December 11, 2023

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The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 5/16/22


Tomorrow President Biden will got to Buffalo to meet with the families of those killed in Saturday`s massacre. Tonight we`re learning more about the victims. 72-year-old Katherine Massey was a well known local civil rights activist who fought to make her community better. Feeding her community was a big part of Pearl Young`s life. Pearl Young spent every Saturday for 25 years running a food pantry with the Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ in Buffalo`s Central Park neighborhood. The alleged shooter in Buffalo is said to have written that boredom, isolation and Internet radicalization led him to his act. Imagine how many others like him are in front of their screens, alone but together.”


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. I took a note during your hour. That line, everybody knows somebody was really the line of the hour by the majority leader, New York state assembly, Crystal Peoples- Stokes, meaning everybody in that community in those somebody who lost a loved one, and at the Tops market in east Buffalo. It is just a tragedy that we will deal with, and in the way that we do. And the way we have before. And it`s just a horrible familiarity to this ritual which we`re going through now.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Yeah, I mean, we are a country that has an incredible problem with mass shootings. We also have an incredible problem with political violence, particularly racially motivated, politically motivated violence. And that is something that we are never going to be new to, and it`s not getting better, it`s still getting worse. But it`s very hard on these for days, particularly talking with people in that community, the tight-knit community who really are in a position when they know someone who was affected.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, we`re going to have some of the people who know somebody during this hour.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Well done, Lawrence. Thank you. Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, I loved Buffalo the first day I arrived there in 1988 with New York senior Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who was running for reelection with polls showing him headed for winning 68 percent of the vote, which gave him enough confidence to allow me to work on his re-election campaign when I knew next to nothing about politics. I made many return trips to Buffalo over the years of working in the Senate with Senator Moynihan who loved Buffalo long before I did.

It is New York state`s second largest city, a city born as a trading post before colonial governments were formed. To that long rich history, we must now add the deadliest mass murder in the history of the city of Buffalo which happened on Saturday.

When the headline flashed across my phone on Saturday, I made some educated guesses about the murderer and the murder that were soon confirmed — a white supremacist teenage boy equipped with the most effective weapons for mass murder aimed at black people. Just like the mass murderer who shot and killed nine black people in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. And those assumptions that I made are exactly what this story turned out to be.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Justice Department has stated publicly that is investigating the matter as a hate crime, racially motivated act of white supremacy and violent extremism. As they do, we must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America, the hearts are heavy once again but a resolve must never ever waver.


O`DONNELL: How many more times during his presidency will Joe Biden have to say that? We know it will happen again. We know with the number of dead might be higher next time, and we know that between now and the next time this happens, nothing, nothing will be done to reduce in any way the chances of this happening again.

Ten — ten dead this time. Roberta Drury, age 32, Marcus Morrison, age 52, Andre Mackneil, age 53, Aaron Salter, age 55, Geraldine Talley, age 62, Celestine Chaney, age 65, Hayward Patterson, age 67, Katherine Massey, age 72, Pearl Young, age 77. Ruth Whitfield, age 86.

They are all dead tonight because they are black and they were at the Tops market on the east side of Buffalo. The current senior senator from New York loves Buffalo and has visited Buffalo more than any New York senator before him.



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I know this community. Years ago, I worked hard to bring that grocery store to the east side of Buffalo because the community deserved a full-fledged supermarket. It was a much needed oasis in what was then a total food desert.


O`DONNELL: The mass murderer used zip code information to find the Upstate New York neighborhood most densely populated with black people. Syracuse, a city of 148,000 people is miles north from the white Republican upstate neighborhood where the murderer lived. Twenty-nine percent of the people of Syracuse are Black.

But the mass murderer decided that he could get a higher body count at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, and so, he bypassed Syracuse and nearby Rochester, whose population is 39 percent Black and drove the 200 miles to Buffalo.

We don`t know why the murderer is alive tonight. The police had every legal right to shoot him on site with a gun in his hand when they cornered him in the store, but they talked him into dropping his gun to the floor and then they arrested him. One of those police officers had been on the street with the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, maybe Michael Brown would be alive tonight.

