The US president, Democrat Joe Biden, who promotes a “comprehensive strategy” to fight violence and insecurity in the country, plans to visit Buffalo on Tuesday, the second most populous city in the state of New York, on the border with Canada, where the 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron perpetrated one of the worst racist massacres in recent years.
Arrested after threatening to commit suicide, the young man had evoked the “possibility of going to another large store” and continuing his murderous madness, local police commissioner Joseph A. Gramaglia told CNN on Monday.
In total, 10 people – aged between 32 and 86 – were killed and three others were injured in a supermarket in a majority black neighborhood on a weekend marked by violence.
Another person was killed and four others seriously injured in another shooting at a church southeast of Los Angeles; in Houston there were two dead and three wounded, five dead in Saint Louis (Missouri); five in Chicago, and 21 injured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during a shooting at the end of a basketball game. The authorities had to impose a curfew.
Accused by the prosecution of “premeditated death,” Gendron pleaded not guilty at an appearance in court this weekend.
– “White supremacism” –
Adherence to white supremacist theories, known as the “Great Replacement”, which denounces a conspiracy to replace white Americans with immigrants and blacks, would be behind this act that no one saw coming despite the fact that the young man told a teacher less than a year that his plans for the future were to kill and commit suicide.
After undergoing a psychiatric examination, the authorities considered that he did not represent a threat.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney, practically the only discordant voice of former President Donald Trump within the Republican formation, criticized on Twitter “the leadership of the party in the House for having allowed white nationalism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism.”
In 2020, 45,222 people died from firearms in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cited by the Pew research institute, an all-time high.
Of those, 24,292 were suicides and 19,384 homicides, the highest number since 1968, according to the CDC.
However, despite the increase in this type of violent deaths, the rate of deaths by weapons compared to the population is lower than in previous years.
The governor of the state of New York, Kathy Hochul, urged this Monday a “national response” to fight against the ease with which potential murderers can acquire weapons in other states, as Gendron did, who acquired part of his arsenal in neighboring Pennsylvania. .
“Otherwise, we are simply at the mercy of laws in other states that do not protect residents the way we do,” the Democratic governor told local radio on Monday, quoted by the Gothamist online newspaper.
– “Work together” –
Biden on Sunday condemned racist extremism and called for “working together to confront the hate that remains a stain on America’s soul.”
As he did in February in New York, after a crime wave that killed two police officers, Biden and First Lady Jill visit Buffalo on Tuesday. In the Big Apple, the president promised to carry out a war without quarter against the violence associated with weapons.
After tightening the regulation of so-called “phantom” weapons, which are difficult to detect because they lack a serial number and which can be assembled as a kit at home in just a few minutes, the president wants to limit the purchase of assault rifles or impose a universal system criminal and psychiatric background checks for buyers.
An eventual defeat of the Democrats in the mid-term elections in November would distance any ambition of his government in this regard, which runs into the refusal of the staunch Republican defender of the Constitution that protects the right of the American people to own and bear arms.
The New York prosecutor, Letitia James, also a Democrat, defined Saturday’s massacre as “domestic terrorism” that has revived other recent shootings, such as the murder of nine faithful, most of them black, in a church in South Carolina, in 2015, and the attack on a white man in Texas in 2019 that claimed 29 lives, most of them Latino.