It has been a painful week.

America is here again.  The two-headed merciless monster of hatred and violence have appeared suddenly, terrorizing the nation and piercing the hearts of the innocent.  Now we are all attempting to recover and heal from the shock and the disaster, just trying to understand…

Two mass shootings occurring in our nation Saturday, August 3, 2019, hours within each other:  the first at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where most of the victims were of Mexican heritage, and the other is an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, where most of the victims were African American.  Indeed, hatred and violence have no racial/cultural preference, but, in fact, this time it did.

There is so much wrapped up in these massacres that I don’t know where to begin!

  • Hatred
  • Racism
  • Violence
  • Money
  • Power

Yes, America is indeed grappling with all of the above issues as we attempt to understand these tragedies.  What is the origin of hate? When will America face its painful history and address racism?  Why are high-powered guns permissible in our society, and as a matter of fact, why are they permissible anywhere?  How has American greed become so intoxicating that money is more important than life?  Evaluating our inefficient, nonproductive, impotent, spineless, not-wanting-to-do-anything-that-threatens-their-status leadership, why has this position now surpassed the purpose of the position?

Yes, the El Paso and Dayton massacres have prompted a much-needed discussion about America this week. 

Mass shootings have occurred quite frequently in the US over the last few years, creating a crisis for our country.  No longer can anyone afford to look the other way.  Our fates are intertwined, and the issue of mass shootings affects all of us.  You are familiar with this history: Gilroy, Pittsburg, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charleston, Sandy Hook, and the list goes on…  Despite the pervasiveness of mass shootings, little has been done to address the issue.  

Why?  Because the crisis is always “over there”!

As many recently discovered, actually, the crisis is not “over there.”  It is here! For example, the National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) who represents Dayton, is now calling for gun control, after his daughter, who was in Dayton in a restaurant across the street, witnessed the shootings and fled for her life, all while her father aguishly waited on the phone.

Isn’t it interesting how many see our country’s challenges as “over there” until it affects them?

The El Paso and Dayton shootings are so powerful because they are forcing America to deal with its problems.  

Was it a coincidence that the daughter of NRA “A”-rated Rep. Mike Turner was in the vicinity of the shooter and her father waited helplessly on the phone as she fled for her life?  Was it a coincidence that the violence in El Paso occurred in Walmart, one of the largest sellers of firearms and ammunition in our nation?  Was it a coincidence that the victims of both massacres this weekend were primarily Latino and African American?  Was it a coincidence that the manifesto of the El Paso shooter quoted directly from the President of the United States?  

I think not.

In fact, this week America is having an extensive discussion about who is responsible for mass shootings. There are many culprits. Shall we discuss them? 

Let’s start with our national leader.  Yes, leadership matters! From the time Presidential candidate Donald Trump descended those escalators and proclaimed to America and the world that Mexicans were rapists and criminals, America should have turned its back…but we didn’t.  Now we are all suffering! As stated in my previous critique of the Republican Party prior to the election of our current President, the Republican Party created a monster.  Since then, America has continued to embolden him. Like I predicted in the blog, now all of us—Republicans and Democrats; white, black, Latino and all others; urban and rural; Northern and Southern; politically engaged and disengaged; old and young; citizen and noncitizen—are suffering and paying the price! 

Let’s talk about who else is responsible beyond President Donald Trump:  the donors who financially support him, the constituents who voted for him, the Republicans who refuse to challenge or admonish him, his followers who attend MAGA rallies, white nationalist groups who back up his rhetoric with action, the media who promotes his despicable Twitter feed, the irresponsible gun manufacturers and distributors, the NRA gun lobby, the elected officials who refuse to pass gun legislation, the Democrats who lack backbones, the nonvoters who stayed at home, the hypocritical Christians who look the other way, the individuals who dismiss terroristic acts as “over there” and “not their problem,” and all of the good-hearted, law-abiding, virtuous Americans who say nothing and do nothing!


Each of us has to take responsibility for what we have done to contribute to these tragedies and, moreover, take responsibility for what we shall do to transform the environment which makes these tragedies possible in our society.  

Fundamentally, we all have the moral and ethical responsibility to protect our country and our humanity!  America is in a crisis!  It is time for everyone to embrace our power, express our agency, and ACT NOW!!!  We are not helpless!  “DO SOMETHING!!!”  Whether our efforts include persuading our elected officials to act, applying social and economic pressure to brands who support this President and his bigotry, calling out our friends and relatives for their racist talk and behavior, registering our communities to vote, joining civic organizations that work for the greater good, or organizing, mobilizing, and protesting, there is much to do! A civil society has multiple tools to use to transform society.  


As stated in my blog on Charlottesville, America has been here before, so we cannot blame our current tragedies solely on President Donald Trump—even though he is one of the primary culprits.  The racialized hatred and violence that we witnessed this week is a mere reflection of the nation’s failure to address our painful realities. 

There is absolutely no need for us to revisit this place again.  This is a critical moment for us all!  It is up to each of us to decide right now who we are individually as human beings and who we are collectively as a nation.  We must all take responsibility immediately, or, unfortunately, this cycle will continue. 

Categories: Opinion pieces
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1 comment

  1. Comment by Ignacio

    Ignacio Reply August 21, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Ms. Houston, Your comments are right on point. America is at war with itself. It remains to be seen if and when people with more than interests in money and their own comfort will step up and “do the right thing,” that is, take a stand against the evil policies and actions being led by the current political regime. It’s time for “regime change” in America.

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