Last night about 30 people held a quiet vigil in a Myrtle Beach, SC park in honor of the El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH mass shooting victims over the weekend.
As they prepared to read aloud the names of those who died, a car drove by and a man yelled out, "White power!" Then, they made another pass and someone yelled, "You won't take our guns."
Once again, the influence of President Donald Trump manifests itself. Despite his denials, his repeated vilification of immigrants and minorities gives unsaid permission to those filled with hate and and fear to act out in such a way, and even worse.
Hate and fear?
Of course, hate. What else can you call the actions of white supremacists who murder African American parishioners, shoppers of Hispanic origin, everyday people in a bar or demonstrators opposing racial discrimination?
What reaction do you think Trump's constant statements that America is being "invaded" by migrants of Hispanic origin will prompt from those who feel threatened by these new would-be citizens?
Trump is a master at playing on emotions, on spouting rhetoric that feeds into the long-held, often suppressed, animosities and prejudices that some hold against those of other races. And then, added to the mixture is the rhetoric of the right, megaphoned by Trump, that accuses Democrats of wanting to take their guns.
All if that creates a dangerous, toxic brew that can only result in violence, death and destruction as was witnessed in both of those cities this past weekend. Out come the AR-15s and more than 30 people fall dead.
Somehow America must come to grips with the problems that underlie all of this. It will take strong, sensible, calm, honest and moral leadership.
And that does not reside in today's White House.