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Fentanyl Failures, Pronoun Proclamations, and Border Breakthroughs: Top 3 Stories You Missed This Week

May 2, 2024

If you watched the legacy media outlets this past week, you would think the news revolved around “mostly peaceful” campus protests, Donald Trump’s courtroom, and the barrel of Kristi Noem’s shotgun. Important as (most of) these stories are, numerous other significant stories took place this week that received far too little coverage. Here are a few:

  1. U.S. Fentanyl Deaths Spiral Out of Control

As the legacy media obsess over the death of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s (R) dog, the perpetual crisis of fentanyl continues to kill the most vulnerable Americans from coast to coast. A review of the toll inflicted by the drug, which is often manufactured in China and trafficked into the U.S. through our porous border with Mexico, reveals:

  • Police in the Seattle suburb of Everett, Washington, announced that during the week of April 22 three infants, in three separate cases, overdosed on fentanyl: a 13-month old, an 11-month old, and a six-month old. The 13-month-old died.
  • In an unrelated case, a young woman entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter on Tuesday after police found her four-year-old child dead of an overdose. Police said the child had ingested “skittles fentanyl” and died in a hotel room December 27 in Kennewick, Washington. The child’s father also faces charges.
  • Police in Lynn, Massachusetts, announced this week that they arrested 33-year-old Kelvin Lazala after his seven-year-old son went into cardiac arrest from exposure to fentanyl. Law enforcement officials reportedly captured Lazala as the suspect attempted to flee the country.
  • On Monday, an 11-month-old boy stopped breathing for approximately 45 minutes after ingesting his father’s fentanyl-laced drugs in the small town of Lake Grove (population 11,000) on Long Island in New York. The boy’s father had been told he purchased a different narcotic not laced with fentanyl. (The same mix, furnished by Robert Mauro, later killed an adult woman.) Police charged Mauro with multiple charges including manslaughter; they charged the father with second-degree assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Death is not the only potentially deadly side effect of fentanyl. For the first time, researchers have found that inhaling fentanyl can cause irreversible brain damage known as toxic leukoencephalopathy. A 47-year-old man lost consciousness after his first-ever fentanyl use caused his “brain to become inflamed to the point where he had lost consciousness and risked irreversible loss of brain function, or possibly death,” according to the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). OHSU published the details of the case, which is handled Monday in BMJ Case Reports.

This week California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced that, over the last year, law enforcement seized 700 pounds of fentanyl in a single neighborhood: San Francisco’s infamous Tenderloin district. It takes only two milligrams of fentanyl — enough to fit on the tip of a pencil — to cause an overdose. “Approximately 666,666 counterfeit pills can be manufactured from 1 kilogram of pure fentanyl,” reports the DEA.

The San Francisco haul alone yielded enough fentanyl to kill 158,750,000 Americans. Statewide, California officials seized more than one million fentanyl pills during the week of April 22 — and enough in the first two weeks of April to kill 54 million people. Nationally, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection captured 10,400 pounds of fentanyl this fiscal year — enough to kill 2,358,680,000 people, or 28% of the world’s population.

With its characteristic concern for its fellow citizens, The New York Times ran a story worrying about the impact America’s fentanyl epidemic is having — on Guatemalan opium producers. “[T]he fentanyl boom has devastated [Guatemala’s] trade in opium poppies used to make heroin,” fretted NYT reporter Simon Romero on Sunday. “Poppies used to help a lot of people make ends meet,” the Times quoted a Guatemalan tribal leader named Regino García.

  1. Joe Biden’s Great Workplace Pronoun Putsch

This week, Joe Biden made yet another effort to foist extreme transgender ideology on the American people through executive action. On Monday, he unveiled a new proposal that would see the federal government shove biologically-incorrect pronouns into your mouth — at least, if you want to keep your job. Biden’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s Office of Legal Counsel released an official legal guidance telling employers that they must force women into private facilities with trans-identifying men, and use employees’ preferred pronouns. Both matters are vital issues of civil rights justice, according to the EEOC, and failure to comply will get a worker branded as guilty of “harassment.”

The guidance’s section on “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” states that “the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity” could bring a workplace before a federal government tribunal. So, too, could “repeated and intentional use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s known gender identity (misgendering).” Those in the reality-based community would say the federal government wants to punish you for believing in biological reality and saying so. 

The guidance also bars individuals from “outing” employees, defined as the “disclosure of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity without permission” — such as giving a friend a heads-up about his new workplace romance.

“Sex-based discrimination under Title VII” of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “includes employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the guidance asserts. The EEOC cites as evidence Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

But Gorsuch’s opinion specifically states it did not apply to the areas cited by Biden’s EEOC. Gorsuch sought to reassure his critics, noting that “under Title VII itself, they say sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes will prove unsustainable after our decision today. But none of these other laws are before us … and we do not prejudge any such question today. Under Title VII, too, we do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms, or anything else of the kind.”

