BUFFALO – Following the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo over the weekend, discussions about how to prevent these terrorist attacks in the future are back at the forefront of political agendas.
Justin Hubbard, coordinator of the Jamestown Justice Coalition and history teacher explained why white supremacist Payton Gendron was motivated to kill ten individuals.
“This is an American issue, this is a world issue but specifically in America white supremacy, white nationalism is the number one terrorist threat in our country. The Department of Justice released that years ago. This shooter followed the same theory that other mass shooters have followed called “replacement theory.” This idea that the white people are systematically being replaced by empowered minorities and immigrants by political parties,” explains Hubbard.
Hubbard says that relating the curriculum to these current topics is an easy way to integrate these lessons into the classroom, which gives students a broader perspective. However, the education system is run per state, not federally. Discussions like this would have to be approved from the top, which, as seen with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill would not be passed in every state.
“That is a way of maintaining people’s privileges. It’s not about parental rights or anything like that. That is about maintaining the status quo and keeping those in power in power. And that’s what creates horrible situations like what we saw on Saturday,” says Hubbard.
He encourages teachers to teach their students even the “ugly” parts of American and world history, whether or not it makes people uncomfortable. This uncomfortable history includes the red lining and food dessert that was created in the area of the shooting, which allowed the terrorist to target a predominantly black neighborhood who had no other options to live and shop.
“If you look into his manifesto at all that he released, he didn’t come up with this idea originally,” says Hubbard. “He took from different people’s manifestos as well, a lot of it was taken from the shooter in New Zealand that killed 15 Muslims. So yes, these attacks inspire more attacks, we know this.”
Hubbard says the passing of common sense gun laws is one of the only ways the United States can stop the ever increasing trend of mass shootings in America.
“Also, just a change in our culture. We’re having a lot of discussions nationwide about Critical Race Theory and if we should talk about racism in schools. And how Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization and things like this. Those are all just attempts to make this conversation go away,” says Hubbard.
Being vigilant of even seemingly small events, like the vandalism of stolen statues in Jamestown’s Dow Park is important, says Hubbard, as it can eventually lead to a tragedy as Buffalo just saw.