Where Are All the Headlines When 'Free Palestine' Is On a Shooter's Assault Weapon? UPDATE

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File

What a horribly frightening time it had to be at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church near Houston yesterday afternoon.

A woman who walked into a popular Texas megachurch Sunday afternoon with a long gun and a young child opened fire before she was killed by law enforcement officers on scene. The gunfire left the child in critical condition and another man injured, officials said.

Authorities are now probing the shooting at televangelist and pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church – roughly 6 miles from downtown Houston.

The woman, estimated to be between 30 and 35 years old, entered the church shortly before 2 p.m. wearing a trench coat and backpack and opened fire, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said in a Sunday afternoon news conference.


The little guy who was shot turns out to be the child who came with the shooter. Tragically, he is not expected to survive, and I can only surmise he was struck by the rounds from security guards returning fire.

A 5-year-old child shot Sunday at Lakewood Church in Houston is not expected to survive their wounds, a Montgomery County District Attorney's Office spokesperson said Monday.

The child, who hasn't been named, was wounded when a woman exchanged gunfire with two police officers — a Houston Police Department Officer and an agent for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — who were working as security for the church, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Sunday.

..."That female, that suspect put that baby in danger," [Houston Police Chief Troy] Finner said. "I’m going to put that blame on her."

The shooting left the child critically injured and under treatment at a hospital, Finner said on Sunday. A 57-year-old man was also shot in the leg or hip, and was expected to survive, Finner said.

It's a miracle it was so much worse, and thank God for those two officers reacting immediately and decisively to neutralize the threat.

I am a little put out by the coverage on the major news media platforms, though. For some reason, there seems to be a deliberate skewing of terms here, and I can't quite pinpoint why. 


And when I say that, I mean because of the two facts that are buried FIFTEEN PARAGRAPHS DOWN in the CNN story.

...The shooter used an AR-15 that had “Free Palestine” written on it, according to a federal law enforcement source. Investigators are trying to determine whether she was politically motivated or a disturbed individual, the source said.


Said shooter was carrying the penultimate much-demonized "weapon of war/assault weapon" (used only by white supremacists, we have been assured) into a church with the intent to carry out a mass shooting (also only perpetrated by white supremacists)...and that's not in the lede ANYWHERE?!

It's quite the oddest thing. I'm not seeing any major media reacting like I imagine they would the second, say, MAGA MAGA MAGA had been on the side of an AR-15 merely being carried on a sidewalk, less mind taken into a house of worship and lit off intending to kill people.

In fact, the media is going out of their way to avoid mentioning what the weapon was at all. 

ABC 13 Eyewitness News calls the AR-15 a "gun" or a "long rifle," although they mention the pro-Hamas message straight up front.

As I said, CNN takes 15 paragraphs before they mention the AR-15 specifically or the message on the side of it. But that's still a darn sight better than the Washington Post, which can't seem to get past itself to dig deeper into the circumstances of what actually happened.

It's just your garden-variety church shooting by someone with a "long gun" who happened to be dragging a child along.

A 17-paragraph WaPo story that leaves out a couple of kind of important facts you know damn well they'd have never left out of a story about, say, Kyle Rittenhouse had he shouted "FOR MAGA!" defending himself. 


Not trusting my weary eyes, I even did a word search...AR-15, nope

How odd. Nothing about "Palestine" either?

They have this golden opportunity to flog assault rifles to death, and they can't even use that term once?!

Nope. I checked for it, too.

As you can see by my highlights, this was also their "updated" version. Surely they had those two pretty important facts available to them by this morning?

Yet they chose not to use them?


So far, only the NY Times has it in a headline, with a recent update, again, for something that happened yesterday morning. Contrast a Google search for AR-15 and the results after an actual shooting. There's the kid they just snatched up this morning with a guess-what in his truck?

No one seems to have an issue AR-15ing all over the headlines for a gun in a truck.

Maybe if he'd had "Free Palestine" on his bumper, he wouldn't suddenly be so famous. But they did turn him loose with a $5000 bond, so I'm figuring they figured he wasn't an imminent danger.

A 19-year-old man was arrested for having a loaded assault rifle on NC State's campus.

So what gives with the reticence on the part of a media usually foaming at the mouth to beat the anti-assault weapon drum at any opportunity?

Is it the Palestine thing? Gotta make sure they take the rough edges off the Hamas supporters, particularly when they act like terrorists themselves. 

Or is it that it might not be a "woman"? (Karen has more in a bit on that.)

All of the above?

Are media lords such integrity-challenged, manipulative tools they'd stoop so low?


I have the screenshots. 

Why, yes - yes, they are. It's not reporting "news" so much as deciding which selective outrage buttons to employ.

Wait'll you see how fast this goes away...

*BEEGE UPDATE*: Since I wrote this late yesterday morning, there's been some clarity about the shooter and the lad. A Salvadoran, Escalante was a biological female, going through a bitter divorce, and it was her son she had with her. 

The AR had only "Palestine" on it.

 Investigators are still trying to determine what motivated a 36-year-old mother to open fire with a semi-automatic rifle in a popular Houston megachurch Sunday in an incident that left two people injured, including her 7-year-old son, before she was killed by law enforcement.

...The shooter used an AR-15 with a “Palestine” sticker on it during the attack, which she legally purchased in December, police said.

She also had apparent serious mental health issues, and a lengthy criminal history in which she often used the name "Jeffrey" as one of her aliases.

...The commander said the shooter used male and female aliases in the past, but has identified as female "this entire time."

Hassig also stated the shooter had a history of mental health illness and was previously put under emergency detention orders by Houston police...

Lots of questions. Like how did someone with a record purchase a weapon? Someone arrested on a weapons charge just two years ago...?


How did someone with a previous ICE hold purchase a weapon...or vote?

Now, there are lots of questions about this woman and the record.

I hope we can get some of them answered before they bury this.

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Jazz Shaw 8:30 AM | February 25, 2024