. Think about that for a moment. Why travel 650 miles when Allen is only 25 miles north of target-rich Dallas, a city considerably larger than El Paso, and a metro area many times larger when you take into account Fort Worth and surrounding communities.

Shoppers escorted to safety

When I heard this, I immediately suspected the reason even before we knew much about the suspect. So, what’s the answer? It’s this:
Assuming a populated target matches closely the demographics for El Paso, a random killer spraying bullets indiscriminately into a crowded store will discover that approximately 81% of his victims are Hispanic.

Shoppers escorted to safety

I managed, after some online detective work, to acquire a copy of the suspect’s ‘manifesto’, a hate-filled diatribe of racist views that uses much of the same language as President Donald J. Trump. I’m not going to post images of that screed, just as I’ve refused in this article to mention the name of the suspect lest he get some twisted satisfaction of having his name out there one more time. Instead, I’m going to select from this abhorrent white supremacist, anti-immigrant harangue those words and sentiments identical to those used frequently by President Trump.

Suspect I refuse to name in EPPD custody

Yes, the suspect takes to task both political parties, but his sentiments are almost word-for-word straight out of President Trump’s tweets and rallies. In his racist diatribe, the suspect took the following straight from the Donald J. Trump playbook of racist grievances:

  • I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic displacement brought on by an invasion. (How many times as President Trump characterized the southern border situation as an, “Invasion”?)
  • Due to the death of the baby boomers, the increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric of the right and the ever increasing Hispanic population, America will soon become a one party-state. The Democrat Party will own America and they know it. They have already begun the transition by pandering heavily to the Hispanic voting bloc in the 1st Democratic Debate. They intend to use open borders, free healthcare of illegals, citizenship and more to enact a political coup by importing and then legalizing millions of new voters. (Note the Trumpian words and phrases: ever increasing Hispanic population; open borders; political coup; importing and legalizing millions of new voters)
  • This is an encouraging sign the the Hispanic population is willing to return to their home countries if given the proper incentive. An incentive that myself and many other patriotic Americans will provide. (Another ‘incentive’ would be the Attorney General of the U.S. implementing in April, 2018 a zero-tolerance policy designed to facilitate family separations)
  • Hispanics will take control of the local and state government of my beloved Texas changing policy to better suit their needs. They will turn Texas into the instrument of a political coup, which will hasten the destruction of our country. (The sentiment of the current Republican Party, and the Trump Administration, is to suppress minority voting around the country under the guise of ‘voter security’, even though the only organized, wide-spread election fraud during the last election was perpetrated by Republicans in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Yet, despite that, the rhetoric targeting minorities continues.)
  • Our government has killed a whole lot more people for a whole lot less. (Remember the following rationale for not criticizing the Russian nerve agent attack on U.K. soil? “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think, our country’s so innocent?)

Some additional quotes that show the sick mind of the suspect, but which do not directly tie with tweets or statements from President Trump:

  • Even if they are shameless race mixers . . . .
  • I am against race mixing because it destroys genetic diversity and creates identity problems.
  • 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics form interracial unions at much higher rates than average.

And then, after all the direct evidence to the contrary, much of it presented above, we get this little disclaimer at the end attempting to absolve the president from responsibility:

  • My ideology has not changed for several years (by way of contest, the suspect is 21). My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump (not bloody likely considering the similarities in tone and language; and he would have been in this teens when these views solidified without Trumpian inspiration?). I putting (sic) this here because some people will blame the President or certain presidential candidates for the attack. I know that the media will probably call me a white supremacist anyway and blame Trump’s rhetoric (so, the suspect readily admits that he is indeed familiar with this rhetoric; it’s simply not rational to believe he wasn’t influenced by it). The media is infamous for fake news (where have we heard that term before?).

My take on all this:

Will this be a massive turning point in President Trump’s support? Not so much. Many still supporting the president do so fully aware that they are supporting someone who actively courts racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, and Neo-Nazis. We see evidence of that courtship on an almost weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. I do believe, however, as more comes out on the human piece of excrement who perpetrated this vicious terrorist attack, that just enough Texans may be swayed to potentially cost President Trump her 38 electoral votes, and with those electoral votes go any chance he may have for reelection. So, ironically, the outcome of this attack in ‘reliably red’ Texas may be 180º out from what the suspect intended. I also believe that, because of his repeated inability to criticize the president, Texas Senator John Cornyn may very well be vulnerable in his reelection bid next year.