For some reason, unarmed Black teenagers and men seem more likely to be shot and killed by police than white supremacist teenage mass murderers with guns in their hands.

On the Senate floor today, New York senior senator said something that could get him fired if he were a public school teacher in Florida now.


SCHUMER: The weekend shootings is part of an ugly patter, one that dates to the earliest days of this nation racism has always been and unfortunately still is the poison the poison of America. The original sin of slavery and the decades of racial terror discrimination, separate but equal, white supremacy and bigotry that followed unfortunately continue to exert poisonous influence on our society.


O`DONNELL: Senator Schumer focused on the support for the poisonous thinking that the mass murderer received from the Fox Channel owned and operated by the Australian immigrant Rupert Murdoch.


SCHUMER: Online, the shooter proudly professed himself as a neo-fascist, white supremacist, anti-Semite. His views shared extensively online embraced a dangerous ideology known as, quote, the great replacement, unquote, which asserts that a conspiracy exists to replace white Americans with immigrants and people of color — the same hatred that motivated the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, the same poison that possessed the shooter of a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the same bigotry that murdered eight people in Atlanta last year, and the same evil that took the lives of nine worshipers at a church in Charleston. It was the same evil at play this Saturday in the beloved city of Buffalo, New York.

Not long ago, views like replacement theory were only found in the darkest places in deranged minds. Replacement theory and other racially motivated views are increasingly coming out into the open and given purported legitimacy by some MAGA Republicans and cable news pundits. It`s a message that has also found a special home in several right-wing outlets.

And on one cable news channel in particular, Fox News, Tucker Carlson has spewed rhetoric that echoes replacement theory at least 400 times on his show since 2016. It is not enough for outlets like Fox News to simply condemn Saturday`s violence and condemn shooter`s racist views and then return to their regularly scheduled programming.

Fox News and their hosts need to actually stop spreading dangerous ideas like replacement theory on their shows.


O`DONNELL: They will stop the minute Rupert Murdoch tells them to stop. It`s as simple as that.

Every minute spent talking about the TV hosts on Fox is a minute that hides the true villain of the piece. Rupert Murdoch is the billionaire puppeteer. In 1995, when Rupert Murdoch was planning to create a cable news channel, he had never heard of any of the people who are now his most prominent hosts.


But Rupert Murdoch knew what he wanted Fox to do from day one and Fox has always done and said exactly what Rupert Murdoch wants. The headline of Renee Graham`s “Boston Globe” piece says: With the Buffalo massacre, Fox News has blood on its hands again”.

The article mentions Tucker Carlson nine times and his predecessor Bill O`Reilly once, but the article does not mention Rupert Murdoch under the title Fox News has blood on its hands. Fox News doesn`t have hands, but Rupert Murdoch does.

White supremacist mass murderers in this country who take encouragement from Fox want to among other things stop immigration to this country as does Fox, a company owned and operated by an immigrant who has done more damage to this country in the 21st century than any immigrant in the world has done to any other country in the 21st century.

Rupert Murdoch built a network with the sole purpose of electing Republicans. There could be no President Trump without Rupert Murdoch`s support, and every day that Fox has been in existence, Rupert Murdoch has supported the Republican Party`s abject fealty to the national rifle association.

And so it is thanks to Rupert Murdoch as much as it is any Republican president that America`s mass murderers are still what they have always been, the very best equipped mass murderers in the world. Rupert Murdoch has made sure of that. Every American mass murderer can thank Rupert Murdoch for all the murder tools that Rupert Murdoch has made sure they are able to easily buy over the counter.

No one should waste their breath on the men in makeup at Fox, when Rupert Murdoch is responsible for everything they say and do that helps shape the thinking of white supremacist mass murderers.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Rod Watson, urban affairs editor and columnist for “The Buffalo News”, and Charles Blow, columnist for “The New York Times” and an MSNBC political analyst.

And, Rod, let me begin with you. You`ve been living with this now since Saturday and I`m sure you`ve written about it, but I`m sure you have a lot more thoughts the since then. What are your thoughts and feelings as of 10 p.m. tonight, more than hours after this happened?

ROD WATSON, THE BUFFALO NEWS URBAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: My feelings are finding a way to get at this sense of otherness that`s been created in America, and as you say, Fox News has played a big role in that, not just with their hosts — talk show hosts, but even in their so-called straight news programs. If you watch them night after night after night, their news programs lead off with these so-called invaders coming across the border. That creates the sense of other.

They`re not they`re coming to take our jobs. They`re coming to kill us. They`re coming to rape us. They`re coming to bring down America.

And that`s night after night after night, and you can`t help but think that with that kind of out treating that asthma of that kind of thinking going on and being propagated night after night at night, it`s got to have an effect on people either indirectly or directly like this shooter.

You look at what they`ve done about voting rights the Republican Party, the way they`ve tried to roll back voting rights again, because this sense of – – they feel this sense of other, even though there`s no absolutely — no evidence of widespread voter fraud, it created this sense of other that blacks are invading the voting booth and they`re going to change the country through the electoral process. So the only way to do that is stop these others from voting.

Now, you look at — look at the schools what`s going on in schools, the opposition to teaching accurate history which are Senator Schumer referenced during the clip that you played a few minutes ago. Again, there`s a sense of that these people are going to take over if we don`t stop them now, and the sense of otherness is what we have to get at.

Even more than the guns, you know, some guns are a problem. The gun he bought in New York state — New York state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, the gun he bought here was legal, but the magazine wasn`t. He got the magazine out of state apparently.

And so, until we can do something nationally about that, that`s not going to change anyway and where the Senate is divided with 48 Democrats, 50 Republicans, and two you never know which way they`re going to go, I just don`t see that changing until we can change the population at large and get behind an effort to eradicate this sense of otherness.

The one thing I take heart and some of the recent surveys have shown that only about a third of the people believe in the so-called replacement theory. Well, that means there`s two-thirds of population who don`t. The question is how do we mobilize that two-thirds to have an impact both at the voting booth and in the wallets of people like Rupert Murdoch.

You can have an impact both by voting, but you also have an impact by not supporting the businesses that advertise on shows such as Tucker Carlson and other shows that propagate these kinds of myths that are bringing our country to a breaking point.

O`DONNELL: Charles, I wouldn`t presume to direct your attention through a question in coverage of something like this. I just give you the open mic to share your reactions about what you`re thinking now.

CHARLES BLOW, MSNBC HOST: Well, several things, Lawrence. First of all, I said this before but it bears repeating, there`s a replacement fact and replacement conspiracy theory. The fact is that the demographics show that white people will be replaced as the majority of people in this country.

The conspiracy is that the theory is that there is a corrupt bunch of people whether they`re Jewish or Democrats or whoever who are orchestrating that. They`re not actually. This is just, you know, a birth rate issue and a migration issue, and that is what it is.

But what we have to ask ourselves is, you know, I speak to those people who are freaking out about this, why would that even be a problem? Because you`ve always told people who were minorities in this country that that was perfectly fine, we`re a melting pot, just assimilate, blend in, what have you. Why is it a problem if you were to become one of the minority groups?

The only reason there would be a problem because what you were telling the rest of the people was it — was that — was a lie, which was you were perfectly okay with it as long as you controlled all the power, as long as you controlled all the wealth, as long as you control the narrative about culture.

But the moment that that gets — becomes under threat, now, it`s a problem. You have to pick up arms. You have to go into the street you have to kill innocent people.

And I don`t — also want to just say this one thing, Lawrence. You cannot separate the gun debate from the replacement — the racial replacement debate. Gun debate in this country has always been racialized.

The only people now talk about the idea that you know they don`t want gun control because they don`t want their guns to be seized. Well, the only people in this country who`ve ever had laws on the books that would allow you to seize their guns were Black people, and that`s what that was because white people were afraid that black people would retaliate after they were free.

And from that point forward, it has always been racialized that Ku Klux Klan was started partially as a gun confiscation group. And it wasn`t until Black people showed up in white space that was in California, Black Panthers in the Sacramento — in the — in the state house, that white people freaked out and actually decided that they would like to restrict gun access and the ability to take guns into public. And that was Ronald Reagan, you know, their sacred patron saint who signed the Mulford Act.

