When the Charlottesville clashes happened and a woman died, Donald Trump attempted to explain away Nazi supporters and white supremacists by insisting there were good people on ‘both sides”. He has referred to countries as ‘shithole countries’. He has made many other spectacularly insensitive and offensive comments. Following the shocking and tragic shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburg, he has made yet another of this characteristic crass and insensitive comments:
It was the day of Sabbath and groups of Jews were gathered together at a synagogue when a 46 year old man burst in with three handguns and an assault rifle. He killed 11 adults present for a baby naming ceremony and then barricaded himself on the building's third floor before he was caught and arrested.
The shooter, identified as Robert Bowers had been known to post anti-Semitic messages on social media. Those killed were all innocent, regular members of society, some who did volunteer work; the oldest being 97 years of age.
The attack has been condemned in one voice across the political and ideological divide and support has poured in from various religious groups. Candlelight vigils and prayer meets have spontaneously expressed horror and grief at the senseless violence.
The city has taken the attack as one on itself. Many of the city's inhabitants have proudly identified themselves as immigrants and as racially and religiously diverse and welcoming of new people.
Americans are angry and ashamed that in 2018, violent hatred for Jews is still such a huge problem; that there is still a significant amount of overt and even more covert support for white supremacy and Nazism.
Liberals frequently ask that white male shooters should not be explained away as ‘lone wolves’ but be identified as terrorists; those who kill because of indoctrination and hateful ideologies. However, now even conservatives want that shooters be identified as terrorists when their actions are dictated by a collective, unreasoning hatred.
Trump is often seen to support those with violently Islamophobic and racist ideologies. Many feel that this is responsible, at least in part, for the culture of impunity and the false sense of victimhood prevalent among many of America’s most privileged groups.
The support that so many Americans have for the NRA (National Rifle Association) has meant that they have refused to see what a grave danger the proliferation of guns poses. Its easy to buy guns in America and many are horrified at the very idea of their guns being taken away from them.
Trump's solutions seem to be more guns; arming more people. He had earlier suggested the arming of teachers to protect school kids from shootings. This reaction is of a piece.
People are angry and sad that at a time like this, the President of the country feels that shooting victims should have been responsible for their own security. Many have sent out the message that the President isn’t welcome into the city.
Not only are people angry with the gun lobby, they want to make sure that acts of terror are recognised for what they are: “Let's not fool ourselves, the massacre in #Pittsburgh was an act of terrorism because antisemitism doesn't occur in a vacuum. It's a conspiracy of hate.” Said this tweet. And in fact, radicalisation is usually a product of the a person's influences and environment.
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