Not long after the El Paso shootings occurred, I took to Twitter to denounce white-nationalist terrorism as a real threat to our country. I didn’t realize at the time that I was the first major Republican elected official to do so. But I certainly won’t be the last, as more details come out about the goals and views of this terrorist.
What made me comment so soon? It’s simple: I read the shooter’s manifesto. We don’t have to guess what was on the shooter’s mind—he told us in plain, dark, and racist language. He wrote about protecting white people from an “invasion” of Hispanics and wanting to kill “Mexicans.” Plus, his actions underscored his words—he drove nine hours from Dallas to a shopping center in El Paso. Why didn’t he go to a mall in North Dallas to kill people? The answer is obvious—he wanted to kill Hispanic people.
But for me, the real question now is: What comes next? Terrorism by white supremacists is indeed a real and present danger. We’ve seen it in this country in El Paso, Texas, and in Gilroy, California. We’ve also seen it in faraway places like New Zealand, where another white supremacist walked into a mosque and killed 51 and injured another 49.
The recent attacks in the United States are shocking, but not surprising. Just a few days ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the U.S. Senate that most domestic terrorism arrests in 2019 have been related to white terrorism. Stop and think about that statistic. Islamic radical terrorism remains a real threat around the world and even here at home, but most of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. are a consequence of white-nationalist terrorism.