On July 28, 2019, 19-year-old Santino William Legan opened fire on a crowd at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California. Three people died and twelve were injured. The shooter then shot himself in the head. After determining Legan responsible for the shooting, the police investigated a home that they believed Legan had once rented. In the home, they discovered extremist material and seized several weapons accessories and computer hardware.
Additionally, Santino Legan’s social media led authorities to infer that he was xenophobic and racist. According to Merriam-Webster.com, xenophobia is the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. With that being said, there have been countless shootings around the world that were fueled by xenophobic thoughts.
One prime example was the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Florida. It was revealed that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had shared his homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic views on his social media platforms. It is so unfortunate and sad that these hate crimes are becoming such a common occurrence in the United States. Now, mass shootings are becoming almost common and out of the ordinary.
One solution to minimizing the number of hate crimes would be fixing the society’s hate culture. Almost all of the terrible mass shootings are related to xenophobia, and it is unacceptable. People must learn to embrace differences and diversity. Diversity is what makes the United States so great and special, but some people only see it as a threat. These xenophobia-fueled shootings have made the United States into a scarier place to be for immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone else that is “different”. People have to become accepting of others; this is the only way we can truly stop hate crimes.
Nicole Kim, Grade 11
South Pasadena High School