Do Something

There should be stricter gun laws severely restricting the rights of those who have made or professed threats against others. The Buffalo, New York murders could have been prevented.

The killer believed in a right-wing, extremist, racist theory promoted by selfish, small-minded, greedy individuals. He then wrote a 180-page hate-filled screed and posted it on social media.

He also made a threat, in writing, against his own high school. This was known to the state police before his attack on innocent people.

And yet he was permitted, by New York State law, to purchase an assault-style weapon.

Why was this allowed? And how long before history repeats itself? We must act now to outlaw the promotion of violent propaganda and fear-mongering. We must also outlaw availability of assault-style weapons to those with any history of violent or threatening behavior.

Further, we must vote right-wingers out of office. If I had my way, we’d vote ALL Republicans out, just because they haven’t dissociated themselves from the party led by Donald Trump.

Here’s data reported today in the NYT:

“Over the past decade, the Anti-Defamation League has counted about 450 U.S. murders committed by political extremists.

“Of these 450 killings, right-wing extremists committed about 75 percent. Islamic extremists were responsible for about 20 percent, and left-wing extremists were responsible for 4 percent.

“Nearly half of the murders were specifically tied to white supremacists.” [See Anti-Defamation League graph below]

“As this data shows, the American political right has a violence problem that has no equivalent on the left. And the 10 victims in Buffalo this past weekend are now part of this toll. ‘Right-wing extremist violence is our biggest threat,’ Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL, has written. ‘The numbers don’t lie.’ …

“The pattern extends to violence less severe than murder, like the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. It also extends to the language from some Republican politicians — including Donald Trump — and conservative media figures that treats violence as a legitimate form of political expression.”

The killer’s plan, after completing his mission in Buffalo, was to come to the city where I live, to a corner where I once worked, and continue the bloodshed. He has no remorse. He did not deserve the benefit of the doubt, or his so-called right to bear arms.

Regardless of where he was planning his next attack, good people were going about their daily business on a sunny day in Buffalo and were brutally murdered simply because of the color of their skin. I’m mad as hell. I hope you are, too. And I hope we all finally do something about it.

6 thoughts on “Do Something

  1. One has to ask why the murderer was indeed not hit with NYS’s Red Flag Law. At least they could have taken it to a judge for consideration. As the NYS Bar Assn. has written**, the standards of proof are so low that even the NYSBA, not exactly a bastion of Duck Dynasty types, objects. Still, no one thought to use your existing law. We have a similar one. This guy could potentially have been disarmed for a year and potentially, counseled to stop drinking the Replacement Theory Kool Aid.

    Oh, and of course, leaving one’s teen to engage in hours and hours of mind rot leaves me wondering where his parents were hiding out.

    The thing some of us Second Amendment Fanatics like about ERPO laws is they go after dangerous people rather than, as Hochul now wants to do, indiscriminately ban everything she can think of from everybody (I’ve been reading the Times nonstop since this went down). Of course the argument there is rather than trying to find needles, get rid of haystacks. I get it and that argument has a point. But that runs into Constitutional issues.

    Still, as long as we are selling weapons in a sea of hate, what can possibly go wrong?

    Lori, I have to be honest. I find a great deal of hypocrisy in all this. As you and I both know, the East side of Buffalo has been dying for half a century. Shootings are routine but Black on Black crime. Who the hell cared unless you lived there? Letting one whole side of a city go to rot while people are flipping multimillion dollar homes over on the West side? Who the hell cared? If Critical Race Theory tells us anything, its that this shooting is just the virulent tip of long running societal spear that has been turned and twisted in that community. And no one cared. Now, because a single violent racist slaughtered people, suddenly the world noticed what anyone who has ever driven through Buffalo knew all along. We abandoned those people a long time ago.

    Oh, and yeah. Close to home for me, too. Lived in the 19th Ward and over off of South Ave. for a while and of course, was a kid just a few blocks from that Topps Market and went to P.S. #39 on High Street. That was my childhood home he shot up.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about Buffalo. Don’t agree about worrying about the 2nd Amendment, though. Keeping people safe from homegrown terrorists takes priority for me. See, still mad as hell! As long as we have white supremacists and other dangerous individuals living among us, it’s my belief that we need to keep guns out of their hands as much as possible. We do have an epidemic of violence in this country. The times call for sweeping change in many ways.


