When Will We Finally Say “Enough is F***ing Enough”?

Payton S. Gendron | Erie County District Attorney
Written by Guy Nave

Allow me to begin by apologizing for simply responding without doing my typical critical reflection. I’m just so tired of this shit and I need to vent!

This won’t be a long read, because it won’t take me long to vent! The recent mass shooting in Buffalo, NY reveals so many issues that we as a nation keep kicking down the road like someone kicking a can down the street. Here are a few of those issues:

  1. Racial hatred: A white, 18-year-old gunman allegedly carried out a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, May 14, killing 10 people and injuring three others. Eleven of the 13 victims were black. The suspected gunman, Payton S. Gendron, published a 180-page document filled with the language of racialized hatred and promoting the racist “great replacement theory” (GRT).
  2. White self deputized vigilantism:Like the celebrated white vigilante, Kyle Rittenhouse, who traveled to a community other than where he lived to protect white people from a perceived threat of black people, the alleged gunman drove more than 200 miles from his small hometown of Conklin, N.Y., and arrived in east Buffalo the day before the attack to conduct “reconnaissance” on the grocery store where the mass shooting took place. Gendron had the word “nigger” etched into the stock of one of his long-barrel automatic weapons. The idea of taking the law into one’s own hands not only to protect order but also to protect the order is central to the maintenance of white supremacy and its structures.
  3. Gun control: The gunman, wearing tactical gear, shot13 people with an assault-style rifle that Americans for some reason feel a need to allow Americans unrestricted access to. The gunman used a Bushmaster AR-15-style assault rifle with an attachable high-capacity magazine. While I am not attempting to challenge the legitimacy of the 2nd Amendment, I simply don’t understand why anyone needs access to assault weapons?
  4. Social media being used to promote racialized violence/hatred: The gunman live-streamed the attack on the platform Twitch and published his 180-page document to the anonymous message board 4chan before carrying out the attack.
  5. This sort of violence is often predictable: While some forms of so-called “terrorism” are not easily predictable, Gendron threatened a shooting at his high school the year before. He was subsequently sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation that lasted a day and a half.

While I might follow up on this response with a more thorough critique later, I just need to vent right now!

I hope we as a nation will do better than responding with the same old tired excuses:

  1. After a mass shooting is not the time to talk about gun control.
  2. Gun accessibility in America is not the problem, mental illness is the problem.
  3. This is a tragic act of a “lone wolf” gunman and not reflective of a “white supremacy” problem in America.

These are just a few of the excuses that come to mind off the top of my head. While there are countless more, I don’t want to take the time or expend the energy to reflect on them at this moment. I’m simply too tired of bearing in my soul and body the ongoing anti-black hatred in America.

In my frustration, all I have the energy to say is, that we have to do more as a nation to put an end to the pandemic of racism and gun violence in America. And we can begin by stopping the white nationalist propaganda and GRT conspiracy theory constantly promoted by so-called news outlets and American politicians.

America, enough is f***ing enough!

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About the author

Guy Nave

Guy Nave is a professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. His research focuses on the topics of Christianity, religion and social justice, the social construction of religious meaning, and race-religion-and-politics. Professor Nave is currently researching the power, politics, and meaning behind the rhetoric of "change."

He is the author of several articles and book chapters, and he served as a New Testament Greek translator for the 2011 Common English Bible. His commentary on 2 Corinthians is published in the African American New Testament Commentary, and his book, The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts has been identified as “the standard scholarly work on repentance in the New Testament.”

Guy Nave received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Yale University. In addition to his blog posts here, he is a frequent contributor to Sojourners Magazine's online "Commentary" blog series.

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