By CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid
Carnage has again struck America with the worst mass shooting in Texan history taking place at a church in Sutherland Springs leaving 26 human souls dead. 8 persons were killed last week in New York city due to an attack in which a pickup truck was used to mow down pedestrians. A little over a month ago in the worst mass shooting in American history, over 500 persons were injured including 58 fatalities at a concert in Las Vegas. These tragic events have left family members grieving and those in close proximity shaken. The differing responses from President Trump and several law makers and political analysts in addressing these tragedies have been radically different in which I believe is influenced by an ongoing cultural war in our nation which needs to be resolved through our collective voice.
After the Las Vegas massacre, President Trump spoke to the nation in a subdued tone and later referred to the killer as “a sick man, a demented man.” These statements were made prior to there being a thorough investigation of the perpetrator and assessing possible motives. When it came to the New York attack, the alleged offender who is a Muslim immigrant from a former Soviet controlled state was called an animal. From there, Mr. Trump called for ending the diversity visa lottery program due to this one attacker before a robust investigation or even checking to see if there has been even a remote pattern of legal residents who entered on such visas being connected to violent extremist acts. With the latest attack in rural Texas, the president chalked up the motive of the killer as being mental illness and that guns are not the problem.
It is very apparent that when it comes to acts of mass violence and intimidation at home, the president is quick to dismiss white male killers as mentally ill lone wolves while when it comes to men of color, especially Muslims, the perpetrators are immediately all sane and are either terrorists or thugs. Whereas Mr. Trump did not urgently call for increase in funding for spotting the mentally ill to get them needed assistance and to keep guns, especially assault rifles, out of their hands, when white males who are not Muslims commit mass bloodshed, there is hyperbolic speech and calls to extreme nativist policy changes when a Muslim or immigrant is involved.
Such rhetoric is not making us any safer, but it is fueling the worst sentiments within our country. Such talk is devouring us from within, the us verse them mind state, much of it being those who are white on the Right that subscribed to white normalcy when it comes to Americanness against those who are not nor subscribe to such.
Newsflash folks: The vast majority of homicides in America involving 3 or less fatalities and acts of mass violence are committed by Americans who are not Muslims. Furthermore, immigrants are not committing a disproportionate percentage of crime in our nation. If we sincerely wish to see America become a safer place, dealing with the root causes and symptoms of mass violence needs to be appropriately addressed using sound empirical data. Restricting immigration, mass monitoring of Muslims and calling to build a wall at the U.S. – Mexican border are not solutions. These just merely fuel the ongoing cultural war and paint groups of people as existential threats who are worthy of reprisal.
What we need in these troubling times is more sober thinking and speech. We absolutely need to focus our resources on investigating real threats to the homeland. We definitely require better mental health
services and safeguards to keep firearms especially ones with high capacity clips out of the hands of the mental ill. Our nation also desperately needs citizens of conviction to call upon our elected officials, the Commander-in-chief particularly, to be more responsible with their words and their directives. Without that, we will eventually implode from within, not overtaken by outside adversaries.