If I were to mention every example of gun violence involving multiple victims in America, this blog would not only be really depressing but also quite monotonous. It’d be, as blogger buddy Chuck Miller mentioned, The Vicious Cycle.
Heck, before I could even write about the Buffalo mass shooting, one was killed and four critically wounded at a Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods, CA, likely motivated by political hatred of the Taiwanese community.
Though I heartily support it, I’m unenthused about calls for gun control. If America isn’t going to respond to 20 six and seven-year-olds murdered at school almost a decade ago, I can’t see it happening in this circumstance, I’m afraid.
It IS peculiar that a teenager who threatened a school graduation shooting last year and was given psychiatric treatment, could still purchase three guns legally.
Broome County, NY
So the Buffalo incident compelled me to note it. Certainly, the fact that the shooter* came from my home county, Broome County, NY in Conklin, just a few miles southeast of my hometown of Binghamton, is a huge factor. There’s just a smidgen of irrational personal mortification.
And the other thing is that the shooter drove 200 miles (322 km), three and a half hours, to find a bunch of Black people** to shoot. He, or someone in his circle, did a demographic dive to ascertain that the ZIP Code where that TOPS grocery store had the highest concentration of Black folks within a reasonable driving distance.
WIVB-TV reports that the name of the gunman matches the one “given in a 180-page manifesto that surfaced online shortly after the attack and took credit for the violence in the name of white supremacy… The excruciating detail provided leaves little doubt of its authenticity.”
Yahoo News and other sources note that the manifesto “repeatedly cited the ‘great replacement’ theory, the false idea that a cabal is attempting to replace white Americans with nonwhite people through immigration, interracial marriage, and, eventually, violence…
“In the manifesto, [he] claims that he was radicalized on 4chan while he was ‘bored’ at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. The document also claims ‘critical race theory,’ a recent right-wing talking point that has come to generally encompass teaching about race in school, is part of a Jewish plot, and a reason to justify mass killings of Jews…”
I came across this frustrating conversation about whether the shooter is “crazy.” “Someone must be crazy to do something like that, right?” “If he’s crazy, he’ll use that as his defense.”
The Weekly Sift guy actually addressed this back in 2019 when another shooter targeted Hispanics at a Walmart in El Paso. “His actions made perfect sense if you took seriously what Trump had been saying over and over: Mexicans are invading our country. If your country is being invaded, isn’t the most obvious response to take military gear to the border and kill the invaders? What’s mentally ill about that?”
The same thing [in Buffalo. The shooter] “has been told time and again that there’s a plot to take America away from the white race, and that this plot will eventually result in racial extinction. If he believes that, what’s the logical response?”
Recognizing the dog whistle
“High-profile people like Trump, Tucker Carlson, and Elise Stefanik may not explicitly tell people to go out and kill Blacks or Hispanics or Jews, but how does anything less deal with the problem they describe?” WS describes the replacement theory much more fully here.
Carlson’s defenders point out that the shooter’s manifesto included no mentions of the FOX commentator, as though that takes him off the hook. Also, the document attacked 21st Century Fox for hiring Jewish people. Whatever. It’s standard Vulpine gaslighting.
Stefanik is the Congressperson in a distinct adjacent to my own, and the third-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives. My
local newspaper notes that she and “other prominent Republicans made statements critics say align with theory.” She denies it, of course.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) warns that the Replacement Theory is ‘Getting People Killed.’ “Kinzinger, a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly slammed [House minority leader Kevin] McCarthy (R-CA), Stefanik, [Marjorie Taylor] Greene (R-GA), and [Madison] Cawthorn (R-NC) in recent months.”
Liz Cheney (R-WY) has said the GOP leadership has “enabled white supremacy.” As Rolling Stone noted, The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican.
Just as some people celebrate “representation” and “diversity”, others see a zero-sum game where white people lose out. The targeting of Asian-Americans and Jews and LGBTQ folk – do I need to document those recent mass shootings? – breaks my heart over and over. This is even though, as Carolyn Gallaher wrote in The Hill after the Walmart shootings, The alternate history behind the ‘great replacement’ theory is simply wrong.
This is one of the reasons I fear Kelly, who is a Buffalo-area blogger, may be right. “It’s an entire community of human beings, specifically targeted again. Reminded that they will always be targeted, again. Reminded of this country’s long ghastly history of this stuff, again. Confronted by our nation’s abject refusal to admit its past and atone, again…
“No horror, no injustice, no violent outcome is ever enough for us to collectively say, ‘No more.’ ‘We will be back about our business by, oh, I don’t know. Dinner time today, I guess…
“We are the country we have chosen to be, and I see no reason to believe we are going to choose to be anything other than this.
“And that is how America will fade into history.” America, prove him wrong if you can. Give us more than “thoughts and prayers.” Show that love actually DOES conquer hate.
*or the alleged shooter, if you prefer
** I capitalize Black people here, which I don’t always do, because of some scold in the comments to this post