Showing posts with label civil unrest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil unrest. Show all posts

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Study Asks Why Voters Don't Punish Mexico Officials

Written by Patrick Corcoran  Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Mexico Security Policy


A new study from a Mexican academic seeks to establish under what circumstances Mexican voters punish politicians for insecurity, offering valuable insight into a major impediment to the nation's democratic accountability.

Sandra Ley's new paper, "Electoral Accountability in the Midst of Criminal Violence: Evidence from Mexico," starts from a premise that is both true and unfortunate: Mexican politicians are rarely held to account for the declines in security within their jurisdiction. This seems to contradict the natural reaction of any democratic electorate, and the challenge is further compounded in Mexico, where politicians are often not just unable to cope with security problems, but also active agents of insecurity.

Analyzing mayoral and gubernatorial elections during the Felipe Calderón era (2006-2012), and utilizing government tallies of organized crime-related violence, Ley concludes that voters were willing to vote out the incumbent party only when two conditions were met: When the incumbent party was President Calderón's National Action Party (PAN), and when the increase in violence was linked to organized crime. If either of those two factors were absent, the voters showed no significant tendency to vote out the incumbents.

The effects were further exaggerated when violence was directed at public officials, especially during electoral campaigns. According to Ley, a political science professor from Mexico City's Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), "For every violent event perpetrated against political actors over the course of the electoral process in a given municipality, the PAN's vote share decreases by 3.6 percentage points."

According to the author, this dynamic is a product of voters attempting to find "cognitive shortcuts" in determining who to blame. A problem as complicated as organized crime has multiple relevant actors -- for instance, the military, three levels of police, three levels of elected politicians, the judiciary, and the groups themselves -- and voters understandably struggle to determine who deserves the blame.
This struggle is further complicated as increasing insecurity becomes a political hot potato. Local officials can seek support from the state when they are unable to handle things along, and state officials can do the same with the federal government, after which every level has a plausible scapegoat for its own failings.

But only when the circumstances establish the simplest causality—when there is a great deal of organized crime-related violence, and only one party could possibly be to blame—are voters collectively capable of channeling the accountability toward the politicians.

InSight Crime Analysis
In some ways, the two necessary conditions for electoral accountability are entirely logical. Unlike regular street crime, organized crime typically has an active political component, in which the most powerful groups are protected. It therefore makes sense for voters to show more willingness to punish politicians when organized crime-related violence spikes.

As for the need for political alignment as a precondition, Calderón built his presidency on an anti-organized crime platform, so it is not surprising that he and his fellow PAN members suffered as the shortcomings of their approach became manifest. As Ley writes,

Overall, the results suggest that when a party attempts to "own" crime but fails to provide security, voters will punish its candidates at the polls, and even more so when political alignment facilitates responsibility attribution for poor security performance.

The problem is that merely limiting the blame to PAN politicians was woefully insufficient in the Calderón era. The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, held more than half of the statehouses and most of the nation's municipalities, so it retained ample influence over the nation's political system despite operating under a PAN presidency. Holding only PAN officials to account essentially gave a free pass to PRI officials, who collectively wielded as much or more influence over the political system's strategy to deal with organized crime.

Not coincidentally, the Calderón years brought some disturbing examples of PRI officials being rewarded at the ballot box despite overseeing security disasters. In 2011, former Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira was succeeded by another member of the PRI—his own brother, no less—despite Moreira being embroiled in a wide-ranging investigation stemming from allegations that he allowed the Zetas to take over the state.

In 2010, Juárez had become the world's most violent city under the watch of a PRI mayor and a PRI governor of Chihuahua. Nonetheless, when voters went to the polls that summer, they selected a PRI mayor and a PRI governor once more.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

It is possible that changes in the political dynamics (there is unlikely to be another president who bets his reputation on an iron fist on security matters) and in the political rules (as of 2014, reelection is permitted at the municipal level) may undercut the strength of Ley's conclusions. It is also possible that a catalog of scandals ensnaring governors from all parties may increase the public's willingness to look past political alignment.

But there's little evidence of this just yet. On the contrary, it seems that the arrival of a PRI president was the final straw for PRI gubernatorial candidates in Chihuahua, Durango, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas. In each of these states, the PRI retained the statehouse during the Calderón years, despite the governor having overseen a substantial deterioration in security, with longstanding and credible allegations of PRI officials colluding with criminal groups. In each of these states, the PRI gubernatorial candidate lost in 2016, now with Peña Nieto serving as president.

Unfortunately, the absence of consistent electoral accountability is a big part of the persistence of violence in Mexico. The incentives for politicians, who are generally motivated by their next election more than anything, and their parties are too disconnected from their performance on security. There is no certain punishment for the governor who sells his state to one criminal gang, or who allows his chief of police to protect one gang.

Until that changes, until the narrow conditions Ley identifies fall away, it is hard to imagine that Mexican politicians will be motivated by the public interest on security matter.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Inside Manila's drug war: Female assassin's story

The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks. The BBC's Jonathan Head explores the country's dark underbelly of dealers and assassins through the story of one woman trapped in a chilling predicament.

When you meet an assassin who has killed six people, you don't expect to encounter a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby.

"My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was my first time."

Maria, not her real name, now carries out contract killings as part of the government-sanctioned war on drugs. She is part of a hit team that includes three women, who are valued because they can get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would. Since President Duterte was elected, and urged citizens and police to kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, Maria has killed five more people, shooting them all in the head.

I asked her who gave the orders for these assassinations: "Our boss, the police officer," she said.
On the very afternoon we met, she and her husband had been told their safe house had been exposed. They were moving in a hurry. This controversial drug war has brought her more work, but more risk too. She described how it began when her husband was commissioned to kill a debtor by a policeman - one who was also a drug pusher.

