Two Mass Shootings in 24 Hours–One At A White Supremacist’s Hands

There have been two more mass shootings in America in under a day.

Yesterday, a 21-year-old gunman from the Allen, Texas (identified but who shall remain nameless) killed 20 when he opened fire at an El Paso, Texas Walmart, part of the Cielo Vista Mall, south of El Paso international airport.

Fewer than 13 hours later, Dayton, Ohio witnessed its own terror when a 24-year-old opened fire, killing nine.

Last week saw another Walmart shooting when a recently suspended employee at the Southaven, Mississippi store killed two co-workers and wounded a police officer.

Last Sunday, a gunman killed three and injured 13 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California.

The El Paso shooter’s social media accounts suggest he was an avowed Donald Trump supporter who advocated a wall along the Southern border.

Like most of the perpetrators of mass shootings lately, the El Paso attacker also left a racist manifesto loaded with rhetoric Donald Trump has used recently, like “invasion,” “Democrat,” and “fake news.”

Referring to how Hispanics were going to make Texas a “Democrat” state, the manifesto states:

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion…The heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democrat stronghold. Losing Texas and a few other states with heavy Hispanic population to the Democrats is all it would take for them to win nearly every presidential election.”

NBC News reporter Ben Collins reported:

“So law enforcement does believe that this is his manifesto…It was posted on 8chan—which is an extremist website—hours before the shooting. It was deleted shortly after the shooting happened. It’s a wildly anti-immigrant manifesto.”

 He elaborated:

“It’s three pages of hatred against immigrants and people, you know, view it basically as invaders to the United States where they believe—and people generally on this extremist forum where these people get radicalized—believe that there is only so much space or only so many jobs in this country and it’s being replaced by Mexican immigrants, and in his case, he also believed in automation. So it is a racist and anti-immigrant manifesto that was posted on a site known exclusively for that. And by the way, this is not the first time this has happened. The Christchurch shooter, who killed 49 people, posted his manifesto on the same website. 4Chan, which is like a sister site to 8chan, a month after that Christchurch shooting, there was a manifesto posted by the synagogue shooter. And last week the Gilroy shooter, he told people to read a manifesto that has been posted to 4Chan literally a hundred times, it’s from the 1890s and I’m not sure he came about that in a library.”

According to The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), white supremacist violence and overt bias have surged the past two years over fears of immigration and the nation’s shifting cultural landscape.

According to Genocide Watch:

“All cultures have categories to distinguish people into ‘us and them’ by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide.”

Donald Trump built his campaign, and now his presidency, on those “rapists,” “murderers,” and “animals” “invading” our country from the Southern border.

He accused Haitian immigrants residing here under temporary protected status as having AIDS.

He claimed 40,000 Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” after coming here.

He accused Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador the countries he called “shitholes” of “arranging” the migrant caravans of “illegals” coming to get us.

It’s also no secret what he thinks of the media, which he smears with the label “fake news” and “enemy of the people” should it deign to report anything negative about what his administration is up to.

Trump refers to his political opponents as “globalists” who “want the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country.”

Those “globalists,” according to Trump, support “caravans” of “unknown Middle Easterners” en route from Central America to wreak havoc on American sovereignty.

When it comes to elections, says Trump, the “globalists” depend on millions of non-American “illegals” showing up in droves to vote.

Trump suggested Barack Obama “founded” Isis.

He has ramped up his attacks on Socialism.

He told “second amendment people” they might be able to take care of Hillary Clinton.

The white supremacist who live-streamed his slaughter of Muslims in a Christchurch, New Zealand mosque earlier this year described himself as a “regular white man from a regular family” who “decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people,” adding he used to be “a communist, then an anarchist and finally a libertarian before coming to be an eco-fascist.

He used his classification to justify the extermination of those belonging to another classification, and felt his was superior.

A few weeks before that attack, neo-Nazi U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, Christopher Paul Hasson, compiled a spreadsheet of targeted current and former lawmakers, MSNBC and CNN anchors, activist and author Angela Davis, former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, and the Democratic Socialists of America.

In October, Cesar Sayoc mailed pipe bombs to CNN, comedian Bill Maher, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rep. Maxine Waters, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and six other prominent Trump critics.

Trump’s incessant stochastic terrorism is successfully inciting ardent supporters to take matters into their own hands.

