White Men With Guns

In this photo released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, Travis Reinking sits in a police car after being arrested in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, April 23, 2018. Police said Reinking opened fire at a Waffle House early Sunday, killing at least four people. (Metro Nashville Police Department via AP)

By Steve Almond, WBUR

This week’s mass shooting at the Waffle House in Nashville was, in most ways, typical: The perpetrator was a white man with a history of mental health problems and a small arsenal.

What marked it as unique was that the shooter was disarmed by an unarmed African-American man, who saved an unknown number of his fellow citizens from being slaughtered.

Honestly, the races of these men shouldn’t matter.

But they do. And they do because the very people who stand in the way of sensible gun control legislation in America — which is to say, gun manufacturers and their Republican servants in Congress — have pursued a politics explicitly based on race.

In fact, the modern GOP, along with the for-profit demagogues of the conservative media, have created an entire mythologyaround race and violence in this country.

In this mythology — which I call Fear of a Brown Planet — America’s white population is perpetually under siege by the dark other.

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