Since the massacre in El Paso, Texas last weekend, the only way to describe what I’ve felt since can be summarized in one word: nightmarish.
From grief, to frustration, back to grief and now immersed in concern, this massacre that is currently being investigated as a hate crime has in many ways broken me on the inside.
Although this act of evil will merely be categorized as yet another mass shooting due to the abundance of this particular terror in America, the manifesto posted by the alleged gunman provides every ounce of hate filled speech that puts into perspective the deeply troubling time we find ourselves in.
Even more worrisome is that many of the phrases constituting this terrorist's rationale have already been stated, repeatedly by the president at campaign rallies and on Twitter.
Terms such as “invasion” and “illegals” have only been deployed to tap into the unfounded fears and prejudices of a rabid base that a demagogue needs to satisfy.
And what transpired at the Walmart in El Paso is simply a harrowing consequence of that deeply immoral language coming from our country’s highest elected official – something no halfhearted speech from a teleprompter touting unity can erase, especially after 22 human beings died at the hands of what appears to be racism.
Though this reality alone is terribly tragic, it has only been compounded by the emboldening inaction of political allies to the president, such as our very own here in the 23rd congressional district.
Not only has Kevin McCarthy gone out of his way to memorize the president’s favorite flavors of Starbursts in auditioning to be his right-hand man, he has remained unwavering in support of the president despite the endless waves of destructive language that have led up to the El Paso tragedy.
As we find ourselves in the midst of an era where mass shootings continue and hate crimes steadily increase, the time for action is now.
Blame cannot be passed along to a video game such as "Grand Theft Auto"; it falls onto those sworn in to protect this country.
Too many families have been separated, too many lives have been negatively altered and too many lives have been lost.
Whether you read this as someone concerned that a mass shooting could affect you, or a parent who is a migrant worker concerned about the safety of your family, I hope this piece of writing will allow you to see there are many sharing similar feelings with you during this time of pain and are ready to help.
Juan Rodriguez is a lifelong Kern County resident.