Home Grown Hate On Aisle Three

Christopher A. Smith
9 min readAug 4, 2019

Two mass shootings in one week, and how America is crumbling under the weight of its original sin — unchecked & systemic racism.

A police officer gives orders during the moment when an active shooter opened fire at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. (Photo credit: The Independent UK)

Summer in America. This season conjures up many things to many people. Ice cream. Fireworks. The cascading perfume of hot dogs and hamburgers on a barbecue grill. Summer in America is also now becoming synonymous with something sinister — mass shootings. This week in particular has provided two potent examples in the western part of the country. And both of these mass shootings have commonalities that go back to something else that has been uniquely tied to summer in this country which is racially-motivated violence.

The week began with a shooting at the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy, a town in the Santa Clara county of Northern California. The peaceful festival atmosphere was shattered by Santino William Legan, a 19-year old who arrived at the festival, snuck in and opened fire on the crowd with an
Three people were killed, including a six year old and thirteen others
were injured. Legan then killed himself, which was confirmed by the local
coroner’s office on Friday. Then this morning, at the Wal-Mart adjacent to the Cielo Vista shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, a shooter walked in wielding an AK-47 and opened fire. 20 people were killed with 40 reportedly injured. The dead included three Mexican citizens at the last report. Law enforcement officers were apparently able to take the shooter, 21-year old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas into custody once they surrounded him.

Both of these domestic terrorists — let’s not beat around the bush — had gone onto social media prior to committing these heinous acts, showing an adherence to white supremacist ideology. With Legan, he had made an Instagram post exhorting those who followed him to read a 19th Century book entitled “Might Is Right” which has become a beloved text by white
nationalists and their affiliates online. In Crusius’ case, he had posted a manifesto of sorts that has drawn comparisons to the one posted by the white supremacist shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year with the claim that he was acting in response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Both are white American males radicalized by the resurgent current of hatredstoked…

Christopher A. Smith

Freelance writer. Author of 3 books of poetry. Raconteur. Queens is the county, Jamaica is the place.