It’s that time of the week again. A nondescript white male loser has decided to take a military grade semi-automatic weapon out in public and use his fellow Americans for target practice. Yesterday, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of Parkland, Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 of his former classmates, almost one for every year he’s been alive. We all know how this will play out. Democrats will call for more gun control but take no real steps to make it a reality. Conservatives will talk about “muh rights” and “muh freedom.” Leftists will mutter something about how yeah, the NRA is a nasty group of white supremacist assholes, but since we’re all going to need guns to overthrow capitalism, the gun lobby probably is probably the lesser of two evils, the greater being liberals. Eventually, and by “eventually” I mean “a day or two,” we’ll all forget about the whole thing. Thankfully I live in New Jersey, which has strict gun control, and relatively few mass shootings — You people in Texas and Florida, enjoy that “freedom.” — but I have no illusions that sooner or later we’re going to get a major “active shooter incident.” It’s only a matter of time.
While mass murder by ugly ass misogynist AR-15 wielding white male terrorist is almost always the same — you’ll notice that black women never become mass shooters — the public reaction occasionally takes a new turn. The significance of the Columbine shootings turned out to be the “fake news” about how Dylan and Klebold did it in revenge for being bullied. They didn’t, and they weren’t. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was all about conspiracy theories. Almost immediately after we decided that the murder of dozens of elementary school kids was just the price we had to pay for our “freedom,” far right ideologues like Alex Jones took to the air waves to argue that it had never really happened at all, that it was not only “fake news” but a fake mass murder. Everybody involved was a “crisis actor” hired by Barack Obama to create an atmosphere of crisis designed to let him take our guns, Bibles, and white women. Ah, if only Obama had been the Machiavellian operator the far right believed him to be, instead of the mediocre PR operative for Wall Street and the big banks he was in reality.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School murders have brought us two new developments, one promising, one ominous. On the positive side, as Troy Patterson points out in the New Yorker, the teenagers who survived the shootings are speaking out, and they have little patience for politicians who act as apologists for the gun lobby. On the more ominous side, however, we have Jordan Jereb, a member of the Republic of Florida, a white supremacist group that Cruz supposedly trained with earlier in the year. Cruz, it seems, is a right wing, white supremacist, anti-Semite, homophobe, and Trump supporter, but, as Jereb now admits, his connections to the Republic of Florida are tenuous at best. That Jordan Jereb lied, not to distance himself from Nikolas Cruz, but to claim an association with this week’s mass murder is a bad development, worse than most people realize. It means white supremacists are no longer bothering with conspiracy theories about “crisis actors.” It means they have nothing to fear from the United States government, that they can be open about their violent agenda. It means they’re not only terrorists. They’re terrorists with friends in the White House.