Every time there is a mass shooting in America, I simultaneously feel despair for the numbers of victims who have been killed or injured and guilt over worrying whether the shooter is a person of color or of a different religion than Christian. This country is famous for demanding answers from every group except for straight white men. If the shooter is Muslim, then the person is “radicalized” whether the person has any ties to any terrorist movement. It it’s a black person, then he is either a gang-related or the person is part of some fringe anti-white group. Again, it matters little if said black or brown person actually WAS in a gang, or if he was in whatever organization that people have deemed “fringe”. The important thing is that the narrative is perpetuated. In all cases, a “representative” of the group MUST come forward and answer for the crimes of the person who they most likely never knew. This is the way of the news cycle.
In Las Vegas, it turns out that the shooter passed the “active shooter” brown paper bag test, so that entails a whole new narrative. Despite early bullshit reports that the assailant was an ISIS recruit, it turns out he’s as WASPy as WASPs can be. NOW the killer is a “lone wolf”, motives still pending, but you’d best believe that he will be accused of being part of either side of the political spectrum by the opposing side. He’ll be associated with some sort of mental disorder, and his upbringing will be depicted as pristine and saccharine as can be, and since he’s dead we “just don’t know” what could have gone wrong. There are so many of these “lone wolves”. If only there were a term for a group of wolves…a word in which you could PACK all of these white assailants with extremely similar personality traits with excessive fragile toxic masculinity who must unleash their angst physically on on other people…
Either way, it will be “too soon” to talk about gun regulation. It will be “too soon” to discuss all of the gun related violence, and any attempt to so much as allow the CDC to do research on the effects of gun violence or simply study the safe practices of gun owners will be demonized as an attack on personal liberties and an insidious attempt to take legal firearms from American citizens. The NRA may make another terrorist-style propaganda video where they depict anyone who doesn’t like them, so non-violent protesters, victims of gun violence, living relatives of victims, political opponents, and black and brown people, as gun grabbing monsters who need to be shot.
In a few weeks, this will die down, and we will go about our business bringing up inconsequential data points, and eventually, we’ll move on to other pressing issues, ad infinitum, until the next mass murderer shoots up another public place, and then we well do this all over again: Brown paper bag test, narrative based on test results, “too soon”, dog whistle terrorist NRA statement, lull to zero state until the next shooter.
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