Yesterday thirteen people were shot and ten killed at a Buffalo supermarket by an 18-year-old white man armed with an assault rifle and high capacity magazines.
A day after one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent American history, law enforcement officials in New York descended on the home of the accused gunman and probed disturbing hints into his behavior, as Gov. Kathy Hochul promised action on hate speech that she said spreads “like a virus.”
The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, 18, shot 13 people on Saturday afternoon at a Tops supermarket in east Buffalo, killing 10, officials said. Almost all the victims were Black — shoppers, grocery workers and a security guard bound together by little more than tragic happenstance.
But Mr. Gendron picked his target carefully, the police said, choosing an area known for its large Black population and even visiting the neighborhood the day before the attack in what authorities described as “reconnaissance.”
Clearly his motive was racial hatred. Gendron left a lengthy manifesto professing concern about the "great replacement" theory that bizarrely warns about white people being replaced by immigrants, Blacks, Jews, and Latinos.
All mass shootings are horrific. But they used to be mainly the work of deranged individuals who wanted to kill a bunch of their fellow human beings.
Now, though, we're seeing mass shootings with a far-right political motivation. That's even scarier, since the crazy ideas motivating the killers are emanating from inside the Republican Party and right-wing media outlets like Fox News.
Tucker Carlson, notably. He's been spouting lies on his Fox show about how Democrats are encouraging illegal immigration so they can get lots of new voters, which is a version of the Great Replacement theory. This is an excerpt from the April 13 CNN story.
Now that ten people have been killed by a man motivated by the lie of the Great Replacement theory, Tucker Carlson should vow that he'll never bring it up again. Of course, he won't do this. Nor will a House Republican, Elise Stefanik.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the No. 3 House Republican, and other GOP lawmakers came under scrutiny Sunday for previously echoing the racist “great replacement” theory that apparently inspired an 18-year-old who allegedly killed 10 people while targeting Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo.
Yet Republicans around the country are passing laws against discussing race in schools because the United States supposedly has moved beyond racial discrimination. That obviously isn't true, a fact underlined by the deaths of the 10 people in Buffalo.
Mr. Gendron’s writings were littered with racist, anti-immigrant views that claimed white Americans were at risk of being replaced by immigrants or people of color, once-fringe ideas that have been given a fuller airing in recent years by some prominent conservative commentators.
On the far right, the theory, which sometimes blames Jews for fomenting the “great replacement,” has been tied to gunmen in several other mass shootings as well as the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va. that devolved into violence.
Our country desperately needs national gun control legislation. Sadly, the odds of that happening in Congress are slim to none, since Republicans will filibuster it in the Senate.
We also need to control the hate speech that is rampant in the Republican Party, which loves to denigrate immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and anyone else who doesn't conform to their archaic political views, including women who want to choose for themselves whether to have an abortion.
Vote for Democrats. That's the only way the United States is going to pull out of the moral tailspin Republicans have gotten us into.