America has once again been devastated by another mass shooting—the El Paso shooting.. The shooting took place in El Paso, Texas, where 22 were killed and 24 were injured by a twenty-one year old white man. This is one of America’s deadliest modern mass shootings in the history and the 239th shooting of 2019 in the US.
The shooting took place in a local Walmart in El Paso, a city right on the border between Mexico and the States. The identified culprit, Patrick Crusius, killed innocent civilians with an AK-47 assault rifle and later testified to authorities that he entered the store with explicit intent to target Hispanic people. Crusius allegedly posted a white nationalist manifesto online shortly after the attack and admitted that his inspiration for the attack was by the gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March.
Such white supremist terrorism seemed to be fuled by the online community where zealous converts of radical nationalism find inspiration among each other to plan attacks such as the El Paso shooting. However, the government did not wield much power to be able to control or shutdown such platforms that spur violent acts because of the 1st amendment rule that boasts some of the most free-speech protections in the world. In the absence of government intervention, such platforms “serve as round-the-clock white supremacist rallies”, as the Anti-Defamation League wrote in April. With such racial crimes bound to continue, people are increasingly wary of their safety. They no longer feel safe in a place where they call home, and no longer safe to live with the color of their skin.
Gun attacks are so ubiquitous in the United States that many aren’t even reported. For instance, a former graduate of KIS, currently at Berkeley University, told me that three students were shot dead on campus this year, but such a tragedy is so common that it didn’t even make it to the local news.
Just this year, there have already been 297 mass shootings in the US—335 people brutally murdered. How many more lives must be sacrificed until the government finally acts upon the desperate cries of citizens begging for safety? Although it is difficult to fully comprehend the political and legal complications regarding gun regulation laws, we stand here today hoping that the government will be able to work past such obstacles to ensure the safety of their citizens.
-Sophie Yang (’21)