Pres. Trump attacks Internet after white supremacist massacres in Texas and Ohio

; Date: August 5, 2019

Tags: Mass Gun Violence »»»» Social Media Networks »»»» President Trump

Today Pres. Trump, in a statement about about the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, called for an end to activities on social media networks which incite hatred and violence. In the speech he blamed everyone else but his own actions as being the source of this violence. While the other things named, video game violence, online radicalization, and so on, are partly to blame for the rising violence, Pres. Trump's own words and deeds are also to blame.

To recap - on Saturday, August 3, 2019, there were two mass shootings within a few hours of each other.

The first was in El Paso Texas, when a man opened fire with an assault rifle at a Walmart store then moved on to a shopping mall next door. Shortly before the shooting the man had posted a "Manifesto" ("The Inconvenient Truth") talking about the supposed problem that Mexicans (Latino's in general) are "invading" the USA and causing problems. The shooter specifically called out the perpetrator of the recent mass shooting in Christchurch New Zealand, where several Mosques were attacked, and over 50 people killed. The Christchurch shooter specifically called out Pres. Trump's words and actions as inspiration. The El Paso shooter was from Dallas and traveled specifically to El Paso for this attack.

The second shooting was in Dayton Ohio, in an area downtown full of bars and restaurants. It was after Midnight when the shooter opened fire, again with an assault rifle, killing nine people within a minute before police killed him. I haven't seen clear reporting on this guy's motive. But given that he wore tactical armor, ear muffs, had a big gun, with a large ammo canister, it seems very likely he premeditated this for several months.

A week before the Gilroy Garlic Festival (a yearly food festival focusing on Garlic, in Gilroy CA) was shot up by a local man. His social media profile was full of vile hatred towards non-white people, and he quoted from a prominent book among Alt-Right circles.

The speech given by Pres. Trump today said a lot of good things. He called the shooters "wicked" and "twisted monster", and the shootings were "barbaric slaughters". He called it a crime against humanity, and described our outrage against the cruel evil. He called for certain solutions we'll get to in a moment.

We must also notice that unlike most of his other statements, this one was very linear and well thought out. Pres. Trump has a tendency to wander around a topic, and among the word salad that comes from his mouth you get a sense of what he might possibly be thinking. This had all the earmarks of a script, written by someone else, and he was reading from that script.

While I am hoping Pres. Trump really does believe the USA is a loving nation and that our children really are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful, and loving society, I am not holding much hope that's the case.

Pres. Trump's words and deeds vary in a huge way from what he called for today. His own words and deeds egg on these sorts of actions. He has a long history of racist bigotry, and making statements to encourage others in racist bigotry.

But we can't go into that line of discussion because on TechSparx we are interested in the effect this has on the Technology scene.

Remedies proposed by Pres. Trump

After saying that Hatred Warps the Mind, etc, he announced several steps that were being taken, some of which will probably be outright attacks on freedom of speech on the Internet:

We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.

Yes, good, that's fine. But one wonders what they will identify as domestic terrorism. Will the white supremacists, Trump's Base, be identified as the target? The Conservative's have used the "terrorist" word to describe "Antifa" (Anti-Fascist) protesters. While it's possible that Antifa protesters have committed some violence, there has been a string of mass shootings committed by white supremacists - the kind of folks Antifa is dedicated to countering.

It's not Antifa folks who are burning mosques and shooting areas with lots of hispanics. Those actions were taken by white supremacists - the kind of people who are Pres. Trump's "Base".

We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start. The Internet, likewise, is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.

I will readily agree that it is very easy to find an echo chamber on the Internet and get radicalized into almost any frame of mind.

For an example, see this report of a young man who got radicalized into Alt-Right ideologies simply by following recommended videos on YouTube: How YouTube radicalizes folks to Alt-Right views with the algorithm

This sounds like he wants to start policing social media networks. This is rather confusing next to recent actions by Pres. Trumps and folks in the Conservative camp.

On the one hand we all have rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, guaranteed in the Constitution. Secondly, the Conservatives have been crying crocodile tears for months about how Social Media networks have been preventing Conservative voices from being heard. They've talked about "shadow banning" and outright closure of social media channels, and claimed that Big Tech is full of radical liberals who want nothing more than to squish Conservatives.

As a result the Dept of Justice recently launched an Investigation into Big Tech. US Dept of Justice opens investigation into Big Tech (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc)

Also see

Any rational effort to identify bad actors would take a hard look at the Alt Right folks. That is the echo chamber these radicalized shooters are coming from.

Remember the guy in 2016 who shot up a Pizza Parlor in Washington DC? He was acting on "conspiracy theories" echoing around Alt-Right circles online about that Pizza Parlor being a front for a child sex trafficking ring run by the Clintons, out of the basement. The guy went there believing this poppycock nonsense, to a Pizza Parlor that didn't even have a basement, thinking he would be rescuing children.