"My husband was ordered to kill people who had not paid what they owed."
This turned into a regular commission for her husband until a more challenging situation cropped up.
"One time, they needed a woman... my husband tapped me to do the job. When I saw the man I was supposed to kill, I got near him and I shot him. "

President Duterte came to power promising to crack down on crime and drugs Maria and her husband come from an impoverished neighbourhood of Manila and had no regular income before agreeing to become contract killers. They earn up to 20,000 Philippines pesos ($430; £327) per hit, which is shared between three or four of them. That is a fortune for low-income Filipinos, but now it looks as if Maria has no way out.  Contract killing is nothing new in the Philippines. But the hit squads have never been as busy as they are now. President Duterte has sent out an unambiguous message.
Ahead of his election, he promised to kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office.
And he has warned drug dealers in particular: "Do not destroy my country, because I will kill you."
Last weekend he reiterated that blunt view, as he defended the extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals.

"Do the lives of 10 of these criminals really matter? If I am the one facing all this grief, would 100 lives of these idiots mean anything to me?"

What has provoked the rough-tongued president to unleash this merciless campaign is the proliferation of the drug crystal meth or "shabu" as it is known in the Philippines. Cheap, easily made, and intensely addictive, it offers an instant high, an escape from the filth and drudgery of life in the slums, a hit to get labourers in gruelling jobs like truck-driving through their day.
What is Shabu?

Often called "ice" or "crystal meth" in the West, Shabu is the term used for a pure and potent form of amphetamine in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. Shabu costs about 1,000 Philippines peso per gram ($22; £16) It can be smoked, injected, snorted or dissolved in water The Philippines is home to industrial-scale labs producing tonnes of the drug - which is then distributed throughout Asia.
Mr Duterte describes it as a pandemic, afflicting millions of his fellow citizens. It is also very profitable. He has listed 150 senior officials, officers and judges linked to the trade. Five police generals, he says, are kingpins of the business. But it is those at the lowest levels of the trade who are targeted by the death squads. According to the police more than 1,900 people have been killed in drug-related incidents since he took office on 30 June. Of those, they say, 756 were killed by the police, all, they say, while resisting arrest. The remaining deaths are, officially, under investigation.
In practice most will remain unexplained. Nearly all those whose bloodied bodies are discovered every night in the slums of Manila and other cities are the poor - pedicab drivers, casual labourers, the unemployed. Often, found next to them are cardboard signs warning others not to get involved in drugs. This is a war being fought almost exclusively in the poorest parts of the country. People like Maria are used as its agents.

Duterte's war on drugs
Since 1 July
1,900
drug deaths
10,153 drug dealers arrested
1,160 deaths still being investigated
756 suspects killed by police
300 officers suspected of involvement

But it is a popular war. In Tondo, the shantytown area next to Manila port, most of the residents applaud the president's tough campaign. They blamed the "shabu" scourge for rising crime, and for destroying lives, although some worried that the campaign was getting out of hand, and that innocent victims were being caught up in it. One of those being hunted by the death squads is Roger - again not his real name. He became addicted to shabu as a young man, he says, while working as a casual labourer. Like many addicts he began dealing to support his habit, as it was a more comfortable job than labouring. He worked a lot with corrupt police officers, sometimes taking portions of the drug hauls they confiscated in raids to sell. Roger, not his real name, is a drug dealer and an addict.

Now he is on the run, moving from place to place every few days to avoid being tracked down and killed. "Every day, every hour, I cannot get the fear out of my chest. It's really tiring and scary to hide all the time. You don't know if the person right in front of you will inform on you, or if the one facing you might be a killer. It's hard to sleep at night. One small noise, I wake up. And the hardest part of all is I don't know who to trust, I don't know which direction to go every day, looking for a place to hide."

He does feel guilt about his role in the trade of this destructive drug. "I do truly believe that I have committed sins. Big time. I have done many awful things. I've wronged a lot people because they've become addicted, because I'm one of the many who sells them drugs. But what I can say is that not everyone who uses drugs is capable of committing those crimes, of stealing, and eventually killing. I'm also an addict but I don't kill. I'm an addict but I don't steal." He has sent his children to live with his wife's family in the countryside, to try to stop them being exposed to the drug epidemic. He estimates that between 30% and 35% of people in his neighbourhood are addicts.

So when President Duterte stated several times during his presidential campaign that he would kill drug dealers, throw their bodies into Manila Bay, did Roger not take that threat seriously?
"Yes, but I thought he would go after the big syndicates who manufacture the drugs, not the small time dealers like me. I wish I could turn the clock back. But it is too late for me. I cannot surrender, because if I do the police will probably kill me."

Maria also regrets the choice she has made. "I feel guilty and it is hard on my nerves. I don't want the families of those I have killed to come after me." She worries about what her children will think. "I do not want them to come back at us and say that they got to live because we killed for money." Already her older boy asks questions about how she and her husband earn so much. She has one more hit, one more contract to fulfill, and would like that to be her last. But her boss has threatened to kill anyone who leaves the team. She feels trapped. She asks her priest for forgiveness at confession in church, but does not dare to tell him what she does.

Does she feel any justification carrying out President Duterte's campaign to terrorise the drug trade into submission? "We only talk about the mission, how to carry it out," she says. "When it is finished we never talk about it again." But she wrings her hands as she speaks and keeps her eyes shut tight, pursued by thoughts she does not want to share.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Illegal Alien Sentenced For Possession Of Firearms And Ammunition

Orlando, Florida– U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II has sentenced Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif (25, Melbourne, and a citizen of the United Arab Emirates) to 18 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by an unlawful alien. Following his prison term, he will be deported back to the United Arab Emirates. Rehaif was found guilty by a federal jury in May 2016.

