Police have arrested a 20-year-old woman and her boyfriend, both of whom are accused of killing her roommates over a possible rent dispute in a Southern California home.
The couple, Jordan Guzman and her boyfriend Anthony McCloud, 18, were arrested Thursday after police alerted authorities in Las Vegas to a missing car belonging to one of the victims, 18-year-old Trinity Clyde.
The three victims – Clyde, Wendy Lopez-Araiza, 46, and her daughter, Genesis Lopez-Araiza, 21 – were found dead Wednesday in their home in Hemet, about 76 miles southeast of Los Angeles. According to the Hemet Police Department, Wendy Lopez-Araiza’s husband came home and found one of the victims lying in blood and called 911.
An investigation found that Guzman and McCloud, who were at home the evening before, were missing, along with Clyde’s vehicle.
Hemet’s interim police chief Eddie Pust said there was evidence of blunt force trauma and strangulation, and no signs of a handgun being used.
It is unclear how long Guzman had lived in the home or what may have motivated the killings. Pust noted that there was a “dispute over a rental agreement” at the home before the slayings.
Guzman and McCloud were being held in Nevada jail awaiting extradition on three counts of murder. Their bail is set at $2 million each.
Contributing: Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California woman, man accused of triple homicide over rent dispute
In 1966, there were 654 murders in New York City. The next year, that number increased by about 100. Then 200. By the mid-1970s, nearly 1,700 people were being murdered every year in New York City. That insane level of violence maintained until the early 1990s.
Then, in 1994, the level of murders in New York City began to decline. It declined from approximately 2,000 people killed in 1993 to 289 in 2018 – a level not seen since the end of World War II. Needless to say, on a per capita basis the murder rate had never been that low.
What, exactly, happened in the early 1990s? New York City residents were simply tired of living in a crime haven. They elected Rudy Giuliani mayor, and Giuliani pledged to enforce the so-called broken windows theory to clean up so-called quality-of-life crimes.
BLOOMBERG TOUTS CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS ENDORSEMENTS AMID STOP-AND-FRISK CONTROVERSY
Giuliani stated: “It’s the street tax paid to drunks and panhandlers. It’s the squeegee men shaking down the motorist waiting at a light. It’s the trash storms, the swirling mass of garbage left by peddlers and panhandlers, and open-air drug bazaars on unclean streets.”
In April 1994, Giuliani’s New York Police Department implemented Compstat, a data-driven program designed to deploy police to the highest-crime areas, preemptively targeting criminality, rather than reacting to it.
Chris Smith of New York Magazine gushed, “No New York invention, arguably, has saved more lives in the past 24 years.”
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The NYPD also began to employ the “stop, question and frisk” policy, designed to allow police officers to spot people suspected of criminally carrying weapons and frisk them for those weapons after questioning.
New York turned from a mess into a haven. But now Michael Bloomberg – Giuliani’s mayoral successor beginning in 2002 – is paying the price for a successful anti-crime record that followed in Giuliani’s footsteps.
Bloomberg has defended NYPD policies as non-racially biased. In 2015 he told The Aspen Institute that supposedly disproportionate “targeting” of minorities was not disproportionate but based on criminal conduct and description thereof.
In crude and insensitive but statistically accurate terminology, Bloomberg pointed out that “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. … They are male minorities 15 to 25.”
This may have been a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. In 2008, for example, 88.6 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter victims in New York were black or Hispanic, and 92.8 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter suspects were black or Hispanic, according to New York government statistics.
And black and Hispanic suspects were actually under-arrested: By these same statistics, just 83.9 percent of arrestees for murder and non-negligent manslaughter were black or Hispanic.
Nonetheless, Bloomberg was widely blasted as a racist for his comments. That criticism came from both left and right. Bloomberg quickly apologized for his five-year-old comments, saying: “By the time I left office, I cut it back 95 percent, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized.”
