1) There are never the words.
Never the right words, never enough words.
But sometimes—words are the only things we have. Words help us make sense of the world. Words help us fight injustices way bigger than ourselves. Words are what connect us.
We must use our words. Even when it is something as horrific as mass shootings. Especially when it is something as horrific as mass shootings.
2) The shooter in Dayton, Ohio wore body armor.
Body Armor. I can’t get that image out of my head. Like he was a knight going into battle. So he could stay alive long enough to kill a few more people before he was taken down. I know it is not unprecedented, but it is one more level of preparation—conscious, deliberate. Done with malice and forethought. You don’t “just snap” and then go out and buy body armor.
3) This is critical to understand. Words matter.
In May, Trump said we are being “invaded” by immigrants. The El Paso shooter said he wanted to stop the “invasion.”
Trump asked his rally crowd: “How do you stop these people” from crossing the border?
“Shoot them!” Someone screamed.
He laughed. Then the crowd laughed.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) August 4, 2019
Words matter. The domestic terror attack in El Paso was targeted at Hispanic Americans & inspired by the racism and white supremacy of the president.
Let’s tell the truth. One of the biggest national security threats in our country is the current resident of the White House.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) August 4, 2019
4) There are solutions.
Most countries have violent video games & films, persons w/ mental health illness, and extemists. But no country has the mass shooting carnage of America. What makes us so different? Unrestricted weaponry. Time to ban and buy back every assault weapon in America. #ElPasoShooting
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 4, 2019
5) Clearly, thoughts and prayers are not a solution.
Yes, prayers are words. But they are used in place of real action. They cede control away from what we can do as individuals. “Hey, at least I was thinking about it! My job is done here!” — that has to be the worst strategy ever. People are dying.
6) Have you heard the term “Stochastic Terrorism”? Learn it. Use it.
7) This should surprise no one.
I get that it’s a bad idea to republish the El Paso shooter’s manifesto because you are spreading his propaganda.
But I think it’s also a bad idea to ignore that much of his manifesto is ripped directly from Trump’s Twitter feed
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 4, 2019
I don’t have the words either. But staying silent is not an option.
More in the (unfortunate) series: “7 Things I Want to Say About Something I Don’t Have the Words For”
More on gun violence and how to stop it.
We’d like your take on this issue. Please consider contributing your words to The Good Men Project. Use our Submissions platform here.
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