According to evidence presented at trial, Rehaif was admitted into the United States in 2013 under a student visa in order to attend the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). After completing three semesters at FIT, he was academically dismissed in December 2014. As a result, Rehaif became an unlawful alien when he failed to immediately depart the United States. During that time, Rehaif possessed firearms and ammunition at a local shooting range in Melbourne, Florida. In addition, he provided ammunition to two hotel employees as “gifts.” At the sentencing hearing, the Court found that Rehaif had illegally purchased three other firearms.



Law enforcement agents originally made contact with Rehaif in December 2015, at a hotel in Melbourne where he had been living for two months. According to court documents, Rehaif stayed at the hotel for 53 straight days and paid over $11,000 in room fees. Law enforcement found rounds of handgun and rifle ammunition in his hotel room and in a storage unit that Rehaif had rented, but did not locate any firearms.  

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Melbourne Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier and Special Assistant United States Attorney Christina R. Downes.

Holliston Man Charged in Connection with Weapons Trove

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 29, 2016
Holliston Man Charged in Connection with Weapons Trove

BOSTON – A Holliston man was arrested early Saturday morning in connection with his possession of a trove of weapons, ammunition and incendiary material, and his threats to use them.

Joseph Garguilo, 40, was charged in a criminal complaint with being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition.  Garguilo is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal in Boston today at 2:30 p.m.                                                                      

According to the charging documents, on July 27, 2016, the FBI received information Garguilo had recently acquired parts to make an AR-15 rifle, and he was stockpiling other weapons including tasers, mace guns, hunting knives and thermite (an incendiary).  Around the same time Garguilo allegedly stated that “he will plant a bomb in police station…and kill as many homeland security officers as he can before they kill him.”  The FBI then initiated an investigation.  In recent days, the FBI learned that Garguilo had stated that he wanted to attack a mosque and/or kill President Obama.  Garguilo also allegedly said he wanted to, “chain a mosque closed and burn it down.”  Garguilo did not mention any specific mosque or time for this attack. The FBI also learned that Garguilo was stockpiling food and water as part of his plan, and that an acquaintance of Garguilo’s believed he was “about to snap.”



On Aug. 26, 2017, federal agents conducted a search of Garguilo’s residence and seized parts to assemble an AR-15 rifle, ammunition for the AR-15 rifle, nine millimeter ammunition, chemicals that could be combined to create incendiary or explosive compounds, and hand written notes threatening violent attacks against members of the Islamic faith.

As alleged in court documents, Garguilo is the subject of an active restraining order which prohibits him from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon a finding that “there is substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse…”

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Holliston Police Chief John J. Moore; and Medway Police Chief Allen M. Tingley, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lori Holik and Mark Grady of Ortiz’s Criminal Division.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inside Gaza's Underground Smuggler Tunnels

By VICE Staff
August 17, 2016

In VICELAND's new series Black Market: Dispatches, we expand our look into global underground economies to see how contraband moves across borders.
In the first episode, we explore the underground network of tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip to Israel and Egypt to see how goods and soldiers move in and out of the Palestinian territory. Gazans get around the economic blockade by using the rudimental tunnels to smuggle in items they need to survive, even as neighboring territories try to bomb and destroy them.
Watch the full first episode above and make sure to catch the show every Tuesday at 10 PM on VICELAND.

Residents of New York's 'Murder Ave' Explain How the City Got Safer

By Amdé Mengistu

August 17, 2016


The author's intersection in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. All photos and GIFs by Alex Thebez of GIFRIENDS
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has been my home for a decade now, and for the last couple years, I've raised my two young boys on Myrtle and Carlton, across from the Walt Whitman Housing Projects. We're on a border between tony brownstone blocks and rundown public housing. Our hood features aging homeless people, pot dealers and panhandlers. Gone, however, are the stick-up boys, gang fights and gunshots.
It's just plain old Myrtle Avenue now, but back in the 1980s and 90s, they called it "Murder Ave." These days, it makes for a picturesque scene—if you're looking for broken people sprinkled amidst New Brooklyn money.
Bill Bratton, who will step down as NYPD commissioner next month, tends to get much of the credit for this change. During a two-year stint in the same job under Mayor Rudy Giuliani beginning in 1994, he emphasized "broken windows" policing that went hard after so-called quality of life offenses like panhandling and turnstile jumping. Bill de Blasio appointed Bratton to the same gig after winning the mayor's office in 2013, and often gushes about his top cop on Twitter and IRL. The mayor isn't alone, either—from New York to LA, from the Post to the Times, Bratton is described as a seminal figure in American life, one whose obsession with tracking crime statistics neighborhood by neighborhood and block by block changed the city forever.
eCig gif.
There are no broken windows on my block anymore. When I asked the NYPD about the change, they offered data showing violent crime in the 88th precinct had dropped nearly 80 percent since 1993—and that my neighborhood saw 68 percent fewer murders last year than at the beginning of Bratton's first stint as NYPD boss. But to get a sense of how folks in the neighborhood perceive the man credited with making America's largest city one of its safest, I hit the block.
Phillip Campbell was born in 1977 and grew up on Lafayette and South Oxford, just across the park from Myrtle Avenue. "Well, the architecture is the same," he joked when I asked how the hood has changed. These days, you can pay $2300 a month for a studio in The Griffin, the pre-war building where he grew up. But in the 80s and 90s, Campbell told me, "There were prostitutes in the penthouse and crack vials on the floor," and his grandmother would never let him "go down those 100 steps" from the top of Fort Greene Park to the projects on Myrtle Avenue.
Campbell understands now that she wanted him "to feel like we had the chance to be middle class, but down there was the reality," he said. He doesn't have a great sense of Bratton as a public figure, but does recall how "Adolf Giuliani had two terms and it was so brutal." Campbell added that police would go where they knew there was poverty and "call them 'Hot-Spots' and put 200 cops there. You could get beat up for riding a bike on the sidewalk."



