I woke from a crazy dream at about 4 a.m.
I couldn’t get back to sleep so I turned on the television to get the latest on the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas … one perpetrated by a white supremacist targeting Brown men, women and children. Twenty were dead, several others injured. Even before officials confirmed, I knew the shooting was hate motivated. After all, the hate comes from the top … the president of the United States himself.
But when I turned on the tube the anchors weren’t talking about El Paso, they were talking about Dayton, Ohio instead. Nine were dead at the hands of another white gunman with a high-powered assault rifle. Six of the nine were Black. One was the gunman’s sister. I’ll speculate in my head the motive here, but again, clearly the target was people of color and of course the assailant was white. The latter almost goes without saying.
I stayed up watching the news simply distraught. I had to do something to “get away from it all” so I decided to get dressed and go fishing. I wanted to be in a place of calm and close to nature. Before I left my girlfriend awoke and I alerted her to the shooting in Dayton and what she said completely broke my spirit.
“I’m afraid to go anywhere.”
She said, “I’m afraid to go anywhere.”
And I felt absolutely helpless. As I’m sure many of my male ancestors felt when they were powerless to protect the women they loved, I was figuratively neutered. I was neutered because at that moment I had to admit to myself I couldn’t keep her safe. Sure, when she’s with me I’m on guard. I’m vigilant … hypervigilant … about keeping her safe, but I cannot be with her 24 hours of the day and I cannot remain on the ready at every moment. And I feel helpless.
I’m also filled with a rage that is indescribable.
My rage was fueled by the words of the racist-in-chief, Donald J. Trump … I guess that’s one thing the shooters and I have in common. See, the racist-in-chief has encouraged this hunting of Black and Brown people at nearly every opportunity.
Remember it was Trump who said “very fine people” were perpetuating the violence in Charlottesville, Va. It was almost two years to the day as the El Paso and Dayton shootings. It was Trump who was enraged that a statue of Robert E. Lee … a racist, pro-slavery Confederate general … was being taken down. It was Trump who said Mexico was sending to America it’s “Rapists and criminals.” It was Trump who said countries in Africa and Haiti were “shitholes.” It was Trump who asked of migrants, how do you stop them, and someone at one of his Florida rallies yelled, “Shoot ‘em” and the racist-in-chief laughed.
“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump replied, smiling and shaking his head. “Only in the Panhandle,” is how it was reported in the Washington Post.
It was the racist-in-chief who called on four congresswomen of color to “go back” – a racist go-to that almost all people of color have heard time and again over their lifetimes. But it was his words on Aug. 4 … hours after two shootings perpetuated by white supremacists … that drove me to rage.
“Mental illness … we’ve got a mental illness problem in this country,” Trump told reporters in an amateurish response to reporters’ questions about the horrific slaughters.
Two white men … wait … three white men – let’s not forget the killing of four and wounding of 12 in Gilroy, Calif. carried out by yet another white supremacist – killed 33 (to date) and wounded at least 65 within a week. Thirty-three have been killed and at least 65 wounded in mass shootings carried out by white supremacists and the racist-in-chief wants to blame it on mental illness?
Actually, he may be correct.
We have a mentally deranged man in the White House inspiring other deranged white supremacists to carry out acts of horrific magnitudes across the United States. So yeah, mental illness is to blame.
Donald J. Trump is mentally unstable, his followers/cult members are mentally deficient and I’m mentally drained.
That disturbing dream that woke me from my slumber at four in the morning? It was of a friend who lost an ex to a shooting. She was dousing buildings with gasoline and setting them ablaze. When I asked her why, she looked at me and said, “you just don’t get it, we’re at war. They declared war.”
That’s when I woke up.