Biden condemns white supremacy, calling it “poison”

New York, May 17 (EFE).- President Joe Biden said Tuesday in Buffalo, New York, that white supremacy is a “poison” in the US body politic and social fabric after visiting the Tops supermarket where an 18-year-old white gunman last weekend killed 10 people for racist reasons, a massacre that the president called “national terrorism.”

At a press conference, the president said that the massacre was, “simple and straightforward: terrorism. Domestic terrorism,” adding that the media, politicians and the Internet have helped convince “radicalized, angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals … that they will be replaced” by other races.

“White supremacy is a poison,” Biden said multiple times, adding that “it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes.”

“No more,” he declared. “We need to say as clearly and as forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. None. Silence is complicity. We cannot remain silent.”

Biden called the suspect who killed 10 people and wounded three others a “fascist” and a white nationalist who had traveled more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) to a mainly African American neighborhood with the goal of killing as many blacks as he could.

Of the 13 dead and wounded in the massacre, 11 were black.

At his press conference, the US leader said that he would not let hatred win in this country and that white supremacy advocates will not have the last word.

But he added that “The American experiment in democracy is in a danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime. It’s endangered this hour. Hate and fear have been given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America.”

The president also said that he will work to get legislation passed to control the sale and possession of assault rifles in the US, along with taking other measures proposed by the Democratic Party such as not allowing people with criminal records or serious mental illness to buy weapons.

So far this year, there have been almost 200 mass shootings in the US, and last year ended with at least 693 such multiple killings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Biden also made special mention of the victims of the Buffalo massacre and said that one of the victims had gone to the supermarket to buy strawberries for a recipe and another was buying a birthday cake for her son.

But the president also sent a message of hope to the relatives of the victims, saying that the passage of time will help them to process their grief, providing his own experience as an example. Biden lost his first wife and young daughter in a car crash and, 40 years later, his older son Joseph “Beau” died at age 46 from brain cancer.

On the president’s visit to Buffalo, he also met with the families of the victims and with community leaders and members of the local police and emergency personnel.

Local media and law enforcement authorities have been scrutinizing the 180-page manifesto published online by the alleged gunman, Payton Gendron, finding it filled with racist comments and views and dominated by the conspiracy theory known as the “Great Replacement” that members of the extreme right have been espousing with ever greater frequency over the past few years.

That conspiracy theory claims that white Americans are in danger of being replaced in society by people of other races, while people in other countries are in danger of being replaced by Muslim immigrants.

Other massacres perpetrated by lone white gunmen influenced by this conspiracy theory have included the March 2015 New Zealand murders of 51 people in Christchurch and the August 2015 massacre of more than 20 people in a Texas supermarket.

The president was accompanied on his trip to Buffalo by first lady Jill Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York Attorney General Letitia James, all Democrats.

EFE syr/fjo/rrt/bp

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