3 Years After the El Paso Shooting, “Environmental” Nativism Is Spreading

Three years ago today, a 21-year-old man drove nearly 700 miles from his hometown of Allen, Tex., to a Walmart in El Paso. The store, just a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, was a common destination for Mexican shoppers who drove across the international boundary to buy cheap goods—some locals called it the “Mexican Walmart.” Its clientele and proximity to Mexico is what made the man choose that particular Walmart. In a manifesto published on 8chan earlier that day, he wrote that he wanted to “shoot as many Mexicans as possible.” Using an AK-47-style rifle he ordered from Romania, he killed 23 people and injured dozens more.

In the hours following the El Paso shooting, journalists attempted to piece together a motive. The manifesto, titled “An Inconvenient Truth,” made it easy enough. In it, the alleged shooter claimed the attack was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Analyses of the manifesto highlighted its similarities to then-President Trump’s rhetoric. A year earlier, Trump had described a caravan of Central American asylum seekers headed to the United States as an “invasion.”

In his manifesto, the gunman said his views on immigration predated Trump’s presidency. They were also more explicit. Where Trump has said Democrats want migrants to “infest” the United States and suggested George Soros funded the 2018 migrant caravan, he shooter wrote of the so-called “great replacement,” the white supremacist belief that migrants are being imported to Europe, the United States, and Australia to “replace” white people. Immigrants, he wrote, were dangerous because of their sheer numbers—they were a threat to not only the white race but the planet as well.

“The environment is getting worse by the year,” he wrote. “Most of y’all are too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So 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 be sustainable.” Though he acknowledged that white Americans consume more resources than immigrants and people of color, the shooter balked at the idea of killing his own people. By targeting a predominately Mexican-American community, he reasoned, he was simultaneously solving the problems of overpopulation and rampant immigration. Citing the mass shooter who attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, as an inspiration, the El Paso shooter declared himself an eco-fascist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.