Considered to be one of the nation’s safest cities, Texas has been in mourning over the recent mass shooting when a gunman opened fire in the heart of one of the most popular shopping areas. This shocking incident was a targeted hate crime attack on the Hispanics of Texas, with a total of 6 Mexican Nationals murdered. Was this the result of Donald Trump’s rhetoric on anti-immigration which has inspired this not just one but two mass murders in the space of 13 hours?
Shooter’s Manifesto Influenced by Trump
Published on an online messaging board of 8chan 20 minutes before the shooting, Patrick Crusius had written a manifesto filled with racial hatred towards immigrants and Hispanics, blaming immigrants for “taking away their jobs and blending the cultures in the US.” This is implicative of a targeted hate crime which many believe is fuelled by the ideologies displayed by Trump to ‘Make America Great Again.’
This is no longer a slogan but a symbol of rebellion since the beginning of Trump’s presidency. A powerful statement used in many previous campaigns by former President Ronald Reagan, this has now turned into a movement for a white supremacist future. This has created a culture of fear as Trump promises to restore America to its ‘former glory.’ Former Attorney General Eric Holder commented sarcastically that this ‘former glory’ “certainly it was not when people enslaved… not when segregation was the law of the land… not when women were disenfranchised… not when the LGBT community was routinely stigmatised.” But is it?
With the 2020 re-election campaign looming, Trump has been doubling down on his theme of partition through race as well as his increase in promotion of anti-immigration. Rooted in racism, Trump’s years of presidency is built on anti-immigrant and anti-Latino campaigns where he disparaged Mexicans as “rapists and drug smugglers.” Last October, as many migrants of Central America sought asylum from their own homes in America, Trump tweeted “go back, you will not be admitted into the United States… this is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for you!”
Effect of Far-Right Extremism on the US Community Today
The growing fear of far-right extremism has spilled over from the internet into the real world. The first instance was seen in Charlottesville of a white nationalist march through the University of Virginia campus. Considered as one of the largest gatherings in the United States as it drew hundreds of neo-Nazis, nationalists as well as Ku Klux Klan members. This was a “Unite the Right” rally organised by Richard Spencer on the 12th August 2017 which was directed against African-Americans and Jews, promoting racism, anti-Semitism and violence. This Alt-Right ideological stance is seen dated back to 2015 since the traumatic massacre led by a white supremacist against 9 African-Americans in Charleston. Trump himself is massively supported by Alt-Right extremists, where his campaign is targeted specifically against minorities. Which brings into question is Trump leading the country back to its historical legacy of slavery, racism and segregation?
Due to the rise of the mainstreaming far-right rhetoric across the United States, fuelled by the election of Trump and his legitimising of an anti-immigration and white supremacist rhetoric, it actually comes as very little surprise that he has been the inspiration to such violence. His lack of sympathy and care for the victims of the shooting can be seen through his response to the publics’ outrage. His refusal to take liability is evidential to his goal for a white supremacist country. These ideas are heavily reflected within the shooter’s manifesto, where he feared that an influential Hispanic population within Texas would increase the likelihood of making the American state a Democratic stronghold.
But why is the Hispanic and Latino community being specifically targeted? This is because of the white supremacist ideology which began in online forums and is now manifesting itself into violent actions.
It is very upsetting to hear that not just one, but two mass shootings took place in the space of 13 hours becoming the ‘norm’ in American society. Similarly to the easy access to knives in the UK, the mass ownership of guns and access to guns in the US is worrying and is something that should be tackled by the US government.
At JAN Trust we have constantly spoken out against extremism, especially the threat of far-right extremism. In the UK, since the EU referendum, hate crimes and extremist sentiment have been on the rise. In the US, this hatred and division in society has been exacerbated by President Trump. As Donald Trump has said, online forums such as 8chan need to be regulated in order to monitor conversations that may lead to harming others.
At JAN Trust we have dedicated time and effort in attempting to prevent extremism with our Web Guardians™ programme. JAN Trust aims to protect society from extremist views by educating mothers on the dangers of extremism online and empowering them with the skills to keep their children safe online. JAN Trust has also collaborated with schools through SAFE that work on far-right extremism and highlight the current threats it poses.