In Colorado, the gunman suspected of shooting and killing five people Saturday night at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, has been indicted for murder and hate crimes. Officials have identified the five victims as Daniel Davis Aston, a 28-year-old trans man who moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, two years ago, and worked as a bartender and entertainer at Club Q; Kelly Loving, a 40-year-old trans woman who had recently moved to Denver and whose sister described her as loving, caring and sweet; 38-year-old Derrick Rump, a Club Q bartender described by his mother as “a kind, loving person who had a heart of gold”; 35-year-old Ashley Paugh, who leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter devastated by the loss of her mother; and 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance.
Richard Fierro, a retired military veteran, has been identified as the person who confronted and disarmed the shooter. Fierro was at Club Q to watch a drag show with his wife, his daughter and Raymond Green Vance, who was his daughter’s boyfriend.
Richard Fierro: “I want those five families to know that’s all I care about. I want those that are in the hospital right now, get better. Please get better. We went out to see a show and have a good time. And thank God Raymond was smiling, he was dancing with my kid, and my daughter got to spend the last day with him happy.”
Fierro was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times and said in an interview with The New York Times the experience still haunts him. He left the Army in 2013 due to the brutal psychological and physical toll of war, and said he never thought he’d experience the same violence at home.
In Pennsylvania, immigrant rights advocates welcomed a second bus of asylum seekers to Philadelphia Monday morning sent by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott says Texas has bused a total of over 13,000 asylum seekers to “sanctuary cities,” including Washington, D.C., and New York. Since Abbott was reelected in November, he’s intensified his hate speech against immigrants, recently comparing the arrival of thousands of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to an “invasion.” It’s the same term used repeatedly by the white supremacist gunman charged with killing 23 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 — the deadliest attack on the Latinx community in modern U.S. history.
The CEO of one of Ukraine’s largest power companies has asked people to stock up on warm clothing and blankets, warning that Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s power grid will lead to rolling blackouts throughout the winter. On Monday, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, said Ukraine now faces its darkest days of the war so far.
Dr. Hans Kluge: “This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine. … Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed. This is already having knock-on effects on the health system and on the people’s health. Put simply, this winter will be about survival.”
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila Monday, where she vowed the U.S. would expand its military presence in the Philippines. Her meeting comes amid growing tensions between the U.S. and China over the status of Taiwan, and as China and the Philippines square off over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Vice President Kamala Harris: “An armed attack on the Philippines armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments. And that is an unwavering commitment that we have to the Philippines.”
Dozens of protesters gathered near the presidential palace in Manila denouncing Harris’s visit and U.S. intervention in the Philippines.
Liza Maza: “We also are against the warmongering of the United States for the sake of asserting its hegemony in this part of the world. We don’t want our country to be used as a springboard or launching pad of the wars of the United States against China or any other country. We want a peaceful Philippines and a peaceful region.”
In Indonesia, the death toll from Monday’s powerful earthquake in West Java province has soared to over 260 people. More than a thousand people were injured, and dozens more remain missing, as rescuers continue to search for survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings. Many of the victims are schoolchildren.
In China, at least 38 people were killed on Monday after a fire swept through a two-story factory in central Henan province that housed chemicals and other industrial goods. Local officials said the fire began after welders allowed sparks to fall on cotton fabric, causing it to ignite. According to the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, an average of 75 Chinese workers died of workplace-related incidents each day in 2020.
In more labor news, members of a union representing U.S. freight rail conductors have voted to reject a tentative labor contract. It’s the fourth — and largest — of a dozen rail industry unions to reject the agreement brokered by the Biden administration last September. Many of those rejecting the deal said the tentative contract failed to address chronic staffing shortages, long hours and unpredictable schedules. If any of the unions decides to strike, others will honor their picket lines, setting up a potential nationwide strike by more than 100,000 workers as soon as December 9. Jeremy Ferguson, president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, said railroad executives can avert a strike by returning to the table to bargain in good faith.
Jeremy Ferguson: “It was profits above all else. Every quarter, they wanted to lower their operating ratios so they could please Wall Street, and they did not worry about pleasing their employees. I think, you know, a day of reckoning is coming that they are going to have to realize, one way or another, that they have to treat their employees with respect.”
In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey has issued a sweeping order to pause all executions statewide and ordered a review of Alabama’s capital punishment system, after a series of botched attempts to deliver lethal injections in at least three executions this year. Just last week, Alabama called off the killing of Kenneth Eugene Smith after officials struggled to establish an IV line for his lethal injection. Alabama canceled another execution in September for the same reason.
In Missouri, a 19-year-old teenager is urging a federal court to allow her to attend her father’s execution next week. Corionsa Ramey is the daughter of Kevin Johnson, who’s scheduled to die by lethal injection on November 29, after several attempts to halt his death sentence were denied. A Missouri law bans people under the age of 21 from being present at an execution. In a statement, Ramey said, “If my father were dying in the hospital, I would sit by his bed holding his hand and praying for him until his death, both as a source of support for him, and as a support for me as a necessary part of my grieving process and for my peace of mind.”
Oregon’s outgoing governor has pardoned 45,000 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana. Democratic Governor Kate Brown also said Monday she would void more than $14 million in associated fines and fees. Recreational cannabis use has been legal in Oregon since 2016. In a statement, Governor Brown said, “Oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal, and has been for years.”
Human rights groups are denouncing the international soccer federation FIFA for ordering a ban on any display of support for LGBTQ+ rights by players during the World Cup in Qatar. On Monday, FIFA said it would issue “yellow cards” to any players displaying rainbow-colored armbands in support of the OneLove anti-discrimination campaign. The head of Germany’s soccer association joined players, coaches and fans in denouncing FIFA’s decision.
Bernd Neuendorf: ”FIFA has today prohibited a statement in favor of diversity and human rights. These are values to which it commits itself in its own statutes. This is more than frustrating from our point of view, and also an unprecedented event in the history of the World Cup, I believe.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s national soccer team refused to sing the Iranian national anthem ahead of its opening match against England Monday in a silent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protesters in Iran.