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Buffalo shooting suspect reinforced his racist beliefs through diaries

Buffalo shooting suspect reinforced his racist beliefs through diaries

Posted May. 19, 2022 08:05,   

Updated May. 19, 2022 08:05


“One of my worst nights of my life was when I spent 20 hours in a hospital’s emergency room on 5/28/2021. This was because I answered murder/suicide to the question ‘what do you want to do when you retire?’ on an online assignment in my Economics class. It was not a joke, I wrote that down because that’s what I was planning to do.”

Payton Gendron, living in northern New York predominated by a white population, wrote a diary on his computer on Dec. 9, 2021. Being a loner and distanced from his family, Gendron came home and played games or watched YouTube videos. Keeping a journal and expressing anger was a kind of ritual to him.

The Wall Street Journal obtained the diary written by Gendron, who killed 10 black people at a supermarket in Buffalo and reported some of the entries in it. Gendron’s diary entries chronicle his path to conspiracies, paranoia, and violence. Dr. Rajan Basra of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) of the Kings College London, analyzed the diary and said Gendron magnified his racist beliefs by writing diaries and talking to himself and that he had a very unstable state of mind.

In 2022, Gendron found the social platform “4chan” where he was entranced by explicit racist myths and conspiracies. Spending many hours glued to a computer, Gendron spent more time in the platform and became more obsessed with anti-black racism content. “I only really turned racist when 4chan started giving me facts that Black people were intellectually and emotionally inferior,” he wrote in the May 5 entry.

Gendron decided to kill Black people and started looking for a place to carry out his plan. The March 16 entry reveals that Gendron stopped by a Tops supermarket in Buffalo and counted the number of Black and white people as well as the layout of security guards. On May 16, exactly two months later, Gendron carried out an attack.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com