“We live in a country where the mass shooting that took place in El Paso, Texas is not the top story because there was another mass shooting overnight in Dayton, Ohio.”
Within 13 hours in two U.S. cities, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. at least 29 people were killed in mass shootings on Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4.
Police in Dayton, Ohio were gathering information on Sunday morning about a shooting that took place in the city’s downtown Oregon neighborhood at about 1:00am. Nine people were killed by a gunman who used what one eyewitness described as an assault rifle and wore body armor, and at least 16 were injured.
In Washington, D.C. just a few hours before the shooting, hundreds of protesters representing the national gun control group Moms Demand Action marched from the White House to the Capitol to demand legislative action following Saturday morning’s shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
A number of observers on social media expressed grief over the two shootings taking place within a day of one another. Investigators on Sunday were examining an anti-immigration “manifesto” posted online by a 21-year-old gunman who opened fire in El Paso late Saturday morning, killing at least 20 people and injuring 26.
“If reports are true, this senseless attack cannot be separated from the escalating politics of hate and fear,” said Ernest Coverson, head of Amnesty International USA’s gun control campaign. “This is simply unacceptable. Everyone has the human right to live in safety, whether they are going to the mall or walking down the street in their neighborhood.”
The shooter fired multiple rounds with an AK-47-style rifle, walking through the store and shooting shoppers aisle-by-aisle.
The manifesto was posted on the online forum 8chan less than 20 minutes before the first 911 call was made about the shooting, according to the New York Times. The forum was the same one on which the gunman in the March mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand posted his own statement about his intent to kill Muslims and immigrants, shortly before he killed 51 people at two mosques.
The El Paso shooter expressed support for the Christchurch gunman and reportedly said his own goal was to stop the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” with the shooting in the largely Latino border city.
The man lived outside Dallas and made the nine-hour trip because he believed “the heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democrat stronghold,” according to the statement. He expressed support for the white supremacist theory of “the great replacement” which argues that so-called “elites” are attempting to replace white Europeans with immigrants from the Middle East and Africa.
“This is about hate,” Representative Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said in a statement. “The manifesto narrative is fueled by hate, and it is fueled by racism and bigotry and division.”
On social media, just as many have vehemently rejected the “thoughts and prayers” of politicians who accept thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the NRA and refuse to fight for broadly-popular gun control reforms, some critics directed ire at another perennial post-shooting sentiment, expressed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hours after the El Paso shooting—that better mental healthcare is the answer to the United States’ epidemic of gun violence.
The causes of the shooting in El Paso, many said, were the shooter’s easy access to guns and the growth of the white supremacist viewpoints he allegedly subscribed to—as well as support for such views by President Donald Trump and other elected officials.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke gave a passionate response on August 4, when asked by a CNN reporter what Trump could do to stop mass shootings.
“What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying,” the former Texas congressman told reporters in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were killed on Saturday. “He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f—? It’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country. So you know, I just — I don’t know what kind of question that is.” – Beto O’Rourke