El Paso Mass Shooting: Motivated by Anti-Hispanic Sentiment?

On Saturday, August 3, a mass shooting occurred at an El Paso, Texas, mall, about five miles from the main border checkpoint with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. A gunman shot and killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. Nine of the at least 22 who were hospitalized were in critical condition as of Monday morning. One of them is only four years old.

The suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, is in police custody. Investigators are pursuing criminal and civil rights hate crime investigations and seeking “domestic terrorism” charges against Crusius. 

According to authorities, Crusius allegedly posted a document titled The Inconvenient Truth to several websites shortly before the shooting. The document is an anti-immigrant screed that denounces the growing Hispanic population in Texas, and cites that as the reason for the mass shooting. The document also expresses support for the shooter who opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, killing 51 people. 

“In general,” wrote Crusius, “I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.” 

Some American Hispanic leaders are saying that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric is at least partly to blame for the violence against immigrants, and for this incident. 

Rep. Joaquin Castro, who represents San Antonio, and is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said, “The President has put a target on the back of the Hispanic community for years now, and there’s a cost to that kind of dangerous and racially divisive rhetoric. …If you look at the shooter‘s manifesto, it’s consistent with the language that President Trump has used to describe Hispanic immigrants as being part of an invasion of the United States.”

It is almost as horrifying to hear a few of the various responses from Trump supporters who seem like ordinary, “harmless” citizens. While not exactly supporting the mass shooting themselves, some seem to make an excuse for it.

“People are angry,” said one. “They’re tired of people coming over our border and bringing crime and disease.” As if the border situation were worse than a mass shooting. As if it justified a mass shooting. As if it were even true.

El Paso shooting: Several killed as gunman opens fire in Texas Walmart
The Telegraph | [2019-08-04]

Death toll from El Paso mass shooting rises to 22
Fox News | [2019-08-05]

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting: Don’t Say ‘Gun Control’

Shortly after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott responded to challenges concerning how he planned to move forward with gun control. The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was the 18th school shooting since the start of 2018.

“We have to look at these things and say to ourselves, our primary goal is school safety. I don’t want to tramp on anyone’s constitutional rights, but we’ve got to focus on keeping these kids safe.”

When asked directly if his plans included making gun control laws stricter, Scott responded, “…We’re going to figure out how, moving forward, this never happens again. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this never happens again.”

Scott said that the Florida State legislature assured him that they’d be very supportive of working through what needs to be done. “I’ve asked for funding for school safety…We’re going to figure this out.” But Scott repeatedly avoided directly addressing the issue of making gun laws stricter.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked, “Are you ready to commit your political team to work to tighten gun restrictions in the state of Florida?”

“Everything’s on the table…I’m going to do everything I can to keep these kids safe,” responded Scott.

Earlier this week, 100 students, survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, traveled seven hours to Tallahassee to watch the Florida House of Representatives vote on a motion for debate on a gun control bill. The bill, introduced by Democratic State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, would ban the sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines. It would have classified the AR-15 as an assault weapon, and banned it.

Governor Scott’s earlier assurance that he and lawmakers would “do whatever they could” to ensure that a mass shooting never happens again in Florida schools clearly did not mean that “doing whatever they could” would include examining tighter gun control measures. The Florida House of Representatives voted down the motion for debate, 71-36.

Apparently, a greater risk to the public is pornography. During the same session, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that declared pornography a public health risk.

“Unfortunately, just five days after 17 people were gunned down at a Florida school, the Florida House just passed a bill that declares pornography a public health risk,” said Congressman Smith. “Basically, what they have just determined is that these are the Republican priorities in 2018. Wasting our time with debate and legislation that declares porn a health threat. Meanwhile, we can’t even get a single debate, vote, or hearing on anything related to assault weapons.”

When asked why the House voted down even considering such a bill, Republican State Representative Matt Caldwell replied, “The worst outcome in my mind is that we put forth some proposal, we ban something just at a whim, without really going through the time or the process. And it (restricting sale of assault weapons) doesn’t make any difference. So next time you have a school shooting, then what do you say?

There is no record of anyone walking into a building and using pornography to take lives in the span of three minutes, as has happened with an AR-15 assault rifle. Yet, Republicans, at least in Florida, appear to see porn as a greater health risk than a semiautomatic weapon in the hands of a disturbed individual. If this is the prevalent mentality, and if we continue to avoid the issue of tighter gun control, the odds are that what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will happen again somewhere.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott Challenged on Gun Laws | [2018-02-15]

Lawmakers Pass on Gun Debate, Vote to Say Porn is Dangerous | CNN [2018-02-21]

Sen. Nelson: What Will it Take to Stop School Shootings? | Fox News [2018-02-14]