Start Here: Gun control debate after El Paso and Dayton, white supremacy problem

https://abcnews.go.com/US/start-here-gun-control-debate-el-paso-dayton-white/story?id=64787184

It’s Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. At least 31 dead

In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio, in which at least 31 people died, including a mother who acted as a human shield to save her child, many Americans want lawmakers to do something.

Congress has floated a range of proposals from red flag laws to boosting background checks, but both sides of the aisle can’t agree on concrete legislation.

At the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump denounced the attacks without proposing gun control measures, instead tying the incidents to mental illness, video games and violence in the media. Earlier on Twitter, he suggested “strong background checks” that could be included with immigration reform, but he didn’t mention that in his remarks.

“I think Capitol Hill does not know what the president is willing to put his political muscle behind,” ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce says on “Start Here.” “They’re looking to the president for some guidance, and that’s hard when he shifts his story quite a bit on this issue.”

2. ‘Decades of organizing’

As the president faces growing scrutiny from critics who’ve tied his rhetoric to a rise in violence among white supremacists, Dr. Kathleen Belew, author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America,” says it goes beyond what she described as his “winks and nods” to white nationalists.

“We’re generations into this movement,” she tells us. “This isn’t a product of the current time, but it’s sort of the fruition of many decades of organizing.”

An anti-immigration screed linked to the suspected gunman in the El Paso massacre described an ongoing “invasion” of Texas by Hispanic people. Trump on several occasions has called migrants’ attempts to cross the southern border an “invasion,” but the document’s author said his ideology predated Trump.

Trump condemned racism and white supremacy in his Monday address following the weekend’s mass shootings, saying that “these sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington.Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington.

3. Yuan a piece o’ me?

Stocks on Monday endured their worst day of 2019, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 760 points as the U.S.-China trade war intensifies.

China countered Trump’s latest tariff threat by allowing its yuan to weaken to the lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than 10 years. The U.S. Treasury Department responded on Monday by labeling China a currency manipulator.

Economists are questioning who will blink first as the brinkmanship drags on.

There’s a concern China could “drag their heels into perpetuity,” says ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. “This is also about resolve. How long can the U.S. sit and let this last?”

PHOTO: Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Aug. 5, 2019.Richard Drew/AP
Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Aug. 5, 2019.

4. Go home, pilots, you’re allegedly drunk

Two United Airlines pilots will appear in a Scottish court today after they were accused of being too drunk to fly their route from Glasgow to Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday.

Both the captain and first officer were arrested before boarding, according to ABC News Senior Transportation Correspondent David Kerley: “Some folks said they thought they smelled alcohol on their breath. They were administered breathalyzer tests, [and] both of them were taken into custody.”

United said in a statement it’s cooperating with authorities and that it has “a strict, no tolerance policy for alcohol.”

A blood alcohol level of .04, about half the legal limit for driving a vehicle in the U.S., is the limit for pilots.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

Elsewhere:

‘We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments’: Barack Obama responds to the most recent mass shootings.

‘Cognitive limitations and severe learning disabilities’: The 57-year-old Florida man who mailed bombs to Democrats and CNN gets 20 years in prison.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Is the field too big for Kamala Harris?: She’s not the most moderate candidate in the field, nor is she the furthest to the left. Rather, she has tried to calibrate herself somewhere in between.

Doff your cap:

For years, master carpenter Greg Zanis has traveled the country to create and deliver individualized memorial crosses — free of charge.

Today, he’s been called upon to help the communities reeling from deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

PHOTO: Greg Zanis with Crosses for Losses signs a cross at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting that happened at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 5, 2019.Larry W. Smith/EPA via Shutterstock
Greg Zanis with Crosses for Losses signs a cross at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting that happened at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 5, 2019.

Zanis, 68, says the message he aims to send with his memorials is simple: “Today it’s the first day they get to go to heaven … they’re not suffering anymore. We’re going to see them again.”