But Bloomberg should have stood up on his hind legs and defended one of his only successful policies.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the counterfactual can be entertained without reference to reality. Thus, we are informed that broken-windows policing, Compstat, and stop and frisk should never have been employed – and we are blithely told that even without those policies, crime would have precipitously dropped over the course of two decades.
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There is precisely zero evidence to support this supposition, but that’s the beauty of writing alternative histories: No evidence is necessary. The same is true in the world of economics, where Bernie Sanders can spend his days living off the largesse of capitalism – the man has a lake house – while decrying the evils of capitalism.
It’s easy to proclaim adherence to socialistic redistribution while living high on the hog of the free market. It’s shockingly easy to get away with maintaining that American prosperity would not have been undercut by policies precisely the opposite of the policies that have driven American prosperity for centuries.
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The joy of alternative realities is that they can’t be disproved. We can never disprove the supposition that without anti-crime measures, crime would have dropped anyway; we can never disprove the supposition that without the free market, America would have prospered even more greatly than it has.
The acid test of reality never applies to a world in which bad ideas were rejected for more effective ones. Which is why Bernie Sanders, who has produced zero things of consequence for decades but has successfully mooched off the public dime for nearly that entire period, may become president, while Michael Bloomberg, who has produced thousands of jobs and presided over a massive decline in crime in New York City, is in the hot seat.
A popular pro-Trump website has released the personal information of a scientist from Wuhan, China, falsely accusing them of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon, in a plot it said is the real-life version of the video game Resident Evil.
On Wednesday, far-right news site Zero Hedge claimed without evidence that a scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology created the strain of the virus that has led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency. The outbreak has grown to more than 9,776 cases, with 118 outside of China. The coronavirus has killed 213 people, all in China.
It concludes, “if anyone wants to find out what really caused the coronavirus pandemic that has infected thousands of people in China and around the globe, they should probably pay [the Chinese scientist] a visit.” It also lists their email address and a phone number.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the scientist, whom it is declining to name.
Zero Hedge’s Twitter account was suspended Friday, following the publication of the scientist’s name.
“The account was permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation policy,” a spokesperson for Twitter told BuzzFeed News.
The rumors and lies about the Wuhan Institute of Virology dovetail with a popular meme about how the institute’s logo is similar to that of the Umbrella Corporation, the shady agency responsible for making the virus that starts the zombie apocalypse in the Resident Evil video game franchise. The logo that inspired the meme isn’t actually from Wuhan Institute of Virology, but actually belongs to Shanghai Ruilan Bao Hu San Biotech Limited, located in Shanghai, 500 miles away.
Zero Hedge, which describes itself as a financial blog, has more than 50,000 followers on Facebook and more than 670,000 followers on Twitter and is run by Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born, US-based, former investment banker, who writes the majority of the posts published by the pseudonym Tyler Durden. The site regularly amplifies conspiracy theories from anonymous message board 4chan and writes frequently about the deep state, doomsday prep, bitcoin speculation, and New Age pseudoscience.
Zero Hedge’s Wednesday coronavirus story — “Is This the Man Behind the Global Coronavirus Pandemic?” — focused on the Chinese scientist who researches the coronavirus.
Zero Hedge linked to a Wuhan Institute of Virology press release from January 2019 that says the scientist was studying why bats who carry the coronavirus don’t get sick from it. What the Zero Hedge article does not state is that studying a form of a virus strain found in animals is a standard way to make vaccines, whether for the flu or polio.
The logo that inspired the meme isn’t actually from Wuhan Institute of Virology, but actually belongs to Shanghai Ruilan Bao Hu San Biotech Limited.
Brandon J. Brown, an associate professor at the University of California, Riverside, and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the International Society of Vaccines, and the Global Health Council, told BuzzFeed News it makes sense that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was researching the coronavirus in bats.
“One reason why this institute would be doing immune research would be to prevent what we are seeing right now with the novel coronavirus outbreak,” Brown said. “They have studied other coronaviruses at that site including SARS, where they discovered that it originated in bats.”