Booj on Myrtle Ave.
Two blocks away from Myrtle, every August for the past 23 years, Cook Green has run a summer basketball tournament for local kids on the playground at Dekalb and Carlton. "This was the worst neighborhood in damn near Brooklyn," he told me of the old days, adding that there were "real gangs here, Crazy Bishops, Comanches, Warlords, just to name a few." When I asked how that changed and when, he responded simply, "They hired way more police." But around 1997 or 98, he said, "You could get locked up for stupid shit—jaywalking."
Cook thinks that when Giuliani came around, "That's when shit went south. That nigger ain't give a fuck."
On Myrtle Avenue in 2016, you can have a smoke or a sip of Hennessy with kids that used to ball in Cook's tournament. One of them, known on the block as Booj, is in his 30s now, with a slightly faded neck tattoo of Myrtle and Adelphi street signs. He remembers the transition well, and actually thinks the biggest change came in the 2000s, when he "couldn't walk through the park without having to get stopped." Booj told me cops would target "only blacks though, even if whites were doin' the same shit, like riding bikes on a sidewalk."

Booj at the Bodega
It's more peaceful on the sidewalk now, but according to Othman al-Muntaser, the Yemeni bodega owner who sells Booj cigarettes and snacks, it's only been that way since about 2004. In the 90s, he told me, you could be robbed on the street "right in the afternoon, no problem." Asked to explain the change, Al-Muntaser snapped, "White people and Jewish moved in, what do you think?"
That reminded me of Booj's disdain for the cops and the change they wrought. He thinks they only cared to make the neighborhood safe for new developments like the Barclays Center, home to Brooklyn Nets games and big concerts since opening in 2012. "Jay-Z fucked up the 'hood, I always said that—write that shit down," Booj said. "They didn't clean this shit up for us."
There's an old church around the corner on Adelphi, where I stopped on a recent Sunday to see what the Elders had to say—maybe they were less antagonistic toward the NYPD and even grateful for the new way. Bishop-Designate Austin Craig Williams gave the service, and when we spoke afterwards, he recalled his father being robbed at gunpoint coming out of a barbershop on Myrtle. But Williams was on day five of his church's 21 Day No-Negativity Challenge, and said the neighborhood's changes had been a net positive. Citing "a concerted effort against crime," though, he told me it wasn't just about cops but also a real grassroots effort that had transformed the community.
Tony cuts hair at a place called Myrtle Avenue His and Hers. He was born around the corner in the Cumberland Hospital, between Myrtle and the Navy Yard. When I asked how long he'd been in the 'hood, he told me, "My whole life—I remember when we had the elevated train line," and pointed out to the sidewalk where the Myrtle El ran until 1969. "We had people change, drug change, social change, economic change," he said. Tony admitted that "this block was horrible" way back, but like every person I spoke to, declined to give credit to Bratton—or his cops. He suspects crime around here stems from economic need, and that hasn't changed. Rather than stamping out the problem, Tony thinks cops have simply moved the violence around.

Tony the Barber at his shop in Fort Greene
"They used to knock me on my head and take 12 dollars," he said, nodding his head vaguely toward the street. "Now they go into Walgreens and steal five tubes of toothpaste."
It's been a sweltering August on Myrtle Ave. You can watch a millennial nurse an iced latte while his bike gets tuned-up at a place that doubles as a café. You can see a homeless man from the Greatest Generation sit all day long in the B54 bus shelter. Back inside the barbershop, Tony eventually took to laughing at the very premise of my question—whether Bratton deserves credit for how safe it is here. Then the barber pushed himself slowly out of a chair and reached for his clippers.
"If you paint a dirty wall," he asked me, "did you clean it up?"
Amdé Mengistu is a recovering attorney raising two boys in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Expert to Rio athletes: 'Don't put your head under water'


Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press.



Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP's tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

The AP's survey of the aquatic Olympic and Paralympic venues has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, a major black eye on Rio's Olympic project that has set off alarm bells among sailors, rowers and open-water swimmers.

The first results of the study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe. At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and more rarely heart and brain inflammation — although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual's immune system.

Since the AP released the initial results last July, athletes have been taking elaborate precautions to prevent illnesses that could potentially knock them out of the competition, including preventatively taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves in a bid to limit contact with the water.

But antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. And the AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings — tested with cell cultures and verified with molecular biology protocols — turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing.

"That's a very, very, very high percentage," said Dr. Valerie Harwood, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. "Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this."

While athletes take precautions, what about the 300,000-500,000 foreigners expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics? Testing at several of the city's world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad — and sometimes even exceed Rio state's lax water safety standards.

In light of the AP's findings, Harwood had one piece of advice for travelers to Rio: "Don't put your head under water."

Swimmers who cannot heed that advice stand to ingest water through their mouths and noses and therefore risk "getting violently ill," she said.

Danger is lurking even in the sand. Samples from the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema revealed high levels of viruses, which recent studies have suggested can pose a health risk — particularly to babies and small children.

"Both of them have pretty high levels of infectious adenovirus," said Harwood, adding that the virus could be particularly hazardous to babies and toddlers who play in the sand.

"You know how quickly an infant can get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital," she added. "That's the scariest point to me."

Dr. Fernando Spilki, the virologist and coordinator of the molecular microbiology laboratory at Feevale University in southern Brazil whom AP commissioned to conduct the water tests, says the survey revealed no appreciable improvement in Rio's blighted waters — despite cleanup promises stretching back decades.

"Unfortunately, what we've seen throughout all this time is that there is a variation in the levels of contamination, but it fluctuates much more as a result of climactic conditions than due to any measures that may have been taken to try to remove this contamination," said Spilki, one of Brazil's most respected virologists.

