What is the Great Replacement? Buffalo killer Payton Gendron cited theory as reason for hate crime
BUFFALO, NEW YORK: The 18-year-old who shot 10 people dead and wounded three others at a Buffalo supermarket is reportedly believed to have posted a white supremacist manifesto, outlining his step-by-step plan. Officials revealed that Payton Gendron claimed in a 180-page diatribe that he was 'radicalized' on the internet while he was bored during the early pandemic days, not by people he has personally met. The self-described white supremacist and anti-Semite apparently learned through his 'research' that low white birth rates around the world are a 'crisis' that 'will ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people.'
Talking about other racially motivated killings, Gendron said that he 'mostly agreed' with Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a man who live-streamed his attack which ultimately left 51 people attending a New Zealand mosque in March 2019 dead. Gendron reportedly began planning the attack in January. He chose the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo because “it has the highest black population percentage” by Zip code, and also because it was not very far away from his Southern Tier home, New York Post reported.
In one section of the manifesto, Gendron detailed his step-by-step plans for the day of the shooting. He also wrote about the corned beef hash he would eat for breakfast. He planned how he would drive to the supermarket, wear his body armor and carry his gun. He also wrote about live streaming the attack.
Reportedly, the Buffalo massacre is the latest in a wave of mass shootings that were inspired by the Great Replacement theory -- a racist theory popular among white supremacists and the far-right.
What is the Great Replacement theory?
Disseminated by French author Renaud Camus, the Great Replacement theory is a white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theory. It states that Whites are being replaced in their countries by people of color, which will result in the extinction of the White race. The theory stemmed from the belief that the ethnic French population, as well as the White European populations, is being demographically and culturally replaced with non-European people, including Arab, Jewish, Berber, Turkish, and sub-Saharan Muslim populations.
Since the late 19th century, various similar themes have characterized other far-right theories. This particular term, however, was popularized by Camus in his 2011 book 'Le Grand Remplacement'. The theory is popular among anti-migrant far-right movements in the West. These claims have been dismissed by critics, who said that the belief is a result of the exaggerated reading of immigration statistics, and stems from unscientific and racist views.
Gendron reportedly drove from 'hours away' in Conklin, New York, to the Tops market on Jefferson Avenue. The shooting took place in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were Black and two of them were White. “We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially-motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office said during a press conference. Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said, "This was pure evil. It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime."
Two people who saw Gendron said he was wearing camouflage attire with a black helmet. “He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Braedyn Kephart, a witness, said. He described how the gunman dropped to his knees, ripped off his helmet and let go of his gun, before being tackled by police.
Gendron has pleaded not guilty to the killings, his lawyer has confirmed, according to the Daily Mail. He had reportedly scrawled the N-word on his rifle before carrying out the massacre.