U.S. in sorrow, outrage after "racially-motivated" mass shooting

By Sun Ding (Xinhua) 13:47, May 17, 2022

WASHINGTON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. president and first lady will travel to New York on Tuesday to grieve with the community that lost 10 people in a "racist" mass shooting, a move that hardly suffices to relieve the great sorrow of the recently bereaved families or to take the hate crime-ridden country one step forward to end racism and gun violence.

In the wake of several deadly mass shootings, the United States once again found itself plunged into sorrow and outrage.

Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white man, live-streamed on a gaming platform his massacre at a supermarket in a predominately African American neighborhood in Buffalo, New York on Saturday. He killed 10 and injured three others, 11 of them African Americans.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden "will express gratitude for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other law enforcement members who took immediate action to try and protect and save lives," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday afternoon.

Garnell Whitfield, who lost his mother in the shooting, turned emotional on Monday as his family gathered at a press conference, during which another family member broke down in sobs.

"There's nothing we can do that's going to take away the hurt, take away these tears, take away the pain, take away the hole in our hearts. Because part of us is gone," Whitfield said. "For her to be taken from us and taken from this world by someone that's just full of hate for no reason ... it is very hard for us to handle right now."

To carry out the massacre, Gendron heavily armed himself before driving more than three hours from a town in southern New York to Buffalo.

The suspect had plans to "continue his rampage, and continue shooting people," said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, revealing that "he'd even spoken about possibly going to another store."

Gendron has been put in custody without bail and has been charged with first-degree murder. The attack is being investigated as "a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism," federal authorities said.

Biden called the attack "a stain on the soul of this nation," like his predecessors in commenting on racial issues in the country with a history of racial injustice.

"Racially-motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harms against all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such acts," Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement.

"We must call it out and condemn it," she said.

A 180-page "manifesto" allegedly written and posted online by the Buffalo shooter detailed plans to attack African Americans, included much antisemitic and racist content, and repeatedly cited a far-right conspiracy theory known as the "Great Replacement."

The theory -- also embraced by some right-wing U.S. politicians and media figures -- states that welcoming immigration policies are part of a plot designed to undermine or "replace" the political power and culture of white people living in Western countries, according to the National Immigration Forum, a U.S. immigrant advocacy group.

Once largely relegated to white supremacist rhetoric, the "Great Replacement" theory has made its way into mainstream consciousness in the past several years, U.S. pundits and researchers have pointed out.

On Monday, U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, tweeted, "the House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism."

"History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse," Cheney warned. "@GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them."


Over the weekend, besides the Buffalo shooting, gun violence also hit several other places in America, including Milwaukee, Houston and Washington, D.C.

In downtown Milwaukee, at least 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near an entertainment district on Friday night. Mayor Cavalier Johnson imposed a curfew for anyone under the age of 21 for Saturday and Sunday night in response to the incidents.

U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat, tweeted, "white supremacist terrorism combined with an endless access to guns is a growing threat we must address in our country."

"It is abundantly clear that we need gun violence reforms so that these deadly weapons don't continue falling in the wrong hands," Moore wrote.

The Buffalo attack was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States so far in 2022, and one of at least 202 such incidents -- defined as one in which four or more people were injured or killed -- through mid-May, according to Gun Violence Archive.

More than 29,000 people have either been killed or injured in gun violence-related incidents over the past five months or so across the country, the nonprofit organization's data also showed.

Joseph Sakran, a prominent trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital who survived after being shot as a teen, tweeted, "the inhumanity that we continue to see is DISGUSTING," referring to the shootings in Buffalo, Milwaukee, and other places.

"This is a Public Health Crisis AND a National Security Issue," Sakran continued. "How many people have to be injured or killed before Congress addresses this uniquely American crisis." 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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