ALABAMA (WHNT) — A deadly shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. over the weekend claimed the lives of 10 people, all of whom are Black. The premeditated hate crime sent shockwaves through Black communities nationwide.
The shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, reportedly drove 200 miles to shoot his 10 victims.
Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called the heinous crime yet another major setback in the fight for equal rights in America.
“It’s horrible that we can see these types of events happening in 2022 when we are supposed to be in a neutral society,” Simelton told News 19.
The bottom line here, Simelton said, is that hate crimes are once again on the rise. With a heavy heart, he says this kind of hate seems to have no end.
Gendron’s actions at the Buffalo supermarket were far from a representation of a neutral society or one that accepts people from all colors and backgrounds.
“We have to come to the realization that there are people out there that still hate African Americans and other minorities,” said Simelton.
In a manifesto, the shooter repeatedly cited The Great Replacement, a conspiracy theory pushed by white supremacists that claims white people are being replaced by people of color and immigrants for Democrats to gain a political advantage.
The document claims the suspect chose Buffalo because it was the city with the highest number of Black people in his vicinity. The gun that Gendron reportedly used had a racial slur engraved on it, as well as the names of other mass shooters. Simelton says these kinds of premeditated actions are often exposed.
“There’s someone in his family that knew what was going on,” Simelton continued. “They knew his thinking and knew his ideology. They failed to say anything about it either because they thought that was just him or they didn’t think that he would act on that.”
Simelton is calling to fight this incident with radical gun reform. The organization will even host its annual event for National End Gun Violence Day on June 3 in Huntsville’s Big Spring Park.
“No one is saying to take away your second amendment right, but we’ve got to do this more sensible where people can’t have access to these types of weapons,” he explained.
Simelton says that people of color should not have to fight for civil rights against a deranged gunman.
“If I’m walking down the street, if I’m going into a store, I should not feel that someone is watching me just because of the color of my skin,” Simelton concluded. “We have got to get beyond that in America.”