Can we blame Elizabeth Warren, socialism, anime, or the Devil, for Connor Betts’s massacre? No.
What about Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer? There was nothing political in his madness. He was autistic — but millions of people are, and they don’t kill other people. Like El Paso killer Patrick Crusius, he was a child of divorce, but so are tens of millions of others, who never lift a finger to hurt other people.
These guys were all white. You know which mass killer wasn’t white?
Seung-hui Cho, the Virginia Tech mass killer from 2007.
Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter. Mateen swore allegiance to ISIS just before he went on his rampage. It’s the fault of Islamic radicalism, then. Right? Probably not: it emerged that Mateen had been an awkward loner with a violent temper, and would toggle between fits of Islamic piety and drinking booze. He was divorced, and evidence emerged that he might have been struggling with his own homosexuality.
Micah Xavier Johnson, who in 2016 ambushed and slaughtered five police officers in Dallas. He was black, and explicitly said he wanted to kill white people in revenge for police killings of blacks. Also in 2016, Gavin Eugene Long, also a black man, ambushed and killed police officers in Baton Rouge, as a political protest.
My point is that people love to take these horrible events as validating the political narrative they prefer, but these narratives can keep us from understanding what really happened.
I remember when the Pulse shooting happened, because it was a gay nightclub, some gay rights groups, media outlets, and other liberals blamed homophobia. The New York Times published an editorial blaming Republicans’ “prejudice,” and Slate blamed conservative Christians. And then we learned that the killer had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Lots of people today are eager to blame Donald Trump for El Paso. I think Trump’s rhetoric does nothing to tamp down these passions, at the very least, and he ought to have the decency and intelligence to recognize that as president, he has a responsibility to speak with wisdom and balance. That said, it’s simply too convenient to blame Trump for things like this. Patrick Crusius, the El Paso shooter, was a Trump fan (according to his social media), but he was also, according to those who knew him, an extreme loner who had a bad temper, and had grown up in a divorced family with a father who was a drug and alcohol addict for 40 years.
It could be that Crusius, like Omar Mateen, seized a violent ideology that gave him an excuse for acting out the violence in his heart over the fact that he was a failure. We don’t know yet. We’ll know more in the trial. Don’t forget the incel mass killers, who slaughtered people as a form of revenge on women who wouldn’t sleep with them. Those wicked men aren’t driven by Donald Trump. They are driven by rage, and their own failure and impotence.
And look, if you’re determined to kill people, you don’t need a gun. The Toronto incel mass murderer ran down people with his van (a technique that Islamists in France have used.)
I asked a Jewish friend for a response to the latest killer manifesto. He responded:
As is typical, the reporting on the manifesto runs from the left where anything which might exculpate Trump is skipped, to the right where everything that doesn’t exculpate Trump is minimized. Others dismiss the manifesto as incoherent. To some observers it is just evidence that among a certain class of shut in young man who spends his days playing video games, this is just viewed as another extension of gaming to see how many big a body count can be produced.
From the author’s perspective and those sympathetic to him is makes sense, although it doesn’t really hang together. The Manifesto condemns corporations who put profits ahead of promoting policies that have hollowed out industrial America for the benefit of illegal immigrants, and have also spoiled the environment. He holds both political parties responsible and explains he held these views before Trump was elected.
Its pretty clear he models himself after Tarrant and Brevik, although Brevik slaughtered innocents to try to spark a political movement and Tarrant targeted Muslims specifically to scare them out of New Zealand. I suppose Crucius might have thought that by killing Latinos in a WalMart that might make Latinos fear that they are never safe and move back to Mexico. I do think this was a political statement and not a statement about white supremacy. I do think it was a cry from the heart expressing nostalgia for an America he never knew that can never be resurrected. He sees himself as the heir to western civilization, and now he is being told that Western civilization is worthless. In the meantime he wants to lash out at them. Them being the despoilers of the country, both in its natural state and in its general philosophy, , the elites of both parties, the enablers of illegal immigration. Crucius is making a statement. It is a big fuck you to the enablers of illegal immigration, to those who are destroying western civilization and seeing Hispanics as the unwitting foot soldiers for these “elites” he is killing them as well.
Instead of paying attention and evaluating whether they have any culpability. their tactic is to diminish Crucius although they are sending two different messages. The first message is he is a nut. The second is that he is part of this mass movement of white supremacists.