When it comes to anti-Mexican violence, some Americans can't handle the truth
SAN DIEGO -- As we near the one-month anniversary of the massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22 people and wounded two dozen more -- most of whom were of Mexican descent -- I'm no longer just angry at the assailant.
Now I'm angry at many of you. The bystanders. The enablers. The deniers. You know who you are.
It's not bad enough that my community of more than 40 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans has been so egregiously injured, and that many in that tribe now feel unsafe in a place to which they're indigenous: the Southwest. It's not horrific enough that we now have our own Selma, Stonewall, Kent State, Wounded Knee -- if those who write history books are sufficiently "woke" to record it.
No. You're so desperate to absolve yourself, and the leaders you put in office, of any responsibility for the nightmare that struck that border city that you've got to add insult to injury by pretending you don't have the faintest idea how we got here. You've got to commandeer the narrative and portray alleged shooter Patrick Crusius as just a garden-variety "deranged" sociopath on a random killing spree. You want to take race out of the equation, make the atrocity generic, focus on guns or values, and expunge Hispanics from a story that is all about them.
But you've forgotten one thing: This story isn't about you. It's best you just pipe down and stay out of the way. That kind of humility and deference is respectful to the dead -- and even more so, to the living.
Never mind that the manifesto the 21-year-old left behind was clear as day. Forget that he warned of a "Hispanic invasion" and "race-mixing" and "cultural and ethnic replacement" and how Hispanics will "take control" because America is "rotting from the inside out" due to immigration. Also ignore that, when he was arrested, Crusius bragged that his goal was to "kill as many Mexicans as possible."
That thought is ghoulish, but at least it's honest. Honesty has been hard to come by over the last few weeks, as Americans settle into their ideological bunkers and cover themselves with denial and defensiveness.
This is what honesty sounds like: On Aug. 3, the day of the killing spree, an elderly Mexican American woman -- who could have been one of my tias -- screamed at television cameras that captured her disgust. "They put a target on our chests, and now all these people are dead!" she wailed.
A Spanish-language corrido describes Crusius as a "monster" who caused much pain, destroyed many lives, and scarred a community that didn't deserve this. The alleged killer is likely to get what he deserves. At the moment, he sits in jail, facing a slew of capital murder charges. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. And this being Texas, they're likely to get it.
Crusius may or may not be an evil person. That's not for me to say. And it doesn't matter anyway. We know that he is accused of doing an evil thing because -- and this part does matter -- he was apparently terrified that Texas was becoming more Hispanic and that these demographic changes would bring with them a host of consequences more serious than taco trucks on every corner.