URGENT: Stop the APD/NRA Shooting Competition September 13-18


What do you get when you mix the Albuquerque Police Department, the NRA, and a city with the highest per capita police shooting rate in the country? You get the 2014 National Police Shooting Championship held in Albuquerque, New Mexico (September 13-18,2014). That’s right folks…New Mexico will host police officers from around the country and allow them to show off their shooting skills.

What a great idea! Let’s highlight police shooting in Albuquerque. On top of that, how about letting some of our famous shooters compete in the event. There is a rumor that APD Officer Sean Wallace will be representing our great city in this national competition.

Who’s Officer Sean Wallace? He is the shooter responsible for 3 shootings since 2010. One of those shootings included the killing of 22 year old Alan Gomez. Mr. Gomez was sentenced to death by Officer Wallace because he held a spoon in his hand. The killing of an unarmed man cost the City of Albuquerque $500,000.

The event boasts (link to document):

“Well once again its time for the National Police Shooting Championships and we invite you to join us for days of shooting challenges, lots of fun and a chance to meet fantastic law enforcement professionals from all over the United States and international shooting team members.”

Is Officer Wallace one of these “fantastic” law enforcement professionals that they speak of? Is practicing shooting supposed to be fun for cops? Sure, I get it… shooting is a sport and these professionals want to show off their skills. But is that really appropriate? Why doesn’t the law enforcement field highlight professionals who end conflicts without having to shoot somebody? How about an award for that? Well, I doubt the NRA, Smith & Wesson, or Beretta (competition sponsors) would really want that. They want bullets to fly and people to die. That’s how they make BIG money.

NPSC Photo

Since my idea of honoring nonviolent police officers will probably never happen, what should we do? Well, let’s begin by boycotting the hotels that are hosting the event. The host hotel is:

Fairfield Inn University, 1760 Menaul Blvd N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87102, (505) 889-4000

The event will also hold classes at:

Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, 1901 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102, (505) 884-2500

The actual competitions will be held at:

Shooting Range Park, 16001 Shooting Range Access NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120, (505)836-8785, tpohl@cabq.gov

Oh yeah, please do not worry about the safety of hotel guests. Although they are around trigger happy cops who like to play with guns, the competition has strict rules to protect the innocent people in the hotels. The host hotel info sheet says:

An accidental discharge at the hotel or parking area or anywhere at the NPSC Range Facilities MAY result in the disqualification of a competitor…”

I am glad that they “MAY” be disqualified for an accidental discharge in the hotel. That should make everybody feel safe that there “MAY” be some consequence for firing a gun near innocent people.

All joking aside, we must do something to show the APD, NRA, and elected officials that this type of event is unacceptable in Albuquerque, in New Mexico, and in the United States. The “shoot first” militarized mentality of our law enforcement professionals needs to change. They are here to serve and protect… not shoot and murder.

Call, write, email, protest, and make your voice heard around the world. This is a disgusting competition that highlights everything that is wrong in law enforcement.

#OurUNM holds symbolic Die-In to give students a voice

OurUNM Die In Group 5

The #OurUNM Student movement held a symbolic Die-In in front of Zimmerman Library on Wednesday, May 7th. The event was designed to allow students to express how the system has failed them. Students outlined each others silhouette with chalk and then placed a message inside to represent their symbolic death. The Die-In last for almost 2 hours and hundreds of students either witnessed or participated in it.

The messages covered a wide variety of concerns and many of the onlookers were inspired to ask questions. They did not know that so many systematic problems existed. No matter how many people actually chalked, the reality is that the event sparked conversations that may have never been brought up to some students.

OurUNM Die In IgnoredOurUNM Die In law student ratio

Some of the messages directly addressed racial inequality and bias on campus. One student wrote that they are the only black student in their class and they feel like they are ignored. It is difficult for a young person to have nobody else in a class that looks like them. Another student pointed out that there are only 4 African-American students in the UNM School of Law (out of 330). It makes me wonder how we can have a fair system of justice if the only law school in the entire state of New Mexico only has 4 African-American students.

OurUNM Die In HomelessOurUNM Die In FoodOurUNM Die In housing

One student pointed out that he was homeless while another was concerned the they did not have enough money to buy food. Last year there were over 400 homeless students at CNM and many more at UNM. These students do not have a permanent place to live while they attempt to better their lives. That is unacceptable. To make matters worse, full time students are not eligible for many public benefits. Students cannot get SNAP (food stamps) or commodities.

OurUNM Die in Police Brutality

Students discussed mounting debt and sky high tuition rates. Others were worried about the Bridge and Lottery Scholarship, poor academic advising due to a 800:1 student to advisor ratio, and police brutality. The list goes on and on. It is clear that the system is broken. Students do not know who to turn to for help. They are hungry for change and will force the system to react.

ABQ Shelters Dump Off Single, Vulnerable, Homeless Women

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As we end the year and reflect upon the great strides made in equality for same-sex couples, let us remember that there are people who are still oppressed. Over the last few weeks I have had conversations with a homeless woman and another woman who was homeless less than a year ago. They both told a story of how single homeless women are discriminated against and victims of unspeakable abuse. They opened my eyes to an invisible problem that plagues equal rights all over our great state. These women are forgotten and ignored by the mainstream media. Their voices need to be heard.

The first woman that I spoke with is currently homeless. She was hungry and begging for food at McDonalds. The person that I was with gave her some food and we listened to her story. She was unable to get into a shelter that night. The shelter “dumped” her off at the corner of Yale and Central. She said that most shelters turn her away and she fends for herself the best that she can. That night she was being followed by a man who was threatening to harm her. There was nothing that she could do about it because the police would never respond to this. She said that she was used to it and would make it through the night.

That evening I tweeted my experience to my followers. A woman responded and said that the situation was normal. Here is the conversation (names removed for safety):

@dailyloco: “A homeless woman said that the shelters are out of space in ABQ…Where are they supposed to go? They are people too!”

Woman: “That is no surprise. Especially single women w/o children. I was homeless one year ago. Went to a shelter. Should have got a tent.”

Woman: “Everything is geared towards men and families. Shelters dump people off downtown at 5 in the morning. In the cold. In the dark.”

Woman: “and even when it’s 10 degrees outside, you are dumped off at ATC or the missions. Only thing, ATC ain’t open at 5a.m.”

@dailyloco: “That’s what she told me. She said that the shelter dumped her off. That is unacceptable and needs to change.”

Woman: “The lack of shelters in the city limits is depressing. Even worse the lack of shelters for women period. We are most vulnerable.”

Woman: “They don’t care. Something about contracts with the city/county. As soon as I found a job, I moved into a motel.”

My mind began racing after this conversation. What is wrong with our world? Is anybody fighting for these defenseless women? How do we spend $100’s of million on road work that saves us 10 minutes on our commute while ignoring the needy? The only difference between me and the homeless is that I have a support structure to fall back on. When I make a mistake, I have somebody to turn to. They don’t have anybody. They made a mistake and ended up on the street. I cannot imagine how hard it is to get off the streets once you are there. I have the utmost respect for the woman who responded to my tweet. She is an inspiration and a voice that we need to hear.

Please take the time to think about how we can fix this problem. Nobody deserves to live on the streets and have no idea where their next meal will come from. The homeless women are targets for violence and rape. They need a shelter specifically for women. I have ideas, but want to hear what you have to say about the issue.