Another weekend and another spate of terrorist shootings in America carried out by young men motivated by hatred toward people who are ostensibly different to them, to such an extent that they are willing to kill people in mass shootings.
In the rush to come to an understanding as to why these events routinely occur, it would be foolish to ignore the facts. Hate crimes have more than doubled in counties where US President Donald Trump has held election rallies. Since 2011, approximately one in three white supremacists involved in terrorism incidents has praised previous perpetrators of similar attacks.
Much has been said about the lack of any real remorse on the part of the US president who has been quick to blame mental health issues, media reporting and online gaming as the primary reasons behind the two horrific attacks in El Paso and Dayton on August 3 and 4, respectively. The fact of the matter is that Trump used racism as a way in which to garner support to become president. He has maintained his racist ideas since his 2017 inauguration, and he continues to perpetuate intolerance and bigotry toward people of color, specifically in the US, as he prepares to run again for 2020.
In 2019, there have been more than 250 mass shootings in the US, according to Gun Violence Archive. This is a startling figure. However, it is important to lay out the complexities concerning these kinds of events. Somewhat unsurprisingly, two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the US are in the form of suicide. What is also interesting, and this is related to Islamist violence too, is that the perpetrators have a history of violence toward women within the home.
All of this reveals that these young men are indeed products of society, but society has not necessarily disdained men at the expense of promoting feminism or minorities. In America, joint-income households and diversity, although largely from a perspective of the dominant in relation to the historically dominated, has always been the case. A great deal of fluidity in relation to gender, race and ethnicity characterizes American society as a melting pot. But it is the cultural politics of today that is at the heart of the malaise.
Young men feeling the pressures of globalization and localization are able to find the inspirational examples of other men leading not just for men but for all. With issues relating to a crisis of masculinity among young men whose futures are uncertain and insecure, deregulated gun laws in the US make it far too simple for the angry young man to vent his fury in the form of these kinds of atrocities.
Something rather disturbing is happening in British and American society that has created the conditions for gross ineptitude, inward-looking rhetoric and the sheer irresponsibility associated with braggadocio that seals the fate of these societies. While it would satisfy the soul to criticize how these dim-witted elites continue to fail the rest of society, it is not enough. For many people continue to die in vain, and often violently.
The cause behind this is multifaceted, but what is clear is that US gun laws — and understanding that there is a sense of white supremacism and a deeply-held perception in relation to loss of privilege — combined with structural realities of education and job insecurity, renders these young men pliable and vulnerable at the hands of external, ideological influences. Some of which, in an ironic twist, comes out of the mouths of these very same political elites and their close supporters. However, no amount of social and legal reform can extinguish the fires created by demagogues whose insouciance causes endless misery and pain to others.
*[A version of this article was cross-posted on the author’s blog.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.