But then, what had started to happen was people started to realize that the country was changing and a lot of people on the fringe said there may come a time when we may have to defend ourselves against our own government. And with that as the backdrop, the idea of restricting guns became a non- starter. They are apocalyptic on the fringe about this issue and because of that, you will never get any traction on gun control.

O`DONNELL: Rod Watson, there`s one gruesome detail in what we know about this mass murder and that was his decision to bypass Syracuse, to bypass Rochester and keep driving to your city of Buffalo because looking at zip code data, that indicated he could get the highest density of the targets that that he was looking for.

What has — how has that detail been reverberating in Buffalo?

WATSON: It`s been reverberating Buffalo not only because of what he did but because of the perception that um police here in Buffalo have treated Black people unfairly. There`s this feeling of — if he had been Black, if the shooter had been Black, that he would be dead by now because of shootings of some Black people by police here in Buffalo. So that people have made that comparison and that is really, you know, stoked some anger here as well.

But I want to pick up on the point that Charles was talking about the demographic change that`s inevitable in this country. I think one of the questions we have to deal with is why is diversity a bad thing? It`s been framed as a bad thing and we let them get away with that.

But I always think back to the Ken Burns series on baseball. When someone in here talked about the so-called golden age of baseball with Ruth and Gary and all that and another commentator commented that how could that be when baseball was the best it could be when it didn`t have all of its players.


It didn`t have the Josh Gibsons and the Satchel Paiges, they`ve been relegated to the Negro leagues.

And I think about our society now there`s this sense of a zero-sum game that if Blacks or Hispanics or other people advance, it has to be at the expense of white people. Well, how could the society as a whole be the best as it can be if we don`t have all people at the table if we`re not taking advantage of the talents that all people order offer, and if we can reframe the debate in that sense, then maybe we can eliminate some of this sense of otherness and recognize the fact that we can grow the society if we value what everybody has to contribute at the table.

O`DONNELL: Rod Watson and Charles Blow, thank you both very much for beginning our discussion of this very, very difficult subject tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

WATSON: Thanks, Lawrence.

BLOW: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, Katherine Massey wrote to her local newspaper, asking for federal gun control laws last year. On Saturday, she was murdered, by the mass murderer with a weapon of war at her supermarket. Her friend, Eva Doyle, will join us next.



O`DONNELL: Tomorrow, President Biden will go to Buffalo to meet with the families of those killed in Saturday`s massacre. Tonight, we`re learning more about the victims.

Fifty-five-year-old Tops security guard Aaron Salter is a hero who saved lives by firing at the murderer multiple times. The former Buffalo police officer was known for his bravery and loved tinkering with cars in his spare time, his son told “The New York Times”.

Eighty-six-year-old Ruth Whitfield was the rock of her family, devoting her life to taking care of her husband and four children. Her son, retired Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell Whitfield called her quote a blessing for all those who knew her.

Marcus Morrison, 52, was a father of three and a school bus aide who liked his job and liked to tell jokes. His brother described him as a fun lovable guy with a nice spirit.

Sixty-two-year-old Geraldine Talley was shopping with her fiance when she was fatally shot. Her niece said she was an avid baker and the organizer of the family reunions they called her the life of the part.

Celestine Chaney, the grandmother of six was a single mom and a cancer survivor who recently celebrated her 65th birthday. Her son told “The Washington Post”, she was a beautiful person, a spunky independent woman just a joy to be around.

Pearl Young, a 77-year-old substitute teacher, ran a food pantry every Saturday. Her family describes their grandmother have ate as a full of Joy who loved God and is now in heaven dancing with their father.

Hayward Patterson, 67, was a driver who would offer discounted rides to the supermarket to help support his three children. He was helping a client load groceries when he was killed. His nephew said he, quote, took pride in helping people and always dressed to impress.

Thirty-two-year-old Roberta Drury moved to Buffalo to help care for her brother and his kids while he was treated for cancer. Vibrant is how her sister described her to “The New York Times”. Quote, the center of attention who made the whole room smile and laugh.

