Newsletter: The FBI’s struggle to confront domestic terrorism

El Paso memory
Members of a family place flowers at a memorial outside the Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, where 22 people were killed by a gunman on Aug. 3.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

The FBI says it is doing everything it can to fight domestic terrorism. Others disagree.


The FBI’s Struggle to Confront Domestic Terrorism

When a gunman who told authorities he was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso this month, the death toll pushed the total number of victims slain in domestic right-wing terrorism to 109 people since 2002. That’s more than the 104 killed on U.S. soil by zealots linked to Al Qaeda or other foreign Islamist groups in the same period. Now, with investigations underway in El Paso and Gilroy, there are questions about whether the FBI is doing enough to identify and stop domestic terrorism. Just last month, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray assured Congress that the bureau “is all over this.” Outside experts say the FBI needs to do a better job of infiltrating extremist groups and identifying so-called lone wolves — not an easy task.


A Struggle to Offer Comfort

After the mass shooting in El Paso and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that split up families in Mississippi last week, church leaders in Southern California have been struggling to provide comfort and hope to Latino congregations. It’s a theme that has gone on for some time now, as many Latinos feel increasingly insecure and targeted. “I’ve never felt so scared in my 42 years living in the United States as I have since Trump took office,” said one woman originally from Honduras.

Life in a Border Town

On the border with Mexico, there is a town in Guatemala called Gracias a Dios — “Thank God.” Just a few months ago, buses from across Guatemala would arrive each day with families hoping to make their way to the United States. These days, with Mexican national guard units on patrol, Gracias a Dios is quiet. But the question there is: How long?

A Surge in Abuse Allegations

In the past two years, more and more doctors in California have faced sexual misconduct allegations. Since fall 2017, the number of complaints against physicians for sexual misconduct has risen 62%, a jump that coincides with the beginning of the #MeToo movement, according to a Times analysis of California medical board data. Experts say the increase is probably from patients reporting misconduct they may have overlooked in the past.


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-- After columnist Steve Lopez’s mother had a disastrous hospice experience, he filed a state complaint. It came to nothing.

-- Faced with potential “suicide by cop” cases, some police agencies have stopped responding to certain calls.

-- Fifty years after the Manson attacks, the families of those killed are still fighting for their loved ones — to ensure they are not forgotten and to keep the people who took their lives behind bars.


-- In Southern California, Uighurs say there is not one among them who has not had a friend or family member “disappeared” by Chinese police in Xinjiang province.

-- A new map of the Milky Way confirms something researchers have long suspected: Our galaxy is warped.


On this date in 1942, actor Clark Gable enlisted as a U.S. Army private during World War II. As The Times described it, the “he-man of the motion-picture screen ... held up his right hand and repeated the oath of enlistment” at the Federal Building in L.A.

Aug. 12, 1942: Clark Gable takes the oath as an Army private in Los Angeles.
(Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times)



-- Jurors are expected to begin deliberating today in the case of Hossein Nayeri, the Newport Beach pot dealer accused of masterminding a gruesome 2012 kidnapping scheme.

-- The new “motor voter” program, an effort to automate voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicle offices, produced almost 84,000 duplicate records and more than twice that number with political party mistakes, according to an audit.

-- L.A.’s Green New Deal is polarizing voters in a San Fernando Valley district haunted by environmental disaster.

-- A whiff of the music festival future? Legal cannabis sales and consumption at the Northern California music festival Outside Lands may be the start of more marijuana events.


-- For Japanese Americans like George Takei (and our reporter Jen Yamato), Season 2 of AMC’s anthology series “The Terror” is searingly personal. It’s set within a WWII-era Japanese American community plagued by horrors.


-- Universal Pictures has canceled the September release of “The Hunt”after the recent mass shootings, intense scrutiny from conservative media and tweets by President Trump.

-- Seth MacFarlane has quietly become one of Hollywood’s major political donors, with most of his donations going to Democratic political action committees.

-- Julianne Moore and her husband, writer-director Bart Freundlich, have adapted the 2006 film “After the Wedding” as a gender-swapped remake.


-- Guards on Jeffrey Epstein’s unit were working extreme overtime shifts to make up for staffing shortages the night of his apparent suicide, a person familiar with the jail’s operations told the Associated Press.

-- Muslim worshipers and Israeli police clashed at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.


-- Flights from the Hong Kong airport were canceled Monday, as protesters occupied terminals in a peaceful sit-in. The airport rally was called after police fired tear gas in clashes Sunday.

-- Nearly two decades of warfare in Afghanistan have left people on all sides of the conflict afflicted with fear.


-- L.A. apartment owners are racing to add luxury amenities for tenants who can pay top dollar.

-- When closing credit accounts, it pays to be strategic.



-- It’s been 25 years since major league baseball players went on strike. Bill Shaikin writes that the lessons from that disastrous work stoppage apply now.

-- Rookie Dakota Allen is vying for a spot with the Rams. Just three years ago, he believed he would never pay football again after an arrest.


-- Mass shooters seek notoriety, and we the media provide it. Columnist Frank Shyong asks: Is there another way?

-- Forget the conspiracy theories. Here’s why it’s likely Epstein killed himself.



-- The rise of far-right nationalism in Sweden has Russia’s fingerprints all over it. (New York Times)

-- Anthony Scaramucci, who served as Trump’s communications director for 11 days and got into a Twitter battle with the president over the weekend, compared Trump to a melting nuclear reactor. (Axios)

-- A meditation on “Peanuts,” the big-picture questions it raised, and which character Bertolt Brecht would have loved best. (The New Yorker)


The room with no windows and no doors. The grim grinning ghosts. The doom buggies. It’s the Haunted Mansion, of course, and it just turned 50 years old. Disneyland staged two $300 events that let fans experience the ride and other attractions until 4 a.m. and get early access to commemorative merchandise (such as $60 jugs that glow with the Mansion’s inhabitants). Foolish mortals? Read on.

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