We Have a Gun Problem, and We Have a White Supremacist Terrorism Problem

Another horrific mass shooting took place on Saturday, this one at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. At least 20 are dead, their lives brutally and needlessly cut short by an angry young man with a military-style assault weapon that has no business in civilian hands.

This massacre follows on another mass shooting just a few days earlier in Gilroy, California, by another angry young man with a military-style assault rifle, who killed 3 and injured 12.

In both cases, there appears to be a connection to white supremacist viewpoints, although authorities have yet to confirm. While the FBI has been careful to state that it cannot confirm a connection to any particular ideology for the Gilroy shooter, hardcore white supremacist materials were found in the shooter’s home and on his Instagram account.

Meanwhile, reports are spreading like wildfire that the El Paso shooter had a white supremacist manifesto similar to one the shooter released before he opened fire on the Christchurch in New Zealand. So far, there is no confirmation from police or major media sources of its authenticity.

Even if these reports are overblown—and there’s little reason to believe they are—they come in the context of rising white supremacist terrorist violence in America and worldwide. By far ,the most acts of terrorism, and the deadliest, in America are committed by white supremacists, according to FBI data. This reality, in conjunction with a culture in in certain parts of the country that refuses to take weapons of mass violence off the streets, is quickly becoming a national crisis. Activists and politicians are increasingly receiving death threats from white nationalists, and regular people are afraid to leave their homes and enjoy congregating in public spaces.

We have a gun problem. We have a white supremacy problem. They are increasingly intertwined. We need to respond to each of them legislatively and culturally, without fear or intimidation.

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David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.