Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Are you surprised there was a "racially motivated" mass shooting today?

Asked by Demosthenes (13562points) 1 week ago

A gunman open-fired at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, killing ten people before surrendering to police. Authorities say they have evidence that racism was a motive (a racist manifesto has been posted online, purporting to be from him).

Does it surprise you that this is where we’re at in the U.S.?

Do you think “great replacement theory” is a dangerous ideology?

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41 Answers

chyna's avatar

Am I surprised? No. What does surprise me, but shouldn’t, is that the shooter was younger. I kind of expect some of this racist crap from older men, but I see that my great nephews and nieces are color blind. I expect that he comes from a racist family.

JLoon's avatar

Not surprised, sadly.

The danger has always been there, and it will get worse as long as fringe extremists feel empowered to justify their sick crimes as some kind political action.

Demosthenes's avatar

@chyna Apparently radicalized on 4chan amid all the racist memes and “proof” that black people are inferior and Jews control everything. Anyone who thinks these are just silly fringe ideas we can dismiss is sorely mistaken.

janbb's avatar

Almost nothing in America surprises me any more. I am becoming numb.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

A follower of Trump ?

You betcha !

cheebdragon's avatar

@Tropical_Willie He’s 18, I doubt he was old enough to even vote in the last election.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Follower of Trump doesn’t mean they are old enough to VOTE ! !

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I will say it again the USA scares the shit out of me.

Demosthenes's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I’ve definitely thought about leaving the U.S. in recent years (for various reasons), though of course the UK, France, Norway, etc. have had ideologically-driven mass killings like this as well. Though we seem to have far more mass shootings, even adjusting for population. Still, not sure I can ever truly escape this kind of thing.

cheebdragon's avatar

@Tropical_Willie How is he following him?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’d explain @cheebdragon but . . . Hitler AND Trump lovers don’t have to old enough to vote !

Demosthenes's avatar

Would rather this not be a back-and-forth about Trump. I’ve heard it all already. We can talk about mainstream politics though as “replacement theory” is not something only found on 4chan.

Blackberry's avatar

It didn’t help that in the early 2000s, innocuously….scientists said white people would be a minority by 2050 due to racial mixing.

That’s all you need for extremists to go crazy.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Blackberry True. I have no doubt these people genuinely fear that reality.

Blackberry's avatar

And if everyone’s mixing…that means black people disappear too technically lol. All solid races technically are slowly disappearing I guess.

Mimishu1995's avatar

There are people who committed mass shooting because they couldn’t get any girls and wanted revenge on the men who “stole” girls from them.

Messed up people will do messed up things, no matter what reason they have in mind.

JLeslie's avatar

Why would I be surprised? I’m not surprised. I’ve been saying for years the white supremacists are like ISIS. Cells around the world and also individuals influenced by all the hate talk and motivated to act out for the cause.

Black church in Charleston, synagogue in Pittsburg, now I guess Buffalo can be added to the list.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Yes, but I believe there are patterns to some of the reasons and that these things don’t happen in a vacuum.

Jeruba's avatar

“As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”


Blackberry's avatar

They would have gotten laid if they didn’t live in such rural areas. Asian women love white men….

jca2's avatar

@Blackberry: Buffalo isn’t a rural area, it’s a large city, one of the largest in NY state.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca2 The shooter drove hours from his home to Buffalo to murder people.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I did some research on the matter. The killer admitted in his manifesto that he went on 4chan and was impressed by the “shitposting” and “memes” there. He is 18 years old, so I would expect he knew what memes are and was able to recognize satire from them, but no. It is also revealed that his manifesto was also plagiarized from another manifesto of another shooter.

This shooter really reminds me of another mass murderer some years ago in Canada I forgot his name, but he is pretty well-known. He drove a van and killed some people. He also got his idea from 4chan. He even unironically told the police he honored Pepe the Frog. The only difference is that he was motivated by the incel mentality instead of racism. His motive for the murder was to start a war on the “chad” and “Stacey” of the world.

It seems to me there is more to this story than just racism. In the case of the Canadian killer, he had a history of mental illness and had a poor grasp on reality and he was already feeling hateful of the world by the time he found 4chan. I wouldn’t be surprised that this killer has something similar going on in him. I’m not dismissing racism problem. It’s just that this specific case seems to have something more in it that we have yet to discover.

Demosthenes's avatar

Well, sure. Plenty of people are racist and don’t kill a bunch of people.

LostInParadise's avatar

It seemed to me that the free flow of information on the Web would weed out the lies and promote those ideas that have evidence to support them. In fact the opposite appears to be the case. The Internet has become the haven for all sorts of crackpot ideas and prejudices. I don’t get it.

jca2's avatar

@LostInParadise: Check out “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix. It’s about how social media polarizes us and is the cause of a lot of our current issues: It may be available other places, other than Netflix, but if you have Netflix it’s free.

Demosthenes's avatar

@jca2 Yep. Social media works by pushing us further down various rabbit holes. Someone who’s maybe curious about “cabal” conspiracy theories or controversial racial ideas searches for content on YouTube or Reddit and is fed more of it, the algorithms finding more extreme content the more they consume. I’ve seen enough examples of people (including family members of close friends) being radicalized in real time by what they read on Facebook or 4chan or what they watch on YouTube to know that it’s a thing. Sure, not everyone could be swayed in that way and I’m sure there are pre-existing psychological/emotional states and mental health issues that make one more conducive to such radicalization (especially one who decides to act violently on their newfound ideology), but it’s absolutely a problem that the modern internet encourages and/or creates and it doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be done (or that people are willing to do) to stop it.

SnipSnip's avatar

I’m always surprised when people kill people. I’ve never gotten past the horror of that. When society is no longer horrified we will know we are lost forever.

HP's avatar

By now, mass shootings in America are mere matters of routine. Just as with the million covid deaths here, the mind adapts to such repetitions as readily as a sunset or hoards of the homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. I can remember as a boy reading descriptions from German soldiers assigned to work in those German extermination camps, and was struck with the general assessment of them all that the jobs were considered plum assignments compared to combat duty fighting the Russians. I suppose you either become inured to these “wonders” of insanity or go insane yourself.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Once again the elephant in the room is the root cause: mental illness. He threatened a mass shooting previously and got evaluated but was still able to legally purchase a gun.
What are we doing as a country when opioid databases are easily put in place but we can’t red flag known threats?
As soon as he made the first threat, his rights to legally own a firearm should have been revoked.

LostInParadise's avatar

You make a valid point, but there is more to this story. Why has the number of mass murders increased? Why is there a subculture on the Internet with racist themes? Are they all crazy? That is a bit simplistic.

LostInParadise's avatar

This article has a list of guns purchased legally by mass shooters. If you suggest having more thorough background checks, there will be a slew of first amendment activists who will get riled up. Is this part of the problem? Absolutely, but what can be done about it?

Also, keep in mind that the gun was legally purchased in 2011, before the high school threats, and he passed all background checks. Are you saying that he should have been stripped of his legally purchased gun? Try explaining this to all those first amendment advocates

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise Most gun owners are all for sensible gun laws, myself included.

LostInParadise's avatar

I need to make a correction. The gun purchase occurred after the high school incident. The 2011 date given in the article makes no sense. He would have only been 7 years old, below the legal gun purchase age. This article mentions a state investigation into the background check.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Demosthenes in the past there was no Internet, so your community was confined in the people you could physically meet. So if you had an unpopular or problematic idea, you couldn’t express it anywhere if your community was against it. You either tried to get over your idea or just lived with it alone. But the coming of the Internet means you can always find what validates your belief just by a few minutes of searching. You don’t have to travel far away to find someone like-minded, all you need is an Internet connection and a device that can connect to the Internet. While this has a positive effect of giving the voiceless a voice (like people suffering from mental health or discrimination that was acceptable in the past), it also has a flip side of connecting the crazies together and make them think they are right in their crazy belief. Sure, social media do push crazy ideas into people because the algorithms need to make sure they stay on the site as long as possible, but where do all the contents come from? They are all make by people who have crazy ideas and want to share them with like-minded people. If no one made those contents the algorithms wouldn’t have anything to push on people even if they wanted to. And the side effect is that people who would otherwise be neutral are dragged into the mud with them.

Not to mention the Internet can be very ambiguous when it comes to satire. A sarcasm can be misunderstood as genuine. I read somewhere in a forum that said something along the line of “try to be dumb for fun and actual dumb people will think you are on their side”. People who already have problems with reading emotion and detecting jokes are even more confused when face with a wall of text that sounds serious but isn’t. And if those people make it a goal to find just about anything to validate their existing bias, that would even be more dangerous. That was what happened with the Canadian van murderer, and that was how we got the Pepe the Frog statement.

Dumb people have always existed throughout history. The Internet just helps gathering them all in one place and make them more powerful while thinking they are on the right.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Mimishu1995 The internet is a mixed bag for sure. It helped me immensely to find a forum for LGBT teens when I was one and struggling with accepting myself and coming out. You can’t just immediately find a like-minded supportive group of people going through the same thing you are in real life, no matter how great your family and friends are. Finding a like-minded supportive group can be a wonderful, life-saving thing or it can be a very toxic (and sometimes deadly) thing.

mazingerz88's avatar

Not surprised. Sad that the shooter wrote it was “boredom” that made him go to sites like 4chan. From bored to killer. There are too many internet and TV assholes in the US and if you are not careful, they will make either a killer out of you or a victim.

KNOWITALL's avatar

WS are really good at recruiting young. They almost got me through my boyfriend before I knew what was happening.

Jonsblond's avatar

I only learned of this today, May 16. I was camping all weekend and disconnected.

My reaction was sadness but it also reaffirmed my commitment to spending time outdoors doing what I love. The less I know of the ugliness of this world the better.

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