El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy Shootings, Gun Safety and White Supremacism

El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy Shootings, Gun Safety and White Supremacism August 4, 2019

Within a week, 32 innocent people died across America in a week-targets of hate crimes committed by known or suspected White supremacists. FBI is now calling El Paso a case of domestic terrorism, yet Trump has yet to call these as terror attacks, or bring up the two underlying problems- white supremacism and gun safety.

3 people were killed on July 3rd at the Gilroy garlic festival. Yesterday 29 people, mostly immigrants, were killed in the border city of Gilroy and as I was about to write about that, another mass shooting was reported early Sunday morning in a nightclub district of Dayton, Ohio, when 9 people have been reported dead.

The common thread: Apparent hate attacks carried by White young man aged 19-24, using assault style rifles killing as a result of hate they carried against certain people. The assault in Gilroy and El Paso was clearly aimed at Mexican immigrants. The motives in the Dayton shootings have not been identified as of now.

The El Paso attacker drove 9 hours from his home town of Allen, Texas, to kill the innocent shoppers at a local Walmart. Many leaders, including the sheriff of El Paso and FBI are calling this a terror attack, motivated by hate. Trump calls these ‘hateful and cowardly’ but yet again fails to call these terror attack or even mention the White racism, nationalism or white supremacists in his tweets or comments- consistent with his track record.

Jake Tapper, a CNN anchor, this morning on his show repeatedly asked this question to many of his guests: what if the attacker in El Paso was a Muslim, how would the President reacted then?

The responses varied from ‘not wanting to talk about a hypothetical situation’, to ‘yes, he would have reacted differently’.

I know exactly how he would have reacted.
He would call out Islamic terrorism, long before the motives were investigated-based solely on the names of the attacker. It is not a guess, but rather based on his actual track record.

Also, still no word on gun safety or gun control laws.

Why would a person need a A-47 assault rifl(the one used in El Paso attack)?

Why would we interpret the 2nd amendment to think we need A-47? To hunt birds? To fight enemies of the nation?

Dayton marks mass shooting #250 this year in the USA.

And we still think these assault weapons are our 2nd amendment right? When would we say the right to carry the military-style assault weapons does not overshadow our right to live safely-in our own neighborhoods? The right to shop at a local store safely. The right to go to a festival locally. The right to enjoy a weekend peacefully. The right to worship safely.

Kamala Harris, US senator and one of the Democrats running for the president in 2020, did indeed raise the issue of gun safety once again.

New Zealand adopted gun safety law after ONE mass shooting in Christchurch.

Courtesy: cbs17.com

Our president has yet to call out either of the two underlying problems in these hate-filled terror attacks: Rising threat of white supremacist terrorism and gun violence.

Far from rising the issue, he is emboldening these groups.

A Texas mosque was burnt down the day he signed the Muslim ban. Just recently he was listening to the chants of “send her back”, by his supporters at an election rally. He encourages xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments and anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiments.

President Trump may not have intended to incite violence against these minorities but he clearly is emboldening the white racist extremists. The El Paso and Christchurch attackers, for example, did reference to his tweets or statements in their manifesto or social media postings. He at the very least appeals to these xenophobic, and white supremacists extremists.

Since Trump has taken over as president, the non white minorities- African Americans, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, Mexican Americans, LGBTQ community and many other are feeling much less secure- much less represented.

Like Canadian PM said after the Christchurch terror attacks, the time for sending our thoughts and prayers is over. We need to act to prevent further Gilroys, El Pasos and Daytons.

Congress has to take up gun safety issue seriously and pass meaningful gun safety laws. There is absolutely no reason why an individual needs an AK47 rifle, or similar assault rifle, in a civil society.

And to those who promote arming everyone with guns to combat the mass shooting(like Trump and NRA promote), Dayton attack is a start reminder how ridiculous (and ineffective) that response would be. The gunman in Dayton was killed in less than a a minute- but he was still able to kill 9 innocent people and injured several others.

The terror threat from white supremacists has to be recognized a real threat and efforts to address must be undertaken. Our president acknowledging it would be a good start. Then he must stop supporting and inciting xenophobic and other hateful rhetoric such as verbal and tweet attacks on the 4 women of color in congress, triggering ‘send her back’ chants. El Paso terrorist used language in his manifesto that looks so much like Trump tweets or a Trump rally.

Trump may not be directly responsible for these attacks but he is definitely responsible for creating a toxic environment that leads to such acts. As a leader, we can mobilize the country to reach for the moon, like President Kennedy did, or create an environment of hate and bigotry by promoting ‘send her back’, or “–ithole countries”, “Islam hates us’ or ‘Mexicans are rapists and murderers’- the list goes on.

He needs to realize he is the president of all people in America- not just those who elected him.

We have to defeat hate and bigotry and the right to live safely and peacefully as one nation- not as Democrats and Republicans, or Whites and non-Whites, or as Jews, muslims and Christians, or as 2nd amendment proponents and opponents. This is not a red or blue issue. We need to treat domestic terrorism the same way(some may argue even more seriously) as international terrorism, giving the law enforcement same tools as afforded in the cases of international terrorism.

Enough is enough.

John Kasich former Ohio governor and a Republican, appealed to not play politics. He was furious on his appearance with Jake Tapper of CNN that politics have played a role when he tried to pass gun control laws in the state of Ohio. He wanted the media to continue to raise this issue, and not disappear a few days after such shootings and apply pressure on politicians and urged people to march to press congress to pass gun safety laws. “We want leadership”. He also supported red flag laws to track hateful rhetoric on social media and at least indirectly hinted at the president encouraging hate and bigotry, often leading to violent acts.

he went to say: “If I was president, I would convene a group today and tell them we need some gun control laws today”.

I say Amen to that.

 

#Elpasoshooting, #Daytonshooting,#gunsafety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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