Former President Barack Obama made his first public statements Monday afternoon in the aftermath of the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend. He implored Americans to resist surrendering to the darkest impulses of the human spirit, which includes the acceptance of hatred and racial strife to solve conflict.
While not mentioning the current president by name, Obama told Americans that “we are not helpless” in the face of having by far the highest frequency of mass shootings anywhere in the industrialized world.
“And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening,” Obama wrote to his 107 million Twitter followers.
A gunman entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday and shot 22 people to death, while a second crazed killer sprayed bullets outside a crowded bar in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday that killed nine people. The El Paso shooter is an avowed a racist, spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric online just before launching the bloody attack, police told the media.
The motive of the Dayton shooter, who was killed by police, has not yet been made clear, although there are rumors that he was disturbed by his White sister dating a Black man. They were killed in the car the three were driving in, which was found just outside the scene of the Dayton bloodshed.
Normally, Obama has resisted the urge to throw shade at the current president, as is customary with most former presidents when observing their successors. But after the three mass shootings in one week — three people were also shot to death at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Franscisco — Obama felt he could not remain silent
Obama noted in his long Twitter post that the El Paso shooting is the lastest in a disturbing and rising trend of “troubled individuals who embrace ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy.”
He went on to say that Americans need to denounce the language of “leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human.”
Demonization has “been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history,” Obama said, offering such discourse has “no place in our politics and our public life.”
Take a look at Obama’s galvanizing Twitter post in full below:
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 5, 2019