From the “Land of the free” to the land of “Thoughts and prayers”

By editorial cartoonist Michael Edward "Mike" Luckovich

From journalists like Aaron Rupar from Vox, to politicians such as Julian Castro former San Antonio mayor and U.S. housing secretary, Beto O’Rourke from Texas or New Jersey senator Cory Booker as well as millions of Americans, point their finger at Trump´s divisive rhetoric, Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says President Donald Trump, was not to blame for shootings like those in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 29 people dead this weekend.

However, at campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, Donald Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

A controversial clip from a May rally in Florida of U.S. President Trump “musing about shooting undocumented migrants” resurfaced on social media in the wake of two mass shootings on Saturday in Texas and Ohio.

In the video, Trump responds to a supporter at the rally yelling that U.S. Border Patrol should “shoot” migrants at the border with a smile and then cracks a joke. The exchange has found new relevance as the shooter in El Paso, Texas aimed to “kill as many hispanics as possible” and was motivated by a white supremacist worldview.

“Don’t forget: We don’t let them, and we can’t let them, use weapons. We can’t,” Trump said. “Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”

“Shoot them!” yelled a supporter in the crowd. Trump responded with a joke, “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with this stuff,” Trump said referring to Florida’s Panhandle. “Only in the Panhandle.”

Nine months after Trump repeatedly warned against “America being under attack by immigrants” a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

We come to realize a pattern amongst the shooters… they are white males, with a lot of rancor. In this very specific case, the suspect who allegedly killed 20 people at a Walmart in El Paso appeared to have been motivated by beliefs very similar to those you hear at Trump´s rallies and that “very fine people” like the ones from Charlottesville, Va.

The Manifesto.
Shortly before a gunman opened fire outside a Walmart in El Paso, killing and injuring dozens of people more, a manifesto believed to be linked to him was posted online. It railed against a “Hispanic invasion” and laid out a plan to divide the United States into territories based on race.

Authorities believe 21-year-old Patrick Crusius wrote the document, though they are still gathering evidence.

It begins by praising the manifesto of the gunman who killed 51 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year. That specific document cited a white supremacist theory known as “The Great Replacement”, which hypothesizes about a secret group of elites working to destroy the white race by replacing them with immigrants and refugees.

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” Patrick Crusius manifesto says.

The document has a brief introduction and 2,300 words, divided into five sections:

  1. Political reasons for the attack,
  2. Economic reasons
  3. Equipment that will be used to carry out the shooting
  4. Expected reaction to the attack
  5. Personal reasons and thoughts.” Titled “The Inconvenient Truth,”

The document is a diatribe of circumstances and ideologies. In it, the author warns about “the dangers of environmental degradation”, “corporate influence in the government” and warns against “interracial marriage”.

A woman places an offering at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting Saturday at a Walmart in El Paso. CARLOS MORALES / MARFA PUBLIC RADIO

Citing “political reasons,” the manifesto attacks both Democrats and Republicans, suggesting the United States will soon become a one-party state run by Democrats because of the growing Hispanic population, the death of the baby-boom generation and the “anti-immigrant rhetoric of the right.” The author postulates that the growing Hispanic population in the US and Texas will soon make it a solidly Democratic state, which he argues would all but assure repeated Democratic presidential victories.

“The Democrat party will own America and they know it. They have already begun the transition by pandering heavily to the Hispanic voting bloc in the 1st Democratic Debate,” the manifesto says.

The document also repeatedly rails against corporations, which the author says “have taken over the government”. The author criticizes Republicans for favoring corporations, but argues that “at least with Republicans, the process of mass immigration and citizenship can be greatly reduced.”

The author also argues that while immigrants often take unskilled jobs Americans are unwilling to perform, their children seek better opportunities and often receive college degrees that allow them to obtain high-skill positions and once again, the document blames corporations for “advocating for work visas for skilled workers and says they rely on immigrants to fill low-skilled positions”.

The manifesto notes that many migrants return to their home countries to reunite with family, arguing that “the Hispanic population is willing to return to their home countries if given the right incentive. An incentive that myself and many other patriotic Americans will provide”. The author writes that such attacks will “remove the threat of the Hispanic voting bloc.”

In the “personal reasons and thoughts” section, the writer explains that he has spent his life preparing for a future that does not and will not exist, though does not specify what that future would be. He ends on an anti-immigrant rant, worrying that Hispanics will take over the Texas government, and says the Founding Fathers have given him the rights — presumably referring to the right to bear arms — to save the country from destruction.

“Our European comrades don’t have the gun rights needed to repel the millions of invaders that plaque [sic] their country. They have no choice but to sit by and watch their countries burn,” the manifesto says.

The manifesto ends by decrying interracial couples and proposes separating the United States into territories based on race and stressing he has maintained his white supremacist ideology for many years, predating Trump and his 2016 campaign… yet his words are an echo of Trump’s language.

The United States has stopped being the “land of the free” to become the land of the “Thoughts and prayers”. Our deepest condolences to the friends and familes of the victims in this tragic moment. 

 

José E. Urioste
The Yucatan Times
Newsroom



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