Recent shootings spark gun debate

Marissa Pekular, West Hills Editor

In early August, a Texan gunman opened fire in an El Paso Walmart with a legally-obtained assault rifle. He killed 22 people and injured two dozen more. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, drove over 10 hours to the majority-Hispanic border city and caused one of the deadliest shootings in the country’s history.

Crusius later explained to authorities that he was targeting Mexicans, leading many to identify this attack as nexus to a hate crime. Most of the deceased had Mexican last names and eight were Mexican nationals.

Less than 15 hours later, across the country, Connor Stephen Betts carried out a massacre in Dayton, Ohio. He opened fire with a rifle that he legally purchased in the streets of Dayton’s Oregon District. Within the span of 32 seconds, 9 people were killed and 27 were wounded.

The motive of the attacker is unclear, however, it is known that he has expressed violent ideologies in the past.

Given the context of the first attack, many Americans blame President Trump for inflaming political tensions by using racist, divisive rhetoric. Trump’s attitude toward Mexican immigration has been seen as controversial and aggressive since the early days of his campaign trail by other politicians and American citizens. Trump has denied such criticisms, assuring people that he is not a racist person.

Many republicans have declined to assign the president responsibility for the high racial tensions in the country; some journalists and politicians, instead, are blaming video games and other media outlets as the main reasons behind these recent mass shootings.

Fox News’ Samantha Nerove wrote, “Violent video games are just one way our society glamorizes violence and killing through movies, TV, music and other forms of entertainment. We need to take a hard look at why we do this, and to decide if measures should be taken to promote more positive behavior.”

As both of these communities grieve in the wake of these recent attacks, people across the country are feeling the ever-present threat of gun violence. Being a bipartisan issue, significant change in gun laws seems far off, leaving many vulnerable, but highly defensive.