Stop blaming minority groups for mass shootings
There is a bitter irony as I begin to write this post. What many of you will not know is how I became a blogger. I wrote for an immensely popular outlet, I won’t name them, but they support Autism Speaks. I think just based on that, you can understand why I no longer write for them.
The very first article I ever published, my first outpouring of disdain at the violent hatred of the world we live in, was about people blaming mass shootings on mental health issues. To my surprise, it amounted to almost 20,000 views in 24 hours. Many felt very validated, but of course, the gun nuts of America jumped to the defence of guns. I assume they read the title and not much else.
So, here we are again. Over half a decade since that article was published. I feel it’s time to draw a line in the sand. The nonsense of the world we live in is taking too many lives.
Hearing about the mass shooting in Texas upset me. Not just because of the unacceptable loss of life, but because of the media reporting around the fact that the shooter was a trans person. I am aware that trans people live a life of near constant threats, and the focus on the shooters gender identity will not improve this.
But I am not Trans. I can’t tell you what this specific event is like because their are cultural privileges that I have, and they prevent me from understanding the reality of this particular shooting. I do, however, feel compelled to comment on the broader issue that this has once again highlighted.
Every time a mass shooting happens, it seems that the media will link it to a minority group. Somehow, there is always an underprivileged cultural subset that the salivating masses can turn their vitriol on. Mental health leads to mass murder, Autistic people are predators, Trans people are apparently indoctrinating children, and Black people are guilty of everything. The list of ridiculous accusations has gone on for so long that I won’t even begin to try and recite the whole thing.
Why does the world need to blame minority groups?
I believe this comes down to normativity and essentialism. When we consider the framing of minority groups in stories such as these, we have to consider that;
- The world has been taught that there is one most “normal” sort of human. The right colour, brain, sexuality, gender, embodiment.
- You are only worth as much as the body you are born into.
- Those that fall out of cultural normality (read as; normative standards) are fundamentally less human than those that don’t.
So now we have a world of minority groups who are already traumatised beyond belief by the inhumane treatment of those with privilege beyond their own. We do become radicalised, to the extent (usually) that we will actively voice and enact dissent against the oppressive power structures of our normative world. Yes, some of us do take part in violence.
No, that doesn’t make us dangerous.
Think about it. Think about it really hard. Every country in the world has innumerable minority groups. In fact, if we measured minority as an identity itself, we would probably no longer be a minority, but instead a vastly diverse majority.
So we have a world full of minorities, and yet the vast majority of mass shootings outside of warzones happen in the US. I would venture a guess that even if you counted warzones, the US would still top the list. What is the variable that is being ignored? What can we change to make a difference.
It’s the guns.
Minority groups are not murderers. We are not the monsters you were taught to hide from as a child. Not once did I ask my mother to check for Trans people under my bed. The monsters are the lawmakers and lobbyists that keep gun laws in the US so lacklustre that a person can walk into a primary school with a semi-automatic and two pistols, ending three children’s lives, and the lives of three children.
The people who are responsible for this are the pro-gun cohort. They have the blood of those children on their hands. They have the weight of traumatised children and families that miss their loved ones. May it rest so heavy on their soul that they are forced to lay down their arms.
Stop blaming minorities for mass shootings. The problem is the guns.