By: Molly Kleinman
The first weekend of August saw two horrific acts of violence. The first, a shooting in an El Paso mall, left 22 people dead and the second, which took place in Ohio, killed nine people.
The El Paso shooting seems to have been motivated by white supremist rhetoric. The shooter, a 21-year-old white man, drove ten hours from his home in Allen, Texas to an El Paso mall that is often frequented by Mexican nationals.
In response to the attack in El Paso, President Trump called for stronger background-check laws; however, he also insisted that such legislation would need to be "married" to immigration reform. "We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain..." The president tweeted, early Monday August 5, continuing, "We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"
The president thus implies that migrants are at fault for these two mass shootings. The president later added that he believed the media made it worse by contributing to the "anger and rage" in the United States. Other high-profile Republican legislators suggested that Congress should focus on mental health, rather than stricter gun laws. While improving mental health services is certainly a noble and worthwhile pursuit, statistics show that mentally ill people are disproportionately more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.
What happened in Texas and Ohio is not an immigration issue and for the president to turn it into one does nothing to honor the memories of those killed, rather it puts them at fault for their own murders and distracts from the real issue: the need for comprehensive gun control in the United States.