What's On Our Mind ...
The grocery store shooting in Buffalo, NY this week was yet another tragic reminder of the deadly outcome of conspiracy theories and easy access to firearms — two problems our country has yet to resolve.
The Buffalo shooter drew inspiration from the 2019 New Zealand mosque attacks in which the white supremacist shooter posted his anti-Islamic manifesto online before live-streaming his massacre of peaceful worshippers. This shooter did the same. Within minutes the video spread across the dark web. More people ended up viewing it than actually witnessed the crime.
He was motivated by an extreme desire to keep America white, referred to as replacement theory. Replacement theory claims that through immigration, interracial marriage, integration, and with the support of secret forces orchestrated by “global elites” — mainly Jews— white people are being disenfranchised.
This same theory motivated the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the 2019 El Paso shooting, and dominated the 2017 Unite the Right rally with the chant “Jews will not replace us.”
The attackers get their inspiration from online sites. But racism and xenophobia is also perpetuated even by elected officials.
Recently Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) ran a campaign ad claiming that Democrats were plotting a “permanent election insurrection by granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.”
If the GOP should win control of Congress then Stefanik, who currently holds a top leadership position within the GOP caucus, will surely rise in prominence and influence in the House. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), also a member of GOP leadership, has described himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” referencing the notorious white supremacist. Elections matter.
We must end the cycle: racist theories spread, an individual becomes radicalized, seeks out a firearm, and kills based on skin color, ethnicity, or religion of the victims.
President Joe Biden said that we must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.
Our power lies in electing and supporting candidates who will pass common sense gun laws, like banning assault weapons, and put even more pressure on social media companies to stop being a breeding ground for hateful, violent conspiracies theories.
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Sources: Vox, Axios