The real 'inconvenient truth' in El Paso shooting? Excusing evil when the killer is white
Opinion: President Trump and his supporters tend to excuse evil when the shooters are white by attributing their actions solely to mental illness.
President Donald Trump’s America is facing an inconvenient truth, and it is not the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” that the 21-year-old white suspected gunman reportedly warned about in a hate-filled manifesto.
It is a more profound and disturbing sentiment of the value of gun profits over that of life, the incitation of ethnic hate and the inclination to excuse evil when the perpetrator is white.
Patrick Crusius is accused of gunning down 20 people and injuring dozens in El Paso, Texas, a few minutes after an anti-immigrant 2,300-word document titled “inconvenient truth” appeared online.
Authorities are still investigating if the manifesto is directly linked to Crusius.
Hours after that mass shooting, another white man, 24-year-old Connor Betts, opened fired in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and injuring dozens more.
Predictable reaction: Prayers of comfort
Both men used assault-style weapons. Their motives may be different but the upshot is the same. Just like other mass shootings, these two attacks terrorized local residents and sent shockwaves through the rest of the country – for a few days, anyway.
The ensuing reaction was as predictable as infuriating. A flood of prayers and calling on God to comfort the moms and dads who will never see their sons or daughters who went out to enjoy a night out in Dayton and those who'll never again see their loved ones who went shopping in El Paso.
“God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio,” tweeted President Donald Trump Sunday.
Predictable, too, is the raging debate over gun control and the counterattacks of who’s being sincere or merely using the tragic events for political and economic gain of gun sales in America.
If suspect is white, we blame mental illness
But there is something different now. It began taking root with Trump’s presidency.
It’s the undeniable violence growing out of Trump’s nationalist views and his increased attacks against nonwhites. It’s the undeniable inclination by the president and his supporters to excuse evil when the shooters are white by attributing their actions solely to mental illness.
Trump’s words invoking God were meant to be a comforting message. Instead, they serve as a nauseating reminder that it’s our country's highest leader who continues to spew hate toward nonwhites and foreigners.
No, the president didn’t pull the trigger in El Paso or Dayton, or Gilroy, Calif., where another white man recently killed three and wounded 12 others during the town’s annual garlic festival.
But it’s no coincidence the Texas gunman drove hours to commit his killing spree in El Paso. The city of roughly 840,000 is 83% Hispanic and sits just across from the sprawling Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. Many Mexicans cross to El Paso daily to work, shop or visit relatives.
Trump's anti-immigrant words hard to ignore
The gunman reportedly told authorities he sought to kill as many Mexicans as possible. Well, he did it. Among the 20 dead are six Mexican nationals, according to that country’s authorities.
What does that say about Trump’s anti-immigrant message? It’s a terrible testament that the president’s message is working. Ignoring it won’t change that fact.
It’s easy and opportunistic to excuse evil when killing sprees are carried out by one’s own tribe – in this case by white Americans – and much easier if the targets happen to be nonwhites.
Marco Lopez, the former mayor of the border city of Nogales, Ariz., called on Hispanics to fight back – with their vote.
Let's admit violence is linked to hateful words
“The #elpasoshooter was on a mission to kill as many Hispanics as possible,” Lopez tweeted. “There are over 40 million of us in the US. Be Watchful, be safe, be alert get organized. Our biggest weapon, since I doubt the current #dumbdumbs in DC will do anything, is our #2020 vote. Use it.”
Lopez is right.
Unfortunately, we cannot wait until next year to cast a ballot. Americans who have been under incessant attacks by Trump and his followers solely based on the color of their skin are now being gunned down.
What can be done – other than calling on God to comfort the shooting victims? We can begin with an honest and open discussion about how hate-filled rhetoric is fueling domestic terrorism. America can’t ignore that fact any longer – as inconvenient as that truth may be.