Brown also said that the entire idea of the coronavirus working as a bioweapon is pretty silly. “The fatality rate [of the coronavirus] is 200/10,000, which is currently lower compared to many other viruses including SARS, so if it was meant as a bioweapon, it is not a good one,” Brown said. “So let’s debunk the bioweapon idea that we are seeing in the news.”
As the virus has spread, so too has misinformation about it. The new focus on the scientist is the culmination of several conspiracy theories that have gained traction since the beginning of the outbreak early in January. One version of the hoax began in Facebook Groups run by supporters of the pro-Trump QAnon movement and the anti-vax community, where users claimed the outbreak was a population control plot by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
Another version claimed that the virus was smuggled out of Canada to the Wuhan Institute of Virology by two Chinese spies posing as scientists. This narrative is muddled, but it seems to be based on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story from July about a possible “policy breach” at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg that resulted in Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, a researcher who regularly collaborates with Chinese scientific institutes, her husband, Keding Cheng, and an unknown number of her students from China being removed from Canada’s only lab that is a biosafety level 4, the maximum containment level for dangerous pathogens.
On Jan. 25, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass tweeted this version of the hoax. His tweet was retweeted over 12,000 times and has gone viral as a screenshot on Facebook. Factcheck.org, one of the platform’s official independent fact-checking organizations, debunked it, and on Facebook, screenshots of Bass’s tweet now appear with a “false information” disclaimer. Eric Morrissette, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, told Factcheck.org, “this is misinformation and there is no factual basis for claims being made on social media.”
The theory about Chinese spies smuggling the coronavirus out of Canada is also being promoted by what appears to be inauthentic behavior on Twitter.
Zero Hedge has been aggressive in its promotion of misinformation about the coronavirus. Earlier this week, it published a massive article in collaboration with the Indian conspiracy theory site Great Game India titled, “Did China Steal Coronavirus From Canada and Weaponize It?”
Dr. Erica Bickerton, who studies avian pathology for the Pirbright Institute, which was falsely implicated in the Bill Gates coronavirus conspiracy theory, told BuzzFeed News last week that the coronavirus is a whole family of viruses. “Each of these viruses has their own characteristics,” she said.
“The fatality rate…is currently lower compared to many other viruses including SARS, so if it was meant as a bioweapon, it is not a good one.”
The Zero Hedge article has been posted on Twitter over 10,000 times and shared close 2,000 times on Facebook in the last 24 hours. Bass also tweeted the story out to his 120,000 followers, using the hashtag #biowarfare.
“As we are now right before the dawn of the new Golden Age, a strong purification must occur before we as a planet can enter the Light,” wrote one user, sharing the article to a Facebook Group with 13,000 members called Arcturian/Pleiadian Starseed Community. “This purification is called the end time madness.”
The rumors and lies are also being spread across 4chan. A user linked to the Zero Hedge article in a 4chan thread titled, “All hail [the scientist], creator of Corona-Chan.” In another 4chan thread, users claimed the scientist had created a mutant superbug.
The hoaxes surrounding the coronavirus have become so prevalent that “uncensored” subreddits about the outbreak are being created for users on Reddit who want to share the theories. The Zero Hedge article was shared to one subreddit called r/Wuhan_Flu. As of Friday, the subreddit was quarantined by Reddit and warns users that it may contain misinformation.
“If true it explains why our ‘authorities’ are doing sweet fuckall almost to the point of facilitating the spread,” the top comment reads. “The kind of deep nefarious [New World Order] shit that’d melt the tinfoil hat right on our heads.”
Peter Handke, the Austrian author who received the Nobel Prize in Literature on Tuesday, said recently that he hated opinions.
“I like literature,” he added, in a bad-tempered exchange during a news conference in Stockholm last week.
Unfortunately for Handke, 77, many people have opinions about him. Some see him as a genius who has pushed the boundaries of what novels and plays can be. But others are far less positive.
