Alain Stephens

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From Texas Standard:

When Texas police are involved in a shooting – whether they shot the gun or not – they are mandated to report it to the attorney general’s office. But the legislator who sponsored the 2015 law acknowledges that it has no teeth. And one report has found that not all police departments are following the rules.

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From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump renewed a campaign pledge Thursday to sign a bill that would alter an aspect of the divide between church and state that's been in place since 1954. At a prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C. he said he would “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”

Some conservatives and religious organizations, among them evangelical Protestants which have been at the forefront in pushing for the amendment’s repeal, argue that the Johnson Amendment infringes on the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

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From Texas Standard

A robbery turned fatal at the Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio on Sunday. The shooting has brought up questions about concealed carry and when it’s appropriate for people to intervene in such incidents.

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From Texas Standard:

Statistics of officer-involved shootings are scarce in Texas. But the investigations team at the Houston Chronicle has been examining the city's police force to get a handle on the numbers.

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From Texas Standard

Over the last few months, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has tanked, with reports saying the fund turned into a catastrophe after a string of bad real estate investments. To make matters worse, participants attempted to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to take legal action to stop the bleed off. Now Rawlings is asking for  a full-blown criminal investigation led by the Texas Rangers.

Hannah McBride/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Miguel Navarro is 5’ 3’’ and small-framed. When reporters Alain Stephens and Hannah McBride speak to him, he’s in handcuffs and ankle restraints. He’s nervous and sweaty. His brown eyes well up with tears when they ask him about that night.

Courtesy of the Bullock Texas State History Museum

From Texas Standard:

Adolf Hitler said "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

Many historians agree that one of Hitler's most dangerous weapons was his words. With the help of Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's words mobilized anger, anti-Semitism, homophobia and white supremacy, fueling a political machine that began one of the world's largest wars.

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From Texas Standard:

Outside of election year politics, few issues generate as much intense outrage – on both sides – as that of mandatory childhood vaccination.

According to the National Institute of Health, public concern about the adverse effects of vaccines has been part of our conversation since the first smallpox inoculation by Dr. Edward Jenner in 1796.

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From Texas Standard:

After a series of bad gambles on real-estate investments and a history of mismanagement, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension system has amassed $2 billion in liabilities. In a panic, employees have been pulling out their money – a move that could potentially bankrupt the city.

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From Texas Standard:

On Jan. 4, 2016, 16-year-old David Molak killed himself. The San Antonio teen had undergone extensive cyberbullying.

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From Texas Standard:

Nearly one million military reservists have deployed around the world since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Pentagon's Defense Manpower Data Center. Many of those reservists and Guard members rely on receiving benefits under the GI Bill once they return from abroad.

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From Texas Standard:

This is part three of a series on “suicide by cop.” What does it mean? Who are the victims? Why is this happening? 

On New Year’s Day 2015, Marisela Martinez walked into the Hidalgo County Jail swinging what was later determined to be a BB pistol. She said she just committed a robbery at a nearby bail bonds business and she'd shoot anyone who came near. People in the waiting room ran for safety. Officers arrived on the scene. The woman screamed: "Shoot me! Shoot me!"

The case looks like the textbook scenario of someone attempting "suicide by cop” – instances which are happening more and more frequently. But are incidents like this, in fact, on the rise? Or are we simply more plugged in and therefore hearing more about them? 

 


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From Texas Standard:

In October, the husband of a 26-year-old Austin woman called 911 to request help for her from a mental health officer. A few hours later, she was dead.

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From Texas Standard:

Something about the events of the past few days suggests there's a word we'll be hearing a whole lot more in coming months, if not years: nationalism.

Jeremi Suri, a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, says the period between World War II and September 11 was a period of globalism.

 


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From Texas Standard:

Lewisville, Lubbock, Sherman – just a handful of Texas cities where there will be gun shows this weekend. At any given time, nearly a half dozen cities across the state host weekend gun shows where sellers, buyers, and collectors congregate in what amounts to a firearms bazaar of sorts.

Criticism over these events focuses on a lack of universal background checks for purchasers. But law enforcement agents have been tracking some gun show patrons’ license plates.


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From Texas Standard:

It all started with a battle over information: In one corner was the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. In the other were Texas lawmakers.

The commission holds the details of the state’s Medicaid contracts with large pharmaceutical companies, which show how much the state is spending on medicine. The commission assured lawmakers the state is getting a good deal, but the legislators wanted to see for themselves. In particular, they wanted to know the amount the state was getting back in rebates for name-brand medicine.

 


John Burnett/NPR & Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Editor’s note: This story contains graphic depictions of a crime.

The federal government is trying to disrupt the Texas operations of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang. It began in California in the 1960s and spread to Texas in the 1980s. Chapters formed across the country, but the federal government decided that those in Texas were among the most brutal and violent. In 2008, the federal government launched an aggressive six-year operation that landed 75 members of the Aryan Brotherhood in prison.

This highly exclusive, all-white criminal organization rarely talks to outsiders, least of to all members of the press. But NPR’s John Burnett spoke with James “Chance” Jones, a senior major in the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT).

 


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From Texas Standard:

The Texas Attorney General’s office and the Harris County Attorney’s Office are going after shops selling the synthetic cannabinoid Kush. Instead of prosecuting users, the offices have jointly filed 10 lawsuits against Houston-area novelty stores, where up to 40 percent of sales come from the drug. One novelty store has agreed to a nearly $1.2 million settlement after an undercover sting operation.


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From Texas Standard:

In Rosa Brooks’ new book, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon,” she writes about how a post-9/11 U.S. military is embroiled in three, not two wars:

"If I were a member of Congress right now, I would be hopping mad."

 


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From Texas Standard:

Texas is being invaded by an aquatic menace. No, I’m not talking about Alligators or Barracudas, I’m talking about Zebra mussels. At the very least you’ve probably heard that name in passing, as scientists and state officials alike have labeled them the scourge of Texas lakes and waterways.

 

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