Officials in Texas announced on Thursday that state troopers would no longer be allowed to open fire on suspects from helicopters after the recent killing of two immigrants.
While announcing the new policy, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw insisted that the ban on aerial shootings had nothing to do with the October 2012 death of two Guatemalan immigrants, who were gunned down by troopers in helicopter while they were hiding in the back of a speeding pickup truck near La Joya.
"I’m convinced that now, from a helicopter platform, that we shouldn’t shoot unless being shot at, or unless someone is being shot at," McCraw told the state House Committee on Appropriations. "Last Friday, after a review of the policy and looking at all of the different things, and this is not a reflection of what happened there, I’m a firm believer they did exactly what they thought they needed to do."
ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke welcomed the change, but faulted the Texas Legislature for not moving to force the policy earlier.
"We were shocked. We’re thrilled, but we were surprised," Burke said in a statement "We hope that this decision is a step, if only a small one, toward ending the culture of violence that pervades enforcement of border security in Texas.
A federal lawsuit filed by two Irving women claims that Texas State Troopers humiliated them by performing illegal cavity searches on the side of the road after a cigarette butt was thrown out of their car window.
State Trooper David Farrell called in a female trooper to perform cavity searches of Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs, because he said that he smelled marijuana and the women were "acting weird," attorney Scott Palmer told KTVT on Tuesday.
Angel Dobbs recalled that the female trooper, Kelley Helleson, asked for her permission to perform the search and then told her to "shut up and just listen."
Dashcam video shows Helleson searching the anuses and vaginas of both women with the same latex gloves in full view of other passing cars.
"At this point, I’m in clear shock. I can’t even believe this is happening," Angel Dobbs explained. Turns me around goes down into the front of my pants into my inner thigh and at which point she goes up with two fingers. I just look at her and say ‘oh my God, I’ve just been violated.’”
And then the trooper performed the same procedure on Ashley Dobbs without changing her gloves.
"She went down, then turned me around, and went down my front and then she actually dug," Ashley Dobbs said. "I didn’t know what I could say, what I could do. I felt hopeless."
After the body cavity searches turned up nothing, Angel Dobbs was given a sobriety test, which she passed. The women were then given a ticket for littering and allowed to leave.
"It’s because someone’s a daily smoker in that car, you can attribute it to that," the trooper can be heard telling Angel Dobbs in the dashcam video.
"I was molested, I was violated. I was humiliated," Angel Dobbs insisted to reporters, adding that the trooper also took a bottle of Vicodin that had been legally prescribed to her.
When the women filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety, they said they were told that they would be charged with lying if they filed an affidavit.
For its part, the Texas Department of Public Safety claimed it had "conducted an inquiry surrounding the events" and then provided the findings to the Dallas County DA’s office.
A gun store owner near Austin, Texas -- who has previously refused to do business with Muslims or Obama-voting liberals -- is offering teachers a discount on training for conceal-carry permits because he believes the solution to mass shootings is to have more guns in schools.
Keller's Riverside Gun Store owner Crockett Keller told KRLD on Monday that the recent slaughter of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut had prompted him to offer a special deal to teachers.
"As we do with veterans, I would offer them a discount," Keller said. "Our normal rate is $110. So, I would give them a rate of $90. If they are teachers, we would be more than happy to do that."
"I think we need to lobby our various state governments to allow teachers to be armed," he added. "We have airline pilots that now carry pistols or weapons of some sort -- firearms -- and same thing to, I think, need to happen in these gun-free zones that are so dangerous."
But Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon told the station that the idea of arming teachers was crazy.
"I knew this would come up at some point, there would be people who think the answer is to put guns on campus," Fallon explained. "Frankly, I think it’s absurd."
"In a lot of cases, the perpetrator is a kid. Look at Columbine, it was a 14-year-old kid. You tell me a teacher is going to look in the eyes of a 14-year-old and pull the trigger — it’s not in their emotional make up."
Keller, however, insisted that any place without guns was "at risk."
"I don't go to Mexico anymore because I can't carry my weapon there," the Texan said. "It's a killing field within itself. We need to start thinking out of the box and deal with this violent culture."
In a radio advertisement for concealed-carry classes last year, Keller vowed not to instruct anyone who was a "socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief."
"Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class," he said in the ad. "Once again, with no shame, I am Crockett Keller. Thank you and God bless America."
The Texas Department of Public Safety briefly investigated Keller but dropped the investigation after they said he "affirmed that he would not refuse instruction to anyone based on national origin, race or religion."
Keller's Riverside Gun Store continues to sell a T-shirt that reads: "If you are Muslim and will not pledge allegiance to the United States of America, I will not sell you any firearm or accessory. -Crockett Keller, Jesus Akbar."
Republican Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert on Sunday also said that schools would be safer if the principal at Sandy Hook had been armed with an M4 carbine assault rifle designed for urban warfare.
"I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office locked up," Gohmert opined. "So, when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids."