You’re Allowed to Condemn the Ideologies of Both the Dayton & the El Paso Shooter
This article will not include the names of either shooter. Their names can be easily accessed online but this publication will not be responsible for spreading either shooters’ names even further. The shooters names will unfortunately be included in some of the articles I linked throughout as sources for this one. For this article’s purposes they will be referred to the Dayton Gunman and the El Paso Gunman respectively.
Throughout the last few election cycles political polarization has been a major issue. It seems as if more and more people are being pushed to the far right and the far left. Both extremes come with them many dangerous ideas. The far right is typically associated with white nationalism, racial superiority, and racial purity, as well as fascism. The far left has many identitarian leanings but is more commonly associated with anti-fascist rhetoric in which anyone right of Bernie Sanders is a fascist. It becomes very hard at times to tell the difference between both groups as it seems that the further you get to the extreme, the closer the ideologies seem. Both have some aspect of race associated with them. White superiority and white hatred seems to be separate sides on the same coin. The anti-fascists seem to push their ideas through the very same methods that fascists employ. Both extreme ideologies use violence and censorship to attack any even a little bit on the other side.
To an alt-righter, anyone on the Never Trumper wagon is a traitor and spineless and doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Anyone further left than that is a communist who deserves any violence directed at them. To the antifa crowd, any moderate democrat is a nazi sympathizer who has no problem letting white nationalism win.
Both of these groups are toxic to civil political discourse.
Within a day, our nation experienced two tragedies, with their perpetrators on opposite ends of the spectrum. This is not an article looking to recap the tragedies as there are many articles that already seek to do so. This article’s purpose is to expose the violent ideologies of both gunmen and argue that no matter what your political leaning is, it is okay to condemn both.
The purposes of this article can best be summarized using a quote from an opinion piece by James S. Robbins over at the USA Today: “What [the Dayton Gunman] had most had in common with the alleged El Paso shooter was an extremist worldview and callous disregard for human life.”
The El Paso Gunman
One recent report shows that the El Paso Gunman had attempted to recruit a classmate into a local white supremacy group. This was an obvious red flag for both the student and his parents, resulting in them reporting white supremacist activity to both the local police and the FBI. They did not mention the gunman’s name in either report. The local school district confirms that the two students did attend the school at the same time which seems to further validate these claims.
Even if it turns out this report is untrue, the El Paso gunman’s white supremacist leanings cannot be understated. The 2300-word manifesto written by the El Paso gunman titled “The Inconvenient Truth” includes an endorsement of the Christchurch shooter and his respective manifesto. Within the manifesto, the El Paso Gunman rants about what he calls “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” This can very much be associated to President Trump’s harsh rhetoric in terms of illegal immigration, but I would argue that Trump is not an extremist. While I think his rhetoric should be softened, I cannot blame him entirely for the El Paso Gunman’s views.
The manifesto is divided into 6 sections: “About Me”, “Political Reasons”, “Economic Reasons”, “Gear”, “Reaction”, and “Personal Reasons and Thoughts.”
The gunman goes on to talk about how Hispanics are the instigators because they are the ones attempting to culturally and ethnically replace the white race. He says that he does not want the white race to come to the same fate as the Native Americans, who he claims didn’t take European invasion seriously. He claims this attack is not personal and that he did not wish to target the Hispanic community until he read the Great Replacement theory, which is the idea of whites being replaced that I mentioned previously.
These fears and conspiracy theories are ones that fuel white nationalism, superiority, and purity. They place the racial identities of white people to be important and what America is based upon. I don’t have to tell most rational people how disgusting and backwards these ideas are. The gunman’s fears of replacement are not rooted in reality. America will like continue becoming a nation with more and more racial diversity and biracial people, but that is in no means a bad thing. His ideology believes that all whites are a group together and they shouldn’t ‘lose control of the country’ although America is obviously not a white nation.
Moving on to “Political Reasons”, the gunman finally lays out what he calls the ‘inconvenient truth.’ This truth is “that our leaders, both Democrat AND Republican, have been failing us for decades.” This is a view that could be held by many moderates like myself who often don’t feel like they fit into the bipartisan climate we are currently in. The difference between a moderate’s view on this issue and this extremist’s view on this issue is that the gunman ties this argument with racial purity and his fear of the Hispanic population. It is hard to tell he is an alt-righter when he talks about “the takeover of the United States government by unchecked corporations”, which is more often a left-wing talking point. I bring that up not to go ahead and throw the left under the bus but to show how closely the more extreme ideologies still overlap.
The gunman talks about the first Democrat Debate and how the pandering to Hispanics will make Texas a Democrat stronghold. He says that due to the Democrat’s pandering and the Republicans ineptitude, the United States is on the road to becoming a one party state. The gunman once again discusses his hatred for Republicans in the following few sentences: “Although the Republican Party is also terrible. Many factions within the Republican Party are pro-corporation. Pro-corporation = pro-immigration.”
This section has a whole depicts his hatred of both parties for seemingly allowing America to be overrun by who he feels to be inferior to him. He feels alienated in his country, which is a common thread with many shooters whether they be incels, political extremists, or bullied teenagers. This alienation causes the perpetrators to see issues that aren’t there and further justify their hateful and violent tendencies.
“Economic Reasons” is very much a retread of many of the frustrations the gunman expressed in his previous section. It is a very extreme version of the ‘Hispanics are stealing our jobs’ rhetoric. He expresses frustration at automation and the Republican party for allowing so many jobs for white Americans to be lost. He talks about automation and illegal immigrants being the cause for the low-skill jobs being scarce. The gunman reminisces on how a high school diploma used to be enough but now people have to seek higher credentials to compete in the job market.
Then this section starts to lose me as it references “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss and goes onto the evils of consumerism and the needs to stop corporations from destroying this environment. This further shows the the overlap between ideologies, since environmentalism if often, but not always, a left-leaning issue. There are plenty of right-wing environmentalists of course but one often doesn’t think of an extreme right-wing individual as having these particular issues in mind.
“Reaction” & “Personal Reasons and Thoughts”
I will be skipping the “Gear” section as I see no real value in dissecting it. It is exactly what it sounds like and would not be helpful in context with the rest of this article.
The short “Reaction” section lays out what the gunman hopes to accomplish through the attack. He believes that Hispanics would be willing to move back to their respective countries if given the right incentive. He vaguely states that him and other patriotic Americans would be more than willing to give them this incentive. While it does not explicitly say that the incentive is fear created by the attack, I do not think it is a stretch to suggest that may have been the purpose.
This section ends with an ominous threat towards corporations: “Corporate America doesn’t need to be destroyed, but just shown that they are on the wrong side of history. That if they don’t bend, they will break.”
The “Personal Reasons and Thoughts” is a much longer section but I will attempt to break it down to the relevant information without repeating myself too much.
The gunman continues to fearmonger about Hispanics and how they are destroying the nation and corporations and how the are destroying the environment. When discussing the environment he says that if the reader gains nothing else from the document they should remember that “INACTION IS A CHOICE.” This very much echos mainstream Democrats like Bill Nye who used a flaming Earth to show the danger global warming presents.
He says that his actions do not reflect imperialism but preservation, and that the country is full of hypocrites who will claim his actions are hateful and racist – which they definitely are. That is the gist of this section. He very much attempts to downplay the role of race in this attack despite singling out Hispanics specifically over 20 times in his short manifesto.
His ideas are rooted in race and there is no hiding from that. Americans who place their racial identity above their American or human identity are wrong, and the worst of racial identitarianism shows up in this gunman’s hateful rhetoric.
The Dayton Gunman
The Dayton Gunman’s section will likely not be as long or in depth because at this point we have no manifesto for this killer. We do have what is allegedly his Twitter, which has been terminated as of the writing of this article, whic does allow us to see some of his left-wing politics.