The most contaminated points are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where Olympic rowing will take place, and the Gloria Marina, the starting point for the sailing races. In March, 2015, sampling at the Lagoon revealed an astounding 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter; this June, adenovirus readings were lower but still hair-raising at 248 million adenoviruses per liter. By comparison, in California, viral readings in the thousands per liter are enough to set off alarm bells.

Despite a project aimed at preventing raw sewage from flowing directly into the Gloria Marina through storm drains, the waters remain just as contaminated. The first sampling there, in March, 2015, showed over 26 million adenoviruses per liter; this June, over 37 million adenoviruses per liter were detected.

While local authorities including Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes have acknowledged the failure of the city's water cleanup efforts, calling it a "lost chance" and a "shame," Olympic officials continue to insist Rio's waterways will be safe for athletes and visitors. The local organizing committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment, though it has previously said bacterial testing conducted by Rio state authorities has shown the aquatic venues to be within state guidelines.

The crux of the issue lies in the different types of testing used to determine the health and safety of recreational waters.

Bacterial tests measure levels of coliforms — different types of bacteria that tend not to cause illnesses themselves but are indicators of the presence of other, potentially harmful sewage-borne pathogens such as other bacteria, viruses and protozoa that can cause cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid, among other diseases. Bacterial tests are the worldwide standard because they're cheap and easy.

But there's a growing consensus that they're not ideal for all climates, as bacteria break down quickly in tropical weather and salty marine waters. In contrast, viruses have been shown to survive for weeks, months or even years — meaning that in tropical Rio low bacterial markers can be completely out of step with high virus levels.

That disparity was borne out in the AP's testing. For instance, in June, 2016, the levels of fecal coliforms in water samples from Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches were extremely low, with just 31 and 85 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters, respectively. But still, both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.

The testing also revealed alarming spikes in fecal coliform levels — the very measure the state government uses to determine the safety of Rio's recreational waters.

"If these were the reported values in the United States, let's say in California, there is definitely an indication of a problem," said Dr. Kristina Mena, a waterborne virus expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

According to California's bacterial tests standards, 400 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters is the upper limit for a beach to be considered safe for swimming. AP's tests revealed that Copacabana Beach, where the marathon and triathlon swimming are to be held and thousands of tourists are likely to take a dip, exceeded California's limit five times over 13 months of testing.

Nearby Ipanema Beach, which is not playing host to any Olympic sports but is among the city's most popular tourist spots, exceeded California standards five times over 12 months, once spiking to nearly 50 times what would be permitted in California. One of two testing spots along the beach in the Olympic hub neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca once hit more than 60 times that limit over the five months testing was conducted there.

"If we had exceedances that consistently were in the thousands like I'm seeing here, there would be a high likelihood that that beach would be put on our list of impaired water bodies," said Rik Rasmussen, manager of surface water quality standards at California's State Water Board. That would lead to water quality warnings posted on the beach, possible beach closure, and the development of a program to root out the source of the contamination, he said.

The beaches even violate Rio state's own standards, which are much less stringent than those in California, many other U.S. states and beach-loving countries such as Australia and New Zealand. In Rio, beaches are considered unfit if bacterial tests turn up more than 2,500 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters — more than six times higher than the upper limit in California. But Copacabana and Ipanema even violated those much higher limits on three separate occasions. The state environmental agency, INEA, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Rasmussen acknowledged that the higher thresholds might make sense in Rio, where sewage pollution has been a perennial problem, meaning that locals are regularly exposed to the pathogens lurking in raw waste from an early age and therefore build up immunities. But visitors are unlikely to have such immunities, putting them at risk for illnesses.

After the AP's initial report on the findings of the study in July of last year, the Olympics' adviser on health matters, the World Health Organization, said it would carry out its own viral testing in Rio's Olympic waterways. The agency later flip-flopped, finally concluding that bacterial tests alone would suffice.

Athletes who have trained years for a chance at Olympic glory have resigned themselves to competing in the filth.

"There's been a lot of talk about how dirty the water is and all the viruses," said Finnish team sailor Noora Ruskola. "I'm mentally prepared for this. Some days the water is totally OK, and some days there are bad days."

However, tourists are unlikely to realize the dangers: Water quality warning signs used to dot showcase beaches, but they're no longer there. Now, a brief item on the weather page of the local paper lists which beaches the state environmental agency has deemed safe for swimming.

Most beach-going visitors are likely in the same situation as Raul Onetto, a 52-year-old bank executive from Uruguay recently soaking up the sun on Copacabana Beach.

When asked whether he knew that the bacterial levels sometimes exceeded the norms in other countries and could indicate problems, he expressed disbelief.

"The water looks beautiful. I didn't know it was dirty," said Onetto. "If it's dirty, the public should know it. I came 2,000 kilometers to be on a beach."

In Rio, the main tourist gateway to the country, a centuries-long sewage problem that was part of Brazil's colonial legacy has spiked in recent decades in tandem with the rural exodus that saw the metropolitan area nearly double in size since 1970.

Even in the city's wealthy areas, sewage treatment has lagged dramatically behind, with so-called "black tongues" of fetid, sewage-filled water common even on the tony Ipanema and Leblon Beaches. The lagoons in the fast-growing Barra da Tijuca region have been filled with so much sewage dumped by nearby glass-and-steel residential towers that vast islands of sludge emerge from the filthy waters during low tide. That lagoon system, which hugs the Olympic Park and Athletes' Village, regularly sees massive pollution-related fish die-offs and emits an eye-watering sulfuric stench.

Promises to clean up Rio's waterways stretch back decades, with a succession of governors setting firm dates for a cleanup and repeatedly pushing them back. In the city's 2009 Olympic bid document, authorities pledged the games would "regenerate Rio's magnificent waterways." A promised billion-dollar investment in cleanup programs was meant to be among the games' most important legacies.

Once more, the lofty promises have ended in failure.