Congress has not amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act, nor has the Supreme Court broadened its Bostock decision: Democratic officials in the executive branch simply engaged in a power grab to punish Christian employees. Furthermore, the Biden administration’s (entirely foreseeable) misuse of Bostock has no limiting principle. Biden officials have used the same legal stratagem to try to force states to house male criminals in women’s prisons if the perpetrators say they identify as female.

This new EEOC guidance would force Christian managers and others of good faith to participate in the lie that a person can change his or her gender identity, overriding God’s creative work and the laws of nature by wishing it so. And it will make it difficult for someone to keep a job, or feed his family, unless he or she bows the knee to the trans movement’s diktats. Violators of the policy will presumably said to have been fired “for cause,” making it difficult to qualify for unemployment benefits, let alone find another job after being labeled guilty of workplace “sexual discrimination” or “harassment.”

  1. Border Enforcement Works When Tried. Here’s Proof.

For years, economists have pointed to the failures of socialism by displaying a photo of North Korea and South Korea side-by-side at night. The startling image proves that North Korea’s policies have plunged the worker’s paradise into darkness (literal and otherwise), while South Korea’s status as an Asian tiger raised the standard of living. Border security proponents could make a similar comparison between Texas and California.

Swift enforcement actions taken by Operation Lone Star have proven so effective that the entire flow of illegal immigration has shifted to Gavin Newsom’s California. Texas had been the traffickers’ preferred destination for decades. Viewers might remember illegal immigrants crowded together in throngs at Eagle Pass. But since Operation Lone Star took control of the area, illegal border encounters at Eagle Pass Park plummeted from thousands a day to 10, according to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R).

A press release from the state contains the tale of the tape:

“Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 509,500 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 42,100 criminal arrests, with more than 37,400 felony charges. In the fight against the fentanyl crisis, Texas law enforcement has seized over 476 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.

“Texas has also transported:

  • Over 12,500 migrants to Washington, D.C. since April 2022
  • Over 43,400 migrants to New York City since August 2022
  • Over 35,300 migrants to Chicago since August 2022
  • Over 3,400 migrants to Philadelphia since November 2022
  • Over 18,500 migrants to Denver since May 18
  • Over 1,500 migrants to Los Angeles since June 14”

The picture in the Republic of Texas could hardly look more different from the Republic of California.

“San Diego is the new epicenter for migrants and illegal immigration,” said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on X. Since “other states have made major increases in the amount of security along the border,” he said at a news conference, the brunt of coyote and traffickers’ activity “has switched over to San Diego.” While illegal immigrant border encounters increased 70% in San Diego this fiscal year, they fell in every Texas border sector: Big Bend (65%), El Paso (44%), Laredo (39%), Rio Grande Valley (26%), and Del Rio (11%).

“This surge in illegal crossings has propelled San Diego to the unfortunate position of leading all nine southern border sectors in April, a trend unseen since the 1990s,” revealed Desmond. Remember that the next time someone claims Americans who advocate closing the border want to set the clock back.

Why has this reversal taken place? Desmond conceded on social media, “Human smugglers have identified California, particularly the San Diego border sector, as the path of least resistance for illegal immigration.” It’s long past time human traffickers, coyotes, and cartels meet more resistance from every level of government.

This is not to paint an idyllic picture. Texas, which has the largest border with Mexico, continues to receive the greatest number of illegal immigrants and to seize large amounts of drugs and weapons. But the trajectory has, at last, moved in the right direction — a feat rendered all the more impressive due to the fact that Texas citizens have to fight a two-front war against the cartels and the Biden administration.

One component of Texas’s success has been its construction of a big, beautiful border wall. Walls work when tried; just ask Israel. Unfortunately, the U.S. may be facing the same terrorist infiltration.

Why These Stories Matter — and Why They Aren’t Covered

These three stories demand more coverage than they have received. The legacy media may have buried the Texas border story, because they wish to avoid any solution aside from Biden’s plea for “comprehensive immigration reform” (read: mass amnesty). Similarly, covering the EEOC guidance would show the Democratic Party enacting policies deeply unpopular with all but its most extreme, and active, voter bases during an election year. And fentanyl deaths mostly happen outside the haute circles and woke enclaves haunted by legacy media “journalists” — frequently among a socioeconomic demographic they disdain.

This is not to deny the importance of this week’s “big three” media stories: Campus protests betray an ill-informed sympathy for radical Islamist terrorists, who would think little of murdering most of their U.S. supporters. The Trump trial(s) seek to impact which candidate U.S. citizens will choose to lead the world’s most powerful nation. And, well … poor Cricket.

But campus protests have claimed no lives. An average of 2,052 Americans a week would have to set themselves on fire to equal the death toll of fentanyl. Legacy media coverage has not reflected this reality — because it seldom reflects reality at all.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.