Hate Crimes Are Domestic Terrorism
By Honorable Sandré R. Swanson
The premeditated killings of three innocent, non-suspecting, African American citizens in Jacksonville, Fla., last Saturday was a hate crime and domestic terrorism.
The shooter was Ryan Christopher Palmeter, a 21-year-old masked white man. After an encounter at the historically Black college near the New Town neighborhood, he was seen putting on his bullet-resistant vest and a mask before he headed to a Dollar General store and used a Glock handgun painted with swastikas and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to kill three Black people.
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, told a news conference that this attack left two men and one woman dead and was “definitely racially motivated. He hated Black people.” Outlining his motive, Palmeter left a manifesto on his home computer for his parents to find.
The victims were Angela Michelle Carr, 52, an Uber driver in the parking lot, store employee A. J. Laguerre, 19, and customer Jerrald Gallion, 29. Palmeter shot and killed himself after the attacks.
This murderous act in this year of 2023 is no different than the racially motivated murders of 1823. These killings of African Americans have never been “isolated incidents,” as some apologists for white supremacy would like us to believe. Historically, they are part of a conspiracy to commit murder, motivated by hate that no civilized society should tolerate.
We all should blame these modern-day politicians responsible for our current climate of hate. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s statements of regret for these killings in his state do not excuse his public assault on African American history or his responsibility for his past statements of hateful speech.
Donald Trump and wedge politics give comfort and support to hate crimes. Trump’s sympathetic support of hate events, like the violent, swastika-wearing protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. His statements identifying white supremacists as “very fine people on both sides,” supports this climate of hate.
The African American community and people of good moral character know that 60 years after the heyday of the civil rights movement our work is clearly not done.
Note: Former Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson served as chief of staff for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, district director for Congressman Ron Dellums, and is a current candidate for the California State Senate. http://www.sandreswanson.net