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Handke has been accused of genocide denial for questioning events during the Balkan wars of the 1990s – including the Srebrenica massacre, in which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered. He has also been criticised for delivering a eulogy at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian politician who was tried in The Hague for war crimes.
Since 10 October, when the Swedish Academy named Handke the 2019 laureate, there has been a storm around him.
Sava Stanisic, a Bosnian-German author who fled the war as a child, said in an email that the decision was “a punch in the gut” for the conflict’s victims. It was “an aesthetic and moral failure”, he added.
Even a member of the Swedish Academy, the organisation that chooses the Nobel laureates for literature, has protested. On 5 December, author Peter Englund said he would not participate in any of this year’s events. “This is a matter of conscience for me,” Englund said.
But some literary heavyweights see no better choice. “I can’t think of a more obvious Nobel laureate than him,” Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard said, adding that Handke had written masterpieces in every decade of his career.
“The great poet Handke has earned the Nobel prize 10 times,” Elfriede Jelinek, an Austrian author who received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature, said in a statement.
But few have had the chance to ask Handke himself in detail about his writing, or motivation. On 10 October, he met reporters at his home near Paris, but he ended the impromptu news conference after being asked about his writings on the Balkan wars. “I am a writer. I am rooted in Tolstoy, I am rooted in Homer, I am rooted in Cervantes,” he said. “Leave me in peace and don’t ask me such questions.”
At the news conference in Stockholm on 6 December, Handke singled out a letter from The New York Times requesting an interview for this article; he declined the request, saying he did not want to answer “empty and ignorant” questions. (His publisher had already turned down several other requests.)
Handke was born in 1942 in Griffen, a small town in Austria. His mother was of Slovenian descent, and his father was a German official, with whom she had an affair. Until he was 18, Handke assumed his stepfather – a man who got violent after drinking, Handke has written – was his biological father.
“He grew up in very poor conditions, in a remote provincial region,” said Malte Herwig, a journalist who wrote a biography of Handke. “It was dirt hard. He was the only one who went to college and so on.”
“He still has this air about him,” Herwig added. “If you look at his fingernails, there’s usually dirt underneath them.”
The family lived briefly in Berlin, but then returned to Griffen in 1948. During the journey, Handke’s sister was carried in a shopping bag, he wrote in A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, a stark account of his mother’s life and suicide that was published in 1972.
The Second World War and its aftermath had a clear effect, Herwig said. “He was a highly sensitive kid,” he said of Handke, describing him as “nervous, easily aroused with anger, or easily startled” and “totally a square peg in a round hole”.
Handke made his childhood a focus of his Nobel lecture, saying that his mother’s stories – about the tragic life of an “idiot” milkmaid, and the death of her brother – had “provided the impetus for my almost lifelong career as a writer”.
Almost from the start, Handke pushed the boundaries of literature. He wrote a wordless play – The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other – whose text consists almost entirely of descriptions of the characters walking across the stage. (“Someone as a WAITER, appearing briefly, empties a bucket of ice cubes which crackle and bounce all over.”)
Handke’s breakthrough 1966 play, Offending the Audience, ends with the actors throwing insults at the crowd. (Audiences seemed to enjoy it, sometimes throwing insults back.)
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of Handke’s work was praised. The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called him “the darling of the West German critics”.
If Handke was criticised before the 1990s, it was generally by conservative literary figures who disliked his avant-garde tendencies. When he published two essays in January 1996 about a trip to Serbia (released in book form as A Journey to the Rivers, Justice for Serbia), his detractors came from beyond the literature pages, with denunciations from politicians, journalists and human rights groups.
Herwig said that during the Balkan wars, Handke read news reports at his home in France, and became annoyed that they overwhelmingly portrayed Serbia as the conflict’s villain, without discussing its complex causes. Handke’s first instinct was not to accept those reports as accurate, Herwig added: “It was to say, ‘OK, but this can’t be the whole truth’.”
