The devastating racist violence in Buffalo

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Maxim Potkin on Unsplash

The horror of the massacre went viral.

The teenage murderer was not content with cold-bloodedly massacring 10 patrons of the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and injuring a similar number, but instead transmitted the grotesque images through a video camera mounted on his military helmet. Most of the victims were African American and the barrel of his assault rifle had a racist slogan engraved on it.

The tragedy bears an eerie similarity to another massacre, that of the Walmart supermarket in El Paso, Texas in 2019, where 23 people died, most of them Hispanics, including 8 Mexicans. In both cases the perpetrator was a young white man, with probable mental problems and motivated by a violent, racist and supremacist ideology with the mission of exterminating mainly minority victims.

The two massacres had their origin in the white supremacist conspiracy theory of “The Great Replacement”, where an alleged cabal wants to replace the white European population of the United States, through unrestrained migration from countries with a Latino or black majority, or through interracial marriages or violence against whites.

This is the tip of the iceberg of a threat to public safety: the Memphis based Southern Poverty Law Center monitors the activities of 733 hate groups in the United States, some of which had remained in the darkness of their basements, until they felt sheltered by the xenophobic proclamations of the Trump era.

Correctly, the Department of Justice is investigating this matter as a racially motivated hate crime and act of violent extremism and has pledged to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation into this shooting. Also, to seek justice for the innocent victims. The obligatory question: Is that enough?

I venture to think that stemming the hemorrhage of needless deaths from racist violence requires legal and cultural change and a more aggressive FBI surveillance policy. It is understandable that so called “lone wolves” are the most difficult to detect, but in several cases similar red flags have emerged on social networks that have gone unnoticed by the authorities.

Not even the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School made it possible to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban. In Congress, Democrats and Republicans continue to blame each other for inaction. Meanwhile, the number of victims who die in shootings committed with military-style assault weapons continues to rise.

If you think politicians need to do more, the November election is an excellent opportunity to elect candidates who support sensitive gun regulations, not just in the Senate or House, but in state and county legislatures. It is time to say, with a vote, stop the weapons that facilitate racist violence.