Meanwhile, let us watch how exactly President Trump passes out cans of gasoline and books of matches at his MAGA rallies:

Advertisements

Comments Off on Just Some of the Ways Donald Trump has Victimized El Paso

Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Writing

El Paso International Airport and Biggs Army Airfield Histories — Part 3


El Paso ATCT “Firsts”:

There are several ‘firsts’ associated with El Paso International Airport and the FAA Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) facility which serves it. In the early 1960s the FAA commissioned famed architect I.M. Pei to design a new type of control tower. The FAA originally intended to install Pei towers at 50 airports around the country, although this number would eventually drop to 16. The Pei towers were taller and more advanced than any control tower used at the time. The first Pei tower, which was also the first U.S. control tower over 130 feet in height, was commissioned at El Paso International in 1968. The Pei tower design pioneered at El Paso eventually went into service at some of the busiest airports in the country, including Chicago O’Hare, Lambert-St. Louis International, Houston Intercontinental, and Tampa International.

I.M. Pei-designed Control Tower — The first and one of the last still in use

In 1998, the FAA selected El Paso Airport Traffic Control Tower’s Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) as the test site for the most ambitious terminal radar automation upgrade in over thirty years. The Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) replaced the antiquated ARTS IIIA (Automated Radar Terminal System), which was designed back in the mid-1960s. El Paso went operational with the earliest test version of STARS on December 10, 1999, and successfully implemented STARS ‘Full Service Version 1’ on April 30, 2002. Since then, STARS has become the standard system throughout the FAA, and is an integral part of the TAMR (Terminal Automation Modernization Replacement) system currently being installed across the nation.

El Paso ATCT TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) with STARS radar displays

Throughout NASA’s Space Shuttle program, shuttle pilots departed El Paso International Airport in specially modified Gulfstream II aircraft called the STA (Shuttle Training Aircraft). These STAs would fly to the military ranges to the north climbing to 18,000 feet, and then practice a 20° descent approach at 300-knots/345 mph/556 kph to a runway. Compare that to a normal jet approach of 3° at 150 knots.

Upon completion of several approaches, usually around ten, the STA would then head south and recover at El Paso International Airport. (To read about what it was like to fly on one of these training missions, see: Flying on a Shuttle Training Mission)

Modified Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA)

A less auspicious “first” occurred in El Paso on August 3, 1961. Leon Bearden and his son, Cody, were the first people in the U.S. to hijack a jetliner. The two were aboard Continental Flight 54, a Boeing 707 flying to Houston from Los Angeles with scheduled stops along the way in El Paso and San Antonio. Over New Mexico the elder Bearden pulled out one of the two guns he and Cody had smuggled aboard. He then took a flight attendant hostage, forced his way into the cockpit, and demanded that the pilots fly them to Cuba. Captain Byron Rickards (who also just happens to hold the Guinness World Records distinction of being the first pilot ever hijacked in an incident that occurred thirty years prior in Peru) convinced Bearden that the plane would have to land at El Paso to take on enough fuel for the flight. Four passengers volunteered to remain aboard the 707 as hostages, and the Beardens allowed the remaining passengers to disembark.

Two-time World Record Holder Byron Rickards —
World’s first aircraft hijacking (Peru, 1931); U.S.’s first jetliner hijacking (El Paso, 1961)

After nine hours of stalling, the elder Bearden demanded the pilot take off immediately. As the plane turned for the runway the FBI opened fire, flattening the tires and disabling one of the engines. One of remaining hostages, off-duty Border Patrol agent Leonard Gilman, who was also a former boxer, took advantage of the distraction to strike Leon Bearden. Bearden went down, stunned. The FBI stormed the plane, taking both father and son into custody. And Leonard Gilman walked away a hero with a broken hand from the blow he delivered to Leon Bearden’s face.

