Two mass shootings in a matter of hours. One in El Paso, Texas at a Walmart shopping complex. Killing at least twenty people, injuring dozens more. And another in the wee hours of the morning in Dayton, Ohio. Nine dead. Twenty-six wounded.
The motive for the 21-year-old white man from Texas being obscured in the media by unclear language that may or may not pin a four page anti-immigration manifesto to him, which called the attack a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. A vicious rant titled “An Inconvenient Truth” published online nineteen minutes before he opened fire.
El Paso’s Chief of Police at first saying that the document was tied to the gunman. And then retracting his statement, saying the department wasn’t actually sure he wrote it.
At least until the Trump administration has time to figure out how they want the media to spin it.
Now with the added pressure of having to address the Dayton murders in tandem. Because while we still don’t know why. I can only guess that it probably has to do with some angry white dude filled with hate.
Or maybe everyone will just forget about it tomorrow.
And this is what I was afraid of.
And one of the reasons why we left the United States two years ago.
Hate. Guns. And apathy.
I have a son.
And I want him to be safe.
And even back then, I did not see the United States as that place.
Sadly, I was right.
Because while Asians may traditionally fall very low on the list of groups that racists hate. After Blacks, Muslims and Mexicans. If the whites don’t like those folks. They’re sure as shit not going to like me.
And that makes me a target. In a country where there are more guns than people. Where by August there have been more than 249 mass shootings for the year 2019. Because if I’m out in public and some random idiot decides he wants to murder a bunch of brown people, I’ll be at risk as he scans the crowd. Anger seething behind an itchy trigger finger. Not seeing the mother I am to my son. The wife I am to my husband. The child I am to my parents. The friend I am to people who love me.
Just seeing the color of my skin.
And that I don’t belong in his country. I should go back to where I came from. I’m the cause of so many problems in his life. And I deserve to die because of it.
Because that’s what happens when these perspectives are encouraged on a national level by authority that reaches to the highest level of power. It gives these narrow-minded, uneducated people who have never been exposed to diversity outside their ‘Merica mentality a solution to their life circumstance that is as easy as eliminating the reason for their misfortune. Identified by the President of the United States as terrorists and invaders that can be quickly distinguished by the good and decent people of the world by how dark they are.
In what is essentially the most pathetic campaign strategy ever, Trump is resting on our country’s historically aggressive and violent racial divide to win the next election. Focusing on inciting hatred with nothing more than name calling and finger pointing in an inflammatory manner to create a threat to minorities that has reached a breaking point of open fire.
And the American people fall for it.
Or they just don’t give a fuck.
Because until they become a target, it doesn’t matter. They can continue on ordering their Starbucks, while bitching about how the barista got their order wrong. Spend too much money at Target and make some irrelevant post on social media about doing so. Rest easy at night without worrying that their children might get the shit beat out of them on the playground because they’re not white. Or that they might be killed by a police force that will put fifty bullets in a sleeping Black man in his car. Their babies won’t be ripped from their hands in a time of need and then forced to live in squalor in detention centers at the border facing sickness, rape and death. It won’t happen to them because they’ve been given assurances that as white people. They’re safe. They belong here. This is their home. They’ve earned it, even if by nothing more than sheer dumb luck.
Must be nice.
To not have to care about politics, as so many people are quick to say. Lumping these human rights issues into something that they can brushed under the carpet as easily as not being into dill pickles or peanut butter ice cream. Refusing to stand up to injustice for the sake of inconvenience in a silent omission that more and more is becoming a form of support in how much substance it adds to the current state of unrest.
I’m not asking for much.
Just to stop the hate.
And teach your kids that, too.
Equality and respect for all human life.
That’s how we win in the face of systemic corruption. Where even if we reform the laws for the better, we’re still at risk for more death. More terror. Changes that rest on top of a volatile foundation where there will always be some winners and some losers. Both sides who feel just as entitled as the other to their way of life. A way of life that is more deserving to exist than the other to the death. A divide that can only be healed through compassion and tolerance. A place where we’ll never all agree. Or be the same. Or even like each other. I don’t have to like you. But I can at least be mature enough to coexist without harm for the greater safety and health of society with the understanding that all human life no matter where we come from or what we look like is worthy of the same value.