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Tag: deaths

GAO: Border Patrol Agents Significantly Undercount Immigrant Deaths

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents are significantly undercounting the number of immigrant deaths, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.  

Forbes write, “The finding provides more evidence that for many years U.S. immigration policy has been ineffective, counterproductive and deadly. Continuing policies that rely on enforcement alone and ignore the need to offer legal visas for those seeking work will result in thousands of more deaths and continued frustration about policies that fail to deter unlawful migration into the United States.”

The GAO report states, “CBP [Customs and Border Protection] has not collected and recorded, or reported to Congress, complete data on migrant deaths or disclosed limitations with the data it has reported.”

According to the report, Border Patrol isn’t taking advantage of the resources that would enable them to account for all of the deaths. 

At the Tucson Sector, the agency reported 339 deaths between 2015 and 2019. But according to public data from the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants, 699 immigrants died between that period. 

Leading Cause of Deaths in Children in 2020 Was Guns

By Steve Neavling

For decades, the leading cause of death for children and teens were car accidents and then drug overdoses. 

Not anymore.

In 2020, firearms took the lead, according to researchers who analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Time reports.

Between 2019 and 2020, gun-related deaths for people of all ages increased 13%, but for those aged 1-19, the rate increased by 30%, according to a research letter published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 10% of the 45,222 people who died as a result of gun violence in 2020 were children and teens. 

For adults, nearly two-thirds of the gun deaths were suicides. But for children and teens, homicides accounted for nearly two-thirds of the gun deaths. 

“This [increase] is probably linked in part to significant increases in firearm purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic but we don’t have the data systems to truly link those things,” Dr. Lois Lee, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who co-wrote a separate article on a related topic in the New England Journal of Medicine, tells TIME.

FBI Assists in Investigation into Travis Scott’s Deadly Concert

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is helping investigate Friday’s deadly Astroworld concert in Houston, where eight people died after the crowd rushed toward the stage when rapper Travis Scott was on stage. 

The FBI is providing “some forms of technical assistance” to investigators, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Monday at a Justice Department news conference, ABC News reports.

Investigators are trying to determine how the melee happened, who’s to blame, and whether anyone is criminally liable. 

“There’s no question these kids were put in harm’s way,” legal analyst Carmen Roe told KHOU. “Now, who’s to blame will be the ultimate question here.”

The investigation will likely include sifting through thousands of cell phone videos, as well as the reaction from Scott, who continued to perform after concertgoers had collapsed.

Record Number of Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses Come Amid Unprecedented Seizures at Border

Pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling

The record number of fentanyl crossing the border is having deadly consequences: Overdose deaths have hit a new high this year. 

“If they’re seizing a lot, it’s because a lot is coming in — because you don’t know the percentage of how much is coming through that they’re actually seizing,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told The Washington Examiner.

The problem is the ease of producing and transporting fentanyl compared to other drugs, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Only a very small concentration of fentanyl is needed in order to produce a high. So, this makes it much easier to bring fentanyl across the border – in smaller, but more potent, quantities than other drugs,” Volkow wrote in an email.

“Based on the number of drug seizures reported in 2020 for fentanyl, it appears that the illicit drug market did not suffer during the pandemic, but actually expanded,” Volkow said. “Rising fentanyl availability, decreased access to addiction treatment, increased social and economic stressors, and overburdened health departments collided in 2020 and were associated with a tragic rise in overdose deaths.”

CBP confiscated 11,201 pounds of fentanyl between October 2020 and September 2021. To put that into perspective, a single kilogram of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people.

Because of its potency, a small amount of fentanyl can go a long way, making it easier to smuggle into the U.S., and it’s very profitable. 

Less than month ago, the DEA announced it had arrested 810 people and seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl as part of an eight-week crackdown on fake, dangerous prescription drugs.

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

FBI: 93 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Line of Duty in 2020

By Steve Neavling

The FBI reports that 93 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, a small increase over 2019. 

Of those deaths, 46 were the result of felonious assault, and 47 were accidents, according to the bureau’s annual report.

Of the offers feloniously killed, nine were ambushed, seven died while conducting law enforcement activities, seven were assisting other officers, five were responding to crimes in progress, four were responding to disorders or disturbances, three were involved in arrests, two were responding to citizen complaints, two were trying to serve an arrest warrant, two had encountered a person experiencing an emotional disturbance, two were killed during an unprovoked attack, one was trying to serve a court order, one was helping a motorist, and one was killed in an incident reported as “other.”

All but five of the officers feloniously killed died as the result of a gun. 

The average age of officers were were feloniously killed was 39 years old. Of those, 41 were men, 32 were white, 10 were Black, two were Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and one was American Indian/Alaska Native. 

Of those accidentally killed, 26 died as a result of car crashes, 12 were struck by cars, five were killed in firearm-related incidents, two drowned, one died as a result of an aircraft crash, and one died in a fall. 

Border Patrol Chase Led to Crash That Killed 7 People in Downtown El Paso

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A car fleeing the Border Patrol crashed in downtown El Paso on Thursday morning, killing seven people and injuring three others.

The chase began after Border Patrol agents tried to stop a gray Chevrolet Cruze packed with 10 people shortly after 2 a.m. on West Paisano Drive near Union Depot, The El Paso Times reports.

The driver lost control of the car on a curve in the road, crossing a small gravel median, and crashing through a chain-link fence before striking a parked trailer. The car was torn in two.

The El Paso County medical examiner is trying to identify the dead.

“U.S. Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Santa Teresa and El Paso Stations attempted to stop a vehicle,” Border Patrol said in a news release. “The vehicle fled and was subsequently involved in a motor vehicle accident with multiple fatalities.”

The statement added, “At this time, the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the active investigation, which is being led by the El Paso Police Department. The incident is also under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.”

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Facial Coverings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA said Thursday it will begin requiring employees to wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints, more than two months after the pandemic reached the U.S.

The decision comes after 534 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and six have died, as of Thursday.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” the TSA said in a statement.

The decision to require masks is “an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment,” the TSA said.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

35 Border Patrol Agents Died Since 2003. How That Compares to Other Law Enforcement Officers

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol Agent Robert Hotten died in the line of duty on Sunday after authorities say he likely fell on rugged terrain in a remote part of the Arizona border.

His death highlights the dangers facing Border Patrol agents. Since 2003, 35 Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty.

Cato Institute ran an analysis of the deaths to determine how agents are dying and whether their jobs are more dangerous than other law enforcement officers.

About half of the Border Patrol agents died in car accidents. Another 34% died in other kids of accidents, including drownings and from health issues. An additional 17% died from being assaulted or murdered.

Compared to other law enforcement officers, Border Patrol agents compared favorably. About one in 4,680 law enforcement officers died each year between 2003 and 2018. For Border Patrol, it’s one death for every 8,628 agents per year.

“Border Patrol agents volunteered for a job that routinely places them in danger. However, that heightened danger does not translate into a higher chance of dying in the line of duty compared to other police officers,” Cato Institute concluded. “Every unnecessary death is a tragedy, but it’s important to keep them in perspective when forming public policy.”