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Latham: This isn't about 'crazy,' violence is result of pure meanness

You probably didn’t even know what 8chan was before the news hit Saturday that yet another white supremacist had decided to gun people down, this time in El Paso.

8chan is part of the so-called dark web, along with 4chan, 7chan and other online message boards that are little accessed by most internet users but draw in fools like peanut butter on a rat trap.

The allure is that — supposedly — you can browse the dark web anonymously, which is a big draw for those who know full well that what they’re doing is either illegal or immoral.

It is where that spindly little coward Patrick Crusius posted a 2,000-word “manifesto” — really just an attempt to glorify himself for being an unrepentant murderer. I read it so you wouldn’t have to and there is nothing there beyond a series of statements indicating massive self-pity.

Usually, I would not use such harsh words even to describe one of the minions of hate. But today peace, understanding and love are not so easy to come by. This, of course, is just what they hope for.

Crusius complains in his diatribe that he is not going to get the job he dreamed of because of automation which, of course, is somehow linked to illegal immigration. He even whines that the AK-47 he uses in the massacre is a “bad” choice because it gets so hot and he has to wear gloves.

In photos, he appears not to be wearing those gloves, though, so he might have burned his wittle hands. Terrible, the sacrifices he had to go through to “save” America.

Despite all of that, the manifesto — that’s what he calls it — doesn’t convince me he is mentally ill. There’s a big difference between mental illness and hate. To suggest Crusius is mentally ill is the same as saying all Nazis were not mean, just sick.

There’s already one report Crusius was bullied in school. It’s not his fault, blame those mean boys who picked on him. I suppose Saturday he got some sense of payback with every pull of the trigger.

Why is it when white men go on a murderous rampage it is always the result of them being sick and not just pure, evil meanness? Do white guys have a gene linked to mass shootings that makes them massacre people? If so, I want to know before I find myself with a military-style weapon in my hands.

Gov. Gregg Abbott said Saturday the state needed to work on treatment for those who are mentally ill as well as find ways not to let them have guns. I don’t disagree one bit but I doubt that would have stopped Patrick Crusius, or any perpetrator of recent mass murders.

Crusius is only one of a multitude of those who spew hate on 8chan. The site went down for a few minutes when a service provider got a case of conscience but was quickly back up, just as bad as ever, then down again.

I checked it out as best I could stomach, again so you wouldn’t have to. Hate is the most prominent feature there, followed closely by — surprise! — pornography of every kind. It sort of makes you wonder which came first, the porn or the hate?

Could it be that one makes the other more likely? I don’t know the answer to that but there is such a thing as violence porn. In fact, for everything that exists, some evil (not mentally ill) person has figured a way to make it into pornography.

In light of these latest massacres, I’m sure someone is going to suggest that the problem isn’t too many guns but too few. If only someone with concealed carry had been standing close by, it would have been stopped immediately.

That’s nothing more than wishful thinking, and if we don’t know anything else by now we should realize the fruits of wishful thinking are dead bodies with gaping bullet wounds.

We need a tactic better than good wishes, and sending our “thoughts and prayers” is no longer enough. We need to be as real and forceful as those bullets from a gun. Then, maybe, we’ll have a chance against the firepower.

— Phil Latham is editor emeritus of the News-Journal. His column appears Wednesday. Email platham@news-journal.com

Today's Bible verse

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

James 2:17

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