The Radical Measures Latinos Must Take in a Post El Paso and Gilroy Reality

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The United States has yet again witnessed shootings based on racists motives. This recent portrayal of hate and catastrophe took place in El Paso and in Gilroy. The difference this time around is that some of the community being targeted, Latinx people, are starting to take radical measures. As though these events were the final straw, gun stores saw a spike in enrollments by Latinx people in El Paso to get certified to carry a concealed weapon in public in Texas.  

The aftermath of these recent shootings was different this time. Gun Central, one of the largest gun stores in El Paso, witnessed this phenomenon following the tragic events. The general manager of Gun Central, Micheal McIntyre, informed the Associated Press that the weekend after the shootings, he had 50 Latinx people enroll in classes to obtain their certification to legally carry a gun in Texas. This was odd to him since he stated that enrollments of Latinx people in these classes are usually around seven people. 

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This was an astonishing sight to him since he hadn’t experienced this before. He stated that he didn’t even experience a spike in enrollments in past shootings such as the Sutherland Springs church massacre in 2017 and the Santa Fe High School massacre in 2018. It seems as though people are coming to the sad realization that these types of things are going to continue to happen. 

“This is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see,” McIntyre told AP.

As the years pass, gun-related violence in the United States have increased. To put things into perspective, more Americans have been killed with guns since 1968 than in all the U.S. wars combined. That number is outrageously astronomical. Considering that piece of information, you’d think the United States would have things under control. Instead, people are getting licensed to carry a gun as their own form of a solution. However, the demographics of gun ownership is rather disproportionate in the United States. While almost 50 percent of Whites are certified to carry a concealed weapon in public, only 21 percent of Latinx people are certified or live in a household where a gun is legally owned.  

This is shocking, especially since it has started to feel as though it is open season to target Latinx people in these gun-related events. 

As it has been previously confirmed, many of these unfortunate events have been fueled by hateful motives, usually complemented by racist rhetoric. The United States has already become quite acquainted with this story, especially since we are hearing about it so much. This could’ve started with Donald Trump’s vocal disapproval of many latinx people. Trump has even referred to latinx and immigration in terms of an infestation into the United States. Trying to decipher such comments may make you believe he thinks of immigration and latinx people as pests, even though he vehemently denies this as true whenever he is confronted. Either way, Trump’s poor choice of wording might have served its purpose to poison weak-minded and troubled people, possibly influencing them to cause disastrous situations. 

Without much surprise, the El Paso’s shooting in Walmart was carried out by a Trump-supporting gunman who drove ten hours from his hometown to commit the ungodly crime against so many innocent El Pasoans. However, it doesn’t seem as though it was by chance. Eighty percent of people from El Paso are Latinx. 

Even though mass shootings are increasingly becoming a norm and Latinx people are often targeted, Latinx people still have mixed feelings about gun control. In a 2016 poll conducted by Latino Decisions, it was found that 60 percent of Latinx people do not want Congress to pass more laws restricting gun ownership. Yet, the poll also showed that 95 percent of Latinx people thought background checks should be required to buy a gun.

 

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One of the attendees that had participated in the classes to become certified to carry a concealed weapon in public spoke to the Associated Press. 

“I’m still going to be scared, even carrying a weapon,” Sergovia told AP, adding that she wants her sisters to take the class as well.

She also expressed her desire to have gun laws to be reformed in a way where it would make it more difficult for young people to buy guns. 

“I think weapons should be a privilege and for safety, not to go and kill people,” she said to the Associated Press.

The truth is that everyone is concerned. Not a lot is being done in regard to this pertinent issue within the United States. A lot of the reason for this is because there’s the have impassioned Americans who fear that all of this is concern is a ploy to take away their rights at bearing their weapons. Many people feel that as soon as stricter gun control laws are implemented, their Second Amendment rights are being violated, but that’s far from it. Everyone deserves to live in a safer America. That is all. 

The anxiety being felt by many have also remained so high because we currently have a president who oftentimes responds mindlessly to these tragic events. For example, he only tweeted about the El Paso shooting late on Sunday afternoon to then start tweeting about the UFC championship 14 minutes later. Of course, anyone is entitled to react however they please and tweet whatever they want, but unfortunately, the president is held at a different level. He could have shown a bit more respect. Really, a tweet and then tweeting a new thread? This type of behavior speaks volumes.

This feeling is shared by many Latinx people in the United States. In fact, a recent Pew poll found that Latinx doesn’t feel the greatest about their place in America at the moment. A whopping 54 percent of Latinx people expressed that it has become harder to live harmoniously in the United States as someone from the Latinx community in recent years. It’s incredible that the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States is feeling this way. This is a group that contributes to the United States in every way as well. Latinx people pay taxes, contribute to the economy, and our history too. Seriously, how did we get here? 

Truly, no one should ever feel unsafe in a country, especially if it’s their home. The sad part is that shootings are probably going to continue, just like we are going to continue hoping it’s nowhere near us or our families. All in all, something needs to happen and fast. Even if it seems radical to some.