A Los Angeles Times columnist wrote that he initially believed that the gunman who killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Texas was a “white supremacist” and that he grew despondent upon learning that the alleged shooter was Latino.
Gustavo Arellano, who frequently covers the Spanish-speaking immigrant community in Southern California, wrote a column in the Times on Wednesday titled, “A Latino-on-Latino mass shooting. What now?”
“When I heard that a gunman had killed multiple schoolchildren in a predominantly Latino town in Texas, I immediately thought: white supremacist,” wrote Arellano, the son of Mexican immigrants.
“How could I not?”
Arellano wrote that his “stomach dropped” when he learned that the suspect in the Uvalde shooting “was named Salvador Rolando Ramos.”
“We live in an America where millions view us as the enemy simply for being Latinos,” Arellano wrote. He cited other mass shootings before lamenting that “a Latino had never been the killer in any of … the 10 worst mass shootings — until Ramos.”
Arellano also mentioned in his column the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where a “white man radicalized by neo-Nazi literature drove hundreds of miles” to a Walmart “with the explicit mission to kill Latinos.”
He wrote: “Twenty-three people died in that massacre, and multiple essays and columns tied the tragedy not just to our current era of racism and violence but to the Lone Star State’s long, shameful history of lynching Latinos.”
Arellano also mentioned the mass shooting in Buffalo just days earlier, when a man from Broome County, New York, allegedly killed 10 black grocery shoppers.
The suspected Buffalo gunman, Payton S. Gendron, was reportedly motivated by so-called “replacement theory” — the conspiracy theory which states that whites are being “replaced” in the US by immigrants and minorities.
Arellano noted that in the case of Ramos, “some saw his Hispanic name and invoked illegal immigration despite law enforcement officials quickly stating that Ramos was born in North Dakota.”
Arellano concluded the column by writing: “The tragedy in Uvalde disproves what white supremacists say about Latinos and other minorities. We’re not unassimilable; we all become part of the United States.”
“What Ramos did — stemming from a pathology found almost nowhere else on Earth — is as American as apple pie.”