On the 3rd of August, 22 people were killed in a shooting in El Paso, Texas. Hours later, another shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio, killing 9 people. And there are hundreds of others just like this. Las Vegas, Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, the Pulse Club — the list seems endless. In fact, 340 mass shootings occurred in the US in 2018 alone, most being orchestrated by white people and 96 per cent of them being men. The shooters are connected by hate-filled intentions, but this explanation is too simplistic.
There is strong evidence to suggest that these incidents are all examples of white terrorism, with the definition of terrorism being: ‘the unlawful use of violence or intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims’. And these mass shootings have been used as an aggressive vehicle to push through a distinctive agenda which says, we need to kill off people of colour to protect the future of white people. And this isn’t made up. The evidence for these attacks being an example of white terrorism can be found in the underlying motives.
Before the El Paso and Dayton attacks, manifestos were published beforehand, detailing racist rhetoric together with the overarching and horrifying theme of the Great Replacement Theory. Alongside the two shootings in El Paso and Dayton, versions of the Great Replacement Theory can also be found in other attacks that have occurred. The San Diego, Pittsburgh and Poway shootings all had anti-Semitic motivation and manifestos were posted before the attacks that referred to the Great Replacement Theory (with the Poway shooter openly blaming Jews for the ‘meticulously planned genocide of the European race’). The perpetrator of the Christ Church shootings posted a 74-page manifesto 30 minutes before he opened fire titled ‘The Great Replacement’ which detailed anti-immigrant sentiments (including hate speech against migrants and a call to arms against non-white ‘invaders’).
To elaborate, the Great Replacement Theory was developed by French author, Renaud Camus and outlines the idea that the white population is being supplanted by non-white people through mass migration and a drop in the white birth rate in comparison to an increasing non-white birth rate. This phenomenon was also discussed by the Neo-Nazi David Lane in his 1995 manifesto ‘White Genocide’, where he talked about governments conspiring to turn white people into an ‘extinct species’. And this racist rhetoric has spread to the online community, a space where many supremacists are created and corrupted through the fearmongering and indoctrination that oozes out of groups such as Incels and forums like Stormfront. Lane’s white supremacist ideology has been adopted by many white doctrinaires, especially his famously coined phrase: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children’, which has become a rallying cry for many modern-day white nationalists.
This troubling trend isn’t the first time that the Great Replacement Theory has been linked to modern-day white supremacy. At the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, protesters were heard shouting ‘You Will Not Replace Us’ and ‘Jews Will Not Replace Us’. This type of language arguably echoes the dissatisfaction over the increasing non-white birth rate in Europe and America.
This theory has even reached out and embedded itself into the political system of the US. The increasingly strict abortion laws in the southern states could be one example of an attempt to remedy the lagging white birth rate. Examples such as the Human Life Protection Act in Alabama, which bans abortion at any stage of a pregnancy except in severe cases, are believed to have a logical basis in the Great Replacement Theory.
One of the most worrying things about this theory is that it is quite true. If we take Britain as an example, a report by Policy Exchange predicted that 14 per cent of the British population that was BME (Black and Minority Ethnicities) could double to between 20 and 30 per cent by 2050. And the problem here is that such predications are a red flag to the fearful and a good justification for the brutality of the white, indignant terrorist. These kinds of statistics strike fear into the hearts of white fascists, causing a backlash of violence and terror that results in the ‘culling’ of non-white people to protect the future of the white population. At this point, people of colour are no longer seen as humans but mere statistics of ‘subhumans’, to be dealt with accordingly.
The main problem when it comes to explaining America’s ongoing gun violence, is the reluctance and fear of facing the implications of the Great Replacement Theory. And so it is conveniently bypassed as a factor in explaining the underlying motive for the attacks and as the inspiration for the rise of the white supremacist threat across the globe. Shallower reasons are given instead. Such as, the shooter was having mental health issues, or violent video games were the cause of his anti-social behaviour. The abundance of excuses that are dished out are in fact irrelevant. The rise in white supremacy boils down to the violent and racist essence of the Great Replacement Theory. We are being ‘invaded’ and we have to protect our own, it whispers cautiously.