I guess I’m becoming less and less unique all the time, but I have personal friends who have been touched directly by a mass murder, perpetrated as a hate crime by a right-wing extremist.
By “touched directly” I mean they were there being shot at; one of them tackled the shooter.
In my case this was a white-on-white shooting, and the manifesto by the shooter (terrorist!) simply said that he wanted to kill “liberal vermin” at places “where they gather.” That chosen place was the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on the day of a children’s service.
I wrote about his manifesto and some of the cultural dynamics surrounding it for Religion Dispatches at the time. Of course there have been lots of such manifestos, some suppressed in an effort to discourage copycat crimes, others neglected because there are so many of them, some in focus for a few days.
Most of my students at the University of Tennessee have no idea, as they read their news feeds today, that a shooting somewhat like the recent ones in El Paso and Dayton happened — not long ago, only a mile from our campus, and targeting some of their professors.
So today it seems worthwhile to relink here to what I wrote then.
I suppose I could start doing this over and over, as The Onion does with its long-running report, “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says the Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”