Note for this post: When I say “we” I am referring to other white Americans.
I typically feel compelled to write something after a mass shooting. They are so frequent that it has become routine. Writing is my salve. The way to get all the thoughts competing for space out of my head. Sometimes they come so rapidly that I can’t type fast enough.
That didn’t happen with the Buffalo Shooting.
There may be several reasons for that. Things going on in my personal life or the weight of the Roe v. Wade leaked memo less than 2 weeks ago, pandemic fatigue. It could be a combo of those things, but I also just feel re-traumatized every time this happens and my anger isn’t an endless well that I can tap into time and time again without drying it out. Without seeing change.
Are a lot of us feeling apathetic and is that by design?
In a country as big as America and a government as laborious and wieldy, change takes time. The arc of history is long and all of that. But have we all just collectively shoulder shrugged? Where is that passion and commitment to justice we had post-Sandy Hook or the Stoneman Douglas High School shootings? Do we not hear enough about the local level change to keep us sustained for change at the federal level? Does it all feel “too big”?
It’s hard when you’re fighting against people who don’t believe in anything but money. Pro-life and pro-gun is a huge oxymoron that comes down to the lobbyists and PACS that fund political campaigns. It’s a transaction. I felt that, with a sinking feeling in my heart, if a bunch of 1st graders could be gunned down in a predominately white area of Connecticut and nothing changed than could we ever really have change.
I’m also thinking about the Buffalo Supermarket Shooter (I will not be using his name as he does not deserve more attention) and the America he’s grown up in. He is 18 now, which means he was in elementary/middle school when we had our first Black President and probably heard a lot of white grievance over it. He heard the birther stuff, saw the election of Donald Trump as a teen and the dog whistles from the Republican Party turn into full on bullhorns. He probably did his homework at night with the soothing sounds of Tucker Carlson in the background. He saw Kyle Rittenhouse murder BLM protestors with the help of his mom chauffeuring him and get off scot-free, heralded a hero by the right. Maybe he heard mention of the Great Replacement Theory and googled it, leading him to YouTube and an IV line of alt-right videos, one after the next, thanks to the algorithm designed to keep him hooked. To satiate the craving he turned to 4chan 8chan, bought weaponry and set out to murder as many Black Americans as he could.
The Buffalo Shooter wasn’t a lone wolf; he was groomed. He is a reflection of the majority mindset of the Republican Party. He couldn’t play enough C.O.D or W.O.W to develop this world outlook. It’s not about killing, it’s about who he was killing. It’s about what he stands for and what he believes, which again, is very much the Republican Party platform.
We need to start calling things what they are: Forced birth. Domestic terrorists. No more dancing around the issues or worrying about what conservatives might think because they literally do not care and are going to call you a socialist while they sink deeper into fascism.
They are going to drag all of us down with them if we don’t do something to stop them. That will require sustained efforts. Theaters of war on multiple fronts.
Take breaks when you need them. Save your energy for the important stuff, but do not stop fighting. That’s what they want. That’s how they win. That’s how we continue on this hamster wheel of absolute shit.
Our kids deserve a better future. All kids deserve a better future. Keep. Fighting.