“This is the worst nightmare that could come to a community and we are hurting.” – Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, New York
A Comment from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted May 15th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
As the cable news channels continued to report the “breaking news” out of Buffalo, New York this past Saturday afternoon, the skies in that city turned from bright sunny and blue to grey, and rain started falling.
It was as if the heavens were shedding tears on this “City of Good Neighbours.”
As I am sure most, if not all of you know by now, a horror that has visited far too many cities and towns across the United States visited Buffalo this Saturday, May 15 with a mass shooting that murdered 10 people and wounded three others in a Tops’ grocery store in a neighbourhood that is a few minutes’ drive from the downtown core.
You sat in front of our television screen and you watched people in the neighbourhood standing near the Top’s supermarket that was, by now surrounded by police vehicles and that yellow crime scene tape, with hands clutched near their mouths and tears welling from their eyes.
When approached by reporters, the people would say, in so many words; “I have seen this in other places on TV, but I never thought it would happen here.”
Frankly, as someone who has turned on the screen to all too many of these mass shooting episodes in the United Sates, I have been getting very tired of hearing those words.
Why would people not think it would happen one day in a place near their homes, in a country and a culture where gun pay is glorified in story books and on film, and where, in many U.S. states, purchasing a military-style assault rifle is easier than getting a driver’s license or applying for a credit card.
While police were still in the Top’s grocery store interviewing witnesses to this slaughter, allegedly committed by a 18-year-old white male who came armed to the teeth from another county in New York State to assault a crowded venue in a predominately black neighbourhood, Brian Higgins, a Buffalo area U.S. Congressman, said in an interview near the scene that this has got to stop now – that members of the U.S. Congress and Senate finally have to pass laws that ban the purchase of assault weapons and make it harder for virtually anyone to purchase a deadly weapons without any screening.
I believe that Congressman Higgins, a Democrat, means what he says because he has had a long record of supporting stricter gun laws. But the fact is that we have heard this in the United States so many times before and even when all of those young children were slaughtered with an assault weapon in Sandy Hook, Connecticut a decade ago, nothing happened.
What do you do in a country where the National Rifle Association – known more simply and notoriously as the NRA- eems to own too many politicians and where too many people seem to cherish their right to own guns over their rights in a democracy to free speech or to vote in free and fair elections.
The tragedy is that here, following this latest horror in Buffalo, talk of doing something about a gun culture gone completely out of control will once again fade after a number of days, then it will be on to the next mass shooting.
In the meantime, I can’t help think right now about all of the countless times I have visited Buffalo, New York and how friendly most of its people have been to me and to members of my family.
Buffalo has almost always lived up to its name as the “City of Good Neighbours” and in this time of tragedy, those of us who live across the Niagara River from that city, in Niagara, Ontario should reach out to its people with heart-felt sympathy and support.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
A Statement from Congressman Brian Higgins on the Mass Shooting In Buffalo
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who represents and lives in Buffalo, New York, released the following statement after the mass shooting in Buffalo today:
“Buffalo is my home, the community I love. Today (this past Saturday, May 15th, 2022) our neighbors, people who left their homes to simply go to work or get groceries, were targeted by a racism-inspired act of domestic terrorism. Families I know have been forever changed, loved ones forever gone.
“Known as the ‘City of Good Neighbors,’ Buffalo is community that looks out for one another. We are hurt, we are grieving, and we will need to come together like Buffalo does to heal.
“The facts are plain. The motivation is hate-filled and disgusting. I applaud law enforcement and agencies at the federal, state, and local level who apprehended the shooter, are collecting evidence, and organized a quick arraignment. The shooter should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
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