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Opinion: The worst part of mass shootings is the subsequent politics

Before anyone gets confused, the worst part of any mass shooting is the act of violence in which someone finds it okay to take the lives of someone else. Period. Any act of violence that results in the injury or death of another is wrong and only condoned by hate-filled individuals who want to watch the world burn.

That being said, the recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso have raised a couple of red flags when I step back and look at the bigger picture. From discussion about which side of the aisle that the shooters fell on politically, to the media attempting to force white men into feeling responsible for two individuals' heinous actions, to people blaming President Donald Trump for having a role of encouragement or even more broadly blaming all Republicans, to debates about gun control and mental health and what the best solutions are, all of these discussions share one common idea: mass shootings have become nothing more than political points.

It is the sad reality we are now faced with— politicians and keyboard warriors want to play the blame game for why the violence is there and who is responsible for it. But the game that we are now playing feels almost competitive. If we can stick the bad guy on the other team, then we are winners. If we can associate the bad guys with people that we disagree with, then their opinions are no longer valid.

That isn’t how any of this works.

People have gone so far as to “supposedly” alter a profile for the El Paso shooter online to make him appear as one specific political affiliation. Apparently having one more bad guy on the other team makes Democratic politics more correct. Even if that shooter is to be considered a Republican, the Dayton domestic-terrorist has been overwhelmingly proven to be a left-wing supporter. It should not and does not matter what team the shooter plays for. These shootings need to be looked at on a micro-level because no two play out the same way nor have the same motives behind them.

It would be a disservice to our nation to enact legislation about gun control by looking at all instances through the same lens, which is part of the reason that ‘common-sense gun reform’ is so hard to define. The way that the Great Mills High School shooting went down is very different when compared to El Paso, and both are different when compared to Dayton.

The only common threads between all mass shootings are hatred, anger, and the improper use of a firearm. That’s it. Not all mass shooters in history have been white. Not all of them have been children who were outcasts. Not all of them have been one political affiliation. Not all of them lived through Donald Trump becoming Commander-in-Chief. Their only connection is shared views of hatred directed towards something in their life, poor judgment, and improper firearm usage.

In the case of El Paso, a white-supremacist published four-pages about his hatred of Mexicans and how he feels they are “invading” the United States. By twisting the rhetoric of Donald Trump to associate him with the shooter, Democrats and the media have further promoted the idea that our President is a white-supremacist and a white-nationalist. Never mind the facts about all of the great things he has done for all races across America. Though I have not had the chance to ask our country’s leader, I believe that Trump has made it clear he just doesn’t agree with illegal immigration or open border policies. In fact, the president was rather quick to express his extreme disapproval for the ideologies that both shooters displayed, saying “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy... Hate has no place in America.”

But what really grinds my gears about all of this discussion is playing the blame game— like that is getting us any farther as a country, when the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee goes as far as to blame ALL Republicans for the mass shootings on Facebook.

 

This is not an issue of political ideologies. As an impartial news reporter, I take bias very seriously, but this is an issue that will eventually need to be solved through our two-party system. If someone out there is keeping score of which party has assisted more mass shooters through history, please present your findings, so we know who is invalid.

Neither major political party has condoned violence or killing throughout recent history. The only people who promote killing, as far as I know, are killers.

I will openly admit that I do not know what the solution to ending gun violence is. I know that the solution is not taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, but I also know that the solution isn’t putting a stop to violence in video games and movies. Someone could argue that we need more good guys with guns, but there is no guarantee that will solve the issues in practice. It has worked in some cases before.

It would also be easy to say more background checks is the answer, and while it could be helpful in some cases, the Dayton shooter had a record cleaner than Michael Phelps’ Olympic medal collection. The odds of him being caught in a background check of any kind are slim, and he just managed to kill nine people.

This is clearly a psychological epidemic. Nobody is forcing these people to go around killing people— not even Donald Trump, I promise. It is an individual-person problem, not a gun problem.

Unfortunately, as long as Democrats and Republicans continue passing along the blame to one thing or another, nothing is going to change. We are all losers in this game when we fail to protect valuable lives. Perhaps we are just going to have to accept that the world is more dangerous now than it used to be…

But if we could stop throwing blame around like it’s confetti, that would be fantastic.

Contact Zach at zach.hill@thebaynet.com.

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