Fifty-three-year-old Andre Mackneil was buying a birthday cake for his three-year-old son when he was killed. His cousin said he was generous selfless and loving.

Here`s what his brother told NBC`s Lester Holt when he found — when he heard the news.


MALIK ELLIOTT, BROTHER OF BUFFALO SHOOTING VICTIM ANDRE MACKNEIL: I can`t imagine how I found out the news I was laying on my couch praying for this city. The last thing my brother told me on the phone was, I`m one hour away.


O`DONNELL: Seventy-two-year-old Katherine Massey was a well-known local civil rights activist who fought to make her community better. She assisted in local elections and contributed letters to her local paper advocating for a number of issues, including calling for federal gun control in a letter published in “The Buffalo News” one year ago. One friend tells the “Buffalo News”: We lost a powerful, powerful voice”.

Joining us now is Eva Doyle friend of Katherine “Kat” Massey. They both were members of the grassroots organization We Are Women Warriors.

Eva Doyle, I am very, very sorry for your loss. I want to thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us tonight.

EVA DOYLE, FRIEND OF VICTIM: Yes, thank you. Thank you for inviting me.


O`DONNELL: What can you — what can you tell us about your friend Kat? Please go ahead. Tell us about your friend Kat.

DOYLE: Katherine Massey known as Kat in the community was very, very well known. She was a fellow writer. She wrote many articles as she stated for the book of papers. She was an activist. She was an advocate for our community.


And the last time I saw her was before the pandemic actually, and we were both on the way to anti-violence — it was a huge rally that was held on Jefferson Avenue, not far from Tops Market and it was attended by leading politicians, community leaders, and it was organized to protest the illegal guns that were being transported from other places into the black community.

And I met Katherine, and we walked about half a block to that meeting. And she pointed out to me that she didn`t live far from there, her family didn`t live far from there. She was such an articulate person, not only on the gun issue, but she often spoke at the Buffalo Board of Education. And whenever I was sitting in the audience, I always look forward to her comments, because she was also concerned about the education of our children. She was outspoken.

Certainly, her death is a great loss. And as you were going through the pictures and the listing all the people who lost their lives, I was saying to myself, these were not just ordinary people, these were extraordinary people who made so many positive contributions to our community, in so many ways. And their voices have been silenced. They were indeed role models for our community.

And the way I characterize the Tops Supermarket, was I showed up Tops. I was a regular Saturday shopper. It was our beloved supermarket, which has been taken from us, and all these people. And we have a hero in Mr. Aaron Salter.

So we`re going to miss Katherine, we are going to miss Ms. Kat Massey. I planned to do a trip to her this week in my newspaper called “Ion History”, which appears in “Criteria” newspaper.

And I want to tell you something, I`m having a hard time even getting started on my article, because I`m thinking about all of this tragedy and thinking about the loss of my friend.

And it`s so sad, so I have to really get my thoughts together to write this tribute, but I`m going to write it.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Eva Doyle, thank you very much for —

DOYLE: — because we cannot forget.

O`DONNELL: — thank you very much for sharing that tribute that you`ve just shared with us tonight. We really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Thank you.

And coming up —


O`DONNELL: — we`ll be joined by Bishop Glenwood Young, whose brother in law was murdered at the Tops Supermarket on Saturday.

That`s next.



O`DONNELL: For years, the black community in east Buffalo was trying to get a full service supermarket grocery store in their neighborhood, which was at the time considered a food desert. In 2003, Tops Markets finally opened on Jefferson Avenue, offering fresh food and produce.

Today that store, a critical source of food and community, remains an active crime scene. Governor Kathy Hochul said, it is critical for a community to have the store reopen, because they do not have many other options for fresh fruit and produce in that neighborhood. Tops officials have said the store will reopen.

In the meantime, Tops is providing shuttle buses to transport residents to other grocery stores. Yesterday, one community organization distributed fresh produce across the street from the Tops Market.

Feeding her community was a big part of Pearl Young`s life. She was born 77 years ago in Fayette, Alabama. Marriage brought her to Buffalo, New York. Pearl Young spent every Saturday for 25 years running a food pantry with the Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ in Buffalo`s Central Park neighborhood.

Her son, Nayman (ph), said, “My mom just felt that she needed to give back to people.” Pearl Young was killed on Saturday while she was shopping for groceries at the top market.

And joining us now is Bishop Glenwood Young. He is the brother in law of shooting victim, Pearl Young. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. I am very sorry for your loss.

BISHOP GLENWOOD YOUNG, PEARL YOUNG`S BROTHER IN LAW: Thank you, Lawrence. It`s been such a devastating weekend for Buffalo community. We`ve lost our residents, our area, and the entire area is grieving with such a traumatic event that took place.


YOUNG: Me personally, losing a darling sister-in-law, loyal sister-in-law, who I had the pleasure of not only being her brother in law, but being her pastor. Being the bishop in her jurisdiction, and just being a good friend to my sister in law.

She was an avid worker in the community, loved working. She was avidly working in the local church. She was a president of the Missionaries Board of the Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ.

She was a district field representative in the state of New York. She was also a Sunday` school worker in the Sunday school department of our jurisdiction. And she`s an avid worker with the entire constituents of the West New York Church of God in Christ.

She was such a dedicated person, loyal, loved to serve humanity. Every Saturday, for 25 years, would work entirely in a food pantry to just give to the poor and those that needed.

And with her pleasant personality, she was loyal, and she was the type of person that you loved to be around. A lovely family woman, a mother of three, grandmother of eight.

And she was one that was just a servant at heart. Not only that she worked with a foster care program. She worked with the elderly. She went to school for (INAUDIBLE). She did all the things that would help her serve the community.

And then, tragically, tragically, after coming from a prayer service on Saturday morning, not knowing what was waiting on her 45 minutes later. She had to encounter this person, this killer, who we feel like violated our neighborhood, violated our rights. And he`s deprived us of some of Buffalo`s best.

The whole area is grieving. We`re all grieving. I`m grieving on so many levels of Pearl Young being her brother in law, being her pastor, being the bishop of the diocese and just being a friend to her.

She`s going to be sorely missed. She`s already being missed by all of the persons in this region. Buffalo seemed like — seems like we`ve just been violated by someone outside of the community that would come in and disrupt everything in our community.

I pray that things will changed. My prayers that individuals everywhere would change their habits, change their thoughts. Because we ought to be a loving and kind nation. And something that has to be done to stop this violence, to stop these things. A person don`t feel safe in a grocery store, I pray that time would change, and that we could all live together.

Pearl was that type of a person that always was trying to make peace in her community neighborhood, and the society she was always one that was reaching out to solve problems, and to help those that needed help.

And I pray that her life, her living would not be in vain, but somebody would recognize a thing that she offered to society, and want to be like her, and make our city, Buffalo, by all means, it is the city of brotherly love. And as a whole, we are a city that love each other. It`s the city of good neighbors.

And in one moment, an outsider come 200 miles to disrupt all those living in the city. Yes, I believe that the president will come in and have some solutions for these type of things. He`s going to be in Buffalo tomorrow. And I pray that he will have some words to us, to encourage us that there will be a change made. That there is some attempt to change this society for what it is to make us what should be. A community that can live in peace.

Feel like we`re going to go to a grocery store, not feeling threatened, not be afraid. And then, I say this in conclusion, that we don`t want a terrorist to defeat us. We don`t want him to feel like he defeated us by us staying away, feeling like we`ve been deserted. But we do want an answer to these problems.


O`DONNELL: Bishop Glenwood Young, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about your sister in law, Pearl, letting us learn something about her. And sharing the weight of what you are dealing with tonight in Buffalo. Thank you very much for joining us.

YOUNG: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, Professor Kathleen Belew, who wrote the book on white terrorists — white supremacist terrorists in America today, will join us next.



O`DONNELL: 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin — 7 dead. 2015, Charleston, South Carolina — 9 dead. 2018, Pittsburgh — 11 dead. 2019, El Paso, Texas — 23 dead. Also 2019, Christchurch, New Zealand — 51 bed. And now, Buffalo — 10 dead.

