By spewing “race replacement theory,” the right, politicians and pundits alike, are culpable in this massacre. As is GOP leadership for their criminal inaction for not reigning in the crackpots in their party or supporting gun control.
The mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday was tragic. It was horrific. Average people out food shopping at one of the only supermarkets in this predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo didn’t come home that day. The security guard at the store, a retired Buffalo police officer, tried to defend the shoppers by shooting at the perpetrator but his bullets were useless against the bullet-proof vest/body armor the shooter wore. Out gunned, this brave soul was murdered as well.
I’d say, “my thoughts and prayers” go out to the families of the victims, but I won’t. I won’t because that’s the knee jerk response of politicians, mostly Republican, and right-wing pundits, mostly on Fox, after a rampage, after an affront to our society, occurs.
Do you ever wonder why these political charlatans can only offer “thoughts and prayers?” I know why: because in their minds, the victims are not “their society.” They’re interlopers out to get them and their way of life. The “white,” “Christian” way of life. These elected officials and wannabees know, deep in their souls, that they are the root cause of appalling massacres like the one in Buffalo. They are the root cause because of what they say and what they won’t do.
The 18-year old Buffalo shooter will be tried. He will be convicted. Hopefully he will be sentenced to life in prison with no opportunity for parole. And his enablers? They’ll go scot-free. Even worse, given the nature of our political system with gerrymandered districts and voter suppression, not only will the politicians who informed the shooter’s hate not be punished, they’ll be rewarded. If polls are correct, most of them will be elected again by the people, who like the shooter, are followers of, as Max Boot of The Washington Post opined in a column following the shooting, “two of the most appalling ideas that have taken root in America: the ‘great replacement’ theory and opposition to gun control.”
And the pundits? Their reward for their fear mongering? Ever higher ratings and ever bigger salaries.
Boot goes on, based on the shooter’s ‘manifesto:’ “Like many of the right, he is enraged by what he imagines to be ‘mass migration’ and is convinced that it will ‘destroy our cultures, destroy our peoples,’” going on to write, “But his repugnant views are not confined to an obscure corner of the internet. They have become mainstream within the Republican Party.” (emphasis, mine)
- Fox’s most popular star, Tucker Carlson, suggested last year that “the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting votes, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.” This idea was articulated by his Fox colleague, Laura Ingraham as well.
- Elected GOP officials including Rep Matt Gaetz (FL), Rep. Scott Perry (PA) and Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) have espoused “great replacement” theory.
- A GOP candidate for Senate in Arizona, Blake Masters, posted a video after the Buffalo shooting saying, “The Democrats want open borders so they can bring in and amnesty **tens of millions** of illegal aliens — that’s their electoral strategy.”
- Ohio GOP senatorial candidate, J.D. Vance (whose views on key issues have flip-flopped almost as much as Dr. Oz’s) said that Democrats and their “plan” to open the borders are creating “a shift in the democratic makeup of this country,” and that President Biden is deliberating letting fentanyl into the country “to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland.”
The GOP electorate, not surprisingly, seems to buy into this garbage. A poll in December found that nearly half of all Republicans believe that there is a plot to “replace” native-born Americans with immigrants.
Regarding gun control, Boot writes, “The Buffalo terrorist, like so many other mass shooters, used an assault weapon. In his manifesto, he expressed concern that, after his attack, ‘gun control policies will be brought forth to the state and federal government,’ including ‘Calls to ban high-capacity magazines, assault weapons including AR-15’s, and even items such as body armor.’ He need not worry: Republicans will never permit these sensible reforms to pass.
On the same day in The Post, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Eugene Robinson, opined, “Do not dare write off the shooter as somehow uniquely ‘troubled.’ Those Black victims were murdered by white supremacy, which grows today in fertile soil nourished not just by fringe-dwelling racists but by politicians and other opportunists who call themselves mainstream.”
Michael Gerson, a Post columnist and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, opined, “…the racist ideas closely associated with such killing are being granted impunity daily within the Republican Party. The problem is not just that a few loudmouths are saying racist things. It is the general refusal of Republican ‘leaders’ to excommunicate officials who embrace replacement theory. The refusal of Fox News to fire the smiling, public faces of a dangerous, racist ideology. This much needs to be communicated — by all politicians and commentators — with clarity: No belief that likens our fellow citizens to invaders and encourages racist dehumanization is an American belief.”
What will it take for GOP politicians to stand down from fear mongering for political gain? What will it take for “news” organizations like Fox to stop their stars from spewing lies and hate on air?
It better take something. Because it can only get worse.