The State of Texas: Tragedy Strikes Alpine

Plus: A Mexican senator threatens to take back Texas if Donald Trump dismantles NAFTA, the Fort Worth Symphony goes on strike, and anti-LGBT billboards pop up in Waco.


QUOTE OF THE DAY


“We’ll never forget.”

—Cherise Bonanno, manager of San Antonio’s Miracle Mattress, in a recent advertisement. The commercial promotes the store’s 9/11 “Twin Towers” sale, offering every size mattress for the price of a twin. It gets worse. The video shows two stacks of mattresses set up behind Bonanno, and at the end of the commercial two employees crash into them as Bonanno gasps in mock horror. She then looks into the camera and says, “We’ll never forget.” Even if it’s a good deal, the commercial didn’t go over well. The mattress store has since removed the video and has been forced to issue two apologies, according to the San Antonio Express-News.   


BIG NEWS


A view of Alpine from Hancock Hill.

Photograph by Cathy McNair

School Shooting
One girl is dead and another left injured after a shooting at Alpine High School Thursday morning. According to KOSA, the girl who died is believed to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and law enforcement officials said they believe the girl was the shooter. The injured student, 16, has already been released from the hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries. It’s unclear what could have motivated the alleged shooter, who has yet to be named by police. But here’s what we do know, according to information the suspected shooter’s family told the Brewster County Sheriff and early investigation, per KOSA: she was a fourteen-year-old freshman who just moved to the Alpine area six months ago, and she was a straight-A student; she was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and had “plenty of ammunition”; she allegedly shot the sixteen-year-old in the lower backside while they were both in the bathroom of the band hall, where the fourteen-year-old was later found with the self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting was a horrific start to what turned out to be an incredibly chaotic day in Alpine—according to the Odessa American, a Homeland Security Investigations officer was accidentally shot by a U.S. Marshal during the rush to respond to the school shooting, and that same day, threats were made to Sul Ross University, Alpine’s hospital, and a nearby motel, which strained local law enforcement resources across four active crime scenes. The threats are believed to have been unsubstantiated. Still, the school shooting has sparked questions among Alpine residents wondering how something so horrible could happen in such a tiny West Texas town. “Everybody’s saying, a shooting in Alpine? Really? Alpine?” the stepfather of a student told Texas Monthly.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Wall Wars
Who’s going to pay for Republican presidential Donald Trump’s proposed border wall? Trump has long promised voters Mexico would fund his infamous project, but it’s looking less and less likely that Mexico would actually be on board (not that it was ever likely in the first place). According to the Telegraph, Mexican Senator Armando Rios Piter is proposing a bill that would protect Mexico from Trump’s aggressions, including any attempt to force Mexico to pay for a wall. The proposed bill would prevent Mexico’s finance ministry from using public money on any project that is “against the country’s interest,” and it would introduce a special tax on American citizens living in Mexico if Trump halts remittance payments flowing south of the border from Mexican immigrants residing in America. The brashest threat in the bill, however, is what Rios Piter says will happen should Trump dismantle NAFTA: the potential cancellation of all 75 bilateral agreements between Mexico and the U.S., including the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War and extended the boundaries of the U.S. to include a good chunk of the West, including California, and, yes, Texas. Better renew your passports.

Sour Note
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is setting down their violins, oboes, and flutes and picking up picket signs instead. According to the Dallas Morning News, the musicians went on strike starting Thursday, after months of negotiations with management over a new contract went nowhere. The symphony was supposed to start its season on Friday night, but the performance has been cancelled, leaving the rest of the schedule in doubt. The strike-inducing contract proposal from the symphony’s management floated pay cuts in the first three years of the contract, but promised a 3.5 percent pay raise in the fourth year of the deal. The symphony said that wasn’t enough. Management countered that it was all they could afford. The musicians disagreed. “Fort Worth is one of the most thriving and growing cities in the nation, and ticket sales are on the rise,” the band members told the Morning News. “Reducing the budget has already caused musicians to leave the orchestra at twice the rate of the previous decade, and musicians refuse to agree to more damaging cuts.”

Bigoted Billboards
Two homophobic billboards promoting “gay conversion therapy” have popped up in Waco, reading “Ex-Gays prove change is possible.” According to KCEN, the billboards were paid for by a Virginia-based group that offers “conversion therapy” and believes that people are gay by choice and can be “fixed” (the organization’s director apparently sent KCEN “scientific studies” that she claims prove sexual orientation isn’t linked to genetics). It’s unclear why they’re targeting Waco, but the billboards have understandably upset the area’s LGBT community. “I was disappointed that someone would come to our community and put up something that goes against the diversity of the community,” local Rev. Charley Garrison told the Dallas Morning News. “Not only does it not work, but it can actually do harm to the LGBTQ folk.” In response, his congregation is raising money for an LGBT pride event set to happen in Waco next year.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Peep Jerry Jones’s new chopper Dallas Morning News

O’Donnell High School had to cover up its painting of the Ten Commandments after an anonymous complaint KCBD

Baylor is looking for a new president. Know anyone who might be interested? Waco Tribune

The story of Hearne’s one-woman cemetery Atlas Obscura

A high school student wearing a shark costume rappelled down an eleven-story hotel in College Station for charity KBTX