Red background, white words HUNTER at top and below a drawing of hands holding a sharpshooter type of gun

As we go to press on Sunday, August 4, we gradually learn details of the horrible mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District. The first one this close to home – another young white male “lone gunman” shooting into a crowd – just hours after the heinous Walmart shooting in El Paso.

So why have disaffected white males continued to turn our gathering places slick with blood?

One reason may be that no one is calling it what it is – Domestic Terrorism. Here’s another reason most major media outlets won’t mention:

Stochastic Terrorism

Facebook memes and online articles point out how the words of Donald Trump are likely stirring up hatred and violence. They call it “Stochastic Terrorism.”

Daily Kos defined the phrase:“The use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

The word stochastic comes from the Greek stochastikos, meaning “proceeding by guesswork” and “skillful in aiming,” Wired Magazine tells us in a January 2019 article warning about stochastic terrorism.

“The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the ‘missile’ set in motion by the stochastic terrorist. The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those ‘missiles’ in motion,” continued Daily Kos.

“The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: ‘Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do.’”

Buzzflash laid it out with no nonsense in “Spare Us the Perfunctory Prayers, It Was Trump Who Weaponized the El Paso Mass Murderer and the One in Gilroy,” written prior to the Dayton shooting, where the shooter’s motive is yet to be determined. The article quotes presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke: “We’ve had a rise in hate crimes every single one of the last three years during an administration where you have a president who has called Mexicans rapists and criminals.”

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto stated that “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

The tactic is not much different than we see from terrorist jihadist groups – naming the enemy, condoning murdering them, and encouraging individual acts of violence.

Trump’s racist Tweets and speeches are interpreted by disaffected young white male as a call to arms. Buzzflash calls Trump out as an accessory to murder.

This is a man whose inflammatory words are all too familiar: Second Amendment people might “do” something if Hillary Clinton was elected; there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville rally; tweets of himself body-slamming the CNN logo; Trump promising legal help to a supporter if he got in trouble for punching a protestor; telling four members of Congress to go back where they came from; it goes on and on.

In the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) analysis, “Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country.” Trump’s election also empowered lone wolf attacks in Ohio. An interracial couple returned home from visiting their daughters in Chicago to find their Cincinnati house trashed in early December 2016. The couple, married 34 years, found swastikas spray painted on their walls along with the words: “White Power” and “Die Nigger.”

This type of strategy is not new in the world of white supremacy. Read Hunter by the infamous white supremacist William Pierce. The plot is a handbook to incite the same type of unstable “lone wolf” behavior Trump is drumming up. The protagonist starts by murdering interracial couples, moves on to target prominent journalists and politicians, becomes anti-Semitic and uses a Christian evangelical broadcast to spew racist messages.

More recently, emerging from the Charlottesville tragedy, 17-year-old Thomas Rousseau devised a new strategy to re-brand the white supremacist movement and tie it to President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. He deemed his new group the Patriot Front, that utilizes a bold strategy linking neo-Nazi networks with well-armed militia men and “fence-sitting” alt-righters attracted to violent street action, according to the SPLC. They use online flyers to be downloaded and spread with this message: “Our goals do not end with a candidate in an office or a bill signed into law. Our horizon is set on absolute victory. Resurrection through insurrection.” We’ve seen these flyers in central Ohio and around the state, including the Dayton area.

Remember, Dayton was also the site of a recent Klan rally, though only nine appeared. The anti-Klan turnout was in the thousands, however. And Trump just held a rally on August 1 in Cincinnati. 

We may never find out for sure why the Dayton shooter had two guns, one “AR-15-like,” suited up in body armor, went to the Oregon District with his sister and friends, and shot it up killing nine (six were Black) – or if he intended to kill his own sister. But it is more than a “Miami Valley tragedy” as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine calls it. It is a pattern and practice not-so-subtly suggested by our own President.

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