The nation’s eyes are fixated upon Texas today. Twenty-two people died, and more than two dozen were wounded inside an El Paso Walmart — making this the eighth deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The most chilling piece of information available as of now is a four-page manifesto essay (allegedly) written by the shooter. There isn’t any need to read this, though, as the exact themes, words, and motives can all be found within Donald Trump’s campaign rallies.
The main motivator to commit mass murder was in “response to [the] Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The gunman drove nine hours to get to El Paso — giving him plenty of time to reconsider — and plotted this attack for weeks. He was committed, determined, and a flat out homegrown terrorist.
We are no longer dealing with simply a mass shooting — this is now the deadliest terrorist attack targeted towards Hispanics to ever occur in our country. Racism undoubtedly fueled this shooting, and the gunman chose a Hispanic city located on the border for one reason: to murder as many Hispanics as humanly possible.
This was not a mentally ill man. This was not powered by a drive to innately kill. This was a man that has been radicalized by dangerous ideology broadcasted by powerful politicians and organizations.
And Donald Trump is the one with blood on his hands for being complicit within this white supremacist terrorism.
“Send her back.”
“Rapists and criminals.”
“Very fine people on both sides.”
“Knock the crap out of ‘em”
Trump’s tactics and rhetoric have only fed into these issues: validating white supremacists, encouraging violence and disputes, dehumanization, and embedding fear of Latino immigrants — which have become more frequent and increasingly more severe as his term continues.
It requires an army to influence this type of mass shooting and message. The terrorist was radicalized by Donald Trump and his “build the wall movement”, armed by the NRA, enabled by dangerously far-right politicians and organizations, and encouraged to arm himself by Texas’ governor, Greg Abbott.
The most infuriating aspect of all of this is the expected routine “thoughts and prayers” tweets from numerous politicians, that are of course, followed by silence. If the shooter was Latino, “build the wall” would flood our social media feeds. If the shooter was Muslim, we’d need to implement travel bans. If the shooter was Black, the media would uproar and claim that BLM is a terrorist organization. And if the shooter is White? Well, we should re-examine their mental health and address rooted violence in video games and music.
We desperately need representatives that are held accountable for their actions and words — representatives who support diversity; who support quality accessible mental health treatment; who support stricter gun laws; and who support shifting the conversation of “thoughts and prayers” to “policy and change”.
Upon writing this, an additional shooting in Dayton, Ohio has occurred — a shooting that killed ten (including the gunman) and wounded twenty-seven in just thirty seconds alone. My heart aches for the fact that El Paso and Dayton’s casualties will be forgotten and filed as yet another statistic in mere days, with likely zero change.
Gun violence is a much deeper issue than we lead ourselves to believe, but bullets do not discriminate, and gun violence knows no race or political party. It’s about damn time we vote for politicians that refuse to cap their efforts off at condolences and are willing to fight for our lives by combatting our nation’s most urgent threat.