El Paso attack: is Trump responsible?

Texas state flag
Image: iStock

TW: gun violence

On the 3rd and  4th of August 2019, two mass shootings happened in the United States in less than twenty – four hours. One was at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; the other, outside Ned Pepper’s Bar in Dayton, Ohio.

The motive of the massacre in Dayton, where at least nine people have been killed, is unknown.

However, the El Paso massacre has been dubbed a terrorist attack, fuelled by white supremacy ideology. The gunman allegedly posted a ‘manifesto’ on social media claiming to support a white ethno – state.

Who’s to blame?

This has sparked anger. Accusations have appeared in some independent media. Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk) and Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (The Young Turks) have called out and attacked U.S. President, Donald Trump for inflaming racial tensions at his rallies and inspiring such terrorists like the one in El Paso.

Not surprisingly, some conservative commentators. Herald Sun’s, Andrew Bolt has slammed Trump’s critics for hypocrisy, referring to the Republican congressman shot at a baseball game in 2017 which was committed by a Bernie Sanders’ supporter.

 

Is the El Paso terrorist attack proof that white supremacy is flourishing or collapsing

When Trump was elected in 2016, there was a spike in anti – immigrant bigotry and white supremacy, which exploded in 2017.

Since then, many in the media have pointed at Trump as a sign of white supremacy and anti – immigrant bigotry.

But is this necessarily true? Maybe. Trump has sa8d and written some pretty inflammatory things since 2016.

However, according to Simon Copland, the truth about white supremacy may be the opposite than what you think.

Copland argued that the El Paso shooting actually signified of the collapse, rather than the rise of the white supremacist movement in the U.S.

He also argued that existing groups are splintering and, unlike controversial far – Left groups like Antifa, white supremacists are not as organised with the same identity. This may have frustrated the El Paso shooter enough to carry out the massacre.

The horrific decisions these men [who committed both shootings] made were not those people who saw themselves as a part of a large fascist or white supremacist group within society. If such a feeling was mainstreamed to the extent that is often claimed to be, it’s possible neither would have seen the need to attack in the first place.

(Simon Copland, ‘El Paso tells an uncomfortable truth about U.S. mass shootings’, Herald Sun, 5 August 2019).

Maybe the condemnation of Republicans, despite Trump’s crude rhetoric is misplaced. Reports on the El Paso shooter’s alleged manifesto suggest that he hated both the Democrats and Republicans. Instead, inspiration came from the Christchurch mosque shooter earlier this year and 1995 Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

 

I’m willing to believe that Trump may not be to blame for the shooting in El Paso. But is white supremacy still an issue that the U.S. needs to face? Yes, I think it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s been weakened over the years. The fact it still goes on is troubling. And, I think it would be wise of Trump not to add fuel to the fire through toxic, anti – immigrant/ anti – people of colour rhetoric.

 

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