Hater-in-Chief Helps Fuel American Carnage

Sunday, August 4, 2019. The hummingbirds carry on as usual this morning, chittering as they flit around for positions at the sugar-water feeders. They have no knowledge that the hashtag #whitesupremacistterrorist is trending on Twitter this morning. 

This meme was heavily retweeted after the mass-shooting-murders in El Paso. Not even 24 hours later, the meme was no longer accurate.

What an unfathomably horrid morning for so many families in El Paso and Dayton. What a horrid morning, yet again, for our nation.

Trump’s election forced many of us who didn’t have to face it head-on in our daily lives to acknowledge the racist, white supremacist foundational underbelly of our nation, as this Saturday Night Live skit about election night 2016 helps make clear.

The investigation is underway as to whether the El Paso shooter’s death spree can be characterized as a hate crime, but he apparently posted a anti-immigrant/anti-Hispanic manifesto on social media, and apparently drove nine to ten hours to carry out his heinous actions in an area that has a majority Latinx population.

El Paso area Representative Veronica Escobar told NPR that we have a gun epidemic and a hate epidemic in this country. 

At this time, the motives of the Dayton shooter are unknown; that person’s motives may or may not be linked to the nation’s epidemic of white-nationalist-fueled hate.

What we do know is that the Dayton killer had a weapon that enabled him to massacre nine people in about 50 seconds, and that is clearly linked to the nation’s gun epidemic. 

A chart showing what types of guns were used in gun murders in the US

It is undoubtedly way, way passed time to #BanAssaultWeapons. Someone just killed nine people and wounded 26 more in 50 seconds (Update: 26 shot in 32 seconds) ! While we really must ban assault weapons, that isn’t going to solve the American gun-violence epidemic. Most murders caused by guns involve handguns, according to FBI data. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were more than 38,600 deaths from guns in 2016. More than 22,900 of those deaths were suicides

So, as has been noted in national discussions over and over, banning assault weapons won’t end the gun- violence epidemic, but it is certainly legislative low-hanging fruit.

Figuring out what drives and underlies the epidemics of gun-violence and hate would go a long way toward fixing many ills of the nations. Certainly, many people (here are just a few speaking with an NPR host) have been doing just that, but with so many politicians beholden to and/or scared of the NRA, we do not move forward.

Worse, in this moment, we backslide. The President of the United States fans the flames of fear-of-other, hatred, racism, and white supremacy, as John Oliver points out here with this clip of Trump speaking at a Florida rally.

Last month, three reverends officiating at the National Cathedral released a statement: Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump:

The escalation of racialized rhetoric from the President of the United States has evoked responses from all sides of the political spectrum. On one side, African American leaders have led the way in rightfully expressing outrage. On the other, those aligned with the President seek to downplay the racial overtones of his attacks, or remain.

…These words are more than a “dog-whistle.” When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation. Violent words lead to violent actions.

When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough? The question is less about the president’s sense of decency, but of ours.

As leaders of faith who believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over. We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us, especially when it comes from the highest offices of this nation. We must say that this will not be tolerated. To stay silent in the face of such rhetoric is for us to tacitly condone the violence of these words. We are compelled to take every opportunity to oppose the indecency and dehumanization that is racism, whether it comes to us through words or actions.

Monday, August 5, 2019. #TrumpsTerrorists Trends As Americans Blame President Trump For Shootings 

Call It What  It Is: We Have a White Nationalist Terrorism Problem in This Country

I don’t remember what hashtags where trending back in 2017, post-Charlottesville, when I so naively thought the Racist-in-Chief surely wouldn’t be president much longer. “Surely” isn’t a word I’ll use this time. “Surely” maybe implies that someone else will do something. With so many politicians being “wholly owned subsidiaries of the gun lobby” (a quote from the “Call It What It Is” video-link right above) it seems useless to give them a call, but we must contact politicians who have remained silent and demand that they use the bullhorns they have, thanks to their positions, to condemn any leaders who spew vile rhetoric, to shout ¡Enough with the hate!, and to pass some legislation that addresses this madness.

Contact your Congresspeople and Senators: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We demand that you work to immediately pass common sense legislation to reduce gun violence and save lives.

OVEC co-founded and works with the WV Citizens for Clean Elections coalition in order to try to break loose the stranglehold that groups like the gun lobby have over elected officials of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Please help us do this work, e-mail vivian@ohvec.org if you’d like to get involved. 

P.S. #TurnOffFoxNews #TurnOffHate

New York Times Magazine: U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It. For two decades, domestic counterterrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized.

‘Black Identity Extremists’ and the Dark Side of the FBI

The Strange Tale of the FBI’s Fictional ‘Black Identity Extremism’ 

FBI Abandons Use of Term ‘Black Identity Extremism’ 

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