We’ve had two deadly mass shootings within 24 hours. Like it or not, this is who we are. As a nation, we vilified, killed and drove off the Native Americas, kidnapped and enslaved Africans, blocked immigrants from China with the exclusion act of 1882 and interned Americans of Japanese descent into concentration camps in 1942. The last public lynching by the Klu Klux Klan was in 1981. This is US. There are a lot of good things, amazing things. There is also the shadow that threatens totake us over. To ignore it is to allow a malignant growth that does not stop or disappear. The first steps for recovery is acknowledgment and acceptance there is an uncontrollable problem, racism and gun availability compounded by denial.
The convenient response is mental illness, deeply disturbed. There is something darker. Considering racially motivated shootings, such as Dylann Roof who kill 9 black church goers, and most recently Patrick Crusius, the El Paso shooting suspect who targeted and killed 20 Latinos. Today, Mick Mulvaney in the wake of El Paso said:
“These are sick people. You cannot be a white supremacist and be normal in the head.”
Mick, Mick, Mick. Wrong, wrong, wrong. White nationalism is a belief system and to say they are “not normal in the head” is trite and fails to acknowledge that discrimination is bred when a society can systemically demonize, vilify and diminish another human being on the basis of race sex or religion. Let me break it down. We tell children there is a Santa Claus, a man brings toys. We maintain the belief systems with commercials, photos, events, tv shows, movies and more. Children believe it. Period. Are they “not right in the head?” No, they are responding to a belief system supported by the society around them. White Nationalism, White Supremacy is a belief system supported by the country’s history and spurred by some of the current rhetoric.
The motivations for other shooting may never be known. This week, with Gilroy – 3 dead, and Dayton – 9 dead and the Las Vegas shooter killed 58 and wounded 422 in 2017. The pattern is lone white males heavily armed and prepared. Be alarmed, shootings are common, woven in the fabric of society, creating a template for behavior. While this behavior is not a belief supported by society, it is an option validated by reality. This week observe, what’s the conversation, what’s the news cycle, what’s the balance that will make US who we want to be.
The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7e31d3ca648f