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The Ideology Behind Buffalo Shooter Payton Gendron

“Me considero izquierdista autoritario”: ¿cuáles son las verdaderas ideas del tirador de Buffalo?

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Last weekend, an 18-year-old teenager, identified as Payton Gendron, was accused of traveling 200 miles to Buffalo, New York, to carry out a mass shooting at a supermarket that ended with the murder of 10 people, mostly African-Americans. Gendron’s monstrous plan was spelled out step-by-step in a 180-page manifesto that investigators say appears to be genuine and belongs to the perpetrator of the massacre.

The manifesto, worthy of a completely deviant person, shows a mixture of extreme and insane ideas that led a “lonely” teenager to commit an abominable hate-driven terrorist crime.

In his extensive text, Gendron explained that, during the first “boring” days of the pandemic, he began to research on the internet about the infamous “replacement theory” and realized that in several predominantly white countries there was a decline in the birth rates of white people in favor of the birth growth of minority ethnic races, which he called a “white genocide.”

The Buffalo shooter himself further defined himself as a “lone wolf” and ruled out that his plans were driven by a political leader or someone he had known personally. In his manifesto, he detailed what weapons he would use and how he would carry out his attack, choosing New York as his target because gun laws there are more restrictive and his victims would be less able to defend themselves.

On his political views, Payton Gendron stated that, during his early teenage years, he was attracted to communist ideas and that he now places himself on “the political compass” within “the mild-moderate authoritarian left category, and I would prefer to be called a populist.” He also called himself a “fascist,” explaining that “fascism is one of the few political ideologies that will unite whites against surrogates.”

He called himself a “racist,” an “anti-Semite,” and “white supremacist.” Gendron joined the cause of “green nationalism,” which he said is the “only true nationalism.”

In addition, he showed admiration for the New Zealand shooter, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who in 2019 showed live his own attack where he killed 51 people attending a mosque. He said he could also be defined as “far-left” or “far-right” depending on the concept given.

buffalo shooter
FBI agents gather at the scene of yesterday’s shooting at a Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, New York. (Image: EFE)

What did Rolling Stone and the media conclude from this manifesto?

As implausible as it may seem, everything the Buffalo shooter manifested in his statement of principles and ideas seemed to be overlooked by Rolling Stone magazine, which published an article titled “The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a mainstream Republican,” written by Talia Lavin, who in 2018 had to quit her job as a fact-checker at the New Yorker magazine for falsely claiming that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent had a Nazi tattoo.

Lavin’s article reads, “The right-wing extremists who control the modern GOP are all gripped by a racist delusion. The shooter is just the latest to act on it.”

Throughout the text, Lavin goes out of his way to link the Buffalo shooter to the rhetoric of former President Donald Trump, whom she called a “racist,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has spoken about the changing demographics in the United States on several of his programs; and other Republican congressmen considered extremists.

Screenshot from NBC News.

What does the Buffalo shooter say about conservatism, Tucker Carlson and Fox News?

Despite the fact that a few hours after the attack the vast majority of the media associated Tucker with the attack in Buffalo, at no point in the manifesto does the shooter mention the Fox News host as a reference or cite the conservative media outlet. The only connection he makes to Tucker Carlson is the word “replacement,” apparently enough to prompt a massacre according to the corporate press.

The hypocrisy of the national press, in this case, is evidenced by the double standard that exists for measuring “media culprits” of the various attacks that have occurred in the United States.

As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted, and as Daily Wire analyst and editor emeritus Ben Shapiro mentioned, if the progressive press were to be measured in the same way as Tucker and Fox News, attacks have occurred in recent years that may well have been fueled by anti-conservative, anti-Republican rhetoric spread by Democratic politicians and left-liberal media.

For example, in 2017, the man who opened fire on Republican politicians during a baseball game claimed to be a fan of liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. The shooter, who died in a standoff with police, was identified as James T. Hodgkinson. He was an avowed Democrat and lover of America’s top left-wing television shows and a loyal fan of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.

Maddow, Sanders, or some left-liberal media outlet was never blamed for the attack committed by Hodgkinson, despite the fact that his ideas matched the rhetoric of the corporate press and the Democratic Party.

A year earlier, in 2016, former President Barack Obama, in the wake of the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, pushed the anti-police rhetoric that those shootings were due to “systemic racism” and violence against blacks.

Later that same day, anti-white racist snipers murdered five police officers and wounded seven more officers. Obama was not blamed for the bombing by the liberal press, and even conservative outlets such as the Daily Wire explained that “Obama didn’t cause the Dallas shootings, but his attempts to turn the conversation toward gun control or police brutality are just another way to avoid a real conversation about anti-white racism.”

Just as Glenn Greenwald explained, the corporate press is taking advantage of every tragedy that roughly benefits their rhetoric to tailor facts and attack their targets, which in this case are Tucker Carlson, Fox News, and Republicans.

The Rolling Stone article and the liberal press’s finger-pointing against Republicans and conservatives is further evidenced by reading the manifesto itself, for there the Buffalo shooter makes it abundantly clear that he hates conservatism in a section entitled: “Thank God, conservatism is dead.”

“Not a thing has been conserved other than corporate profits and the ever-increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit. Conservatism is dead. Thank god. Now let us bury it and move on to something of worth,” reads the manifesto verbatim.

However, the hatred of conservatism or the notorious nods to radical leftist ideologies of the Buffalo shooter, who even praised an article in the socialist magazine Jacobin in his manifesto, was hardly mentioned in the media.

Certainly, racial hatred drove this teenager to perpetrate a monstrosity. But instead of seeking answers—a priori the job of the responsible press—journalists are devoting pages, time, and energy to holding Carlson Tucker and Republicans responsible for the murder of ten Americans. Such rhetoric is troubling because, indirectly, it ends up being a divisive narrative that pits a country that has long-lived under a clear ideological-political polarization. Moreover, it avoids looking for the real causes of these hideous hate crimes.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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