At this point, we should know better than to look at a mass shooter’s manifesto. If they leave one behind, focusing on it does nothing so much as amplify the message that any radical with a twisted agenda can gain a similar public hearing for their ideas if they follow in the killer’s footsteps.
The media selectively remembers this lesson — unless, of course, that manifesto is helpful to create a narrative.
Accused Buffalo, New York, supermarket shooter Payton Gendron was motivated by the “great replacement,” a crackpot patchwork of conspiracy theories that state a shadowy cabal of global elites — a great number of whom, proponents are terribly fond of noting, just happen to be Jewish — have actively planned to replace white people in Western countries with immigrants, particularly from Muslim nations.
Thus, his racist ramblings became useful to the media and the left, which meant they were breathlessly broadcast to anyone willing to listen.
NBC News ran an opinion piece which said the manifesto “exposes [the] dangers of accelerationist, neo-fascist lone-actor violence.” The U.K. Guardian ran several pieces on it. Sample headlines: “How 4chan’s toxic culture helped radicalize Buffalo shooting suspect” and “The alleged Buffalo shooter was also inspired by Islamophobia. That’s telling.”
Pretty much everyone tried to connect the “great replacement” theory to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the enemy of the hour — who committed the crime of pointing out that Democrats have openly championed the demographics shift that immigration, including illegal immigration, has caused, believing it electorally benefits them.
Despite the facts that a) “demographics is destiny” remains a rallying cry on the left and b) noting this trend and arguing it ought to cease is wholly different than “great replacement” nuttery, outlets like The Washington Post went so far as to declare that the theory, “once only espoused by far-right White extremists has gained attention in recent years, partly due to Carlson promoting it to millions of viewers.”
It’s only been a matter of weeks, but we’ve forgotten about the manifesto — because, with the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the left has pivoted to gun control as a necessary preventative measure for attacks like these.
If only the media had read page 58 of the rambling 180-page manifesto they were lavishing so much attention on just two weeks ago, however, they’d realize why that isn’t the answer.
(As more details come in on the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, The Western Journal will provide news and analysis you won’t hear from the mainstream media — all from a Christian, conservative perspective. If you support us, please consider subscribing.)
As we now know, Uvalde shooter Salvador Ramos was able to enter the school through a door propped open by a teacher. He wasn’t confronted by any armed resource officer — and once he was inside the school, police failed to storm the classroom he occupied for at least the better part of an hour.
Anyone who’s been near a TV since the Buffalo attack knows Gendron reportedly chose the Top’s Market because it was in an area with a high number of minority residents.
There were other reasons he picked it, however, which he listed under “[s]trategies for success” on page 58.
Among the strategies: “To maximize deaths of the intended target, attack in a high density, highly populated area. … To minimize the chance of instant death from a CCW [carrying a concealed weapon] holder, police, or general armed citizen, body armor and ballistic helmet that will stop the intended threat will be needed.
“Attacking in a weapon-restricted area may decrease the chance of civilian backlash. Schools, courts, or areas where CCW are outlawed or prohibited may be good areas of attack. Areas where CCW permits are low may also fit in this category. Areas with strict gun laws are also great places of attack,” he continued.
And while the supermarket itself was guarded, Gendron said in his alleged manifesto that he could easily power through security.
“Strategy application: Top’s Market has 1 or 2 armed security guards with full size glocks, IIIA armor will stop their ammunition,” he wrote.
“NY has cucked gun laws. Assault style weapons and high capacity magazines are illegal for civilians to own, thus lowering threats from law-abiding civilians.”
(“Cucked” is a pejorative used in some online communities that describes something that’s weak in an unmanly way.)
All of these are grotesque statements to examine, particularly after 10 people were killed. That said, it’s important to examine — because Payton Gendron allegedly left behind everything we needed to know about what he thought would stop future Payton Gendrons.
First, he viewed concealed carriers as an outright deterrent to a shooter. Not only did he want to kill a high number of people in a highly populated area, he wanted to make sure as few of those people were armed as possible.
Second, he wanted to go in an area where weapons access was restricted. Among the locations he specifically mentioned: schools.
Third, areas with strict gun laws were “great places of attack.” Fourth, security guards with weak weapons could be easily taken out if he had body armor that could withstand bullets from them. Finally, states or municipalities which made it more difficult for “law-abiding citizens” to arm themselves with weapons like the AR-15 — described by Gendron as an “[a]ssault style weapon” with “high capacity magazines” — eliminated threats.
The media was more than happy to take Payton Gendron at his word when he talked about his radicalization online. When he wrote about what would have deterred him from a mass shooting, they elided over it.
You don’t even have to ask why.
No, the media seemed to say, that wouldn’t have stopped him. Instead, progressively taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens and tightening how they can exercise their Second Amendment rights is the key.
At the root, stopping mass shootings involves addressing a deep moral sickness in this nation. The key similarity between Payton Gendron and Salvador Ramos seems to be that both were lonely young men caught in deep spirals of mental illness that improperly addressed by those around them; their decline was intensified when both disappeared into dark corners of the online world where their sickness and disillusionment was allowed to fester, unchecked by reality.
Fixing that, however, is a Sisyphean task in a nation where objective truth and morality have been eschewed, even condemned.
However, if broken individuals like Gendron and Ramos cannot be made whole, the evils they inflict on others can be muted or averted.
Another common trait among many mass shooters is that they tend to be calculating, cowardly narcissists. Body counts send a message.
If you limit the body count to the killer by making the American people harder targets, the killer’s message goes with him to the grave.
Payton Gendron knew this. On page 58 of his manifesto, he made sure everyone else knew it, too.
While the media busied itself hunting for pull quotes about the “great replacement” and links to Tucker Carlson, they missed the one page out of 180 in Gendron’s manifesto that provided a blueprint for stopping others like him.