Just over a month before the games, biologist Mario Moscatelli spent more than two hours flying over Rio in a helicopter, as he's done on a monthly basis for the past 20 years.

Viewed from above, Rio's sewage problem is as starkly visible as on the spreadsheets of the AP analysis: Rivers are tar-black; the lagoons near the Olympic Park bloom with fluorescent green algae that thrives amid sewage; fishermen's wooden boats sink into thick sludge in the Guanabara Bay; surfers paddle amid a giant brown stain that contrasts with the azure of the surrounding waters.

"It's been decades and I see no improvement," laments Moscatelli, an activist who's the most visible face of the fight to clean up Rio's waterways. "The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine ... and unfortunately Rio de Janeiro missed the opportunity, maybe the last big opportunity" to clean it up.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

11 Police Robots Patrolling Around the World

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACROSS the globe use semi-autonomous technology to do what humans find too dangerous, boring, or just can’t. This week, the Cleveland Police had a few nonlethal ones on hand at the Republican National Convention. But even those can be outfitted to kill, as we saw in Dallas earlier this month when police strapped a bomb to an explosive-detonation robot, and boom: a non-lethal robot became a killer. If that thought scares you, you’re not alone. Human rights activists worry these robots lack social awareness crucial to decision-making. “For example, during mass protests in Egypt in January 2011 the army refused to fire on protesters, an action that required innate human compassion and respect for the rule of law,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim of Amnesty International in a statement last year arguing that the UN should ban killer robots. More than a thousand robotics experts, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, signed a letter last summer warning against machines that can select targets without human control. We wanted to find out just how many of these things are in use around the world. But law enforcement isn’t exactly forthcoming about the topic, so this list is not exhaustive. Here’s what we found.




With the Republican National Convention underway, Cleveland police have enlisted the help of a new robot named Griffin, built by students from the local community college. Standing only 12 inches tall, the six-wheeled rover is designed to go places police can’t fit, like under a car or behind dumpsters to look for explosives. Griffin is equipped with a camera and light, which allows police to scope out the situation from a monitor at a safe distance. Unlike the larger bomb squad and military grade robots, like the one police strapped an explosive to in Dallas, Griffin is light enough to be deployed quickly without needing to be hauled out in a big truck. And it’s one of many robots Ohio police have on hand. Public records requests show Ohio law enforcement have received 40 robots from the federal 1033 program that transfers military equipment to local law enforcement.

India’s Riot-Control Drones
Police in the Uttar Pradesh region of India last year purchased a set of Skunk drones built to shower crowds with pepper spray and paintballs. The drone, manufactured by South African firm Desert Wolf, can hover mid-air over a protest and fire up to 20 paintballs (or other “non-lethal” ammunition) per second while simultaneously dispersing tear gas pellets onto people. Police control the drone from the ground, which levitates via eight motors that each power a 16-inch propeller. It’s outfitted with onboard speakers so authorities can communicate with crowds, as well as bright strobe lights and “eye safe” lasers to disorient and disperse a gathering. And of course, no drone is complete without surveillance capability. The Skunk comes packed with a thermal camera, an HD camera, and an onboard microphone, you know, to give the cops something to watch later.

South Korea's Prison Robo-Guards
Correctional officers at Pohang prison in South Korea had robot to help keep watch for them, during a trial in 2012.  Standing 5-feet tall, the Robo-Guard is equipped with 3D cameras and software to recognize inmate behavior. The robot’s makers say it’s able to report when something seems abnormal, like if there’s a fight or an inmate on the floor. The human in the control center can communicate with prisoners via the robot’s two-way radios. It’s unclear whether the robots were put into full-time use in South Korea after the tests, though recent reports indicate South Korea is now building robo-guards to keep patrol during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Isreal's Deadly Rover
This 26-pound, eleven 11-inch-tall robot is packing a 9mm Glock pistol. Designed by Israeli firm General Robotics Ltd with help from the Israeli Police Counter Terrorism Unit, the Dogo can fire up to five rounds in two seconds. This small land rover can enter a house quietly, climb stairs, and even maneuver over obstacles. Ready with eight cameras and two-way audio, the Dogo allows police to communicate with  and fire upon suspects without risking their lives, according to the company’s website.  If law enforcement aren’t looking to kill, the Dogo can also carry pepper spray or a dazzling light module to cause temporary blindness.

LAPD’s Huge Smasher
The Bat Cat—shorthand for Bomb Assault Tactical Control Assessment Tool—is the Los Angeles Police Department’s radio-controlled monster. Designed to pick up a car bomb with its massive, 50-foot telescoping arm, this unmanned ground vehicle reaches top speed at six miles per hour. While it might have been designed to remove massive explosives, the Bat Cat can also rip through a house in minutes, according to The Los Angeles Times,which reported that the LAPD used it to tear down the walls of a home during a standoff in 2011. Cops can switch out the end of the telescoping arm with a claw, a bucket, a forklift, or battering rams, and it can handle a payload of around 12,000 pounds, more than enough to haul your typical car bomb far from harm’s way. The Bat Cat was constructed on the chassis of a Caterpillar Telehandler, so it’s basically just pimped out remote-controlled forklift. Still, best to keep your distance.

Japan's Drone-Catching Drone
This is meta. Japanese police are using drones to take down drones, but they’re not shooting them. That would cause debris. Instead police are using a net. Japanese police introduced a net-wielding drone fleet earlier this year to catch suspicious looking small unmanned aircrafts that fly over sensitive government locations like butterflies. It takes a giant net to catch a drone, and the police fleet is equipped with a 6.5-foot-by-10-foot lattice. Last, year, the BBC reported that police deployed the net drones  in response to a drone carrying a non-harmful amount of radioactive sand that landed on the roof of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s house—a stunt that turned out to be a protest by an anti-nuclear activist. Japan’s drone-catching drone certainly seems a lot safer than the Dutch National Police Force’s solution—they trained eagles to take down unauthorized drones.

