Governor Greg Abbott signed eight executive orders on Thursday, September 7, 2019 to address the problems emerging from shootings in El Paso and Odessa.
“Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings,” the Texas Governor declared in a statement. “I will continue to work expeditiously with the legislature on laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, while safeguarding the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans.”
These orders allegedly focus on bolstering law enforcement’s ability to respond and prevent future shootings by streamlining reporting channels and closing “information gaps” when citizens or law enforcement agencies believe that a person might be a threat to commit violence. However, Abbott’s office commented in a news release that “legislative solutions are still needed.”
Abbott also intends to release a report of recommendations next week from meetings of the Texas Safety Commission, which was formed in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting.
- Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law-enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.
- Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.
- Within sixty days of this order, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement shall make training available to educate all law-enforcement officers regarding the standards that will be developed pursuant to Order No. 1 and Order No. 2.
- The Department of Public Safety shall create and conduct an initiative to raise public awareness and understanding of how Suspicious Activity Reports are used by law-enforcement agencies to identify potential mass shooters or terroristic threats, so that the general public and friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and classmates will be more likely to report information about potential gunmen.
- The Department of Public Safety shall work with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on ways to better inform schools, students, staff, and families about the importance of Suspicious Activity Reports and how to initiate that process.
- The Department of Public Safety shall work with local law enforcement, mental-health professionals, school districts, and others to create multidisciplinary threat assessment teams for each of its regions, and when appropriate shall coordinate with federal partners.
- The Department of Public Safety, as well as the Office of the Governor, shall use all available resources to increase staff at all fusion centers in Texas for the purpose of better collecting and responding to Suspicious Activity Reports, and better monitoring and analyzing social media and other online forums, for potential threats.
- Beginning January 1, 2020, all future grant awards from the Office of the Governor to counties shall require a commitment that the county will report at least 90 percent of convictions within seven business days to the Criminal Justice Information System at the Department of Public Safety. By January 1, 2021, such reporting must take place within five business days.
For now, gun owners can breathe a sigh of relief. None of Abbott’s orders involve direct legislative actions that would fundamentally alter Texas’ laws and put it on an anti-gun path.
However, the fact that Abbott did not try to go on offense and re-assert any type of pro-gun action shows that the Texas GOP is still playing defense on gun rights. Against the ever-expanding Left, this is not enough and only makes them more emboldened in their activism. The battle is far from over in Texas and gun owners must remain vigilant as more Republicans could possibly succumb to anti-gun pressure and endorse certains forms of gun control.
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Google Unveils Orwellian Location Tracking Data for Wuhan Virus Lockdown
According to a report from CBS News, Google will be using its massive compilation of data to track the movements of people around the world.
From there, it will provide this data to policymakers and researchers in order to combat the Wuhan Virus.
The Big Tech titan published the so-called Community Mobility Reports for 131 countries. These reports feature localized data on how to travel to places like stores and parks and has been changed during the last month. In the United States’ case, Google’s data is divided on a county by county basis, which shows a massive reduction in people’s movement in urban and suburban communities —in some cases there are drops of 80 percent — with modest declines in rural areas in comparison.
Take for example, New York. According to Google’s mobility tracking data for New York witnessed a 62% decline for retail and recreation venues, 68% decline for public transit hubs like subways, buses, and train stations, 46% decline for workplaces, and 32% decline for grocery stores and pharmacies as of March 29.
In New York County, the reduction is even more dramatic. Movement dropped 86% for retail and recreation, 78% for transit, 57% for workplaces, and 51% for groceries and pharmacies.
The reports “aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19,” the company stated on the website where the reports are published. “The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.”
The company plans on updating its figures regularly. It claims that the data is designed in a manner that protects people’s anonymity.
Damian Collins, a British Parliament member who has spearheaded efforts to investigate Google’s data practices, revealed in an email to CBS News that the reports indicateto limit the Wuhan Virus’ impact. However, he advised that people be cautious about in letting Google have the power to track people’s daily lives.
“This certainly shows the impact that the social restrictions are having on daily life, and helps policy makers determine the effectiveness of these strategies,” stated Collins. “It also illustrates the level of background surveillance that has become commonplace, without people really being aware of it.”
Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next, a trade group that represents digital publishers, agreed with Collins and is skeptical of Google’s underlying motives.
“While it’s a noble effort and the anonymous presentation is interesting, it’s asking a lot to trust a company who’s entire business model is about surveillance and monetization of as much personal data across our lives as they can collect,” Kint stated.
Collins believes that Google’s tracking data may be useful for policymakers, there are still questions about potential privacy violations and future mass surveillance abuses.
“In a crisis people may consent to this, but there has never really been a public debate about whether we agree to it in principle. The aftermath of this crisis may start such a debate,” Collins remarked.
Big Tech’s influence has been the source of public discussion since Trump got elected.
It has been instrumental in suppressing dissident voices and will now likely be greatly empowered by this new crisis.Conservatives would be wise to be skeptical of both corporations and government.
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