El Paso, Dayton shootings appear motivated by opposite sides of political spectrum
Two shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, appear to be motivated by opposite sides of the political spectrum.
El Paso, Texas
With 20 dead and dozens more injured, the shooting in El Paso appears to be motivated by racist and anti-immigrant beliefs.
Federal authorities are treating the case as an act of domestic terrorism and are considering bringing federal hate crime charges against the alleged shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.
Crusius posted a manifesto online before the shooting that included anti-immigrant rhetoric. The attack took place near the U.S.-Mexico border, many of the victims were Hispanic, and three of the dead were citizens of Mexico.
David French, a conservative writer for National Review, responded, "I remember being told to chill out about the alt-right. It was just memes. It was just trolling. It was just trying to trigger the libs. Then it was a terror attack in Charlottesville. Then it was manifestos. Then it was massacres. Burn it down. This is a defining moment."
In a Facebook post, El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles wrote in part, "This Anglo man came here to kill Hispanics. I'm outraged and you should be too. This entire nation should be outraged. In this day and age, with all the serious issues we face, we are still confronted with people who will kill another for the sole reason of the color of their skin.
"I fear things will not get better. Not pointing out anyone in particular, but I'm sick of people jumping in front of the cameras offering prayers and condolences as things just keep getting worse."
Many Democrats, especially those running to challenge Trump in 2020, argued that President Donald Trump played a role in motivating the crime.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Trump was "particularly responsible" for the shooting, in a Sunday interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"In my faith, you have this idea that you reap what you sow, and he is sowing seeds of hatred in this country, this harvest of hate violence that we are seeing right now lies at his feet. There is a complicity in the president's hatred that undermines the goodness and decency of Americans," he added.
In a Sunday interview on CNN, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg made a similar point, arguing that Trump "made his career, politically, on demonizing Mexicans and now we're seeing reports that the shooter yesterday had his goal as killing as many Mexicans as possible. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high."
Two conservative publications, National Review and The Washington Examiner, posted editorials on Sunday encouraging Trump to denounce white nationalism.
Calling the shooter a "white nationalist terrorist," The Washington Examiner wrote, "Trump should deliver a prime-time speech as soon as possible that names the evil at play here and denounces it. ... Trump needs to make clear that he hates white nationalism as something un-American and evil. And he ought not dilute this attack by talking again about 'many' or 'both' sides, by offering up nonconstructive criticisms of liberals which (intentionally or not) stoke racial tensions, or any other such distraction."
National Review similarly wrote, "President Trump, a man who is comfortable using his bully pulpit for the most frivolous of reasons, should take the time to condemn these actions repeatedly and unambiguously, in both general and specific terms."
Trump posted several tweets about the shootings over the weekend, but has not addressed the apparent racist motivations of the El Paso shooter, except to call it an "act of cowardice" and "hateful act."
First daughter Ivanka Trump did, however, name the alleged motivation, tweeting, "White supremacy, like all other forms of terrorism, is an evil that must be destroyed."
The Dayton shooter, on the other hand, appears to be from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
The shooting occurred early Sunday morning outside a nightclub in downtown Dayton. The alleged shooter, Connor Betts, 24, injured 27 people and killed nine, including his sister, before being shot and killed by police.
In a Sunday afternoon post, Heavy.com claims to have found the shooter's social media posts.
According to Heavy's finding, Betts appears to have been a liberal. He wrote approvingly of socialism, Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, and liberal Democrat House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley.
He also described himself as an atheist, praised Satan (though perhaps jokingly), and his Twitter profile bio included "leftist" and "i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back."