The Independent Voices
One travelled two hours to attack a black church, the other drove ten hours to open fire in a supermarket he knew he would be full of hispanics and Mexicans. One used a semi-automatic pistol, the other a semi-automatic rifle.
Both posted racist screeds online, claiming people of colour were taking over. Both were 21-year-old white men, determined – allegedly in the case of one of them – to commit mass murder.
The similarities between Dylann Roof, who killed nine African Americans after attacking the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2015, and Patrick Crusius, charged with murdering 22 people when he opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso last weekend, are more than passing.
Striking too, has been the similarity of the reaction to the mass killings, that many have sought to write off as the work of fanatical outliers, people who, in the words of Donald Trump, were “very, very seriously mentally ill”.
The issue of mental health is often reached for when such carnage briefly shock the nation’s senses, before it, and the media, move on to something else. Yet studies have shown mental health is only associated with a tiny fraction of violent incidents.