First U.S. jetliner hijacking (Boeing 707) — El Paso, August 3, 1961

© 2018 R. Doug Wicker

Friday — El Paso International Airport Today

© 2018 R. Doug Wicker

Comments Off on El Paso International Airport and Biggs Army Airfield Histories — Part 3

Filed under Aircraft, Author, R. Doug Wicker, Writing

El Paso International Airport and Biggs Army Airfield Histories — Part 2


El Paso Civil Aviation:

El Paso’s first civilian airfield, El Paso Municipal Airport, was built in 1928 near the eastern base of the Franklin Mountains in the area that today is just northeast of Railroad Drive at Liberty Expressway. Indeed, a road at this location still retains the name Planeport Loop. Operational from 1928 until 1945, El Paso Municipal Airport was managed beginning in 1934 by the newly established Varney Speed Lines, the predecessor of what would eventually become Continental Airlines. On an interesting historical note, in 1926 Walter Varney also started Varney Air Service, which became United Airlines. The fun trivia fact here is that in 2010 Continental and United merged to become United Continental Holdings, thus bringing together under one corporate roof two companies that had the same founder.

Lockheed 2D Vega in Varney Speed Lines/Continental Airlines livery

As for the origin of what is today El Paso International Airport, that began the following year when Standard Air Lines constructed Standard Airport in 1929. Standard Airport thus became the eastern-most destination of Standard Air Lines’ service connecting El Paso, Douglas (Arizona), Tucson, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Standard Air Lines was later sold to Western Air Express, which in turn would eventually merge with Transcontinental Air Transport (T-A-T). Transcontinental Air Transport became Transcontinental & Western Air (T&WA), which eventually rebranded itself as Trans World Airlines (TWA). In between all this, in 1934, Western Air Express separated from T-A-T, and in 1941 Western Air Express became Western Airlines.

Standard Air Lines poster

So, rather impressively, El Paso aviation played a fundamental role in the establishment of three major airlines — Continental, Western, and TWA. All three have long since merged with other airlines — Western with Delta (1987), TWA with American (2001), and, as previously noted, Continental with United (2010).

How Standard Airport became El Paso International Airport:

In 1936 the city of El Paso relinquished control of El Paso Municipal and gained control of Standard Airport in an exchange of properties requested by the operator of Standard Airport at the time. During World War II the U.S. Army Air Corps took over the former Standard Airport, renaming it El Paso Army Airfield. Thus, both Biggs and El Paso became training fields for heavy bomber crews destined for the conflicts in Europe and the Pacific.

In 1945 El Paso Army Airfield was declared excess, and control of the airport reverted to the city of El Paso.

El Paso International Airport today:

Today, El Paso International Airport controls 7,000 acres/2,833 hectares (10.9 square miles/28.2 square kilometers) of land, much of which is leased to nearby businesses. The airport itself has three runways. Runway 04/22 is 12,020 x 150 feet (3,664 x 46 meters) with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) serving Runway 22, and a Localizer Approach to Runway 04. RNAV approaches also serve both ends of the runway. Runway 8 Right/26 Left is 9,027 x 150 feet (2,751 x 46 meters). Approaches to Runway 26 Left include a VOR approach and two RNAV approaches. Runway 8 Left/26 Right is 5,500 x 75 feet (1,676 x 23 meters), and serves as a reliever runway for smaller aircraft. Runway 26 Right has one RNAV instrument approach.

El Paso International Airport (KELP) diagram

The airspace around El Paso International Airport is highly constrained. The distances below are in statute miles measured from the airport:

  • Franklin Mountains rise 3,230 feet/985 meters above the airport just five miles/8 kilometers to the west
  • Biggs Army Airfield Runway 03/21 is 1.7 miles/2.7 kilometers northwest of El Paso Runway 04/22
  • The international border with Mexico runs 4.5 miles/7.2 kilometers to the south
  • The White Sands Missile Range and other military special use airspace are 17 miles/27 kilometers north
  • The Hueco Mountains lie about 25 miles/40 kilometers to the east

El Paso Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) airspace reaches from the surface to 17,000 feet above sea level, and stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to the south to the military ranges north. The airspace to the west ranges out to 25 nautical miles/29 statute miles/46 kilometers, and extends to 35 nautical miles/40 statute miles/65 kilometers east. Within that airspace are four satellite airports served by El Paso TRACON. In addition to the aforementioned Biggs Army Airfield, these airports are Fabens Airport to the southeast, Cielo Dorado Estates Airport (a residential fly-in community) to the west, and Doña Ana County International Jetport Airport also to the west. El Paso TRACON also deals with a major international airport with a control tower and a non-radar approach control facility just south of the international border — the Ciudad Juarez Abraham Gonzalez International Airport.

Friday — El Paso International Airport Today

© 2018 R. Doug Wicker

2 Comments

Filed under Aircraft, Author, R. Doug Wicker, Writing