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Throughout the weekend, amid two tragic mass shootings, and following the massacre at the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting earlier in the week, conservatives grasped for any possible "explanation" that had nothing to do with how easy it is to get a gun that makes it very easy to kill a lot of people at once. "Mental illness!" they cried. "Video games!" they yelled, as if these things do not also exist in countries where this doesn't happen three times a week.

But perhaps the most nauseating reason we've seen put forward for "why this keeps happening here and nowhere else" is — I shit you not — because those other countries are "homogenous" and the United States is diverse. This came as quite a surprise to many residents of Canada, a diverse country that does not have three major mass shootings a week. Yes, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that those countries have gun control, and everything to do with a lack of diversity, because apparently diversity (and not people fear-mongering about diversity) forces young men who are mad about diversity to go kill a bunch of people. And diversity, not their bigotry, is the real problem. Sure.




This is completely ridiculous. Not living in a homogenous society is not a problem for people who are not bigots. But you know who this doesn't sound ridiculous to? The people actually committing these mass murders. In fact, this is an example of the exact rhetoric that is motivating them.

The El Paso shooter's manifesto makes reference to a conspiracy theory called "The Great Replacement." You've heard this before, when Charlottesville marchers were chanting "Jews will not replace us!" You've heard it before with the white genocide bullshit pushed not only by fringe white supremacists, but by Fox News personalities and the current president of the United States.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter targeted Latinos and encouraged others to read the white supremacist book Might is Right.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Synogogue shooter posted on his Gab account that "Diversity means chasing down the last white person" and that the goal of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was "to bring invaders that kill our people." Earlier this year, the Poway Synagogue shooter blamed Jewish people for "meticulously planned genocide of the European race."

This isn't anything new. Fear mongering about white people being "replaced" by minorities goes back pretty far, at least back to a book written in 1916 by eugenicist Madison Grant called The Passing of the Great Race. Henry Ford rather notoriously believed that Jewish people were secretly planning to "replace" gentiles with black people. Timothy McVeigh cited The Turner Diaries, a white supremacist novel about a bunch of racists starting a race war and killing all minorities because no one will let them be racist anymore, as a big influence.

What is different now, however, is this shit:

Tucker Carlson: 'How Precisely Is Diversity Our Strength?' youtu.be

What is different now is that we have a president who talks about immigrants as "invaders."

We have a president who regularly uses the word "infested" to describe areas with a nonwhite majority, who pushes the idea that immigrants are criminals and rapists, who is purposely trying to scare the shit out of people in order to get votes. What's different now is that this kind of rhetoric isn't just confined to neo-Nazi groups, it's everywhere. It seems a lot more likely to be true when they're getting it from more than one source, when there are people are out there literally blaming these mass shootings on the fact that we do not live in a "homogenous" society.

The result of this is that Trump gets a whole lot of people to vote for him and Fox gets a whole lot of viewers. The other result is that some people are going to take them seriously.

The term "stochastic terrorism" means the use of language "to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable." It means that we can assume that this kind of rhetoric is going to push some people to commit acts of violence. These people are being told that we are "under attack," that they are being "invaded" by people who want to "destroy their way of life" and "replace them." They are reacting to that. It is not surprising that some people are reacting to this rhetoric by doing what they consider to be "fighting back." They are seeing an opportunity to be a "hero," to "save" their country.

I don't think this is going to change anytime soon. It's too successful of a tactic. On the Right, the Overton Window has shifted and it is no longer considered any kind of taboo to literally come out and say that diversity is bad, or to hype up fear of "murderous" and criminal undocumented immigrants, who have come not only to take your job but to kill your mother. The only way to actually counteract this now is through gun control. Because when you're a child and you prove that you cannot handle a privilege, that privilege should get taken away.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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