Who is responsible for the terrorist attack that killed at least 50 New Zealanders as they prayed in their mosques? Looked at one way, the answer is simple: The shooter alone bears the guilt for his crimes. But the picture is wider than that.
In the days since the attack, attention has rightly been focused on the shooter’s admiration of white supremacists, especially violent ones like Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, whom the shooter called his “true inspiration” and who allegedly gave his “blessing” for the attack. His manifesto called Donald Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” and uses words that directly echo Trump’s own. The discussion can even be expanded to those who have helped shape the U.S. president’s message, like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Donald Trump Jr. It’s not unreasonable to place some measure of blame on those who have stoked the international spread of white-supremacist ideology.
So why do I feel so guilty? And why am I so angry not just at the obvious targets, but at my country?