After a gunman murdered at least nine people and wounded more than 20 early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, assistant chief of police Lt. Col. Matt Carper told reporters, “Police believe the suspect acted alone and that there is no remaining threat to the community.”
With the gunman shot dead by responding officers, those are supposed to serve as words of comfort, a sign that we can now exhale: The threat is over. We’ll mourn, but we’ll be OK. The bloodshed, as Carper said, was “quickly put to an end.”
Of course, if we understand anything about this nation we recognize this is a lie meant to pacify jostled nerves and psyches. The threat is never over. We’ll mourn again, but we’ll never be OK again. In America, bloodshed is a world without end.
So long as there is an aggrieved man with easy access to guns, and unchecked anger about immigrants, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, Jews, or his own failings, there will always be a remaining threat to our communities, cities, towns, and nation.
Have all the victims from last weekend’s mass shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., been released from the hospital or buried yet? Do we know what compelled a gunman with what Dayton police described as a “a long gun” to open fire on people visiting that city’s entertainment district?
Is there another, as yet undiscovered, manifesto railing against anyone who isn’t white?
At a Walmart in El Paso, a predominantly Latinx city, a gunman Saturday killed at least 20 people and injured more than 25. According to the New York Times, the store, just 10 minutes from the Bridge of the Americas linking El Paso, and Cuidad Juarez, its sister city in Mexico, is a popular stop for Mexican tourists.
In a hate-drenched screed police believe may have been posted by the 21-year-old gunman, the writer rambles about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and cautions that white people are being pushed out by brown people.
Those words could have come straight from President Trump. In May, he said this nation “has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico and entering our country illegally.” In the statement, Trump talked about the “profound consequences” this is having on America, and how “it must end NOW.”
When Trump speaks of America, he always means white people. In Texas, another white man with a gun seemingly heard his president’s call, and did what he thought necessary to end it.
The president, of course, will claim his words aren’t responsible for emboldening feeble white men. He’ll also stick to his NRA talking point that mental illness, not readily available high-powered weapons, is the problem.
In the meantime, flags will lowered, memorials will grow where people died, teary speeches will be applauded, and nothing with change. Guns – and white supremacy – will remain abundant and ignored because America despises nothing more than facing itself.
And more will die every day, every week, and every year in a nation drowning in hate, guns, and useless thoughts and prayers.
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