Racist Kills Ten People In Hopes Of Convincing Nation To Not ‘Replace’ Him
Yesterday, in Buffalo, New York, an 18-year-old named Payton Gendron walked into a Tops Supermarket in a notoriously segregated part of the city and streamed video of himself shooting 13 people, killing ten of them, in the deadliest mass shooting we've seen all year. In his manifesto, which is now offline, Gendron explained that his reason for doing this was because he was upset about the "Great Replacement" — the far-right white nationalist theory that there is a conspiracy on the Left to take over the world by "replacing" white people with people of color, whom they imagine will be more "obedient" to Democrats. Frequently this is described as a plan being orchestrated by "The Jews," but more mainstream adherents like Tucker Carlson tend to skip over that part in hopes of making it sound somewhat less batshit.
Gendron drove 200 miles from Conklin, a town on the Southern tier of New York state, in order to kill Black people. More than that, he wanted to scare Black people. Because that's what terrorism is, isn't it? It wasn't just about taking those ten lives, destroying those ten families, on that particular day, it was about trying make people scared to get food, to go to the grocery store, to do anything because there could be another one of him anywhere.
In his manifesto, Gendron explained that he hadn't considered himself a racist before the pandemic, but that during it, he spent a lot of time on 4chan and the Daily Stormer and became increasingly convinced of this evil imaginary plot. Then he read about other white supremacists who had committed mass murder because they, too, were convinced liberals were trying to replace them — Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, Dylann Roof in the States ... and he thought to himself "Why not me?"
This theory, whether it's been called that or not, has been around for decades. Most people will date it back to the work of French crackpot Renaud Camus' 2011 essay "Le Grand Remplacement," in which he claimed that white citizens of European countries were being replaced by Black and Middle Eastern immigrants, or back to the "White Genocide" nonsense of 1990s white supremacists, but it's always been there. A major feature of early 1900s anti-Semitism and racism in the United States was that Jewish people were supporting Black civil rights struggles because they wanted to replace WASPs with Black people and then take over the world.
It's a theory favored by people who have become so sour and rotten on the inside that they really just can't imagine that anyone would actually help other people or care about other people, or human rights or equality without it being part of a nefarious plot of some kind. It's also a theory deftly employed by people like Tucker Carlson who are looking to make people sour and rotten on the inside — because really, who else would listen to that nonsense?
But the truth is that yes, we want a country without people like Peyton Gendron in it. Not because he's white, but because he is a racist mass murderer. I think I can speak for most people when I say that we could generally do without white supremacists going on killing sprees in grocery stores or mosques or churches or schools or anywhere else for that matter. Perhaps if these people are so very worried about being "replaced." they should try not being racist mass murderers. They should try being less terrible in general.
Because the other truth is that no one gives a damn about trying to "replace" these people, we just want them to stop being assholes.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse