As I read the news on television this morning, I wonder what’s happened to us? It was a terrible weekend for gun violence in this country.
A mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Another at a church in Laguna Woods, California. Another at an NBA playoff watch party in Milwaukee. Another at a flea market in Houston.
I’ve always feared that these mass shootings would happen so often, that we accept them as the new normal. I’m afraid we are almost there.
The headline from NPR: It’s 19 weeks into the new year and America has already seen 198 mass shootings. That story was filed before the California and Texas shootings. So, we are now up to 200 mass shootings.
Unacceptable by any standard. It’s an epidemic of violence.
The Buffalo shooting is particularly troublesome. It’s being called a racist, hate crime. A young white man, 18- years-old, reportedly opened fire in a crowded supermarket. He killed ten people and wounded three others.
Payton Gendron is the suspected shooter. He traveled 200 miles from his home to that supermarket in Buffalo. It’s believed he targeted the area.
11 of his 13 victims were black.
It’s believed Gendron wrote a 180 page manifesto. He had threatened to shoot up his high school last year and was sent to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was never charged.
The gun Gendron allegedly used was purchased legally.
The New York Times reports that the victims were doing their Saturday shopping. Among them… a 65-year-old woman buying strawberries for a shortcake. A 32-year-old woman who was picking up something for dinner. And the security guard, 55-year-old Aaron Salter got a shot in, but the shooter was wearing a bullet proof vest.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Buffalo on Tuesday. Speaking at the National Peace Officers Memorial on Sunday, President Biden said, “Hearts are heavy once again, but our resolve must never, ever waver.”
I’m not sure how to fix this. How does an 18-year-old kid, from all appearances a nice family, do something like this?
Where does this kind of hate come from? The New York Times reports that 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.”
This theory even has a name. It’s called The Great Replacement.
Whether you believe this or not, I don’t, here is another example that words mean things. For an unstable person, it doesn’t take a lot to set them off.
I’m sure we will be learning a lot more about this suspect in the coming days. For now though, we can only speculate about a motive.
I wish the news was better to start the week. There is some. Our Tampa Bay Lightning advance in their quest for another Stanley Cup. There was a spectacular lunar eclipse overnight.
The gun violence though occupies our news today. It was a terrible weekend.