American establishment will not accept the dangers of white supremacy.
How victimizing the perpetrator plays in the news in the aftermath of American mass shootings.
The months of July and August this hot summer have been trying for Americans. As Americans we watched, read, and some even re-tweeted the President of the United States demand that members of the US Congress to either “go back to their country” or not criticize this administration and its policies. Ironically or maybe intentionally, the president’s entire campaign in 2016 revolved around the idea of that America was not great and needs to be great again. Then just not too long after, the president found it amusing when a hoard of a maga wearing herd started to chant “send her back,” referencing of course Rep. Ilhan Omar. Predictably, a hate filled lunatic took those words to heart and killed 22 innocent human beings while they were shopping for back to school items.
Although the El Paso white supremacy terrorist might have been emboldened by the occupant in the White House, he was not the first to murder because of the hate they harbor. Over the last couple of weeks, I have watched and listened to pundits, politicians, and so called experts attempt to understand how someone can pick up a gun and murder innocent people. Some blame mental illness. Others blamed Trump and the emergent white supremacy movement. Some even went as far to blame video games. The latter I find the most absurd. While there might be some validity in each one of those hypothesis, it ignores the underlying root as to why these shootings happen.
White males are victimized by society…
As I have previously written in my last article, Growing Up Muslim In America, the news media reacts in a much different manner when the terrorist has an extreme Islamic ideology. Republicans and the establishment media get their panties in a bunch when others refuse to call it out as ‘radical islamic terrorists.” The same goes with people of color. For example, when a police officer murders an unarmed black man, the media, both conservative and liberal, start combing the records for any possible crime. The narrative is usually, “there must have been a reason this police officer was forced to shoot an unarmed young man in his grandma’s backyard.” The victim in those circumstances is rarely the murdered but the poor police officer who now have to take a paid leave. No talk of mental health. Moreover, there is rarely any discussion about the families left behind or how much their children needed them.
The story is much different when the terrorist is a hate-filled white male. These young men are mentally ill. These young men feel left out of society. These young men are influenced by video games. Their criminal record is not put on loop on CNN or FOX NEWS. When the terrorist is a white male, it is the societies fault. The society has failed them. Moreover, the media and pundits do something else, that I think is the most absurd. In a weird way they excuse white male terrorists actions. They focus on their school record. Remember the Aurora shooter. They replay sound clips from neighbors and acquaintances about how they are surprised and shocked that this white kid did this.
Mental Health is a real national health emergency and should not be used as a scapegoat to justify white supremacy terrorism.
A favorite talking point after these mass shootings is talk about mental health. Ironically it is the only time that Republicans want to talk about mental health. They have no problem cutting programs that combat mental health issues among veterans, children of trauma, domestic abuse victims, or those living with and fighting drug and alcohol addiction. The only time the Republicans care about mental illness is when they have to justify mass murderers as prescribed by their overlords at the NRA and weapons manufacturers.
Looking beyond the hypocrisy of the right, the whole argument that these mass shooters are mentally ill is a farce. Only a small fraction (less than 25%) of these mass murderers have ever been diagnosed with mental illness. And according to a 2016 study published by the American Psychiatric Association, “mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides.” Nothing in the El Paso shooter manifesto indicated any signs of mental illness. What it did highlight was a common trope about about “otherness” and the conspiracy theory of “The Great Replacement.”