US President Joe Biden has labelled the Buffalo supermarket killings a case of “domestic terror” as he made his strongest statement yet about gun control since the weekend’s racist attack.
“I don’t know why we don’t admit what the hell is going on,” the president said on Wednesday morning after visiting the region devastated by the mass murder.
It has also emerged the teen accused of shooting dead the 10 African-American people in the shop had apparently been planning the attack for months.
As The New Daily reported on Monday, 18-year-old Payton Gandron was able to buy weapons despite being on the radar of police after making threats last year.
It has now emerged that police did not ‘red-flag’ the teen in their system because he told officers his threat was a joke.
“I got out of it [legal action] because I stuck with the story that I was getting out of class and I just stupidly wrote that down,” Mr Gendron wrote in an online post.
“That is the reason I believe I am still able to purchase guns. It was not a joke, I wrote that down because that’s what I was planning to do.”
The Washington Post revealed that the accused had initially planned to kill in a Black neighbourhood on March 15 to coincide with the anniversary of the deadly Christchurch mosque attack.
In February, he decided on his target for “attack area 1”: the Top’s grocery shop, which was the eventual scene of the murders.
He also identified two other locations where he would “shoot all blacks”.
Mr Gendron wrote: “I am well aware that my actions will effectively ruin my life…If I’m not killed during the attack I will go to prison for an inevitable life sentence.”
He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
‘Silence is complicity’
Visiting Buffalo, Mr Biden said it was time for the US to “look in the mirror and face the reality” that “we have a problem with domestic terror”.
“That’s what the intelligence community has been saying, that’s what the military has been saying, for a long time,” he said.
There were other people like the Buffalo suspect “who are just deranged, who are susceptible, who are just lost and don’t know what to do. And they are easily taken, they’re easily sucked in [by hate groups and ideology],” Mr Biden said.
He said he could not make an executive decision on gun laws and would have to “convince the Congress” to strengthen restrictions.
“White supremacy is a poison, it’s a poison…running through our body politic,” Mr Biden said, adding that silence is “complicity.”
“It’s been allowed to grow and fester right before our eyes.
“No more, no more. We need to say as clearly and as forcefully as we can that the ideology of White supremacy has no place in America.”
Stopping short of naming individuals, he condemned influential figures “who spread the lie [of racism and hatred] for power, political gain and for profit”.
“The media and politics, the internet, has radicalised angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced … by ‘the other’, by people who don’t look like them and who are, therefore, in the perverse ideology that they possess and [are] being fed, lesser beings.”