It is hard to contemplate the level of depravity that caused a teenager to drive more than 270 kilometres from his home to Buffalo in upstate New York and open fire on innocent victims in a shopping plaza and store.
That the 18-year-old did so and live-streamed the event while purposely and wilfully targeting black victims speaks to the sheer evil motivating this attack. Before embarking on this act of barbarity, the gunman allegedly posted a white supremacist diatribe supposedly excusing and explaining the reasons behind his murderous rampage.
Let’s be clear: There is nothing on this Earth that could justify such an act of evil. Regardless of colour or creed, we are all equal — and to be targeted for execution simply because of the colour of skin is hate of the utmost and vilest kind.
That such hate can fester speaks to the failure of social media companies to be responsible for the content posted on their sites. By failing to act, they allow these sick groups and individuals to spread their venom and hate.
And web-hosting companies that allow white supremacist or other extremist groups to post and host their sites also speaks to the ultimate failure of companies, telecoms and governments at local, state and federal level to deal with a phenomenon that has existed since the World Wide Web came into existence.
But this is also another sign of American society’s failure to come to grips with its love affair with guns. In few other societies are gun laws so lax, few other societies have to deal with mass shootings that occurred with such frequency.
While some states and the federal government struggle to take piecemeal steps toward proper gun control, there is a large body of thought and support that simply believes that it is normal to be able to be armed to the teeth.
This shooting is also an indicator that the American psyche is deeply divided still when it comes to the issue of race. That a segment of society can be targeted based solely on the colour of skin is testament to the deep divide that exists now in America.
For a nation that is built on the principle of equality for all, it remains fractured. Over recent years, the prolific growth of extreme views have only heightened the tensions that lie beneath. And hate groups thrive when their views are perceived as becoming more mainstream, as if that in itself somehow gives individuals the right to choose who lives and dies by their acts of evil and senseless violence.