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The USA and the violence fed by hatred

This sentiment seems to be increasing in the USA, both in terms of Antisemitism and in attacks and discrimination towards the black population. And it has intensified before the elections, thus demonstrating the deep divides that exist in American society.

 

Martha Andrés Román

 

The tragic events that recently occurred in the United States are again driving debates about firearms and division in the country, but, above all, they are warning of what many consider to be an alarming rise in hatred.

The nation is still shaken by the slaughter that took place on the morning of Saturday 27 October at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 11 people died and six were wounded in a mass shooting.

The suspect of this massacre, identified as Robert Bowers, a local 46-year-old resident, faces accusations on 29 federal charges, including obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs and using a firearm to commit murder during violent crime. According to the authorities, the man, armed with an assault rifle and three pistols, burst into the building located in the neighbourhood of Squirrel Hill shortly before 10:00 local time. He shouted antisemitic slurs upon opening fire on the parishioners.

The Anti-Defamation League said that this massacre was the most lethal attack on the Jewish community on United States soil, and in point of fact, at least the third mass shooting in an American house of worship since 2015.

In June of that year a white supremacist killed nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina; and the other man killed 26 attendees at a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas in November 2017.

The Washington Post said that, like in the other shootings, the suspect was armed with a semi-automatic assault weapon, the scene of the crime was a house of worship and the victims belonged to a religious or ethnic minority with a long history of persecution.

The shooting in the town of Pennsylvania took place only one day after the American authorities arrested 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc in Florida. suspected of sending tube bomb packages to well-known Democrats and key figures related to the American president, Donald Trump.

For several days, the nation was alarmed by the interception of 14 envelopes of this type, directed, among others, to ex-President Barack Obama, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and the actor Robert de Niro.

“These terrorising acts are despicable and have no place in our country”, said Trump on 26 October after the suspect’s arrest, and he urged Americans to show the world that they are united in peace, love and harmony.

The media described the presumed creator of the packages as a bitter Republican, a registered voter of this party and fanatic follower of the president, whose image, like that of the Vice President Mike Pence, appeared in photos stuck up on the windows of the truck that Sayoc was driving.

His vehicle also displayed stickers with the message “CNN stinks”, as well as photos of Clinton, the filmmaker Michael Moore and the Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, with targets drawn on them.

As well as these two events that received wide media coverage, an incident took place on 24 October which provided another demonstration of the atmosphere of hatred and the problems that minorities face: a white man shot and killed two black people in a grocery store, Kroger, in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

The authorities said that, before these murders, the suspect, identified as Gregory A. Bush, tried to enter the First Baptist Church in the area, attended by predominantly Afro-Americans, but he found the building closed.

In an article published on 28 October, the Post stated that, according to several indexes, hatred seems to be increasing in the country, both in terms of antisemitism and in attacks and discrimination against the black population.

Further to this is that, again and again, Americans have seen videos of their angry compatriots lashing out at dark-skinned people thinking that they were immigrants, added the newspaper.

While Trump condemned the attack in Pittsburgh, as a candidate and as President, he has not systematically rejected, in unequivocal fashion, fanaticism and he has even encouraged violence in some of his meetings, reported the newspaper, meanwhile similar opinions were broadcast by other sources and on social media.  (PL)

(Translated by Donna Davison –  Email: donna_davison@hotmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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