And now we must add #ElPaso and #Dayton to the list. And now, once again, we begin a school year in the shadow of domestic terrorism.

First published in August 2019.

And, of course, once again, we have leaders who blame anything and everything in an attempt to deny the danger of white supremacy and white nationalism because, well, we must be honest here, those movements are a key part of their electoral coalition.

To those who deny that this is “really” terrorism, I ask you to look into the faces of parents and children as they begin school this month. I know that I cannot forget the faces of kids around #Charlottesville on the first day of school after August 12, 2017. I ask you to see Latinos and Latinas today as they shop at your local Walmart. I ask you to look at every police officer on the street this week. “Terrorism” is defined by its attempt to terrorize, and America has been terrorized by white male right-wing terrorists long enough.

Vigil for Shooting Victims, Dayton. / Flickr - Becker1999

For those who ask, “but what can we do?” I could share the rather long list of dramatic changes made in the wake of 9/11. Armored cockpit doors on planes, complex and intrusive searches and scans at every airport, the Patriot” Act, soldiers and police with rifles at some New York City transit hubs, limits on what you can even do at a bank. Then there’s Guantanamo.

“Airport checkpoint screening has been significantly tightened since 2001, and security personnel are more thoroughly trained to detect weapons or explosives. In addition to standard metal detectors, many U.S. airports now employ full-body scanning machines, in which passengers are screened with millimeter wave technology to check for potential hidden weapons or explosives on their persons. Initially, early body scanners provoked quite a bit of controversy because the images produced by the machines were deemed graphic and intrusive. Many considered this an invasion of personal privacy, as TSA screeners were essentially shown an image of each passenger’s naked body. Newer body scanners have since been introduced which do not produce an image, but rather alert TSA screeners of areas on the body where an unknown item or substance may be hidden. A TSA security screener then inspects the indicated area(s) manually.”
(Learner Outcome, TSWBAT analyze the lasting effects of the 9/11 terrorist.)

But most especially for those who argue that the weapons involved are not the problem, I want to point out that the shooter in Dayton fired for 32 seconds. In that time he killed nine and wounded over two dozen.

The only thing that made that possible was his weapon.

In El Paso the shooter fired for perhaps four minutes and killed 20 while wounding two dozen.

The only thing that made that possible was his weapon.

“The DA states that Texas is an open carry state. Shooter was operating 100% legally by carrying the weapon into the store until he open fired.”

As in Las Vegas. As in Orlando. As at Sandy Hook. As at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. As everywhere this has gone on and on…

The only things that made these massacres possible were the weapons.

Listen, I know about guns. I used to carry one pretty much 24/7 as part of my job. I have even done police work where I didn’t carry a gun, so I think I know something about fear, as well. And, OK, I suppose if I work at it, I may understand hunting.

But none of the weapons used in these terrorist incidents are for personal protection or hunting. Any firearm capable of firing more than two shots without manual reloading has only one purpose… to kill humans. Sadly that’s necessary for cops and the military, but machines for murder have no place in civilian hands.

Vigil for Shooting Victims, Dayton. / Flickr - Becker1999

This is a desperate moment. We have a President who promotes white supremacist/white nationalist violence. We have a whole political party devoted to the profits of the weapons industry.

This is not about mental health. This is not about video games. This is about only two things  —  dangerous white men bent on racist/fascist destruction of this nation (who perhaps should be at Guantanamo) and a nation with weapons of modern war everywhere.

You would be right to be panicked if your neighbor was building pressure cooker bombs (as at Boston), and you should be panicked if anyone in your community owns weapons of mass murder  —  and clearly, those you vote for, for legislatures or Congress, for Governor, for President, must share your alarm and take heroic action.

Trump provides the language, and some take him seriously.

I am horrified that Dayton, Ohio police officers were forced into mortal combat Saturday night because Donald Trump and Mike Dewine are owned by the National Rifle Association. I am horrified that kids across America will be scared to go to Walmart because our President is proud and loud about his racism.

Let’s be very clear, Donald Trump won’t attack this extreme right wing because he needs their votes.

America, it is way past time to do much better. We cannot continue this way. I have lived in fear continuously, I have seen people who live in fear continuously. I have worked with children who live in fear continuously. And that is no way to live.


Share this article now:

Tell us your story:

Have you got a story to share

with our readers?

You can share your experience today

by submitting your story to us:

Tell us your story now!

[This piece was originally published on the PMP Blog and re-published in PMP Magazine on 6 August 2019. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

Creative Commons License
(Cover: Flickr/Becker1999. - Vigil for shooting victims in Dayton after the mass-shooting. | 5 August 2019. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)