Any murder is horrible. Mass murder is horrifying. The intent is hateful. The doing of it is putting into action the hating. Few things more readily exemplify the extreme nature of this. The United States has, historically and continuously, had a disproportionate number of hate crimes. These range from racially motivated individual violence by hateful racists even perpetrated by police, to racially motivated mass shootings by hateful racists bravely dealt with by police. We can hate the crime that has this hate at heart, as much as we can hate the crminal who carried it out. But it is the love for the victims and those who loved them, that must motivate the healing that must and should, arise from such as this.
The mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Store, in Buffalo, New York, contains some of these aspects and is another particularly American, thoroughly human, tragedy. All countries have tragedies, as shootings are, always. New Zealand, had one of the worst, at Christchurch. But the U.S. has a history of domestic, home grown violence, that has not been completely dealt with. This is a problem about guns. But it is also a situation of division. Here is weaponised hate.
America has for too long been divided. In recent years those divisions have multiplied, with more of them, and increased, with greater severity. Extremism, historically detested in the U.S., in favour of moderation in politics, has become normalised. Far left meets far right, anger on both sides. Media fuels it, with new social media at the fore. Most people want none of it, but can barely escape it. It is not endemic, but it is prevelant. A country that had a war in order to eradicate slavery yet did not conclude the emancipation for a full century, with regard to civil rights to deal with uncivilised wrongs, had a problem. Despite so many improvements, such ongoing achievements, America still has a problem.
There is a problem with guns. And there is a problem with hate. But most Americans have no gun and feel no hate. It only takes a minority, who hate a minority, to create a problem, and therein is a problem. Gun control is only a part of it. To deal with that which divides, is at the heart of it. The only gun fired in this incident, other than by the killer, was from the retired police officer, who worked as a store security guard, and his bullets failed to kill the mass killer, because that killer wore a bullet proof vest, and because the security guard was not wearing one, he was shot and killed. America needs gun control, yet there is more to this indeed than gun control. So too there is more to police officers than racism that must not be ignored, there is often heroism which must not go unnoticed.
The killer responsible for this mass killing, is only eighteen. Already it is evident his hate is ideological. He is a member of a Nazi Group. His own manifesto is online. His murders were too. He wanted to kill black people and Jews. He killed ten people. There is no excuse, he deserves no understanding. But America and all of us, need to get to the core of the hate in anybody, to combat the hate in action.
A Forum like this is a contribution. We can all take a stand on the side of hope and against hate, that comes from prejudice, becomes racism, and leads to murder. Nazism started and continued thus, and does yet. No Forum could have stopped it once, nor could it ever. But any forum that might attempt to stop Nazism would have been a start, and is. We here at Ustinov Prejudice Awareness Forum, continue in what is a worthwhile effort. This week and afterwards, we think of those in Buffalo, New York, who are the victmis of hate and those they leave behind who feel for them only love.