Who wrote ‘Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country … creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly over-harvesting resources … the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable’?
The answer, if media reports are accurate, is Patrick Crusius, the man accused of the El Paso massacre. The words appeared in his testament, entitled (in homage to Al Gore?) The Inconvenient Truth, which he seems to have put online before decreasing the number of people in America by 22.
Who said, on Twitter, ‘I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding’? Connor Betts, the man accused of shooting nine people, including his sister, in Dayton, Ohio.
This week’s reporting of the two atrocities has painted Crusius as a white supremacist. This does not seem to be accurate. In his manifesto, he is against ethnic mingling and mass immigration, but his view that immigrants should be killed is based not on racial superiority theory, but on his sense that too many people pollute the environment of America. He despairs of persuading his fellow Americans to change their consumerist lifestyles, so he decides to attack the ‘invaders’ instead.
As for Betts, the self-styled ‘leftist’, coverage has tended to slide past his political views. It is seriously bad that both cases have been so partially reported. If we are to work out the motivations of unhappy/trigger-happy young men such as these, shouldn’t we carefully expose all the preposterous justifications they make for their evil acts? Some of them — mostly to do with race — come from the right. Some — mostly to do with saving the planet from human beings — come from the left. Betts sounds like a potential Bernie Sanders recruit. Crusius seems closer to Extinction Rebellion than to Donald Trump.
This article was originally published in The Spectator magazine.