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Shooting in Buffalo yet another example of racial inequity and extreme gun violence



On Saturday, May 14th, Payton S. Gendron, after traveling 200 miles, murdered 10 people and wounded 3 others, at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York. 11 of the victims were Black.

According to an article by the Associated Press, Gendron had published a manifesto prior to the shooting, in support of the “white replacement theory”. The theory states that the United States population should be entirely white, underlined by a fear that people of other races and ethnicities are being “brought in” to “replace” white voters—a conspiracy theory about political agendas. Consequently, those of different races and ethnicities should be eliminated.

Furthermore, Gendron had investigated the zip code of the supermarket that he was targeting. According to CNN, he wrote in his manifesto that the zip code “‘has the highest black percentage that is close enough to where I live’”.

Racially motivated actions such as Gendron’s are horrifyingly common. White supremacy and mass shootings are two pandemics that the United States is hardly working to cure. Guns are still widely accessible. Gendron purchased his at a local gun store at only 18 years old.

Additionally, warning signs are often recognized but then ignored. For example, in June of 2021, Gendron was taken into custody for making a threat at his high school, according to CNN. He was released and nearly a year later, he committed mass murder.

So far in 2022, 198 mass shootings have occurred in the United States. Many were the result of “biases against religion and sexual orientation”, as noted by CNN. Most frequently, Black people are targeted by violence in America, an article by Everytown explains: “They experience 10 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and nearly 3 times the fatal shootings by police of white Americans”.

Currently, laws exist to battle hate crimes–defined as “a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias”, according to the FBI. However, they state that “hate itself is not a crime”. It should be.

To discriminate against people based on such characteristics they cannot change is abhorrent and should not occur. Gun laws must be stricter. While they cannot abolish hate completely, they can reduce the fatality rate substantially.

Currently, in the United States, universal background checks are not required by federal law. This means that background checks are not conducted on unlicensed sellers. According to Everytown, “this loophole enables people with felony convictions, domestic abuse restraining orders, and other people with prohibiting histories to buy guns with no questions asked”. Laws that forbid these loopholes are enacted in 22 states in America. Everytown says that they, “are associated with 10 percent lower homicide rates”.

Additionally, the legal age requirement for firearm possession should be raised to the age of 21. The New York Times states, “six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States since 2018 were by people who were 21 or younger”.

Gun violence is too common in the United States and the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo further proves this to be true. Stricter gun laws are necessary, for the survival of all Americans.


 

Megan Pitt is a staff writer at the Incandescent Review. She is a high school student studying in New Jersey who loves writing about social issues, editing prose for Cathartic Literary Magazine, and being the Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper, The Lion’s Roar.

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