Arms, Death and Xenophobia

Because of their alarming frequency, murders resulting from gun violence are no longer shocking news in the United States. And, to make matters worse, in recent years xenophobia has become one of the principal triggers of these terrible events. These facts should generate not only concern among U.S. authorities but also, above all, measures to contain them.

For example, last weekend there were two shootings in this country to our north, which, in a matter of hours, killed 31 people. And at least one of the killings was motivated by xenophobia. We are referring to the one that took place in the border town of El Paso, Texas, involving a 21-year-old white supremacist who drove nine hours to “hunt” as many “Hispanics” as possible. Hours earlier, he posted an internet manifesto that talks about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and at the same time asserts, “If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.”

On one hand, these killings highlight the nefarious consequences arising from hateful and racist speeches, particularly when they are wielded in a gun-loving country by influential people such as the president of the United States. On the other hand, they reveal a gross ignorance that needs to be fought. And if the murderer had learned in school that before becoming part of the U.S., that territory was not only a Mexican province but was also first populated by indigenous people and later by the Spanish, perhaps he would not have committed such an atrocity in the name of white nationalism.

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