retail news in context, analysis with attitude

An 18-year-old White man has been arrested and charged with opening fire on the staff and customers of a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three more.  Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black;  four of the people shot reportedly were Tops employees.

Officials say that before committing the crime, the man posted a 180-page document online in which he describes himself as a white supremacist, and that he came to the store dressed in tactical gear, carrying an assault weapon, and live-streaming his actions online.

The Wall Street Journal writes that the man "appears to have been motivated by racist conspiracy theories he discovered on Internet message boards during the pandemic, according to a document posted online that police believe he wrote. In the document, the writer describes himself as a fascist, a white supremacist, a racist and anti-Semitic. The document includes details of a planned incident similar to what occurred on Saturday, including the writer’s goal to kill as many Black people as possible."

The man has pleaded not guilty, and is being held without bail.  Authorities have said they are investigating the shooting as a "possible hate crime."

The Washington Post reports that officials say the man "was investigated less than a year ago by state police after they received a report that he’d made a threatening statement at his high school. A state police spokesman didn’t confirm the name, but said that a student at the high school was taken into custody on June 8, 2021, and evaluated at a mental hospital. He was not charged."

The Buffalo News writes:  

"When Tops Markets opened its Jefferson Avenue supermarket in Buffalo 19 years ago, residents who had been calling for a full-service grocery store for more than a decade rejoiced that one had finally come to their neighborhood.

"But after Saturday, the joy will forever be obscured by a horrific tragedy."

The News goes on:

"A state of shock rippled through the neighborhood and beyond, on what was surely the darkest day in the supermarket chain's history. Four Tops employees were shot, including a recently retired Buffalo police officer who was working security at the store and was killed, law enforcement officials said.

"'We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,' Tops spokesperson Kathy Sautter said. 'Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the quick response of local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation'."

The Post points out that "the mass shooting is the deadliest of 2022, according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. It is also the latest massacre in recent years carried out by perpetrators allegedly driven by hate and racism, deadlier than the 2015 shooting at a historic African American church in Charleston, S.C., by Dylann Roof, who was referenced in the document."

And the Denver Post notes that "the shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket."

One day later, there was this story in the Los Angeles Times:

"A gunman attacked a lunch banquet at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, killing one person and wounding five others Sunday before congregants tackled him, hogtied him with an extension cord and grabbed his two weapons, authorities said.

"'That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery,' Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said, later adding, 'It’s safe to say that had they not intervened this situation could have been much worse.'

"The violence left the south Orange County suburb — home to the sprawling retirement community once known as Leisure World — reeling and in grief, coming a day after a racist attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket left 10 dead."

KC's View:

We should all be saddened by events like these.  Horrified, in fact.  But shocked?  Not anymore.  It is a question of when it will happen again, not if.

This stuff is by no means inconceivable.  It happens way too frequently - both cases of mass shootings and the crap spewed by white supremacists - and when it comes together, the result usually is combustible.

If history is any indication, there will be thoughts and prayers, and then everybody will retreat to their philosophical corners, debating why this happens and whose fault it really is, and never finding a way to meet in the middle to address these issues with any sort of meaningful solution.  Thoughts and prayers, at this point, as far as I am concerned, have been proven damned ineffective in addressing the problem of way too many guns ending up in the hands of deeply disturbed people who ought to be labeled and treated as the domestic terrorists they are.