That's the sort of problem we're saddled with. Outright falsehoods circulating in echo chamber bubbles, radicalizing folks to believe and act on nonsense. Most of it is Alt-Right neo-fascist stuff, the same sort of ideas that Pres. Trump himself amplifies whenever he talks freely.

First, we must do a better job of identifying and acting on early warning signs. I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partisan — partnership with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.

The social media networks are already taking measures of this sort.

The social media networks have moved to shut down accounts engaging in hate speech, to remove hate speech content and so on.

I'll refer you back to the Conservatives who have been crying foul over actions taken by the social media networks.

Second, we must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.

And what about Pres. Trump's own glorification of violence?

Third, we must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement. Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

Is incarceration in a jail the best way to treat a mental illness? This is another statement that on the surface sounds nice - oh, he's calling for mental illness treatments. But how will this be handled and what will be labeled as mental illness? He talks about jails when jails are the last place to send a mentally ill person.

Fourth, we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.

Here we can see Pres. Trump throwing a bone to those calling for serious gun reform. Trump was elected in part because the NRA got behind him, and the NRA will go on attack against him if he were to propose proper serious gun reform. Instead - oh, we'll try to implement some kind of prevention system as if that will keep guns out of the hands of folks.

I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.

Here is Pres. Trump's violent authoritarian side on full display. He's saying to throw the book at people, and to do it quickly.

Capital punishment is a long and drawn out process in the USA. There's a reason for this - many many many people have ended up on death row when they hadn't done a thing, and were wrongly convicted. A huge percentage of convictions turn out to be based on false fabricated evidence rushing to judgement.

Remarks by President Trump, August 5, 2019, retrieved from WhiteHouse.gov

Diplomatic Reception Room

10:08 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. My fellow Americans, this morning, our nation is overcome with shock, horror, and sorrow. This weekend, more than 80 people were killed or wounded in two evil attacks.

On Saturday morning, in El Paso, Texas, a wicked man went to a Walmart store, where families were shopping with their loved ones. He shot and murdered 20 people, and injured 26 others, including precious little children.

Then, in the early hours of Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, another twisted monster opened fire on a crowded downtown street. He murdered 9 people, including his own sister, and injured 27 others.

The First Lady and I join all Americans in praying and grieving for the victims, their families, and the survivors. We will stand by their side forever. We will never forget.

These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity. We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror. Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives. America weeps for the fallen.

We are a loving nation, and our children are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful, and loving society. Together, we lock arms to shoulder the grief, we ask God in Heaven to ease the anguish of those who suffer, and we vow to act with urgent resolve.

I want to thank the many law enforcement personnel who responded to these atrocities with the extraordinary grace and courage of American heroes.

I have spoken with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, as well as Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso, Texas, and Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, to express our profound sadness and unfailing support.

Today, we also send the condolences of our nation to President Obrador of Mexico, and all the people of Mexico, for the loss of their citizens in the El Paso shooting. Terrible, terrible thing.

I have also been in close contact with Attorney General Barr and FBI Director Wray. Federal authorities are on the ground, and I have directed them to provide any and all assistance required — whatever is needed.

The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.

We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start. The Internet, likewise, is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.

In the two decades since Columbine, our nation has watched with rising horror and dread as one mass shooting has followed another — over and over again, decade after decade.

We cannot allow ourselves to feel powerless. We can and will stop this evil contagion. In that task, we must honor the sacred memory of those we have lost by acting as one people. Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided. We must seek real, bipartisan solutions. We have to do that in a bipartisan manner. That will truly make America safer and better for all.

First, we must do a better job of identifying and acting on early warning signs. I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partisan — partnership with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.

As an example, the monster in the Parkland high school in Florida had many red flags against him, and yet nobody took decisive action. Nobody did anything. Why not?

Second, we must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately. Cultural change is hard, but each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life. That’s what we have to do.

Third, we must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement. Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

Fourth, we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.

Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.

These are just a few of the areas of cooperation that we can pursue. I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference.

Republicans and Democrats have proven that we can join together in a bipartisan fashion to address this plague. Last year, we enacted the STOP School Violence and Fix NICS Acts into law, providing grants to improve school safety and strengthening critical background checks for firearm purchases. At my direction, the Department of Justice banned bump stocks. Last year, we prosecuted a record number of firearms offenses. But there is so much more that we have to do.

Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion, and love. Our future is in our control. America will rise to the challenge. We will always have and we always will win. The choice is ours and ours alone. It is not up to mentally ill monsters; it is up to us.

If we are able to pass great legislation after all of these years, we will ensure that those who were attacked will not have died in vain.

May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo. May God protect them. May God protect all of those from Texas to Ohio. May God bless the victims and their families. May God bless America.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

END

10:18 A.M. EDT

President Trump complete remarks on Mass Shootings (C-SPAN)

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.