      1. I’m not wasting time worrying about the Second Amendment. No way 2/3 of each house of congress and 3/4 of the states will agree to change it. Maybe a future Supreme Court will reverse Heller and we don’t even know what they will do to Bruen. Most gun laws would stand under Heller. Only the extreme ones have been struck down.

        Law and policy affecting violence is far more complicated. If NYS’s Sullivan Law is overturned, a tough state “shall issue” law could be passed. Much of which is irrelevant to gun violence. Try to get Chuck Schumer and a red state senator to agree on compromise national gun control. I’ll get old and die first.

        It’s politics, economics, and policy that control peace vs. violence. A century or more of racism and economic apartheid in Buffalo is why people disproportionately die on the east side. An occasional racist shoots up the place and everyone notices. But sixty years of homes being torched, work moving overseas, the legacy of racist urban planning such as how the Kensington Expressway was rammed through, and money moving to the rich…well, that’s business as usual. A slow moving pandemic goes unnoticed.

        Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn, a PE and urban planner, made a very powerful case for reparations, looking at what redlining did to Kansas City. I suspect if one looked at the history of wealth distribution in Buffalo, one could ask whether past racism and its legacy effects have similarly made a case for redistribution in Buffalo. Most inner city violence is internal, this mass shooting being an exception. As a retired ER doctor I know recently opined, the only thing that stops a bullet is a good job. I might add good schools and equity.

        So while it is easy to focus on white supremacists and terrorists being the root of all evil, it’s everyday American values of benign neglect that have led to so many dying on the east side of Buffalo, not to mention other places. I actually think Critical Race Theory has a good point. To fix what is broken, we have to not just change the spark plugs, but overhaul the whole concept of the engine. Taking away the guns will not take away the pain.


      2. Khal, I’m all for overhauling the system. But in addition, I’m in favor of any viable steps that will prevent the system from further deterioration (and save lives). I’m able to consider both options. One does not exclude the other, and I don’t agree that wanting to do something about gun violence (in this case gun violence motivated by racism) is hypocritical. I’ve actively pushed for economic, social, and political change for decades, while also making my voice heard for the cause of peaceful conflict resolution. “An occasional racist” is not what we have going on in this country right now. We have an extreme homegrown terrorist movement that is being propped up and supported by government officials, including our ex-president. I will support and stand by any legislation that makes it harder for the firearms industry to manufacture and sell assault-style weapons to the general population. I’ve heard that their bottom line has tripled lately, as I’m sure you know. This is not, and should not, be normalized. To borrow from your analogy, to overhaul the engine, sometimes we must first dismantle the spark plugs.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t think it an either-or situation either. And I don’t question your sincerity to the greater good. I guess what has left me peeved is all of the outpouring of coverage for a mass shooting on the East side of Buffalo, while sixty years of deterioration gets page sixteen in the paper.

        Gun violence maps to poverty, as do other bad things. Fix the inequality. Regarding the black rifle thing, the vast majority of shootings (between 80-90%) are with handguns. Folks who really want to put a dent in shootings need to lobby for a fifty state handgun solution. One could roll ARs into that idea as some modification of the National Firearms Act creating a third class of rifles. Such an attempt will, of course, require a lot of compromise, horse trading, and trust. All of which are in short supply.

        A few years back I was flying back to see family. I got into an argument with some clown on the plane who was raving about how the “Buffalo Renaissance” was going so well. I responded that he was obviously not someone who spent any time in the city away from the magical new medical-industrial complex and it went downhill from there.

        Hell, I’ll vote for some form of reparations. I think Strong Towns’ ED Chuck Marohn said it best. Figure out how to redirect funds to parts of cities that have been victimized by past policy strategies that have left them a mess, and make sure the money stays there. I’ll bet anyone a pension check that such a policy would do more good than yet another gun law.

        Liked by 1 person

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