What did they know and when did they know it?
It’s been a week since the Buffalo shooter targeted a Black community’s grocery store for a terrorist attack that killed ten people Black people and injured three others. Like clockwork, conservative and predominantly White media rushed to paint him as an innocent kid and “lone wolf.” However, CNN reports over 15 people joined the private Discord chat where the suspect detailed plans to carry out the mass shooting shortly before the attack.
“A private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log,” a spokesperson for Discord said. “Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server.”
Hate-filled forums and followers
All 15 people had instant access to his racist ramblings and plot after invites circulated. Discord representatives say it removed all the related content as soon as the company was aware of the attack. The shooter also shared details and updates about his plan on 4chan, a hate-filled favorite forum of White supremacists, mass murderers, insurrectionists, and Fox News fans. He credited the site with stoking his irrational fears of Black people replacing whites, even though he had to drive 3 hours to find a Black neighborhood in upstate New York. Before starting the attack, the 18-year-old started a broadcast on Twitch, a live-streaming platform.
“My office is launching investigations into the social media companies that the Buffalo shooter used to plan, promote, and stream his terror attack,” New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote on Twitter. “This terror attack again revealed the depths and dangers of these platforms that spread and promote hate without consequence. We are doing everything in our power to stop this dangerous behavior now and ensure it never happens again.”
Red flags and accomplices
The calculated killer didn’t just share his violent intentions online. Last year, Susquehanna Valley Central High School called the police because he did a school project focusing on murder-suicides. The cops again failed to prevent a crime because they refused to intervene. Under the Extreme Risk Protection Order law, officers could and should have filed a red flag order of protection. This order would have prevented him from purchasing a firearm because he was a threat to himself and others. He could still legally buy a gun without an involuntary mental health commitment or red flag order.
While officials work to restrict gun access from people who are threats to themselves or others, Ben Crump also promised to hold enablers accountable. The civil rights attorney vowed to sue “everybody” who was an accomplice in the shooting, including the parents who put a gun in his hands.
“We absolutely intend on going after the gun manufacturers, the gun distributors and anybody else who was an accomplice to this young 18-year-old white supremacist. We intend on going after everybody that was an accomplice to this young monster killing these innocent people.”
Suing “everybody” who enabled this tragedy could also include the police who ignored warning signs, the social media platforms he used, and the people who interacted with his violent fantasies online. Don’t stop there if we’re holding people accountable for inciting violent White supremacist violence! Everyone from Tucker Carlson to the former cheese puff-in-chief and anti-CRT politicians should be on the hook. This tragedy wasn’t just preventable. It was insidiously intentional.