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Mass shootings colored by new element

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

As Americans continue to mourn the president’s racist rhetoric adds a new element to an old problem.

By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor

So far this year, America has had some of its highest number of deaths by gun violence. Four of the eight most lethal shootings were in Texas. Two mass shootings in Texas in August, only three weeks apart, have stunned a nation trying to balance gun rights and safety. Recent mass shootings have also introduced another element, one of racial hatred, into an already complicated problem.

Like an infection, the Trump gospel of violence has spread painfully and quickly. A Brookings Institute report has shown how President Donald Trump has not only used the racism of the alt-right to bolster support in his 2016 bid for the presidency, but that he continues to use and escalate this rhetoric.

The shooting in a Texas Walmart last month is only the latest example of white rage aimed at Americans of color. The shooter — in this instance — was motivated by racism, but worse emboldened by Trump.

The pushback, worldwide, by nationalist has the air of Nazism and a soupçon of white supremacy. In the U.S., with the agitating element of Trump’s rhetoric, it has become a perfect storm for violence against America's diverse communities, and numbers from the FBI supports this.

Not all gun violence is the fault of Trump; after all, only one man can be responsible for every evil done in America, according to Republicans, and that man is busy making television shows and no longer in office. The country has a problem with guns that it will not address, and Trump has exacerbated an already explosive situation.

The unique and frightful difference here is the specific shout out given, after the deed is done, to Trump. The El Paso shooter for example mirrored Trump’s racist dialect, calling immigration an “invasion.” This new element is glossed over by most media as they tackle the larger problem, but for many people of color, already living in a near police state, this added dimension is a very real and immediate threat.

A rise in violent acts motivated by race has become a problem. After the election of the first black president, Barack Obama, the polarization of the right as it floats further away from centric, has led to where the country is today with domestic terrorism, mainly from white nationalists, becoming more of a threat according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

After the fervor over assault rifles and the Second Amendment has died down, the shouts of “send her back,” and "build that wall” will continue to elicit fear from people of color thanks to Trump.

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