Mass shootings echo rising white nationalism in US

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/4 20:12:30

A mass shooting on Saturday in El Paso, Texas killed at least 20 and injured 26 others, according to local officials speaking at a press conference. This is the third US mass shooting within one week. 

According to nonprofit research group the Gun Violence Archive, 33,028 gun incidents have happened in the US so far in 2019 and 8,732 people have lost their lives. This is worse than a war. Some 4,416 US soldiers were killed in Iraq war from 2003 to 2011, and the number of people who died from shooting in the first eight months of 2019 is twice this figure. 

What kind of deep-seated hatred has made these shooters resort to guns? Why do mass shootings rarely happen in Switzerland, a country in which almost every family has a gun? This is because some US people have not only guns, but also deep hatred.

Reports have been spreading that the El Paso shooter posted a white supremacist manifesto inspired by the one written by the shooter of New Zealand's Christchurch terrorist attack taking place in March. However, this remains to be confirmed by the US police as of press time.

A hate crime is motivated by prejudice, and the victim is targeted because of their social group or race. Many US states have their hate crime laws. However, the number of hate crimes has increased in the US in recent years. This shows that US social conflicts are rising and the problem of racial discrimination is especially serious. The El Paso shooting has worsened fears of the increasing white supremacist threat in the North American country. 

More importantly, although US President Donald Trump called the El Paso shooting a "hateful act" on Twitter, he has not yet recognized the seriousness of the white supremacist problem. What's worse, white nationalism is deeply rooted in Trump's mind. This can be seen from his attitude toward immigration, his insistence on building a border wall and his racist tweets. Instead of resolving the problem, he is even inciting white American people's hatred.

Hundreds of people, some holding signs reading "Coward Congress," gathered in Washington to protest for stricter gun control after the El Paso shooting. The US urgently needs gun control as the US society makes more people feel insecure. But simply controlling guns does not help control the hatred growing within the US society. If the shooters' hatred is not eliminated, they can still use other weapons to vent their anger on innocent people. 

A society is abnormal if it is full of hate crimes. How can a country be great again if lonely haters are everywhere? The US trouble does not come from outside, but from within. Washington should not use external issues to cover up its internal problems. The 2020 US presidential election is coming and the candidates all voice their own views. But no matter who is elected, he or she needs to face squarely the increasing hate crimes in the country. This is the most serious problem the US president has to face.

How can Chinese people forecast Washington's next step? We pay attention to whether the US can bridge the huge social divide and whether hate crimes can be successfully controlled in the country.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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