Twenty dead in El Paso. Nine more in Ohio. Both shootings are malicious acts to be condemned. But they are also part of a larger phenomenon to be understood: eleven killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue, 58 killed in Las Vegas, 17 killed in a Florida school. These wanton massacres—coming with numbing regularity—are symptoms of a sick body politic.
The newspapers are full of stories about white nationalism, the apparent motive for the El Paso shooter. This is indeed a dangerous ideology. We ran a careful analysis of the perverse appeal of right-wing identity politics last year (Matthew Rose, "The Anti-Christian Alt-Right"). Some commentators focus on the widespread availability of high-powered guns in our society. This, too, is a clear danger.