In 72 hours last week, three horrific, hate-filled crimes were committed in the US.
On Wednesday, a 51-year-old man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans at a grocery store.
On Friday, a 56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc was arrested for mailing at least a dozen suspicious packages to Democrats criticsed by Donald Trump, including Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and former CIA Director John Brennan.
On Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Thirteen people have died as a result of these crimes, six have been injured and many more have been left hurt, scared and traumatised.
All three crimes are tragic, and the fact that they happened within 72 hours of each other is truly terrifying.
Following the Pittsburgh shooting, Donald Trump tweeted, “All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries.”
Later in the day, Trump joked about cancelling a press conference because he was having “a bad hair day.”
Sadly, we’ve come to expect a lack of empathy from Trump, a man who regularly incites hate on Twitter and in real life.
Last year, Trump called his political opponent “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and his supporters chanted “Lock her up.” This week, one of those supporters mailed a pipe bomb to her.
In August, Trump tweeted that free press was “the enemy of the people;” a pipe bomb was also sent to CNN’s New York bureau.
When Trump speaks, his supporters listen, they absorb his hate and some of them act on it. Words are important – and Trump’s words are having terrifying consequences.
After Trump said he “grabs women by the pussy” a man used it as an excuse to sexually assault a woman on a flight. When he was arrested for abusive sexual contact, he told the cops Donald Trump “says it’s okay to grab women by their private parts.”
Trump’s words are inciting hate, crime and fear. In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Kurt Bardella says, “Trump is either completely ignorant of or indifferent to the culture of hate he and his Republic enablers are responsible for creating, and the only plausible explanation is that he just doesn’t care… The unshakable reality is that the US is breaking.”
And it’s breaking at the hands – and words – of Trump.