Our next guest, Professor Kathleen Belew writes, “In each event, a white power activist was the perpetrator. Several of the assailants wrote extensively about their motivations in manifestos that outlined a coherent political ideology. And in the United States, they have been backed by a broad social movement. The historical record reveals an interwoven tapestry of people on the militant right, who have united in common cause to target minority communities and to undermine American democracy, and who ultimately hope to provoke race war.

The other half of white nationalism is in our halls of governance and our televisions, claiming ignorance of its most violent outgrowths.

The alleged shooter in Buffalo is said to have written that boredom, isolation and Internet radicalization led him to his act. Imagine how many others like him are in front of their screens, alone but together.”

Joining us now is Kathleen Belew, an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago. She is the author of “Bring The War Home: The White Power Movement And Paramilitary America”. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

I just want to give you an open mic here to start off with your reaction to what we`ve seen in Buffalo.

KATHLEEN BELEW, ASSISTANT HISTORY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: It`s another one of these events, Lawrence. I mean, it`s a tragedy that keeps happening and happening and happening. And although we are learning something about how these are interconnected events, about the huge danger they pose to vulnerable communities and to our society at large, we seem to really be at the end of our road in coming up with real solutions.

I think that this is a difficult one, because the knot of problems has become so tangled in itself. There`s the problem of the violent, white power movement and militant right that are putting forward lone wolf style attackers that carry out these events.

There`s the problem of the same set of groups putting forward direct threats on our democracy and performative activism like the January 6th insurrection.

And then, there is the problem of theories and rhetoric that bridge between these fringes, and our political mainstream. All of these are problems for different reasons, but together, they really have created a difficult landscape for people who are trying to work to fix this problem.

O`DONNELL: You`ve read the document that`s been called a manifesto that this Buffalo murderer had. One of the things that struck me in your reporting on that is that a vast section of it was simply lifted from the manifesto written in New Zealand.

BELEW: That`s right. I put it through plagiarism software. I`m a professor, so I have one of these at hand. huge percentage of the documents are identical, or are simply transposed and mixed up in order.

I think that tells us a few critical things. One, is that there`s a shared sort of community of information sharing that connected these two people together, although not directly. These ideas and tactics are moving between gunmen.

Another thing of note is how much of that document is given to the specifics of the attack. And here, I`m talking about weapons selection, and selection of targets, tactical readiness, protective gear.

All of that means that we should be thinking of these manifestos as instruments that are meant to radicalize further shooters and propel them to action. In other words, none of these — not only are these not isolated events, but these are set up to perpetuate themselves overtime.

O`DONNELL: You have that haunting phrase and that image of them in front of their screens, whether they be watching Fox, or searching the Internet for more poison. And that image of them — alone but together. This concept of the lone wolf is not what we are looking at here.

BELEW: No. So — let me explain why. This movement, the white power movement and the militant right, broadly, came together in the late 1970s, out of a number of populations that were upset with what they saw as threats to the status quo.


BELEW: In fact the same set of ideas that would later become what we are now talking about as replacement theory which we can get into in a moment. But these activists came together and began to use the early Internet in 1983, 84, to perpetuate acts of solo-style terrorism, meant to look like they were disconnected to one another, and disconnected to direct communication with movement leadership.

Now, that strategy, leaderless (ph) resistance, was designed to make it more difficult to prosecute these gunmen in court. And to make it more difficult for FBI and other surveillance agencies to infiltrate.

But the bigger legacy of leaderless resistance has been this idea of the “lone wolf” gunman. The idea that these are single action, that they aren`t connected with one another. And that, these are sort of one off bad men perpetrating the attacks.

This couldn`t be farther from the truth. This is a broad based social movement. The action is ideological, and not simply sort of lunatic, unpredictable mass violence. And it all follows the pattern that decades if not generations old.

O`DONNELL: Professor Kathleen Belew, we`re out of time for tonight`s discussion. Thank you very much for joining us once again. We really appreciate it.

BELEW: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: We are out of time.