Je Suis El Paso Author: BobRDate:2019-08-08 12:00:00
Last night we watched a movie about the band Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the Bataclan in Paris that horrible evening when terrorists murdered over 100 people throughout the city. The main thrust of the movie was about how the band got to the point of being there and their inter-relationships, how they managed to survive that evening when 82 people in the theater didn't, and how they and some of the audience members coped with the emotional aftermath.
I remember well the outpouring of love and support that flowed to Paris and France, from us and the rest of the world. "Je Suis Paris" was plastered on t-shirts and posters and facebook pages. It seems so long ago, those feelings of shock and horror, anger and resilience, unity and brotherhood. It was terrorism, and everyone called it that.
Last week we had 3 mass shootings here in the U.S. There was no "other" committing these horrific murders. These were committed by white men (ostensibly Christian, but who knows or really cares?). They were just the most recent in a string of deadly attacks on U.S. soil by fellow citizens with a common thread weaving them all together: white supremacy. It begs the question: why is the reaction so different?
Why do Americans have such a hard time calling it what it is: terrorism? Why does it matter that these hate-fueled rampages are committed by white people instead of brown people? If the question makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it's time for a little soul-searching.
Why is the first reaction among a small subset of gun enthusiasts to proclaim that more weapons are the answer, and they will shoot anyone who tries to take their guns away? Why is THAT the first reaction? Where is the humanity?
Why is this not being treated as a national security issue, with any and all white supremacy groups being labeled as terrorist cells? If they were Islamist cells, you can bet they'd be living on borrowed time.
Another attempt to divert from the real cause of the problem is to proclaim the terrorists are mentally ill. There are mentally ill people all over the planet, but only here in the U.S. do they commit mass murder with readily available firepower. This also places a stigma on the mentally ill, in a country where getting treatment is not guaranteed by a national or single-payer health system.
Why are video games and bad parenting being blamed, when video games are available worldwide? The implication is that parents in every other country are better than those here. How does that fit into the contradictory mindset that the U.S. is #1? USA! USA! USA!
White Supremacy combined with lethal firepower is a disaster waiting to happen. Oh wait - they already DO happen, and all too frequently. We deserve better. We deserve action. The ghosts of El Paso and Dayton and Gilroy, and all those before them whose lives were stolen by blind hatred demand action.
Je Suis Gilroy Je Suis El Paso Je Suis Dayton Je Suis... those yet to fall