US President Donald Trump vowed on Monday to “act with urgent resolve” and acknowledged the US’ need to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy” following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left 22 and nine dead, respectively. Dozens more were wounded as a result.
Seconds later, however, the president changed the focus of the conversation to video games, the dark web and the internet as a whole, which he says has provided a “dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.”
Jacqueline Luqman, the co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Monday to discuss Trump’s comments on white supremacy, various points of deflection and possible moves forward.
“White supremacists will bring up the [term] ‘white supremacy’ on the surface, but they’ll always deflect to something else and find a way to blame the ‘other,’” Luqman told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
Trump’s attempt to turn the focus onto video games and the internet was also shared by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told “Fox and Friends” on Sunday that he has always felt that video games, which “dehumanize individuals,” are the issue.
The congressman’s feelings aside, it’s been well documented in a popular study by Scott Cunningham, Benjamin Engelstätter and Michael Ward that there is actually a decrease in crime around the release dates of popular and violent video games.
Luqman makes it known that while Trump is, without a doubt, promoting the main tenets of white supremacy through his language and policies, those carrying out mass killings or everyday violence more than likely followed the ideology of white nationalism prior to the 2016 election.
“Trump has made them comfortable to act on their feelings that they have always had, that this country, through its own white supremacist ideology, has always allowed, has harbored and was, really, founded upon,” she pointed out.
Aside from the March 2019 bump stock ban that came about in part to the Las Vegas massacre shooter’s use of the attachment, little has been done on a federal level to curb the accessibility of guns. As a result, stores such as Walmart, a location of which was the scene of the El Paso shooting, can continue selling firearms while also touting how they go above the federal standard in terms of background checks and a minimum age to purchase of 21, versus the legal 18.
It should be noted that Walmart has recently indicated that it has no intention to cease its sale of firearms or alter its rules regarding the company’s open-carry gun policy. “There has been no change in company policy,” Randy Hargrove, a company spokesperson, told the Washington Post on Monday.
“With this incident just having happened over the weekend, our focus has been on supporting associates, customers and the El Paso community.”
Two bills, H.R.1112: Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 and H.R. 8: Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, have received bipartisan support, but both have been brought to a halt by Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
Despite the two bipartisan pieces of legislation on his desk, the senator, in a Monday evening tweet, called for “serious, bipartisan work.”
Trump noted Monday that he would be open to marrying gun control legislation with his new immigration reform plan.
“People refuse to acknowledge just how big and wide this [white supremacist] ideology is. It really is the religion of America,” the editor-in-chief explained before denouncing Trump’s attempt to couple immigrants and those seeking asylum with home-grown, violent individuals.
In fact, Luqman argued that the president’s proposal is actually appeasing the El Paso shooter’s 2,300-word manifesto, in which he claimed he was “simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”