Yet another mass shooting in the US kills eight people, including three children : Peoples Dispatch


Memorials in honor of the mass shooting victims have gone up in front of Allen Premium Outlets, where the massacre took place (Screenshot via Toluwani Osibamowo on Twitter)

On Saturday, May 6, 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia opened fire in a shopping mall in Allen, Texas, killing eight people and injuring seven. Shortly after, Garcia himself was killed by police. Three of the victims Garcia killed were children. Garcia killed three people out of a family of four, leaving behind only William Cho, aged six. Two elementary school-aged children were also killed, Daniela and Sofia Mendoza, leaving behind only their mother, Ilda Mendoza, who is in the hospital in critical condition. The other victims are Christian LaCour, age 23, Aishwarya Thatikonda, 26, and Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32.

This marks another manifestation of a pervasive phenomenon in the United States: mass shootings. This latest shooting is only the second most fatal of 2023, the first being the Monterey Park shooting in California, in which 11 were killed. So far since the start of 2023, 208 mass shootings (shootings with at least four victims) have taken place, the Allen shooting being the 198th.

Like many perpetrators of mass shootings, Garcia espoused white supremacist and misogynistic views. His profile on the social media site OK RU contains a picture of his torso with two enormous Nazi tattoos: a swastika on the chest and SS bolts on the bicep. The caption accompanying a picture of his Nazi tattoos reads “Here’s what I think about your diversity you f-cking loser’s [sic].”

His profile also contains posts praising Hitler, referencing neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, and screeds describing his desire to inflict violence against women.

The day of the shooting, Garcia was wearing a patch with the letters “RWDS”, which stands for “right-wing death squads”. This is a popular phrase amongst the Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups in the United States, and is a tribute to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who assembled death squads to murder and/or disappear leftists. Pinochet’s victims number in the thousands. Among white supremacists in the US, especially the Proud Boys, “RWDS” is an abbreviation often accompanied by patches or other items bearing the words “Pinochet did nothing wrong.”

According to his profile, Garcia was influenced by prominent right-wing media, such as Youtuber Tim Pool and the Twitter account Libs of TikTok. 

Because of Garcia’s Neo-Nazi beliefs, this mass shooting is reigniting a nationwide discussion about the dangers of white supremacy promoted in seemingly non-violent right-wing media. Tucker Carlson, for example, now the fired former host of one of the most-watched news programs in the country, openly discussed the white supremacist “great replacement theory”, a theory which inspired mass shooter Peyton Gendron to shoot 13 people, most of whom were Black.

And as with all mass shootings in the US, the tragedy has reignited discussions about gun control laws. Mauricio Garcia used an “AR-15 style assault weapon” according to a statement issued by US President Biden. Restrictions on owning guns, including bans on assault weapons, have been notoriously hard to pass in the US because of the massive influence of the weapons industry on politics. 

In 2022, the firearms industry was responsible for over USD 80.3 million in total economic activity in the US. One of the chief lobbying groups for the gun industry, the infamous National Rifle Association (NRA), has spent over USD 63 million since 1998 in lobbying politicians to legislate in favor of weapons manufacturers. This is only a part of the total money spent by all pro-gun groups in lobbying, which is a startling USD 171.9 million since 1998. Pro-gun groups have also spent USD 155.1 million on “outside spending”, which refers to spending made independently from political candidates.

The year after the US government lifted the assault rifle ban in 2004, Congress moved to pass legislation that absolved the gun industry of all responsibility for crimes committed using their products. This removed a major barrier for the industry, and weapons manufacturers’ profits soared.

Most people in the US support some form of increased gun regulations. According to a Gallup poll, dissatisfaction with current US gun laws has hit a 23-year high.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *