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The Mass Shooting Blame Game

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) addresses guests at an event with President Joe Biden and several family members of victims of the Tops Market shooting at the Delavan Grider Community Center May 17 in Buffalo, NY


Scott Olson/Getty Images

American politics these days never fails to meet low public expectations. The latest example is the clearly political attempt by Democrats and their media allies to blame political opponents for Payton Gendron’s murderous rampage in Buffalo.

As so often these days with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looking over her shoulder, the chief exploiter is New York Senator Chuck Schumer. He took the opportunity to blame the Democratic Party’s recently unveiled and focus group-tested campaign theme: “MAGA Republicans.”

“Whenever Republicans or MAGA pundits falsely vilify immigrants and call them invaders, whenever they falsely claim that millions of undocumented people vote in our elections, and whenever loud voices bigots lament the disintegration of an imaginary ‘classic’ America, the subtext is clear: these far-right MAGA Republicans argue that people of color and minority communities somehow pose a threat – a threat – to the mode of American life.

He added: ‘That’s replacement theory in a nutshell. This is a dangerous and deeply anti-American worldview. It poisons the minds of people who spend hours wandering the darkest wastelands of the internet.

We have supported immigration longer than Mr. Schumer has been in Congress, and politicians should be careful with their rhetoric. But note his causal logic of the massacre: political opposition to uncontrolled immigration, or support for the integrity of the ballot and American values, drove Payton Gendron to kill 10 African Americans in a Buffalo supermarket. Oh, and Mr. Schumer also added Fox News (where we have a TV show) as fellow travelers in domestic terrorism.

Mr. Gendron has indeed descended into an ideological rabbit hole, but he may also be suffering from mental illness. He had talked about shooting his high school, maybe at graduation. The school referred him to the police, who referred him for psychological support. But he pretended to have gotten lost in the maze of health and he was allowed to buy a gun. A question that should be asked is why so many adults have failed to act to protect the community of a young man at an age when mental illness strikes so often.

As for its manifesto, it is clearly full of racist and anti-Semitic ramblings. But it’s also full of other rants – against the conservatives, for “eco-fascism”. They are the incoherent product of a deeply troubled mind. The idea that Mr. Gendron was driven to mass murder by Republican Elise Stefanik’s anti-immigration Facebook ads is absurd.

The media slaughter blame game also only goes one way. When a deranged black man knocked down white grandmothers during a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the media quickly turned away from the horrific story. President Biden did not show up and claimed that America was in danger of losing its democracy, as he did in Buffalo on Tuesday.

When a Bernie Sanders supporter and MSNBC aficionado nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise during a baseball practice in 2017, no one in their right mind blamed the anti-Republican rhetoric of Mr. Sanders or MSNBC for the armed violence. No one in their right mind did this because they realized the men who pulled the trigger or drove the SUV in Waukesha are responsible for their actions.

The “white replacement theory” is a feverish claim that should have no place in American politics. It promotes an obsession with race that is politically and culturally corrosive. If the theory’s view is that Democrats want to flood America with people of color to forge a “coalition of the ascendant,” as some on the left have touted, then that hope proves futile. Hispanic and Asian immigrants often share conservative values, and more are voting Republican as the Democratic left sinks further into the swamps of identity fever.

But Democrats and the mainstream media want to use “replacement theory” as a stigma to label anyone who doesn’t like open borders, or critical race theory, or the hyper-racial consciousness of the Democratic Party a racist. And now they want to claim that Republicans and mainstream conservatives are complicit in racially motivated domestic terrorism.

Exploiting mass murder is despicable, but especially so when it’s a political strategy to cling to power during an election year.

Wonder Land: How did the United States become a country always on the verge of political or personal violence? Images: AP/Zuma Press Composer: Mark Kelly

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