Brazil’s Olympic Peacekeepers
The Olympics are in less than a month, and Motherboard reports that Brazilian police forces are pulling out all the stops, including calling on a number of model 510 PackBots that were originally acquired in preparation for the World Cup, a military grade bomb detection and reconnaissance robot that was used after the Fukushima meltdown in Japan and was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each PackBot 510 weighs around 65 pounds and carries with it four cameras, as well as its main feature, a 6-foot telescoping arm that can lift a 30-pound payload. PackBots are primarily deployed for bomb detection and disposal; it can even use mechanical wire cutters attached to the end of its arm. The PackBot climbs stairs, maneuvers in water, and can crawl around at about 6 miles per hour, faster than most adults jog. With millions of people coming to town for the Olympics, Brazilian police will use the technology to inspect suspicious packages.

Democratic Republic of Congo's Traffic Robocops
In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo,  The Guardian reports that city officials installed a handful of giant solar-powered robot traffic cops in 2013 in an effort to reduce deaths and get more people to follow traffic rules. Decked out in cool sunglasses, the massive humanoid robots stand at busy intersections as kind of an all-in-one traffic light/crosswalk/traffic camera. The robots direct traffic with arms that signal red and green flags, and usher pedestrians safely across wide, busy roads. The humanoids were designed by Women’s Technology, an association of female and male engineers in the DRC, and, like every police robot on this list, are installed with surveillance cameras. Theirs send footage back to police in an effort to deter dangerous driving.



Poland’s Tactical Bot
Polish police recently got their hands on a new reconnaissance robot to toss around. The Tactical Throw Robot, directly translated from Taktyczny Robot Miotany or TRM, is  meant to be literally tossed into buildings or dropped from up high to scout the scene with its camera, microphone, and various illumination options. This ultradurable robot is also ultralight; weighing less than four pounds, police can throw it into second story windows without any mechanical propulsion. The device is similar to Recon Throwbot used frequently by American cops, and is designed to be outfitted with stun grenades or explosives if need, which can then be triggered by the control panel used to drive the TRM around.

Border patrol between South and North Korea
The “demilitarized” zone between South and North Korea is paradoxically one of the most militarized places in the world, including South Korea’s fleet of semi-autonomous killing machines that patrol the border day and night. Developed by Samsung, the SRG-A1 is armed with a 5.5mm machine gun and grenade launcher that can detect targets two miles away with its sensitive heat and motion sensors, as well as low-light cameras for patrolling at night. Multiple reports indicate that the SRG-1 has a fully autonomous function, too.



A Life-Saving Robot For Refugees in Greece
The coast guard in Lesvos, Greece recently started deploying a robotic life-preserver to rescue Syrian refugees making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Refugee’s boats are often underpowered, overloaded,  and don’t have enough life jackets. Everyday authorities scramble to  save people from boats that have capsized, run out of fuel, or wrecked in the rough waters. The robot helping them is named Emily, an acronym for  Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, and is a project by researchers at Texas A&M University. Emily is a floatation device that zooms across the water at 20 miles per hour tethered to a 2,000 ft. rope attached to a rescue ship. Emily makes fetching people who aren’t drowning faster, leaving the human rescue team free time to rescue victims who need more help.

By April Glaser  07.24.16  7:00am

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Philippines President Calls On Civilians To Kill Drug Addicts

“If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”


The Philippines’ president is asking civilians to murder drug addicts in the island nation — adding to a growing list of outrageous actions from the newly elected official.
President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office on Thursday after running a campaign that focused on violently cracking down on crime.

He’s pledged to bring back the death penalty and kill 100,000 criminals. Now, he’s asking his fellow Filipinos to kill alleged criminals themselves. 
“These sons of whores are destroying our children,” Duterte said Thursday night to a crowd of 500 in a Manila slum. “I warn you, don’t go into [drug trafficking], even if you’re a policeman, because I will really kill you,” he said.
Duterte said funeral parlors would become increasingly profitable under his rule.
“If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful,” he told the crowd.
Duterte worked with the Davao Death Squad during his 22-year run as mayor. The group killed more than 1,000 people during his tenure, according to Human Rights Watch.
Drug lords across the country have promised $1 million to anyone who assassinates the president.
Duterte had already made a series of offensive remarks in the lead-up to his election as president. In April, he told a crowd of supporters that he should have had a turn in the gang rape of an Australian missionary killed during a 1989 prison riot in the country.
“I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful,” he said. “I thought, the mayor should have been first.”
Duterte was embroiled in further controversy earlier this month, when he cat-called a female journalist when she asked him a serious question at a news conference. He had earlier called Pope Francis a “son of a whore.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Philippine president-elect urges public to kill drug dealers



MANILA, Philippines –  The Philippine president-elect has encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back in their neighborhoods.

In a nationally televised speech late Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte told a huge crowd in the southern city of Davao celebrating last month's presidential victory that Filipinos who help him battle crime will be rewarded.

"Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun -- you have my support," Duterte said, warning of an extensive illegal drug trade that involves even the country's police.

If a drug dealer resists arrest or refuses to be brought to a police station and threatens a citizen with a gun or a knife, "you can kill him," Duterte said. "Shoot him and I'll give you a medal."



The 71-year-old Duterte won the May 9 presidential election on a bold promise to end crime and corruption within six months of his presidency. That vow resonated among crime-weary Filipinos, though police officials considered it campaign rhetoric that was impossible to accomplish.

Human rights watchdogs have expressed alarm that his anti-crime drive may lead to widespread rights violations.