We know what he said about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley last month, and what he said about Congressman Elijah Cummings soon after.

That led to Rep. Cummings’ home being broken into last week.

But this is also a gun issue.

Neither the El Paso nor the Dayton shooter should never have been able to perpetrate their crimes.

Although statistically mass shootings constitute a fraction of America’s more than 32,000 firearm deaths every year, the U.S. outpaces other developed countries in gun deaths.

According to United Nations (UN) data, the U.S. experienced 29.7 firearm homicides per 1 million people in 2012. By contrast, Switzerland experienced 7.7 million; Canada, 5.1 million; and Germany, 1.9 million.

The U.S. comprises about 4.4 percent of the global population but has 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. Empirical research proves settings where more guns are present increases the likelihood gun violence will ensue.

In June, at a Democratic state convention in San Francisco, Massachusetts Senator and presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, stated:

“It’s not just mass shootings…on sidewalks and playgrounds and people’s backyards. It’s happening family by family across the country. And it doesn’t get the same headlines. And that is wrong.”

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker already has a comprehensive plan for gun-control reform that includes licensing reform and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, he said:

“We are not helpless to stop this. This is a uniquely American problem. We have carnage in our country that no other nation sees.”

He added:

“This idea that we are helpless to stop this, evidence points differently. We know that… licensing like Connecticut did, dropped gun violence in their state by 40%, suicides by 15%. We’ve allowed the debate to be framed by the corporate gun lobby which has… eroded common sense… enough is enough. We can do things about this problem. We know it. The only thing lacking seems to be a sense of moral urgency.”

Those inclined to posit we are doing nothing about this epidemic of gun deaths should know that in February, the Democratic-majority House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (HR8) requiring background checks for firearms sold at gun shows and online, closing the loophole currently not requiring checks for private, unlicensed sales.

But did the Republican-controlled Senate even consider it?

Colorado Senator and 2020 candidate, Michael Bennet, summed it up on ABC’s This Week:

“We know what’s going to happen, which is the House has passed it, Mitch McConnell will not allow it to come to a vote in the Senate, and we will not have national background checks.”

There are those who naturally trot out the “Both sides are to blame” premise.

While it is true 26 House Democrats voted with Republicans against HR8, it is Democrats openly pushing comprehensive gun-control reform.

Republicans can only offer “condolences” or “thoughts and prayers.”

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney even admitted complacency when he told NBC‘s Chuck Todd:

“Let’s not get too deep into politics too soon. You’re never going to make everything perfectly safe, but we are doing a lot better on enforcement.”

After June’s Virginia Beach shooting, Trump showed up to a Virginia church for 15 minutes in golf clothes and said nothing to the shooting victims.

 In the aftermath of yesterday’s massacre in El Paso, he tweeted (again, while golfing):

Nothing to the victims (unless they’re the “you all”).

Without a word from the president except for a few tweets, acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told NBC’s Chuck Todd:

“I blame the people who pull the trigger. Goodness gracious, is someone really blaming the president? People are sick, until we address why people think this way.”

Whenever a madman (it is always a man) goes on a rampage with an assault rifle, the Republican party trots out the “mental illness” conundrum–after offering “thoughts and prayers.”

But if the GOP were serious about preventing mentally ill people from obtaining guns, it probably wouldn’t have advanced a bill in 2017 to revoke an Obama-era regulatory initiative making it harder for the mentally ill get them.

Yet that’s what it did, and Trump signed it.

Also, if Republicans cared about people’s mental health, they wouldn’t be working overtime to take healthcare away from millions of Americans. 

In her book This Changes Everything, author and activist Naomi Klein argues the reason the United States fails to adequately address climate change is because of the obscene amounts of money fossil fuel companies pump into lawmakers’ (mostly Republican) campaigns.

It’s no different when it comes to guns.

Unless we effectively cut off the revenue pouring out of the gun lobby into Washington, we should expect gun violence to become a regular staple of American culture.

How much are lawmakers receiving from the gun lobby?

According to OpenSecrets.org, in 2016, the National Rifle Association (NRA) handed more than $50 million to key Republican candidates, including Trump, who was presented a whopping $30.3 million.

There have been 254 mass shootings this year.

It is only the 216th day

Image credit: www.blacklistednews.com

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.