President Biden, on Tuesday from Buffalo, strongly condemned the motivated massacre that killed 10 people and wounded three others, calling the attack a “poison.” Speaking to family members of the victims and elected officials, the president said, “What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism.”

“Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group,” Biden added. “The hate that through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be ‘replaced’—that’s the word, replaced—by the other, by people who don’t look like them and who are therefore, in the perverse ideology that they possess and being fed, lesser beings.”

By emphasizing “replaced” he evoked the concept of the great replacement theory that has gained traction among white supremacists and other reactionary groups who believe that white Americans are under siege and losing power and authority to minority and marginalized citizens.

Joined by First Lady Jill Biden, the president said, “I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit.” He called on all Americans to “reject the lie…White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison, it really is, running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. No more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. None.”

Tracing the evolution of race hatred that has manifested into violent and massive attacks on unarmed citizens has a long history in America, and some have explained its roots as far back as the slave trade and extermination of Native Americans. Most recently the influence has sprung up in the Christchurch massacre in 2014, the brutal murder of worshippers in a Pittsburg synagogue, and Dylan Roof’s assassination of Black members at prayer in Charleston, South Carolina in 2018. Seeking the roots of this racial hatred and violence is one thing; removing that poison from the body politic, as the president defined it, is quite another.

According to the reports now available online, the suspect now under arrest, Payton Gendron, 18, drove some 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo, the nearest city with a large Black population, to carry out his cowardly slaughter. Some reports note that he posted a 180 page manifesto on a website depicting his plans and directly associated it with other mass murders. Later new accounts indicate that his next stop was an attack in Rochester, New York. He apparently had spent some time in Buffalo planning the assault with a Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic weapon that he had purchased legally, unleashing 50 rounds of bullets.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand were among those who visited a memorial outside Tops grocery where the shooting occurred, placing a bouquet of flowers and paying their respects to the victims. They also had private meetings with members of the families of the victims.

Addressing the proliferation of race hatred and the so-called replacement theory, Sen. Schumer wrote in a statement aimed mainly at Fox News and its most vocal proponent of conspiracy theories, Tucker Carlson: “For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life. However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.