Duterte has been suspected of playing a role in many killings of suspected criminals in his city by motorcycle-riding assassins known as the "Davao death squads," but human rights watchdogs say he has not been criminally charged because nobody has dared to testify against him in court

In his speech on Saturday, Duterte also asked three police generals based in the main national police camp in the capital to resign for involvement in crimes that he did not specify. He threatened to humiliate them in public if they did not quit and said he would order a review of dismissed criminal cases of active policemen, suggesting some may have bribed their way back onto the force.

"They go back again crucifying the Filipino," he said. "I won't agree to that."

"If you're still into drugs, I will kill you, don't take this as a joke. I'm not trying to make you laugh, son of a bitch, I will really kill you," he said to loud jeers and applause.



The foul-mouthed longtime Davao mayor and former government prosecutor said crimes were committed by law enforcers because of "extreme greed and extreme need." He said that he would provide a small amount to an officer who was tempted because his wife has cancer or a mother died, but that those who would break the law because of extreme greed "will also be dealt with by me. I'll have you killed."

Duterte, who starts his six-year presidential term on June 30, repeated a plan to offer huge bounties to those who can turn in drug lords, dead or alive.

While it remains to be seen what will happen to his threats when he takes office, some policemen have heeded his call for a tougher anti-crime approach.

In suburban Las Pinas city in the Manila metropolis, police have apprehended more than 100 minors who defied a night curfew, and men who were either having drinking sprees in public or roaming around shirtless in violation of a local ordinance. The crackdown was dubbed "Oplan Rody" -- after Duterte's nickname -- or "Rid the Streets of Drinkers and Youth."

Progressive Outlet Accidentally Proves Blue States Have 42 Percent More Mass Shootings


Blue states have 42 percent more mass shootings than red states after adjusting for population, according to data published by Vox, a progressive media outlet, and examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Vox published its data after the Orlando terror attack last Sunday, and it suggests that blue states, which tend to have extremely strict gun laws, are ironically much more likely to have mass shootings than red states with less strict gun laws. The DCNF’s analysis found that 543 of the mass shootings listed by Vox occurred in blue states while only 330 occurred in red states. If adjusted to account for differences in the size of population, blue states have .381 mass shootings per 100,000 people, while red states have a mere .267.

Places where Democrats controlled the state legislature were even more likely to have mass shootings than the average blue state. This means that a mass shooting, as defined by Vox, is 42 percent more likely to occur in a blue state after accounting for population differences

Read more: http://kfiam640.iheart.com/articles/national-national-news-104668/progressive-outlet-accidentally-proves-blue-states-14834752/#ixzz4CG6LAM84

Posted June 21st, 2016 @ 7:18am by Andrew Follett

Monday, May 23, 2016

Personal Security Specialist Employment

visit www.rypulassessments.com for additional information and open positions.

Job Title: Protective Security Specialist
Location: Mexico (Primary) (States of Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Senora)
Employment Type Contract: Contractor (1099)
Education: High School or Equivalent
Category: Security Operations
How much Travel? 100%


Job Description
Perform the day-to-day protective security functions as specified in daily post and detail
Driving the lead, principal or follow vehicle during motorcade or similar operations
Act's as a response agent
Carries and operates weapons as specified in daily post and detail orders
Participating in advance security preparations
Manning the security post at principal’s residence or manning the command post
Maintaining protective formation position during principal’s walking movements
Serves as a member of an emergency response team or quick reaction force
Perform personnel protective service detail assignments
Must have attended a (PSS) training course and must provide a certification
Shall maintain weapons qualifications as outlined in this contract (TBD)

Job Type: Contract
Required experience: Personal Security Specialist: 3 years
Required license or certification: WPS / PSD Certification Required
Required education: High school or equivalent
Required language: Spanish

Job Requirements
U.S. Citizen
Current U.S. issued passport and driver's license
Level 3 Spanish proficiency (Required) (No Exceptions)
Three (3) years of (PSS) (PSD) experience (Required) (No Exceptions)
Experience shall be gained from any PMC providing high threat protective services
Pay: We offer competitive pay for the region. (You will be a 1099 Contractor)
All candidates SHALL pass pre-deployment medical screening, all candidates will work in a high-threat environment under semi-permissive conditions, and employment will be based on customer approval, background investigation, and drug screening results, medical requirements, physical fitness, and experience levels.

Desired Skills:
Strong written and oral presentation skills, Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, Excellent organization skills, Proven ability to work both collaboratively and autonomously Strong initiative, Ability to collaborate and work as a team, Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS:
A high school diploma or GED. Prior law enforcement or military service is a requirement. Background in weapons training, handling and manipulation. High threat area driving knowledge required. Recent CQB and active shooter training.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
Felony or Misdemeanor convictions are immediate disqualification from employment consideration. Provide salary requirements with your application. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Also provide your States DMV Record, a Police Clearance Letter and DD 214 (Copy 4) if prior military. If prior Law Enforcement please provide a proof of employment letter from your respective department.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

visit www.rypulassessments.com for additional information and open positions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Concealed carry permit holder fatally shoots ax-wielding attacker

A customer at a 7-Eleven store outside Seattle shot and killed a masked man who attacked a clerk with an ax early Sunday.

Investigators said the shooting happened at the store in White Center at approximately 5:45 a.m. local time. Witnesses said the man entered the store and swung a hatchet toward the customer before turning his attention to the clerk.

As the assailant attacked, the customer pulled out a pistol and fired, hitting the suspect. The clerk suffered minor injuries to his stomach and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The customer who shot the suspect is described as a 60-year-old Seattle man who visits the store every morning to get coffee. His name was not immediately released.

Authorities said the man who shot the attacker had a concealed carry permit and likely would not face charges as a result of his action.

"This could have been a lot worse,” King County Sheriff’s Sergeant Cindi West told KCPQ. “The clerk could be the one laying there dead on the floor right now.”

The motive for the assault was not clear. Investigators said the ax-wielding man remained silent throughout the assault. The assailant's identity was not immediately revealed, and authorities described him only as a man in his 40s.