White nationalist terrorism is on the rise, what side of history will you be on? Will you stand up and fight, or will sit down and make it someone else’s problem?
I woke up on the morning of Saturday August 3rd refreshed. I had heard about the shooting but I was on my way to do something about it. I’ve been working on a project for well over a year, and the timing of the El Paso shooting was chillingly fitting. I had a sense of purpose. I was building a project that would counterbalance this senseless gun violence.
Then a day later another white man opened fire in Dayton, Ohio.
We Americans are in this strange spin cycle where as soon as we begin to recover emotionally from one shooting, and the first glimmers of rational action appears on the horizon, another mass shooting hits us like a subway train.
The wind knocked out of us, it’s easier to stay crumbled and detached. To stay down—quiet—like so many children in classrooms hiding from a gunman in a school, waiting for somebody else to fix the problem.
Don’t give up.
There has never been a more important time than now for you to act. If we become desensitized to these shootings we lose the morality that defines us as humans, and we allow the violence to persist. If your eyes are swelling with tears at the images of children, terrified, after a shooting, it’s because you still care.
We are moral people not because a god commanded or possessed us to be so. The instinct to help others is in our genes, it explains why people run into burning buildings to save strangers, or why children put themselves between a shooter and their classmates. We all have a sense of wanting to protect others because that’s how we have survived: together.
Black and White
This is no longer about guns; it’s about morality. This is no longer a debate on the nuances of regulations and laws; this is a battle between right and wrong; good vs. evil.
Who is the enemy that argues it’s better for people to be shot than for it to be inconvenient to purchase a semiautomatic rifle? What villain defends White Nationalism fueling the shooters butchering our brothers and sisters in the streets?
White men shooting innocent people is now more deadly and pervasive than Muslim extremist terrorism, but no one is calling the white shooters terrorists. We’re still hearing the tired excuse that it’s a mental health issue. Why? What’s behind all of this?
Privilege is the man behind the curtain, pulling all the strings. It stands above the gun issue, the racism issue, it masks the truth of domestic terrorism as people with mental health issues. It is fueled by the silence, and most importantly, it is a foe that requires ALL of us, united, to defeat.
Inaction is Immoral
Let me be clear: inaction supports the enemy. Inaction motivates the next shooter. Inaction supports the next sermon at an Evangelical Church that tries to remain inclusive to the members who are White Nationalist sympathizers. Inaction supports the President who says that there are “Fine people on both sides”.
The magnitude of it all is confusing, and the frontlines are unclear. “Where do I start?” is a valid question. I cannot quell all of the static and confusion, because I am in it myself… but I know the common tool these monsters use.
Point of Action
The Saturday of the El Paso shooting I pulled up to a blacksmith shop in Orange County, I pulled out the AR-15 that I bought legally from a third party, I handed it to the blacksmith and she cut that weapon of death into six pieces.
After Parkland in February 2018, I decided that children being shot was unacceptable and I had no choice but to act. I came up with the idea of “semi//art//omatic”, an organization that would buy AR-15s from private sellers, cut them up, then distribute the fragments to local artists to turn them into works of art against gun violence.
Help me take more AR-15s out of circulation. Help me make a statement that enough is enough. I need everything from moral support to money to artists wanting to create something that speaks out against this violence.
I am not naive to think that something may change in Washington. Semi//art//omatic is my way of doing something now, with the little power that I have. I am reaching out my hand to you, and if you have a little hope left—if you are not entirely paralyzed by this trauma—stand with me.
Stand Up. Make a change.
Help us in any way that you can. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s fight this disease one gun at a time.
Let’s give a damn. Let’s do something.