A man walks into a grocery store, shoots and kills two Black shoppers, telling a witness “whites don’t shoot whites”. Days later, another man enters a synagogue, opening fire and cutting short the life of eleven people in the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. All the while, a manhunt is underway for a radical-right-winger who is mailing explosive devices to former presidents, current elected officials and other critics of President Donald Trump.
Last week, these staggering hate-crimes were committed in short succession, rocking the United States.
I want to say it’s unfathomable that in 2018, a place of worship could be targeted and massacred with nearly a dozen people murdered, simply for being Jewish, but the depressing truth is that the hate-filled climate we are currently living in means we cannot play shocked by these types of tragedies.
Still, my eyes welled up and I felt a pit in my stomach during a team call, as we discussed how the victims of the shooting, who ranged in age from 50’s to nearly 100, had been around during the time the holocaust was taking place.
The man who committed this hate-filled massacre, left an online trail of hateful, anti-semitic, anti-immigrant posts, including comments linking Jews to the ‘migrant caravan’ and calling refugees “invaders.”
In the case of the double-slaying of two African-Americans at a Kroger grocery store, a 51-year-old male has been indicted by a grand jury in Louisville on two counts of murder. According to police, he tried and failed to enter a historically black church just prior to heading to the grocery store, where he allegedly told white a white bystander he wouldn’t shoot him, instead seeking out Black victims.
Finally, a right-wing extremist and Trump supporter is facing nearly 50 years in prison after mailing 13 homemade explosive devices to various targets, including the Obama’s and Clinton’s. With his vehicle plastered with pro-Trump, anti-media propaganda and a social media presence filled with the hateful rhetoric peddled by your president, it’s pretty clear how he was radicalized.
Each of these events is heartbreaking, but perhaps most depressing is the thought that this could become the new normal. Usually, between tragedies like these, there was at least some pretense of a period of grieving from all sides, and especially a “consoler-in-chief”. However, in this instance, president Trump was apparently only able to fake sympathy for a few hours, before saying f*ck it and continuing his attacks on the press, his critics, and immigrants. He has shown no desire to unify the country, going as far as to say that he could even “tone up” his rhetoric rather than holding back.
Just days after bombs were mailed to CNN by one of his followers, Trump continued to ratchet up his attacks on the press, not only once again dubbing them the enemy of the people, but placing the blame for the country’s division on their reporting.
There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
While those who have committed these recent evil actions are to blame, it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to deny that the current political strategy of President Trump and the right, tripling-down on race-based fear-mongering, embracing “nationalism” and attacking critics, is fostering an environment where hate thrives.
While Trump continues to refer to these types of attacks as one-off actions of “deranged” individuals, refusing to call out a pattern of domestic terrorism, as hate crimes continue to rise, it is clear that bigots feel emboldened in the current political environment.
Here’s to hoping love prevails…