Linnette Cruz 9-III
On the morning of August 3, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. The gunman, Patrick Wood Crusius, left 22 people dead, and another 24 injured. The El Paso shooter, who surrendered to the police at an intersection when he got out of his car and said “I am the shooter”, told a detective after his arrest that he was targeting Mexicans when he opened fire at the retail store.
The 21-year-old shooter is a fan of President Donald Trump and his political ideology. Additionally, a twitter account bearing the suspect’s name contained liked tweets that included a “Build the Wall” hashtag and a photo using guns to spell out “Trump”. Furthermore, 19 minutes before the first 911 call alerted the authorities of the mass shooting, a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared online. The document spoke about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas”, and possessed a detailed plan to separate America into territories by race. The manifesto also declared the imminent attack as “a response to the Hispanic invasion,” accuses Democrats of “pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc,” rails against “traitors,” and convicted “race-mixing” and “interracial unions.” “Yet another reason to send them back,” it says.
President Trump, as a response to the mass shooting that killed 22, condemned white supremacy and called for the death penalty for mass murderers and domestic terrorists. However, when asked about tighter restrictions on guns, he stopped and called instead for more focus on violent video games and mental illnesses. Trump called for laws to guarantee that those who show a great risk to public safety do not have the access to firearms, and declared that “mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
Trump has previously made an adumbration at meeting immigrants with violence. In May 2019, someone at one of Trump’s rallies in Florida replied to his rhetorical question about how the arrival of migrants could be stopped by saying they should be shot. Trump acknowledged the statement by replying: “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
You can probably get away with that at one of Trump’s rallies, too.
The President of the United States – who also condemned the El Paso attack on Twitter- has repeatedly referred to an “invasion” at the southern border; called Mexican immigrants “rapists”, and told four elected women of color to “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came from.”
President Trump did go ahead and visit El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump. The press was not allowed in to take pictures of the President on his visit to the hospital in Dayton, with the explanation being that the visit was about the hurting victims, and not a “photo op”. Nevertheless, when it came to the “no photo op”, the president and his staff gladly posed with the hospital members and the victims. The President and the First Lady smiled and laughed along with the nurses, despite Trump being complicit in landing those victims in the hospital.
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America,” Trump said.
If Trump wants to defeat these “sinister ideologies” of bigotry and white supremacy, he should cease of motivating people of carrying out these acts of violence and hatred. Humans are not born with these ideas of loathing and resenting people of different ethnicities, or having a call to buy high-powered guns and fire them at innocent strangers. Humans learn from what other people have to say. This is better explained by Nelson Mandela, saying: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
The President also suggested that domestic terrorism can be diminished by the removal of gruesome video games and prohibiting firearm possession to people who “pose a grave risk to public safety.” Congress should take these ideas into account and allow many more recommendations towards the matter.
Donald Trump may not be involved in pulling the trigger, but he is encouraging much of the hatred behind many of those acts. Words matter and Trump’s words are the most dangerous yet.