While many of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the horrific and heartbreaking mass shooting in Texas that killed 19 children and two adults, law enforcement officials are investigating a new aspect of the mass shooting that occurred just days earlier when 10 Black people were killed in Buffalo, New York. And while the news regarding the investigation into the shooting allegedly carried out by 18-year-old Payton Gendron might be new, the reality behind it is far from a novelty.
White supremacy in the U.S. government is as old as America itself.
According to the Buffalo News, officials are looking into the possibility that a retired federal agent knew what Gendron was going to do about half an hour before he did it because the ex-agent “was one of at least six individuals who regularly communicated with accused gunman Payton Gendron in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed.”
Two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation told the News that all six people were invited by Gendron to read about his plans to ruthlessly kill 10 Black people at the very Tops grocery store where the shooting took place. And while the investigators didn’t say whether the former agent accepted the invitation, they did say it was clear that this person who was once in a position of power and influence as a federal officer of the law is also a fellow white supremacist who found a virtual home online where racist views were shared freely.
“These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry,” one of the officers closer to the investigation said. “What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened. The FBI has verified that none of these people called law enforcement to warn them about the shooting. The FBI database shows no advance tips from anyone that this shooting was about to happen.”
Yeah, if a person’s hatred for all things non-white runs so deep that they’re regularly engaged in virtual Klan meetings, you can expect that they won’t lift a finger to prevent a mass killing of the very people they despise just for existing.
So, the investigators are tracking down all six of these people who Gendron invited for a sneak preview of his horrific killing to determine if they should be charged as accomplices. Not only that, but federal investigators are looking into whether the retired agent provided information to Gendron prior to the shooting. The feds are also trying to determine the identity of someone Gendron referred to as “Sandman” and “Saint Sandman” in his online manifesto. This individual is someone who Dendron said “counseled him on manufacturers of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and their quality,” according to the News.
Here’s what Gendron quoted “Sandman” as saying in his manifesto posted to Discord:
“When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society’s problems, and not go to prison for it, you’ll know. Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now. Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What’s your plan? Get and keep your mind, body, and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.”
These people are terrifying. They’re also very much American.