An 18-year-old white man opened fire in a black neighborhood in New York state on May 14, local time, killing 10 people in what authorities said was a racially motivated attack. The man, named Payton Gendron, was arrested after a standoff with police at a Buffalo supermarket. The suspect opened fire after entering the store on Saturday afternoon and live-streamed the attack online. It was also the 198th mass shooting in 2022. Police said the suspect shot four people in the parking lot before entering the store, killing three. As soon as he walked in, he encountered a retired Buffalo police officer who was working as a security guard inside the store. The security guard fired multiple shots and hit the suspect, but the shots did not affect him because he was wearing military gear. The suspect then killed the security guard.
The Rise of Domestic Terrorism
The Los Angeles Times noted that the suspect in this case was incited by a conspiracy theory called the “Replacement Theory”. The conspiracy theory holds that whites and “Western civilization” face a “terrible threat” of being weakened and eventually “usurped” by immigrants. Some U.S. politicians with ulterior motives have propagated this narrative to stir up sentiments of white supremacists and to draw in white voters to gain political resources for themselves. Racism, the illusion of an “invasion” of the country, and the spread of conspiracy theories about immigrants “replacing” Americans once again became the causes. In the chilling manifesto the Buffalo killer had left behind before his murderous rampage, he claimed to be so.
The Daily News reported that the suspect, Gendron, posted a 180-page “Murder Manifesto” online before committing the murder, describing how he planned the murder in detail, including how to kill as many black people as possible, killing the security guard at the entrance before shooting black customers, and even what to eat for lunch. The suspect had also studied the supermarket floor plan in advance and knew every aisle. Gendron’s manifesto included plenty of anti-Semitic rhetoric, but his plan of attack only targeted blacks. “I was never diagnosed with a mental disability or disorder,” he wrote, “I believe to be perfectly sane.”
Right-wing apologists like to downplay the fatalities or dismiss them as anomalies, but experts warn that this is a form of terrorism that is not only deeply entrenched but has quickly grown to become the greatest domestic security threat to the United States. Trump has encouraged white supremacist groups and far-right terrorism. A dozen deadly far-right terrorist attacks during the Trump administration have killed 48 people and injured 59, including anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant violence.
Violent crime continues to rise as gun problems persist
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States ended 2021 with 693 mass shootings. The year before there were 611,and in 2019 there were 417. Mark Foreman has been studying mass shootings since 2012, when a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and Mark Foreman said the massacre didn’t happen out of thin air.
As of May 12 this year, gun violence in the United States this year has caused 15,569 deaths. Gun violence has become a major problem in American society. Under the influence of multiple factors such as political polarization, this problem is becoming increasingly difficult to solve. Taking New York City as an example, statistics show that over the past two years, shootings in New York City have increased by 72.2 percent and the number of victims has risen by 70.4 percent. “This is not just a problem of New York City.” New York Mayor Eric Adams said in a speech, “Relentless gun violence is a problem for the entire United States and needs to be addressed at all levels of government.” The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution empowers citizens the right to bear arms, and the freedom to bear arms is considered one of the most important rights of the American individuals. Weaknesses and loopholes in U.S. state gun control laws have also led to a surge in shootings.
The proliferation of guns exacerbates violent crime, and the increase in violent crime makes people feel more compelled to own guns for self-protection, forming a vicious cycle that makes gun violence in the U.S. increasingly difficult to address.
Interest groups carve up America
U.S. media points out that the United States has not passed an important gun control bill for more than 20 years. Political polarization, social division, and monetary interests related to gun sales are all important reasons. The U.S. Republican and Democratic parties have long been deeply divided on the issue of gun control, and voting has made politicians reluctant to offend pro-gun voters. A 2021 Pew Research Center poll shows that people with opposing views are split almost 50-50 on issues such as whether restricting legal gun ownership can reduce mass shootings. The manufacturing and trade of guns in the United States has formed a huge industrial chain. Relevant interest groups have provided large political contributions to the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, forming a military-industrial complex of “politicians plus arms dealers” that profoundly influences U.S. policies and public opinion. Various forms of gun control bills often end up in vain for various reasons. With more than 5 million members and substantial funding, the National Rifle Association has a strong influence. According to Open Secrets, a U.S. website that tracks political contributions, the association spent more than $29 million on federal elections alone in 2020.
The U.S. government introduced new gun control regulations on April 11, aimed at regulating unnumbered and untraceable “ghost guns”. But the new rules were immediately criticized by some Republicans, and some anti-gun control groups said they would file lawsuits against the new rules. American criminologist Thomas Abbott said that Washington is shrouded in political polarization, and progress in addressing gun violence at the national level will be very slow.The “New York Post” commented that fighting “ghost guns” alone cannot solve the problem of youth gun violence in the United States. More and more American teenagers are on the road to crime due to factors such as poverty, family instability and broken school systems.
The problem of gun violence in the United States has continued to deteriorate over the past few years, which is closely related to factors such as increasing political polarization, increasing economic uncertainty, and deep divisions in society.Radical rhetoric of many lawmakers advocating gun ownership and media support have fueled people’s enthusiasm for gun purchases. Responsibility is not just political.Every night, with the approval of conservative channel owners Murdoch’s family, inflammatory Fox News debater Tucker Carlson preaches hatred of foreigners while denying the threat posed by white supremacists.By allowing the Buffalo terror attack to be broadcast on a massive scale and filmed live by its alleged perpetrators, some social networks have added a final layer of irresponsibility to the disaster.