Columbine to Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton

I find this an interesting graphical illustration of mass shootings in America since Columbine in 1999. I’m not sure what defines a mass shooting but one definition I read says it is any that involved the death of four or more people.

There are several things illustrated by this graphic, the most blatant being the frequency of shootings and the death count. These truths demand some explanation, why are we increasingly in

danger when we leave our homes and venture into the public? The answers are complex and often controversial but they include:

  • The ever-growing number of semi-automatic weapons and the availability of accessories, such as 100 round magazines and bump stocks that make these weapons even more deadly.
  • The continued ease in which firearms can be obtained. I was stunned to learn that in the Gilroy and El Paso shootings the killer was armed with a military-style semi-automatic rifle he legally procured through the Internet.
  • There is a correlation between the increased violence and the political polarization of the American citizenry. The big bump follows the events of 9/11 and increases with our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars, along with the discord caused by the Arab Spring created an immigration/refugee problem that jump-started the level of xenophobia turmoil in many nations, America included.
  • The almost total collapse of the world’s economy in 2007-08, as economic hard times always do, resulted in anxieties and insecurities that lead to increases in unrest and increased violence.
  • That America elected its first African American president in 2008 became a catalyst for increased violence as the far-right and hate groups used this to stir the racial fears that many Americans have always harbored.
  • For the eight Obama years, the fear mongers never softened in their efforts to further drive a wedge between Americans. Racism creeped out from under its floorboard and the right shined the sunshine of day on it.
  • Look at what happens to the graph beginning around 2015, the year Trump makes his way into presidential politics spewing charges of birtherism, fixed systems, fake news, shit hole people living in shit hole cities and nations, painting all Muslims as extreme jihadists, and at the moment of his presidential announcement, labeling Mexicans (and by default, all Latinos) as being rapists, criminals, and drug dealers.
  • Since Trump took the White House in 2017 his attacks on immigrants, non-Christians, people of color, the mainstream press, and anyone who opposes him have sharply increased. He is using the bully pulpit to further his avowed beliefs in alt-right policies, white supremacy, disregard for Constitutional law, distaste of other nations and other peoples, and American isolation.

A collective consequence of the above is what we’re seeing so frequently in America today. People on the fringe of sanity have been increasingly given license to buy a mail-order weapon and engage in their own war against all Trump has convinced them is the enemy. They may get killed, they may spend life in prison, they may be scorned by most but, in their minds, they just may take solace or comfort in believing they did their patriotic duty as described and prescribed by their president, their fuhrer, their supreme leader.

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