Tuesday the president and First Lady visited Buffalo, where ten people were massacred by an eighteen year old who was inspired by a white nationalist conspiracy to replace white culture.
During their visit, the president gave a speech at the Delavan Grider Community Center, which included family members of the victims, community leaders and local officials.
The center is within walking distance from the Top’s market where Gendron went on his deadly shooting spree. The killer, according to authorities, had previously scoped out the surrounding area of the super market and the market itself, before actually entering to carry out his acts of violence. He had also previously uploaded a manifesto to the internet, detailing his intentions and the reasons behind them.
Addressing the families, Biden said: “I want to thank law enforcement officers for not just what they did in this crisis, but for also accommodating us. And all of the elected officials and law enforcement officers, first responders and faith leaders that are here today. Jill and I have come to stand with you.
“And to the families: We’ve come here to grieve with you…
“You feel like there’s a black hole in your chest you’re being sucked into and you’re suffocating, unable to breath. That’s what it felt like to us. and I’m sure that’s how it felt to you. The anger. The pain. The depth of a loss that’s so profound…
“The day is going to come – it will come – when your loved one brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes. It takes a while for that to happen. It takes a while. It might take more than a season, but our prayer for you is that day comes sooner or later, but I promise you it will come…
On the act of violence, touching on media, politicians and the internet, he said: “What happened here is simple and straightforward terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that through the media and politics, and the internet, has radicalized angry, lost, and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced – that’s the word, “replaced” – by the “other”- by people who don’t look like them and who are therefore, in a perverse ideology, lesser beings…
“White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right before our very eyes…”
Several of those who heard the statements said they appreciated the fact that he focused more on the families and the community rather than politics.
“I don’t think he wanted to politicize the visit,” Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said later. “He met with ten families of loved ones who were taken from them by a racist, domestic terrorist attack on this community. I think he wanted to show his concern and empathy and compassion for the families.”
Before his speech at the community center, the Biden’s visited the community memorial for the victims, and also visited with family members of the victims.
“The American experiment in democracy is in danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime,” Biden said. “It’s in danger right now. Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but don’t understand America.”
Sources: Whitehouse.gov., Time, The Washington Post.