“I want to ask how such a massacre is to be explained, carried out,” Handke wrote about Srebrenica. He went to Serbia and Serbian-controlled parts of Bosnia and spoke to locals. The resulting essays, filled with slights against journalists, seemed to many to go beyond seeking context, and, instead, to play down or question the facts through literary games.
Herwig said that Handke had been insensitive to Bosnian Muslim victims of the war, and allowed himself to be instrumentalised by Serbian nationalists – but nonetheless deserved the Nobel prize
Scott Abbott, an American translator who accompanied Handke on a visit to Serbia, said in a telephone interview that the author was drawn to the country because of his family’s Slovenian heritage. (Slovenia and Serbia were both part of Yugoslavia until 1992.)
Handke travelled throughout Yugoslavia, and wrote “several wonderful essays” about those trips, Abbott said, such as one about a shoe-shiner in Croatia, and another about the variety of head coverings he saw in Macedonia.
“He had the sense for Yugoslavia as this incredible, rich multicultural state that lacked the kind of nationalisms that he saw in Germany and Austria,” Abbott said. “It was almost a utopian place for him.”
When Yugoslavia collapsed, Handke saw that utopia disappearing, Abbott said.
Zarko Radakovic, a friend who has travelled in the region with Handke, and who has translated his work, said in a telephone interview that “Yugo-nostalgia” was central to the writer’s worldview.
“Of course it is very difficult to write about civil war,” Radakovic said. Handke, he added, “just wanted to be a counterweight to everything that had been written and said in the media. He went there and walked and described.”
Radakovic and other Handke supporters believe that the critics had focused on a few controversial passages in Handke’s works, but had not read enough to judge the author’s motives.
“Handke is such a complex, difficult author,” Radakovic said. “All of his 87 works are somehow connected.”
“I trust somebody who is so completely free of clichés and just sees the world and reacts,” he added.
Herwig said he had no problem with Handke’s criticism of journalistic language, but added: “He eventually did some of the things he accused journalists of: false bias, false contextualisation.”
“His friends told him straight away, ‘If you publish that, that’s going to get you into hot water,’” Herwig added. “And he continued.”
But even many of Handke’s most ardent supporters have difficulty explaining why he spoke at Milosevic’s funeral. “I look at those photos of him, against that huge photo of Milosevic, and I just think, ‘What the hell?’” Abbott said.
He added that Handke has insisted his funeral speech was not an endorsement of Milosevic, but a lament for Yugoslavia. “But what he’s stepping aside from is that if he stands there, that means something, too,” Abbot said.
Other writers would have backed down in the face of such condemnation, but Handke has not. “I need not defend or take back a single word,” Handke wrote in the preface to the American edition of A Journey to the Rivers. “I wrote about my journey through the country of Serbia exactly as I have always written my books, my literature.”
Herwig said this was not arrogance; “It’s defiance,” he said.
Shortly after Handke spoke at Milosevic’s funeral, the storied Comedie-Francaise theatre in Paris cancelled one of his plays. In 2006, Handke declined a German literary award after politicians in the city of Dusseldorf threatened to revoke it. Others preferred to focus on his writings: in 2007, the Austrian national library bought Handke’s archive for around $750,000 (£569,000).
Clearly, for the Swedish Academy, the work takes precedence. Rebecka Karde, a journalist who advised the committee that awards the prize, said that Handke had “said, written and done things I find hard to stomach”. But, she added, that did not mean he did not deserve the award.
Handke went to Serbia “trying to unlock the world through his unique, idiosyncratic, literary presence”, Knausgaard said. “But the ambiguity and complexity that language offered, charged with Handke’s sympathies, unlocked a Pandora’s box of grief, anger and despair instead.”
Viewing Handke as some sort of diabolical figure, Knausgaard added, was the opposite of the people in his writings. “The world and the people in it never are black, never are white, never are good, never are bad,” he said, “but all these things combined.”