The word “metalhead” in his bio and his many tweets about video games led to the usual mainstream media frenzy of blaming violent behavior not on extremist ideologies but on entertainment. As I watched Fox News, CNN, and even President Trump denounce video games, I could not help but feel I was back in 2000’s and early 2010’s when blaming video games for violence in teenagers was much more commonplace.
The phrase “i’m going to hell and not coming back” along with tweets including hashtags like “#Selfie4Satan” and “#HailSatan” has caused many to theorize that the gunman was an open satanist. I am unsure about the validity of these claims as many people would post these types of things just to appear ‘edgy.’ His satanist leanings are irrelevant as there are still many other signs of how disturbed the gunman is.
A Forbes article includes a bulleted list of red flags found on the gunman’s Twitter and through other personal connections. The shooter’s ex-girlfriend, Caitlyn “Adelia” Johnson, describes the red flags that led to her breaking up with him. One of these red flags was his fascination with shooting sprees. Many of the shooter’s classmates recall a time in which the gunman was suspended from school to writing up “kill lists” and “rape lists” which included the names of female classmates.
Like the El Paso Gunman, there were reports related to the perpetrator about their violent or hateful tendencies well before the shootings took place.
Like many extreme left-wingers and members of Antifa, the gunman shows his disdain towards police officers. He tweets that he would “happily” vote for Elizabeth Warren but his biggest concern towards Kamala Harris is her history as a cop.
The gunman also retweets a tweet about doxxing ICE agents. This violent behavior towards ICE agents is another commonality of the extreme left. They are viewed very much in the same way as police officers. Prior to the account termination, there was also evidence of the Dayton shooter liking tweets related to the El Paso shooting before he committed his massacre.
Although we don’t have as much information, we can easily see bits and pieces of the gunman’s ideology. It is a left-leaning one and despite the violence antifa has orchestrated in the past, it still feels taboo to call it out, especially if you do call yourself a liberal. I think more liberals should realize that they are allowed to criticize extremists on their side, as well are right-wing extremists.
Sorry I was unable to provide much on the Dayton shooter, but there is very little information currently available.
I wish to compare these two shooters and their similarities. Both proved to be violent and prior to their attacks. The El Paso shooter was very explicitly motivated by race while the Dayton shooter’s motives are currently unclear. Investigators are currently theorizing that he may have belonged to the incel community due to his “rape list” and “kill list.”
“Incels, a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates”, are members of an online subculture who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.”
I can see where investigators may get this hunch although he did express support for a female presidential candidate. This also does not necessarily disprove the theory as many incels do try to put up a nice guy persona to further paint their inceldom as a form of victimhood. Their mentality is essentially “I am so nice to women so why won’t they make love with me?”
With both shooters being politically involved, we can notice their differences in political opinion. The Dayton shooter likely didn’t show the same disdain for Hispanics as the El Paso shooter, but they both shared their violent tendencies and their belief in using violence.
While many call for President Trump to denounce the El Paso shooter, as he should, I also will say that Elizabeth Warren should denounce the Dayton shooter. I have seen multiple posts unfortunately putting the El Paso shooter’s face everywhere along with his white nationalism identity but very little people have called out the Dayton shooter in the same way. I understand this partly because of how little information is available regarding his motives and the fact that his attack left less people dead, but I still believe that hate and extremism on both sides needs to be acknowledged.
In the wake of every single mass shooting, it automatically becomes the right versus the left. We don’t ask ourselves how to respect the victims or how to stop extremism on our own side, we ask ourselves how we can further our own agendas and demonize the other side.
I ask that you can rise above that very human tendency. If this political climate is ever going to get healthier, we need to stamp out (not literally) the extremists in our own camp and get better at talking to each other about this issues honestly. No amount of conversation or legislation will cause these tragedies to disappear overnight but I firmly believe that fixing political discourse’s toxicity on an individual basis will be a very vital step for a safer country.
I hope this piece gave you perspective. Thank you for your time.