By: Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump, in the wake of mass shootings that killed at least 31 people over the weekend, called for a unified condemnation of “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” while he, himself has consistently promoted and supported racism, bigotry and White supremacy.
At least 22 were killed and more than 20 injured at a Walmart in El Paso Texas on Saturday as parents and children ventured out for back to school shopping. Dallas resident, Patrick Crusius, 21, was arrested in the shootings. According to authorities and widespread reports, Crusius wrote a manifesto claiming responsibility for the attack and railing against what he described as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” using language mirroring Trump’s language describing “invasion” immigrants.
Crusius also reportedly told authorities that he had intended to kill as many Mexicans as he could. At least 18 Mexican nationals were shot. Nine died, reports say.
Federal investigators, including the FBI, have classified the case as domestic terrorism.
Less than 15 hours later, another White male opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people, six of them Black. Twenty-seven others were injured in Dayton. The shooter, Connor Betts, 24, was shot dead by responding officers.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said in a televised speech from the White House Monday morning. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism – whatever they need.”
Ironically, Trump also called the Internet “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” and described it as a place with “dark recesses”.
But some – including the NAACP – believe it has been clearly Trump himself who has used social media – mainly Twitter – to fuel racism, White supremacy and bigotry throughout the nation and around the world through his attacks on people of color, portraying them as less than human.
Following the recent shootings, NAACP President Derrick Johnson called out Trump’s own hate-filled behavior on the Internet over past years, months, weeks and days.
“These tragic shootings are stark reminders of the dangers that plague our communities under the resurgence of white nationalism, domestic terrorism, intolerance, and racial hatred germinating from the White House,” wrote Johnson in a statement.
Other civil rights leaders chimed in, appearing to be at a loss for answers.
“When is Enough, enough?” asked Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR). “Gun violence in America must end, and it must end now. How many more lives must be lost by senseless gun violence for elected officials to step up and lead?”
Campbell issued the following statistics on gun violence to date in 2019:
- There have been 253 mass shootings in America in 216 days of this year. That is more than one mass shooting per day for 2019. And we still have five more months to go this year.
- According to the Gun Violence Archive, to date, the total number of gun-related incidents in this country now stands at 33,076, resulting in 8,744 deaths and 17,366 injuries.
- The number of youths killed, ages 1 to 17, now stands at 2,197.
“This is absolute insanity for a so-called ‘civilized’ nation. The shootings in El Paso and Dayton were senseless acts of hate that could possibly have been prevented had there been laws in place to control access to high powered, rapid-fire, military-grade weapons. The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Black Women’s Roundtable strongly urges the U. S. Senate to come off of vacation and deal with this crisis by passing a national common-sense gun safety law now.”
In Trump’s speech, he mentioned mental illness that leads to gun violence but said nothing about his own hateful tweets.
He said, “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.”
He said he is directing the Department of Justice to work in “partnership with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.”
He said the “glorification of violence in our society” through “gruesome and grisly video games” must end.
He added, “We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”
Finally, Trump said he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment is delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”
Still, civil rights leaders lay blame for the El Paso and Dayton massacres squarely at Trump’s feet:
Johnson wrote: “The NAACP is calling on the Trump administration to cease its use of divisive and discriminatory rhetoric which fuel these unconscionable attacks and allot resources to combat the rise of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”