How to respond to yet another mass shooting? First, we can express sorrow and convey our sympathies to those immediately affected by the violence. The black Buffalo community that was attacked yesterday is suffering, and it will take a long time to heal. Compassion for their anguish is the least we can offer, and we do so with heavy hearts.
And we can join in condemning hate and the awful malice that lies at the core of this mass shooting — keeping in mind what happened in Buffalo yesterday was not just some generic form of hate. Given what we know about the alleged shooter’s motivations, it was politically inspired, racist violence. The ideology behind it, white supremacist replacement theory, is promulgated by important voices in the mainstream media. Its core tenets speak to the fears and resentments of contemporary neo-fascists in this country and around the world. In a country awash with the weapons of mass killing, these are murderous ideas. These are ideas that we who are committed to education must fight.
There will be a time for reflection, analysis and policy recommendations. Today is a time for mourning the lives lost, the wounds of the Buffalo community, and the persistence of violent anti-black racism in our country.
3 thoughts on “White Supremacy, Guns, Murder”
An all too appropriate reflection. Alas! Thank you for it.
I recall Plato’s Allegory of the cave. We watch news and emotions are stirred within us to act on the injustice and fears that we feel when watching the news. These people in Plato’s cave are watching shapes controlled by people. They end up believing what they see is the truth. Even if someone leaves the cave and tries to convince them otherwise, they won’t believe him.
Are we really becoming like them? We watch the shapes dance and behave as accurate and deny otherwise the actual reality that exists outside? Sometimes I feel we are not tied down and watching the shapes but in fact, we are voluntarily sitting down and watching because some of us fear the actual truth. Some of us are afraid of accepting the truth. The world is changing, diversity is everywhere, people of all faiths and communities are slowly trying to accept and respecting each other and are welcoming of others as well.
Sadly those percentage of people who are scared has the biggest microphone, and they use it to entice fear and anger among people to act in such a dangerous way. Violence has no place anywhere, hate is not welcomed either, and fear of change must be accepted because no matter how much killing is out there or hate, change will not stop for no one.
Let’s not react to this cowardly act with violence, but instead heal and try to do our best to teach that all is welcome, we have to teach those who are scared that change is ok. It is our reaction to change that matters.
I wish Mr. Roth would stick to his role as headmaster of a progressive seminary and not strike poses as a public intellectual; but he seems to think the world cries for his commentary on events. If so, he might at least be consistent: where was he a month ago when a deranged black racist shot a like number of people on a subway in New York? Like the Buffalo murderer, this man was mentally ill and susceptible; his ravings were black nationalist, anti-white and intellectually incoherent, and in that sense perfectly anticipated the white supremacist, anti-black and intellectually incoherent ravings of the Buffalo shooter. That none of his victims have died is fortunate, but his intentions were similar. The social media of the Waukesha murderer, who drove through a Christmas parade, likewise were suffused with hatred for whites. Did I miss Mr. Roth’s commentary on this?
These men, and the perpetrators of like crimes, whose names we know, are evil and deranged. In recent years, people have murdered and been murdered in the name of white supremacy, black nationalism, Islamism, Palestinian rights, green extremism and other causes. Sometimes the ideology is central to what they did; more often it is incidental to their madness. We can condemn both, but we ought not try to stretch our condemnation of them into a blanket to cover, defame, and ostracize political opponents.
But Mr. Roth comments only when he can strike poses as a righteous progressive. This is opportunistic and, I believe, dishonest. He implies darkly that half the country wants in their heart of hearts to murder the other half, and that the Buffalo shooter was only acting out their fantasies. This is no more true than if one were to imply that the New York shooter was reflecting the wishes of large numbers of black people, or that Omar Mateen (Pulse nightclub) was reflecting the desires of large numbers of Muslims, or that James Hodgkinson was reflecting most progressives when he shot up Republican congressmen at a ballpark.
Please look at Glenn Greenwald’s Substack article which fairly evaluates this disturbing phenomenon. The horror of these events should not be compounded by incendiary and sophistical commentary.
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