Newsletter: Less than a week after Gilroy, two more mass shootings stun the nation

El Paso church vigil
At a church in El Paso, people hold hands during a vigil for victims of a mass shooting that left at least 20 people dead.
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Aug. 5, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

Get the Essential California newsletter » Want to make Essential California better? Please take this reader survey.

The Salazar family was supposed to be celebrating a bright, young daughter’s 14th birthday this weekend, but instead it was mourning her death.

Keyla Salazar, one of three people killed by a gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last Sunday, will never turn 14 or start high school at San Jose’s Latino College Preparatory Academy, as had been planned.


On Saturday, Keyla’s mother learned of the shooting rampage in El Paso while holding a vigil in memory of her daughter. She shook her head and muttered, “hasta cuando, hasta cuando” — “until when, until when” — and threw her phone face down, as the news of another massacre halfway across the country added anguish to anguish for those already in the throes of grief. Holding candles in paper cups, the friends and family who were gathered to mourn Keyla held a moment of silence for the 20 dead in El Paso.

[Read the story: “Memorial for girl killed in Gilroy is interrupted by news of El Paso massacre” by Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio in the Los Angeles Times]

Before the night had ended, another shooter would open fire, this time in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and at least 27 injured about 1 a.m. Sunday, as bullets tore through a popular nightlife area known as the Oregon District in the second mass shooting in less than 24 hours.

This timeline of the worst mass shootings in the United States in recent years has been updated twice this weekend alone. Twenty-nine lives were lost in Dayton and El Paso, with countless others surely flattened by grief and trauma.

The accused El Paso shooter, a 21-year-old white man, has been tentatively linked by authorities to hate-filled, anti-immigrant writing that called the attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Meanwhile, a New York Times study found that white extremist ideology has been linked to at least four of the 10 recent deadliest active-shooter episodes in the United States.

It is difficult for a person to read the news stories without being shaken by them, let alone to even begin to make sense of these events. Maybe there is no sense to be had, just an endless parade of “thoughts and prayers.” Until the next time — when we will inevitably find ourselves stringing together two simple phrases in a terrible order: “the worst mass shooting in America” and “since El Paso.”


And now, here’s what’s happening across California:


The El Paso shooting was one of the deadliest hate crimes ever targeted against Latinos. In Latino communities, many fear more hate-driven violence. Los Angeles Times

Had enough? In a new column, Steve Lopez looks at ways to fight the madness of mass shootings. Los Angeles Times


Steven Greenhouse’s sweeping new book on the state of the American labor movement devotes a chapter to the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, which Greenhouse presents as a model for “a new and different labor movement.” Los Angeles Times


This L.A. FBI agent is about to retire but needs your help to find his missing fugitives first. LAist

A punk rock gallery and a swanky T-shirt brand battle over the “L.A. safety pins” design. Los Angeles magazine

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


Mexico plans legal action against the U.S. over the seven Mexican citizens killed in the El Paso massacre. Los Angeles Times



As of Friday, just over half of House Democrats now support launching a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Half of the California House delegation is also in favor of opening impeachment hearings. Here’s how those stories are playing out around the state:

  • When a Central Coast congressman announced Friday that he was in favor of impeachment, he tipped the scales to a majority of House Democrats calling for an inquiry. San Luis Obispo Tribune
  • House members from Riverside, San Bernardino counties split on impeachment. Riverside Press-Enterprise
  • Support impeachment, lose a seat: Why some California Democrats go easy on Trump. This story from late June is a bit dated (and Harley Rouda has since come out in favor of impeachment), but it does a good job of laying out the stakes for Democrats in swing districts, particularly for those who flipped seats in 2018. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Time to impeach? For Orange County House members, the idea isn’t radical anymore. Orange County Register

A San Jose police union canceled plans to raffle off a semiautomatic rifle after receiving complaints in the wake of the Gilroy shooting. Two other mass shootings have occurred across the country since this story ran on Friday. San Francisco Chronicle

Rep. Devin Nunes’ campaign is suing a group of activists who sought to prevent the congressman from listing “farmer” as his occupation on the 2018 ballot. The targets of the lawsuit include a Dinuba farmer and a Fresno State librarian. Visalia Times-Delta

Plus, your regularly scheduled Essential California refresher for anyone who struggles to keep all 53 of California’s congressional reps straight: Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) is a close Trump ally who wrote a controversial memo about the Russia investigation. You may also recognize his name from the time he sued Twitter for $250 million over a couple of parody accounts, including one pretending to be his cow. The cow now has more Twitter followers than Nunes himself.

Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez is dropping out of the city’s mayoral race. Here are the remaining contenders in the bid to be Fresno’s next mayor. Fresno Bee

How a historian uncovered Ronald Reagan’s racist remarks to Richard Nixon. The New Yorker



How a short-term rental dispute in Indio landed in the California Supreme Court. The Desert Sun


Cancer patients are being denied drugs, even with prescriptions and good insurance. Fresno Bee

Three people were killed when a bluff on a beach in Encinitas, Calif., collapsed on Friday afternoon. Los Angeles Times

That cliff collapse is part of a larger California coast crisis, and underscores the dangers of erosion on bluffs. Los Angeles Times



A Montrose Search and Rescue member and a small cadre of outdoor enthusiasts have tasked themselves with locating and retrieving a series of mysterious lights that have appeared in the Angeles National Forest. La Cañada Valley Sun

When will the Inland Empire get its share of state arts and culture funding? San Bernardino Sun

A message in a bottle was found floating in California’s Russian River, more than a decade after it was cast into the ocean from Hawaii. Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

A fan was signed to the Oakland A’s after throwing out a 96 mph fastball at a fan challenge. Los Angeles Times

Ever wonder what it would be like to get married at Hearst Castle? Here’s a look at William Randolph Hearst’s great-granddaughter’s wedding, which took place over the weekend at the legendary estate. Town & Country


The original site of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic has closed its doors after 52 years. San Francisco Chronicle

The story of the $6.5-million San Francisco home in a former church that cannot find a buyer. San Francisco Chronicle

These are the best “hippie towns” in the Bay Area and Northern California. SF Gate

Are you a student in Pasadena who has always dreamed of waving from the Rose Parade? Applications for the 2020 Royal Court opened this week. Pasadena Star-News


Los Angeles: sunny, 85. San Diego: partly sunny, 77. San Francisco: cloudy, 66. San Jose: partly sunny, 83. Sacramento: partly sunny, 97. More weather is here.



This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: former L.A. Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti (Aug. 5, 1941), Angels player Mike Trout (Aug. 7, 1991), Kylie Jenner (Aug. 10, 1997) and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Aug. 11, 1950).

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.