Many of our readers woke up last Sunday morning to the horrific news of the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, a two-hour drive from Toronto.
Ten Black people were killed on Saturday in what was reported to be a racially motivated hate crime.
The alleged attacker,18, who has been arrested, has identified himself as a fascist and white nationalist.
According to news reports, he drove more than 200 miles to seek out an area with a high Black population.
And in his so-called manifesto, he made reference to “white genocide” and “white replacement” conspiracy theories to explain his hate towards minority groups.
United States President Joe Biden who came to Buffalo on Tuesday and met families impacted by the shooting, called the incident “domestic terrorism.”
“What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism, terrorism, domestic terrorism, violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group,” the President said.
He went on to condemn white supremacy as “a poison running through our body politic” and accused the shooter of giving into “a hateful, perverse ideology rooted in fear and racism.”
President Biden said the young man arrested in connection with the shooting belonged to “a hateful minority”.
“White supremacy will not have the last word,” Biden added.
Biden, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, conceded that there was “not much on executive action” he could take regarding gun control.
He also said that passing any limitation on firearms through Congress “is going to be very difficult. Very difficult. But I’m not going to give up trying.”
Clearly, the gun lobby in the United States is extremely powerful.
But, of course, as the killings continue, gun control and the removal of assault weapons from the streets remain matters of deep concern – and not just to people in the United States.
Commenting on the Buffalo massacre, Louis March, Founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement of Toronto, said that “we here in Toronto and across Canada should also be deeply concerned.
“The geographical border should not limit our concern as many of us travel to Buffalo on a regular basis to go shopping and to visit family and friends.”
“More important is the fact that the scourge of gun violence and the targeting of Black people are a real threat to our existence. The continued oppressive and racist systems cannot be tolerated because in many ways, they condone and encourage domestic terrorism.
“The shooter at the grocery store was clear in his intentions.”
Mitzie Hunter, Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood, also condemned the mass shooting in Buffalo.
Hunter has been calling for “legislative change” in Ontario to deal with the problem of gun violence.
Many Canadians have noted that gun violence is increasing in the communities in which they live, with residents in major cities and the country’s largest provinces mostly reporting such views, according to a recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute.
The Institute recently polled about 5,000 Canadians and found that overall, 43 per cent of them believe gun violence is increasing in the area where they live.
In our own Caribbean community, gun violence is a growing problem, as Louis March pointed out.
He said that in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, “gun violence continues to rise with major increases in gun homicides.”
How much more neglect, how much more tragedies, how much more trauma and grief must we experience before the root causes of gun violence are seriously addressed both in the United States and Canada?