Buffalo shootings indicate
escalating racial violence in the US



May 22, 2022

Shahmeer Kazi comments on a dangerous escalation

Racial violence in the western world takes place with sickening regularity and it is not specific to a country or region. The underlying motive of such heartless incidents is white supremacy that is fast becoming a xenophobia that is badly damaging racial harmony in the developed world. The western world that once took pride in its ability to accommodate people of any colour or creed is now facing a serious backlash as racial relationships have gone from bad to worse. Quite obviously many analysts attribute this tendency to be the outcome of 9/11 but this may not be the whole story as racial discomfort was always found to be lurking behind the apparently calm social matrix. The reaction to 9/11 has substantially contributed to the aggravation of race relations in America as is evident by the mass shooting of blacks in Buffalo in which ten people lost their lives.
The problematic aspect of the incident is that the motivation of the killer was very clear and his convoluted mindset was well-known in his circles. Typically, the killer is reported to be a radicalised, lone white young man filled with racial hatred fueled by extremist theory widely available on the internet and such material is causing widespread problems. The suspect killer Payton Gendron went berserk and opened fire on a predominantly Black community in Buffalo, New York, heavily armed and determined to kill as many people as he could. The 18-year old individual had etched a racial insult onto the barrel of his assault rifle before he live streamed himself gunning down grocery shoppers, supermarket staff and a security guard.

It is also reported that Gendron had posted a lengthy manifesto on social media in which he emphasised white replacement theory and justified is action in the light of his beliefs. The issue is that the racially motivated hate crime cannot be justified in any context and though a large number of Americans were quick to condemn it but simply condemning it cannot solve the problem. This aspect becomes more worrying as racial hatred has gone worse over the recent years and there is a consensus that this sentiment is largely cultivated in the cauldron of the darkest reaches of the internet and eagerly seized upon by those all too willing to convert the skewed ideology into violence. In this context the American authorities have reported a record escalation in racially motivated violence adding that the last decade had witnessed consistent racial attacks on Black and Asian Americans.
It is mentioned that the parallels of Buffalo are significant not only to the August 2019 murder of 21 people in Texas but also to countless other shootings involving a radicalised, solitary attacker. Earlier an attack on a Black community church by a self-confessed white supremacist in South Carolina left nine dead. In Pittsburgh a white man shouted “All Jews must die” as he burst into the Tree of Life synagogue and shot dead 11 worshippers and wounded six others. Police later found anti-Semitic social media posts from the killer. A similar shooting occurred at a synagogue in San Diego, California, when one person died and several others were wounded by a 19-year-old who also posted messages of racial hatred to imageboard website 8chan. It was reported that the San Diego killer claimed he was motivated by attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in which a white supremacist murdered 51 Muslims.
The killer of Buffalo made disturbing statements describing his motive and state of mind following his arrest and it was pointed out that he was studying previous hate attacks and shootings. He surrendered to police and showed absolutely no remorse for his vicious attack as he pleaded not guilty in the court. This particular shooting is rated to be the deadliest mass shooting this year adding to at least 198 mass shootings so far in 2022. Investigators are reviewing a 180-page so-called manifesto posted online in connection with the shooting. The author of the document, who claims to be Payton Gendron, confesses to the attack and describes himself as a fascist, a White supremacist and an anti-Semite. The author of this document writes about his perceptions of the dwindling size of the White population and claims White people are being replaced by non-Whites in a White genocide. The suspected gunman had previously been on the radar of police and it was reported that he made a generalised threat in June 2021 and was brought in for a mental health evaluation but was released after a day and a half. In his hometown, the suspect worked at the local market for about four months and left about three months ago with the owner of the store describing him as very quiet while a neighbour also mentioned that it was difficult to get more than a word or two from him. TW

Shahmir Kazi works in the private sector with interest in socio-political affairs


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